Casey McDermott

State of Democracy/Health Reporter

Credit John W. Hession

Casey McDermott is a reporter covering politics, policy and healthcare.

Prior to joining NHPR, Casey worked at The Concord Monitor and held internships at ProPublica, the Student Press Law Center and the Chronicle of Higher Education. 

She studied journalism and sociology at Penn State but spent most of her days (and nights) in the newsroom of the independent student newspaper, The Daily Collegian. The Collegian was recognized nationally for its work during Casey's time as its managing editor and editor-in-chief.

Happy Friday! You might be overwhelmed with national political headlines this week, but there's lots of stuff going on closer to home, too. Read on for the latest on some of the most important (or interesting) things to report from all corners of the Granite State. And make sure to sign up for our newsletters to get this sent straight to your inbox each week

Casey McDermott, NHPR

The race for the new leader of the Democratic National Committee didn’t turn out quite how New Hampshire Democratic Chairman Ray Buckley had hoped. Even so, Buckley's optimistic about new DNC Chairman Tom Perez's plans for the party and for state outreach, in particular.

Plenty of Granite Staters, including the governor, are cheering after New Hampshire scored the No. 2 spot on a new U.S. News and World Report “Best States” index. But the details behind that new ranking paint a more complex picture than that "second-in-the-nation" title suggests.

Maybe it's the fact that the weather felt more like May than February, but it sure felt like a pretty long week. If you need help catching up on the headlines, or you're just in the market for some interesting reads to get you through the weekend, keep scrolling. (And if you haven't yet, make sure you're signed up for our newsletters to get this and other updates right to your inbox each week.)

Vox Efx / Flickr Creative Commons

The way Rep. Norman Silber sees it, a party primary is supposed to select the best person who represents the values and platform of that particular political party — and allowing undeclared voters to weigh in allows for too much electoral mischief.

OK, so things might be brightening up a bit this weekend. But it's still the middle of February and we're just coming off of several rounds of snowstorms and New Hampshire winters are nothing if not unpredictable — so while we're all catching our breath waiting for the next whiteout, we thought we'd take a moment to reflect on some particularly wintry stories before diving into the rest of this week's headlines.

Logan Shannon / NHPR

While President Trump and some of his allies perpetuated the (unverified and unsubstantiated) idea that out-of-state voters are being sent across the border en masse to throw New Hampshire elections, we were wondering: What can we actually know about the people who are showing up to register for the first time on Election Day?

Maybe you've been stuck inside the last few days. Or maybe you're not among the lucky ones who had a snow day and, in turn, have been busy with other things this week. Or maybe you read about the second round of snow that might be on deck this weekend and want to make sure you have a full reading list in case you're stuck inside again. In any case, keep scrolling — we've got you covered. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

While Representative Norman Silber, a first-term Republican from Gilford, initially hoped to get rid of same-day voter registration, he now says it seems like more trouble than it’s worth at this time.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

At first glance, one of the voting bills introduced by Representative David Bates this week would seem to be just a minor change, removing just four words from an existing statute.

The Windham Republican wants to strike part of the state law defining what it means to be a resident or inhabitant, or what it means to claim residency — specifically, the part that extends that definition to include people who intend to remain in New Hampshire "for the indefinite future." Those definitions, in turn, are used to help decide who’s eligible to vote in New Hampshire.

justgrimes / Flickr Creative Commons

It’s shaping up to be a busy week for anyone following potential changes to the state’s election laws. At least 17 such bills are on deck for public hearings before House and Senate committees — a majority of which seek to restrict existing rules around voting.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

Standing before a group at the Statehouse plaza Friday afternoon, Rob Spencer, of Concord, recounted how his parents left Austria to escape the Nazis and arrived in America as refugees.

That was part of the reason he showed up wearing a bright gold star pinned to his jacket, just above his heart.

Update: Thanks to all who weighed in! More than 400 of you cast your votes, and we'll let have more details soon on the winning question and our plans from here. In the meantime, make sure to keep sending your questions our way here.

Somehow, apparently, it's already February? Perhaps you've been too busy to keep up with the headlines this week, or you're among the many people taking a self-imposed break from the news — either way, consider this your reading list to catch up on the important or otherwise interesting stuff you missed around New Hampshire this week. 

Sara Plourde / New England News Collaborative, NHPR

While Republican governors in Massachusetts and Vermont expressed concern over the weekend about President Trump’s recent executive order on immigration and refugees, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu took a more neutral stance when weighing in on the issue Monday.

So, uh, that was fast? We're (almost) one-twelfth of the way through 2017 already, and January's certainly not saying goodbye quietly. You've probably had a busy week, too, so we did the work of rounding up some of the most interesting stories you might've missed in the last few days. Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter to save yourself even more time and get these headlines delivered right to your inbox each week.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

Lawmakers heard input Tuesday on a bill that, if left unchanged, could drastically expand the power of the Secretary of State’s office.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

Looking out over the steps of the Statehouse Saturday morning, a sea of pink hats and posters —  bearing messages like “EQUAL RIGHTS FOR ALL,” “LOVE TRUMPS HATE” and “BE KIND” — stretched out in all directions.

In all, organizers said more than 5,000 people showed up for New Hampshire Women’s Day of Action and Unity — a series of rallies, activist trainings, songs, prayer and protests. It was the biggest crowd seen at the Statehouse since thousands gathered to oppose state budget cuts back in 2011.

Happy Friday! If you're looking for conversation starters for this weekend's AFC playoff watch parties or you're looking for a distraction from sports, read on for some of the important or otherwise interesting stuff you might've missed this week. (And make sure to subscribe to our newsletters to stay in the loop every week.)

As President-Elect Donald Trump's inauguration approaches this weekend, Washington is bracing itself for “hundreds of thousands” of inaugural attendees and protestors – a crowd that will likely include more than a few Granite Staters.

We hope you're getting settled back into the swing of things post-holidays. Across New Hampshire, your neighbors and elected officials are wasting no time supplying a full spread of headlines from the Statehouse and beyond. Keep scrolling to catch up on some of the most interesting stuff that caught our eyes this week. And don't forget to sign up for NHPR's newsletters to get this and other updates delivered right to your inbox each week.

Happy first Friday of 2017! One week down — 51, give or take, to go. In New Hampshire, the year's off to a pretty busy start already, ushering a new political era in Concord and plenty of other happenings across the state. To stay in the loop on all of it throughout the year, make sure to sign up for our newsletters right here.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire’s governor doesn’t have a whole lot of executive power, at least compared to peers in other states. But one of the few ways a governor can exert his or her influence is through nominations to fill open seats across state agencies.


Sen. Maggie Hassan made it official Tuesday, formally taking office as the newest member of New Hampshire’s Congressional delegation.

Hassan was sworn-in by Vice President Joe Biden in a series of ceremonies at the U.S. Capitol in Washington – first, officially, on the Senate floor, and again during a reenactment meant to give senators a chance to mark the occasion with their families.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

By the end of this week, New Hampshire will — technically — have had three different governors in the span of just a few days.

Governor-Elect Chris Sununu will be sworn into his new role Thursday afternoon, becoming the country’s youngest sitting governor and the first Republican to lead New Hampshire in 12 years. (Former Gov. Craig Benson, whose term ended in 2005, was the last Republican in the corner office.)

At long last, 2016 is almost — almost! — over. And if you're thinking that it's easy to feel pretty down while scanning the headlines lately, you're not alone.

But there are still plenty of people out there doing what they can to provide some pick-me-ups around the Granite State.

The Mount Washington Avalanche Center says there will be “considerable danger” for avalanches in the areas around the mountain as today’s winter storm moves in.

"Avalanche danger will rapidly increase through the afternoon and evening hours," the advisory reads. "Travel in avalanche terrain near and after dark is not recommended."

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

From changes in voting registration to changes to party primaries or the Electoral College, New Hampshire lawmakers are preparing a slew of bills aimed at reforming the state’s elections.

In all, at least 40 bills aimed at tinkering with the state’s election laws are in the works for 2017.

Whether you're celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Festivus or something else entirely, we're wishing you the happiest holidays as this weekend approaches! If you need a break between wrapping presents and baking cookies, or need a distraction during your layover on your holiday flight home, scroll on. (And don't forget: You can unwrap our weekly newsletters each week in your inbox. Just sign up right here.)