Josh Rogers

Senior Political Reporter and Editor

Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000 and serves as NHPR’s State House reporter. Before joining the staff, he lived in New York, where he worked for a number of different magazines.

Josh’s award winning reporting can be heard locally but also regularly airs on national broadcasts of NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Josh is also a frequent analyst on political talk shows in the state. He grew up in Concord, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from Reed College.

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On The Political Front is our weekly conversation with NHPR's Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers. This week, a look at the state budget, as Senate lawmakers begin work on crafting their own version of a two-year plan.

The New Hampshire House did what some thought it wouldn’t – or couldn’t –  pass a budget. The process  now begins anew in the state Senate.

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Republican George Pataki returned to N.H. Thursday.

The former New York Governor stumped in the North Country and announced a steering committee for what he describes as a likely presidential bid.

Pataki also took aim at Indiana’s controversial religious freedom law.

The law seeks to bar government actions that "substantially burden a person's exercise of religion,” and allows businesses to claim a right to free exercise of religion.

Civil rights groups say this opens the door to discrimination against gays and lesbians.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The New Hampshire house has passed an $11.2 billion state budget.

The proposal includes no tax and fee increases and lifts state spending by about $400 million, some $300 million dollars less than the plan proposed by Governor Maggie Hassan.

“This was an effort to look under every cushion of the sofa to look for loose change.”

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

On the Political Front, NHPR's Josh Rogers speaks with Morning Edition host Rick Ganley about the state budget going before the House this week.

The state budget, the version crafted by House budget writers, heads for a floor vote this week. House Speaker Shawn Jasper has indicated he’s ready to lock lawmakers in to get the job done. Is it going to come to that?

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Ohio Governor John Kasich told an audience at St. Anselm College that true leadership requires listening to opposing views -- and ignoring polls. 

Kasich says that’s the approach he’s taken during his two terms leading Ohio.

“Leaders don’t take polls, ladies and gentlemen. You know I try to tell my colleagues in the legislature. Do your job, if you worry about election or reelection you won’t be doing your job.”

Kasich served in congress from 1982-2001, and later worked as a Fox News host.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

On The Political Front is our weekly conversation with NHPR's Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers. This week, a look at the politics behind a push for an increase to the gas tax from the head of the House Finance Committee. 

The Finance Committee in the New Hampshire House hopes to finish its work on the House’s budget this week. Some of their decisions have been controversial, and there’s even been talk that mustering the votes to pass a budget in the House may be tough.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The business profits tax (BPT) stands at 8.5%; the business enterprise tax (BET) at .75%.

Under these bills, those would drop every year  until 2019, when the BPT would be 7.9% and the BET  .675%.

Senate majority leader Jeb Bradley told colleagues the cuts are an overdue recognition that N.H. isn’t as business friendly as it needs to be.

“To ignore the fact that we have an uncompetitive corporate tax rate is nothing worse than the most myopic short sightedness that we could have.”

Democrats, like David Watters, countered that cuts are ill-conceived.

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Ted Cruz says history shows the GOP has been ill-served by presidential candidates based on their perceived electability.

Cruz favors abolishing the IRS in favor of a flat tax, and repeatedly said he plays to repeal every word fo so-called Obamacare, says the way to to avoid what he called the mushy middle,  is draw a line in the sand and make the race a clear choice. If that happens, Cruz says, the right sort of conservative would win broad support.

NHPR / Josh Rogers

It’s Monday morning. NHPR’s Josh Rogers joins Morning Edition to discuss developments on NH’s political front.

Lots of political activity over the weekend Jeb Bush, Scott Walker and Ted Cruz all paying their respects to local Republicans. House budget writers busy. Let’s start with presidential politics.

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Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker arrived in New Hampshire preaching small government and working to rebut claims he’s changed his stances on key issues.

His surging popularity among Republicans was on full display in Concord.

Unions protested outside his speech; Republicans inside cheered as Walker called for tax cuts and “eradicating” terrorism.

“We need a commander-in-chief who stands up and once and for all says our biggest problem is radical Islamic terrorism and we are going to do whatever it takes to weed it out all over the world.”

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Easygoing amid a swarm of media, the former Florida Governor chose a Hudson biotech firm for his first  N.H. stop in his likely presidential bid.

"I am joyfully pursuing the possibility of this," Bush said.

Along they way, Bush talked policy with members of the Nashua Chamber of Commerce. He faced questions on education and immigration, areas where his views are at odds with many conservatives in his party.

The  “grown up” approach to immigration policy, Bush told the crowd,  is to provide  undocumented immigrants a path to legal status.

josh rogers/nhpr

Rick Perry gave a morning speech at St. Anselm college. By lunch he was at a Concord law firm, stressing the executive experience he gained as Texas’s longest serving governor.

Perry described the national mood as "pessimistic," but said would take just a few good decisions -- particularly on energy policy -- to change that. He also called for for cooperation across the asile.

Evan Vucci/AP

Fresh off a trip to Iowa, Lindsey Graham spent Sunday afternoon at the Snowshoe Club in Concord.

Standing before a crackling fire, Graham told about 50 Republicans the GOP must lead on tax and entitlement reform, but most of all on national security.

"Congress and the Republican Party lost their way. We became the party of the tax cut rather than the party of national defense. Without national defense there can be no social security." 

On The Political Front is our weekly conversation with NHPR's Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers. This week, a possible 2016 U.S. Senate matchup is starting to heat up and a look at what's on top this week at the Statehouse.

The legislature’s back in this week, the presidential candidates keep coming, but let’s start with Governor Maggie Hassan. Is it US senate candidate Maggie Hassan?

From Pope Francis and President Obama to the kid down the block, we have, for better or worse, become a world full of selfie-takers.

But as ubiquitous as they are, there are some places where selfies remain controversial — like the voting booth. The legal battle rages over so-called ballot selfies in the state that holds the first presidential primary.

This may be a fight of the digital age, but according to New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner, it involves a very old American ideal — the sanctity of the secret ballot.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Vice President Joe Biden paid a visit to Wednesday. He collected an award at UNH law school, visited a community college and promoted the Obama administration’s economic record.

Speaking at the Warren Rudman center at UNH law, Biden told a crowd that included Rudman’s children that the former NH senator embodied public service and the ethos of his state.

"He served forthright, frugal and fair, everything about him, everything about him."

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Marco Rubio’s stop at the Lawrence barn in Hollis was a freewheeling affair. The Senator accepted a jug of maple syrup, preached a message of opportunity, and  took questions that ranged from how to get money out of politics to whether the President ought to be impeached, to immigration.

Dave via Flickr CC

 

Gov. Maggie Hassan says she still wants to bring a casino to NH but is a "realist."

The Governor told lawmakers her decision to fund her $11.5 billion budget with $27m from yet-to-be-legal Keno doesn’t mean she’s changed her mind about supporting a full-blown Casino.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor Maggie Hassan will today present her spending plan for the next two years on Thursday. Budget writers face several key challenges this year.

Will the Governor again include a casino in her budget? Will she propose spending on commuter rail, a goal she called crucial when she was sworn in? We’ll have to wait for the speech to see. Hassan didn’t tip her hand in brief comments to reporters.

Josh Rogers for NHPR

On The Political Front is our weekly conversation with NHPR's Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers. This week, what Mitt Romney's exit means for 2016, and a look at the issues up for debate this week at the N.H. Statehouse.

Let’s start with Presidential politics – Mitt Romney won't make said a third run for president. What was more surprising, that he said no, or that he was thinking of running again in the first place?

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Mitt Romney’s decision to skip a third run for president leaves the New Hampshire's GOP presidential primary without a clear early front-runner.  

Mitt Romney had been publicly flirting with a 2016 run for the past three weeks. On Wednesday he made a campaign-style trip to Mississippi, but little more than a day later he used conference calls to tell his staunchest backers that he’s decided it is best to clear the way for others leaders in his party.

Jim Merrill ran both of Romney’s N.H. campaigns. He said he didn’t see this coming.

Tracy Lee Carroll, NHPR

House lawmakers are considering a measure that aims to create guidelines for election officials to judge a voters domicile. And the secretary of state’s office supports the bill.

The fight over what should constitute domicile for voting purposes has been going on for years in New Hampshire, and it’s often focused status of college students.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

Health and Human Services commissioner Nick Toumpas told lawmakers he will make up most of the $58 million hole in his budget through $45 million in cuts and savings, including trims for community health centers and family planning programs.

But the issue rankling lawmakers the most is $7 million of payment cuts to nursing homes.

Toumpas told the legislature’s fiscal committee those cuts were a tough call.

“I just had not a whole lot of options, in terms of what we needed to do.”

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire's top health official warned lawmakers his department’s current budget has what amounts to an $82 million shortfall. The legislature’s fiscal committee meets Friday to consider a proposal by the Governor to balance the state budget by July.

As he briefed the house finance committee, Health and Human Services commissioner Nick Toumpas stressed what many lawmakers already know – that his department faces a tough balance sheet.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul began his day by breakfasting with state lawmakers. He then paid a quick visit to Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas.

By noon he was with gun right activists at a Litchfield shooting club.

He then hit a Manchester charter school, where a called for a rollback of common core, the repeal of no child left behind, and the elimination of the department of education.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The state budget is facing a $30 million dollar shortfall, according to the Legislative Budget Office. Legislative budget assistant Jeff Pattison briefed lawmakers today. He stressed that the number could grow or shrink between now and the end of the fiscal year.

“We are looking at about a 30 million dollar problem, but that’s as of January 14th. There are a lot of things that are going to be happening between now and June 30th. My expectation is these numbers will still be changing when we get to the committee of conference in June.”

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

NHPR’s Josh Rogers joins Rick Ganley Monday mornings to discuss developments on New Hampshire’s political front.

Governor Hassan has begun her second term. Republicans voted Saturday to give Jennifer Horn another turn as party chair. And back to work for lawmakers in Concord. Let’s start with the GOP state committee meeting over the weekend, the re-election of Jennifer Horn. Significant?

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The New Hampshire House rejected an effort by backers of former Republican Speaker Bill O'Brien to install him as House majority leader. But O’Brien says he’s still moving forward with plans to form his own leadership team.

Backers of O’Brien knew they faced long odds in trying to get a House majority to reject the course it set just last month when members chose Shawn Jasper as speaker,  but that didn’t stop them.

Steve Stepanek of Amherst told colleagues the very future of the house depended on ensuring that caucuses -not any speaker - get final say on who should lead.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Legislators can again carry concealed weapons on the floor of the N.H. House and in the legislative office building after the Republicans-led house voted to undo a prohibition on the practice put in place two years ago by Democrats.

The 228-149 vote came following a debate where Democrats like Len DiSesa, former deputy police chief in Portsmouth, argued allowing guns in the chamber risks public safety.

“The only people who should be armed in the House of Representatives are trained police officers.”

Governor Maggie Hassan’s inaugural committee says it’s raised more than $200,000 dollars. State law permits such donations to remain private but a spokesman for the committee says the names and contribution amounts will be made available.

State law has never required the disclosure of inauguration donors, but one governor – John Lynch -- took the step of filing reports with the secretary of state’s office anyway.

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