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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Scott Brown and his wife arrived in Nashua in his now-famous pickup truck.

The Browns were preceded by about a hundred protestors, mostly gun activists, who don’t like Brown's past support for a ban on assault weapons.

"It's clear why we are here: Scott Brown does not support New Hampshire values."

Media weren’t allowed inside the party, but on his way in the back door, Brown was asked if he plans to seek office here. He said he would "deal with that later," adding that his becoming a fulltime resident of Rye wasn’t driven by politics.

Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte were arguing their respective views of the budget deal at well-chosen venues. Shaheen was at BAE Systems a defense contractor that faced cutbacks after budget sequestration took effect last spring.

“One of the pieces that I think is critical about this budget is that it begins to addresses sequestration, those automatic cuts that I know you have experienced here, just as so many businesses that do business with the federal government have experienced.”

www.scottbrown.com

Part-time Rye resident and Former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown has yet to decide if he’ll run for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Jeanne Shaheen, but the N.H. Democratic party isn’t waiting to go on the attack.

    

On the Political Front, NHPR's Josh Rogers discusses discussion in the Statehouse about expanded gambling and lack of funds for highway projects, as well as Republican Bob Smith, a former U.S. Senator, declaring his candidacy for his old seat.

The Granite State Coalition Against Expanded Gambling and Casino Free NH will be led by Concord businessman Steve Duprey,  former Chairman of the State Republican Party, and Harold Janeway,  former Democratic State Senator from Webster.

Duprey and Janeway were both active in the effort to kill the casino legislation backed by Governor Maggie Hassan earlier this year.  Janeway says their groups' new lobbying effort will focus on the N.H. House, which has never backed a casino bill.  He added that there is no time to waste.

Salem Republican Marilinda Garcia's voting record in the New Hampshire House is conservative – on fiscal and social issues -- and the 30 year-old conservatory-trained harpist says she wants to apply lessons she's learned in Concord in Congress. The big one, she says, is that the federal government needs to do less.

"In my four terms in the Legislature I’ve seen it cause the problem and be the problem that we as citizens have to solve and work around to get our state on the right track."

State prosecutors say Lorin C. Schneider of Carver, Massachusetts cast a ballot he shouldn't have in Manchester.

Assistant Attorney General Stephen Labonte says Schnieder once lived in Manchester, and came to the attention of authorities after he was seen voting in Ward 9 by someone who knew him, and knew he lived out of state.

According to Labonte, this wasn’t the first time Schneider wrongfully voted here.

"We also believe additional charges will be brought for voting in past elections, the 2012 presidential primary and the 2008 general election."

NHPR

The State Senate couldn’t pass the plan favored by GOP leaders, and then rejected a plan embraced by Democrats on party lines. Ultimately, the Senate adopted a second GOP proposal, before laying it on the table. Two hours later it rejected a Medicaid bill passed by Democrats in the N.H. House.

John Reagan is a Republican from Deerfield:

"I can contend with combinations of vagaries and certainties, but my friends to be steered and rushed is an invitation leading to rueful decisions."

Gov. Maggie Hassan has spent the last several days taking her push to expand Medicaid out side of Concord, and into the districts of GOP Senators.

Speaking at SNHU, in the home district of Republican David Boutin, Hassan said the GOP needs to bend.

"Every time we put forward a compromise, we are told that it’s no good, it’s still their original plan."

Back at the statehouse, Senate President Chuck Morse insisted that’s not true.

"We are open to suggestions.'

Governor Hassan stumped for expansion in Plymouth. That’s the home district of Republican Jeanie Forrester, the senate’s new finance chair.

Last week Hassan visited Hampton, a town represented by Republican Senator Nancy Stiles. And on Saturday night, speaking at a Democratic Party fundraiser, Hassan told the crowd of 1000 that the Medicaid proposal backed by senate Republicans simply won’t work.

“The bad deal that the Senate Republicans are offering will hurt our citizens and our state more than no deal at all.”

Rockingham county attorney Jim Reams arrived in court ready to fight challenge his suspension. But Judge Richard McNamara said such arguments would have to wait for another day.

McNamara told Reams' lawyer he’d need to file a motion for declaratory judgment to challenge Attorney General Joe Fosters power to suspend him.

Outside the court room, Reams’ lawyer, Michael Ramsdell, told reporters the state has yet to supply sufficient grounds to strip an elected official of his authority.

Ray Burton, the state’s longest serving Executive Councilor, and a political force in the Northern part of the state for more than 30 years, has died at the age of 74. Burton had kidney cancer.  Across the state leaders on both side of the aisle remember Burton as a consummate public servant.

After the commission's recommendation last month, lawmakers will be debating expanding Medicaid in a special legislative session called by Governor Hassan; it remains to be seen how much bipartisan support the measure will have. We'll be watching the mayor's race in Manchester, where incumbent Mayor Ted Gatsas is being challenged by Alderman Patrick Arnold, and a special House election in Nashua, which pits former House Majority Leader Peter Silva against Democrat Latha Mangipudi.

State policymakers will have fresh numbers at their disposal when they return to concord next year.

The "economic dashboard" was put together by NH Center for Public Policy Studies and commissioned by the Business and Industry Association.

It finds N.H. doing well in areas that suggest past economic strength -- like homeownership rates -- but lagging in areas indicative of future economic strength -- like low student debt load and affordable housing.

The Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty includes, liberals and conservatives, N.H.’s Catholic and Episcopal bishops, as well as the former Chief Justice of the State’s Superior Court.

It also features State Rep. Renny Cushing, whose father was shot to death in 1988. Cushing has been a key player in past efforts to repeal N.H.’s death penalty law, but thinks this time the chances are good.

DavidWilson1949 via Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire is getting ready to furlough some state workers whose salaries depend on federal funding.

The Hassan administration and the union that represents most state workers have reached a deal that both sides say will prevent layoffs.

Under the agreement, the federal shutdown qualifies as a “emergency” that will allow workers to be furloughed rather than laid off. State Employees Association president Diana Lacey says the deal holds the promise of saving the state money and saving workers benefits that would be lost if they were laid off.

NPCA via Flickr Creative Commons

The poll taken last week found 49 percent think Republicans are responsible for the ongoing gridlock in Washington, 30 percent think it’s President Obama’s fault,  and 16 percent blame the President and Republicans equally.

NEC poll director Ben Tafoya says people who identified as Democrats tended to blame republicans and people who identified as Republicans tended to blame the President.  Self-described independents, meanwhile, mostly blamed the GOP.

Republican Dan Innis, Dean of the University of New Hampshire's business school, is running for Congress in the state's First District.

Dan Innis  was the first in his family to attend college but has spend the last 20 years in academia.  He also owns a Portsmouth inn with his husband. Innis says he wants to change Washington.

"I am running for congress to give N.H. a stronger voice in Washington on the things that really matter to us, things like smaller government lower taxes, more freedom."

Senator Kelly Ayotte’s hold on the nomination of Deborah Lee James as Air Force Secretary won’t be lifted until she gets what a spokesperson called  “a substantive response” about the future of the A-10 aircraft, a plane her husband flew in combat in Iraq.

The A-10 fleet may face reduction or elimination due to budget cuts.

Ayotte publicly raised her concerns with the President’s pick to lead the Air Force during a confirmation hearing.

NHPR Staff

Contract negotiation between the Hassan administration and the state employees association are heading into a fact finding stage. The move comes eight months into contract talks and after 4 days of mediation failed to produce agreement. State employees association president Diana Lacey says the Hassan administration has been unwilling to provide proof to back up its claims on contracts costs.

"I am not necessarily willing to say that I think it’s bad faith, but the closest I could get to that is to say they are in a different league now."

UMass Dartmouth Professor Clyde Barrow cited the states of Delaware, West Virginia, and Rhode Island as possible models for New Hampshire. All place gambling regulation under their states' lottery commissions - and none, said Barrow, needed to hire a huge number of people to do the job.

"As you can see in the case of Delaware and Rhode Island, which respectively have two and three casinos, have 59 and 51 employees respectively, and that is to supervise traditional lottery, virtual and live table games, VLTs and charitable gaming combined."

U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte says she's concerned insufficient action could make things worse.

During an appearance  on an WMUR-TV forum, Representative Ann McLane Kuster said she fears an American strike against Syria could lead the U.S. into a region-wide conflagration.

"And for me the risk of us entering into war there,  we are not at war with the Syrian people.  And those are the issues I am going to be considering, and I will tell you honestly I have not made a final decision."

Citing seriously ill family members, State Senate Majority leader Jeb Bradley says he won’t seek statewide office in 2014. As NHPR’s Josh Rogers reports, Bradley’s announcement ends months of speculation he would run for US Senate or Governor. Top Republicans were talking up the prospect of Jeb Bradley running for major office right up until Bradley announced he wouldn’t. Bradley told the N.H. Union Leader he only came to his decision over the weekend, after talking it through with family. Bradley is serving his 3rd term as a State Senator. He’s also served in the N.H.

State of New Hampshire

Chuck Morse won bipartisan praise for his work on the state budget, and before being voted in as the senate's new leader, he was was hailed by both Republicans as Democrats in nominating speeches.

Morse replaced Peter Bragdon, who gave up the gavel amid controversy after he took a job to leading the quasi-public local government center.

In his first speech as the senate’s new president, Chuck Morse urged colleagues to put the needs of their constituents first.

The N. H. Attorney General's office has dismissed GOP allegations of fraud against campaign staffers who voted from the address of State Senator Martha Fuller Clark.

The Attorney General’s office interviewed Senator Fuller Clark and 4 democratic campaign workers who stayed at her house during the run ups to the 2008 and 2012 elections.

The N.H. Supreme Court has ruled that guns must contain ammunition to be considered loaded under state law, invalidating a misdemeanor charge brought against a Manchester man for carrying a pistol without a permit.

The court said prosecutors were wrong to charge 31-year old Oriol Dor  after police found an empty semi-automatic pistol and a loaded magazine in the glove compartment of Dor's car.

Prosecutors argued the proximity of the ammunition to the weapon was enough for it to be considered loaded under state law.

Republicans pounced when WMUR reported that several democratic campaign staffers voted in recent elections  using Senator Martha Fuller Clark’s Portsmouth address as their domicile. Clark co-chaired of President Obama’s local campaign in 2012,  and  is Vice Chair of the Democratic party.   She told WMUR that “by and large” the people who stayed at her house and voted were committed to N.H. but given their ages it was “impossible to predict” if they intended to stay. N.H.

Senators Rand Raul of Kentucky, Rob Portman of Ohio, Marco Rubio of Florida and John Thune of South Dakota will appear at a Washington, DC fundraiser for N.H. Republicans July 29th.

The event is being organized by N.H. Senator Kelly Ayotte.

Closer to home, 2008 GOP nominee Mitt Romney will headline a Wolfeboro fundraiser for the party August 6th.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz, meanwhile, will appear in Dublin August 26th.

All the guests but Romney are being spoken of as possible 2016 presidential candidates.

A Manchester woman accused of deceiving U.S. customs officials about her role in the 1994 Rwanda genocide, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison, which her lawyers say amounts to a death sentence if she's deported.

Rwanda native Beatrice Munyenyezi declined to address the court before US District Judge Steven McAuliffe handed down the maximum sentence. As he did, the judge told the 43-year-old mother of three that she may have led a crime free life since arriving in NH in 1999, but said it was a life lived under false pretenses.

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