Todd Bookman

Reporter

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.

Ways to Connect

Jennifer Mei/Creative Commons

Between 2009 and 2011, a local art history professor sold two dozen paintings from her personal collection. The works were all by a major American artist she claimed to know personally. The purchaser was a wealthy Wall Street commodities trader.

Now, it appears these paintings--valued at nearly $700,000--may have been forgeries. 

Todd Bookman/NHPR

A public hearing on Right-to-Work legislation drew hundreds of people to the statehouse, with public comments lasting more than four hours.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen says she is still undecided over a confirmation vote for Rex Tillerson, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State.

Shaheen, a second-term Democrat, met earlier this week with the former ExxonMobil CEO, calling her conversation with Tillerson broad. Speaking in Rochester Friday, the Democrat again raised concerns about Tillerson’s business dealings with Russia.

NHPR Staff

A Republican leader in the state legislature wants New Hampshire to bar unions from charging non-members for representing them. With Governor-elect Chris Sununu also backing so-called right-to-work, the issue will be prominent when lawmakers return to Concord next year.

Divisions in the GOP and Democratic governors have stymied efforts to enact right-to-work in the past.

The bill’s lead sponsor this time around, House Majority Leader Dick Hinch, says the idea behind the measure is to give workers more freedom.

Tax Credits via Flickr Creative Commons

Among the slate of economic measures state lawmakers will consider next session is a bill to impose an income tax. The sponsor is well aware of what he’s up against.

Thomas Fearon

 

The state’s Department of Health and Human Services says personal information for as many as 15,000 clients has been breached.

 

Names, addresses, social security numbers and Medicaid ID numbers were stolen, with some information posted on social media sites.

 

The agency says a patient at the state-run psychiatric hospital in Concord accessed the information in October, 2015 through a computer in the facility’s library.

 

NHPR Staff

During the campaign, Governor-elect Chris Sununu said he would make attracting companies to the state a top priority. He also promised to meet with 100 business leaders in his first 100 days in office. 

In a speech this week, Sununu says the current administration hasn’t worked hard enough to attract firms, and criticized officials for failing to land a big one, General Electric.

The Republican’s comments on the year-old General Electric decision seemed to come out of the blue.

Todd Bookman for NHPR

The term “apprentice” may conjure up thoughts of reality television and a certain President-elect, but actual apprenticeships--where workers learn skills on the job--are on the rise nationally. And in New Hampshire's health care industry, apprentices are being used as a way to fill a gap in the workforce.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Cruise along just about any back road in New Hampshire and you’re likely to come across an old wooden barn. The state is home to more than 15,000 of them, each one an iconic reminder of New Hampshire’s agricultural roots.

But after decades of neglect, there’s no shortage of run-down eyesores out there, seemingly one good wind gust away from collapsing.

Kandy Jaxx / Flickr

The state’s unemployment rate remains the lowest in the nation, dipping to 2.7% in November.

New data from the New Hampshire Department of Employment Security show the state lost 380 jobs last month, but that was offset by a shrinking labor force.

Jonathan Taylor via Flickr CC

New Hampshire’s members of the Electoral College are requesting an intelligence briefing on Russia’s alleged involvement in the U.S. presidential election.

In a letter to James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, the electors say they should be provided more details on the scope of investigations into Russian government interference in support of Donald Trump before their scheduled vote on December 19th.  

Todd Bookman/NHPR

The Appalachian Mountain Club is withdrawing its proposal for a new overnight hut in Crawford Notch State Park.

The AMC notified the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development of its decision after more than a year of what the non-profit called ‘careful consideration.’

NHPR

The CEO of Dartmouth-Hitchcock says he will step down when his contract expires next June.

A spine surgeon by training, James Weinstein has led the state’s largest health care system since 2011. During that time, he’s had to navigate both local and national challenges, including the arrival of the Affordable Care Act.

You’d be forgiven for not being able to draw Laconia’s official city flag from memory.

It doesn’t actually fly anywhere, so even most residents have never seen it. But an effort to redesign and reinvigorate the city flag is underway, and not everyone is happy about it.

 

Todd Bookman, NHPR

The machinery inside Conner Bottling Works doesn’t sparkle like it used to. In fact, everything and everybody in here look like they could use a break.

“We are the last family-owned independent bottler in the state of New Hampshire,” says Dan Conner, the fifth generation to work here. “153 years, from start to today. Never shut down, never stopped.”

Launched in 1863, the first Conners only bottled beer, but in the 1890s, the company branched out into sodas. During prohibition, harder drinks were made out back, a friendly sheriff reportedly looking the other way.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

This year marks the 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare. Theater groups around the world are honoring the Bard’s work with traditional and updated stagings of his plays.

That includes a new performance of "Macbeth" at Sanborn Regional High School in Kingston. There, students are re-imagining the centuries-old tragedy, setting the work in the one of today’s most pressing humanitarian disasters — Syria.

New unemployment figures came out Tuesday and at 2.8%, New Hampshire's rate remains the lowest in the nation. On paper, that may sound like a very good thing: nearly everyone who wants a job has one. But if you are an employer trying to fill a vacancy or a company trying to expand, these can be frustrating times.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

After this week’s elections, Newfields, New Hampshire is entitled to a little bit of bragging. Two of the town’s 1,700 or so residents now hold some of the highest titles in the state.

Both Senator-Elect Maggie Hassan and Governor-Elect Chris Sununu call the Seacoast community home.

Kate Harper for NHPR

After a long, well-financed, neck-and-neck campaign, the race for United States Senate in New Hampshire could be headed for a recount.

Republican incumbent Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan finished Election Day separated by 1,023 votes out of more than 738,420 cast, with Hassan holding the slight lead.

Despite the razor thin margin, the two-term governor rallied her supporters outside the State House Wednesday morning.

Todd Bookman for NHPR

Democrat Maggie Hassan has won the race for U.S. Senate.

Hassan notched a narrow victory: just 716 votes over incumbent Republican Kelly Ayotte, out of more than 720,000 ballots cast. 

Related: You can see real-time election results right here.

Speaking outside the State House Wednesday morning, Hassan pledged to heal any divisions in Washington.

WMUR

After three heated elections in the 1st Congressional District, Republican Frank Guinta  and Democrat Carol Shea-Porter are familiar with each other, and each other’s criticisms. The two candidates certainly don’t agree on much.

But this fourth time around, they may have found some common ground in opposing the newcomer to the race, Shawn O’Connor, a Bedford businessman who pitched himself during Thursday's debate on WMUR as the middle ground.

There are a few towns and cities across New Hampshire that -- time and again -- almost perfectly mirror how the state votes as a whole. Political junkies call a town like this a "bellwether." 

One of the state's most tried and true bellwether communities is the city of Rochester. 

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi made a stop in Concord Thursday, stumping for 2nd District incumbent Annie Kuster.

Pelosi, one of Congress' most polarizing figures, praised Democrats up and down the ballot.

In a downtown Concord law firm packed with supporters, the California Congresswoman and current Minority Leader singled out Kuster for her bi-partisan efforts on the Farm Bill, and for her work to pass substance abuse legislation.

NHPR

Among the many issues that come up during an election campaign--health care, national security, immigration--the one that historically matters the most to voters is the economy.

When times are good, incumbent politicians are quick to point that out on the campaign trail. In the race for New Hampshire’s Senate seat, Maggie Hassan is doing just that, touting the state’s economic performance during her four years as Governor.

 

But how much credit does Hassan, or really, any sole politician deserve for a state’s economic good fortune?

For the fourth straight election, voters in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District will see the same two names on their ballots: Frank Guinta and Carol Shea-Porter.

The political rivals have traded the seat every two years since 2010, a testament to how evenly split the district is between Republicans and Democrats. But some voters are getting tired of the endless sequels.


Todd Bookman/NHPR

In a room full of pink t-shirts and balloons, Cecile Richards told students at UNH on Wednesday that Democrat Maggie Hassan will be a strong voice for women’s reproductive rights if elected to the Senate. She also criticized her opponent, Republican incumbent Kelly Ayotte, for her votes opposing Planned Parenthood.

Richards also laughed off a recent Ayotte campaign tactic of handing out free condoms to younger voters.

“I’m sorry," she said, "handing out condoms on a college campus does not mean you are actually providing health care to folks in this state.”

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Sitting on stage side-by-side and rarely addressing each other directly during the hour-long forum in Manchester, the differences between Senator Kelly Ayotte and Governor Maggie Hassan were clear. 

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Vice Presidential nominee Mike Pence made a stop in Exeter last night, looking to drum up support for Republican Donald Trump’s struggling New Hampshire campaign.

 

The Indiana Governor told the crowd the choice to be made on November 8th is about the nation’s security, and future prosperity. He cautioned that the balance of the Supreme Court hangs on their vote, and he defended Donald Trump for remarks made during last week’s debate about the validity of American elections.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

The adoptive parents of two children who were sexually abused are suing the Division of Children, Youth, and Families, arguing the state agency didn’t do enough to protect the victims even after social workers became involved.

The lawsuit also names Easter Seals New Hampshire, a non-profit contracted to provide supervision during parental visits.

New Hampshire’s job market continues to show signs of strength.

The state added 620 jobs last month, pushing the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate down a tenth of a point to 2.9 percent. Since the start of the year, gains have been made across most sectors of the economy, from leisure and hospitality to education and manufacturing.

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