Today it's our New Hampshire Newsmakers of the Year show, the 2011 edition. From the economy to the primary, from battles over the budget to extreme weather, we'll look at some of the top stories of the year, see what's happened to those stories since the headlines have died and see how they may play out in the coming year.
Topics and Guests
On the Economy - For another year uncertainty reined, the unemployment rate improved some and New Hampshire’s numbers stayed better than the national average. Housing prices fluctuated while many Granite State businesses reliant on exports watched the teetering European economy. Meanwhile the opening of a prison and biomass plant gave north country residents hope for possible better times ahead. To look deeper into how the New Hampshire economy fared this year, I spoke with Ross Gittell, an economist and professor of management at the Whittemore school of business and economics at the University of New Hampshire and forecast manager at the New England Economic Partnership.
On the Statehouse and the State Budget - Days after we rang the bell into 2011, the Statehouse went back into session, but this year the makeup changed. Republicans dominated both the House and the Senate and began to work on a budget that GOP legislators promised would include deep cuts. The House, Senate and Governor all came out with their versions and finally this summer a $10.3 billion dollar budget was passed that included cuts to just about every department in the state. To take a look back at the legislative year, Statehouse politics and the budget battles, I spoke with Josh Rogers, New Hampshire Public Radio’s Statehouse reporter.
On the First-in-the-Nation Primary - The new year brought a national focus to New Hampshire as once again first-in-the-nation primary fever hit the Granite State. Candidates hoping to be your next president flocked here making speeches, debating each other and interacting with the people who would be voting for them. All year, new candidates jumped into the race, some dropped out, some tested the waters for months while New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner once again found himself in a political chess game with states looking to challenge N.H.'s first-in-the-nation status. To look at the year of the primary, I spoke with Dean Spiliotes, civic scholar at the School of Arts and Sciences at Southern New Hampshire University and author of the popular website, www.nhpoliticalcapital.com .
On the passing of Congressman Perkins Bass - 2011 was a year of losses as well. Walter Peterson who served as governor from 1969 to 1973 passed away this June at the age of eighty-eight. George Wilson, the former publisher of the Concord Monitor died of Alzheimer's disease back in November. And in October the state lost Perkins Bass. Bass was a founding partner of the law firm Sheehan, Phinney, Bass and Green, a state Senate President, a selectman for the town of Peterborough and in 1954, was elected to the U.S. Congress. To look back at the life of Perkins Bass, I spoke to his son, current 2nd District Congressman Charlie Bass.
On the Occupy NH Movement - This month Time magazine chose "The Protester" as its person of the year. The Protestor took top headlines many times in 2011 -- from the Arab Spring uprisings to a new movement born in Manhattan’s lower end. On September 17th about 1,000 people gathered to protest and occupy Wall Street. In the weeks that followed, occupy movements popped up across the country, including in New Hampshire. Granite Staters gathered in Manchester’s Veteran’s Park for five days in October until police disbanded them. But that didn’t stop Occupy New Hampshire from continuing. To look back at this journey, I spoke with Sherri Gould an organizer of the Occupy New Hampshire movement.
On Tropical Storm Irene and "Snowtober" - Two times in 2011 hundreds of thousands of Granite Staters were left in the dark. In August, Hurricane Irene barreled up the east coast. By the time it reached New Hampshire it was reduced to a tropical storm. But that didn’t stop it from knocking down trees, damaging homes and cutting power lines. Then over the Halloween weekend a major snowstorm dumped upwards of two feet of snow on cities and towns all over southern New Hampshire. Snowtober, as it was nicknamed, took many by surprise. In the end, it ranked third overall in the number of residents in our state who were without power at its peak. To look back at these two storms and their subsequent clean up, I spoke with Martin Murray, senior corporate news representative for Public Service of New Hampshire.
On the Exchange's 15th Anniversary - The Exchange reached a milestone in 2011, as we celebrated our fifteenth year on the air. During that time we've sat down with presidential candidates, state politicians, business leaders, big thinkers, economists, scientists, biographers and many more. All year, The Exchange has celebrated its fifteenth anniversary. We had a big gala event along with our special series, The Exchange Yearbook. To reflect a little on The Exchange and her role in it, I sat down with our host, Laura Knoy.
The Exchange 15th Anniversary: