The Week in N.H. News: Statehouse Abuzz Post-Election, Companies Scrambling to Fill Open Spots

Nov 18, 2016

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Above The Fold

Better Know a Governor

Credit Allegra Boverman, NHPR

 Chris Sununu won’t officially take office as New Hampshire’s next governor until January.

But if you want to get a sense of where he stands on the issues — everything from business taxes, to abortion regulations, to election law and more — you don’t have to wait.

Sununu sat down for an extended interview with NHPR this week, and you can hear the full conversation right here.  

Sununu Suggests Scrapping Same-Day Registration

During that conversation with NHPR, Sununu signaled that he’d support measures to do away with New Hampshire’s existing rules that allow potential voters to register on Election Day — which, in his view, allow for too much “flexibility and gray area in terms of who’s a resident and who’s not.” The comments have since sparked plenty of debate, on both sides of the issue. 

Meanwhile, In the Legislative Chambers…

The dust is still settling behind the state-level races, but it looks like the Republicans are poised to hang onto their 14-10 majority in the New Hampshire Senate — the same margin they had over Democrats last year — after a recount for one of the seats. But there might be some additional ballot challenges ahead, so we’ll have to wait to see whether those play out before the books are officially close on this race. 

Over in the House, Democrats unanimously picked a familiar face — Rep. Steve Shurtleff, of Penacook — to reprise his role as minority leader again in 2017. A more contentious battle awaits on the Republican side, with four people vying for House Speaker. (And that election won’t happen until the end of the month.) 

Get To Know The Guy Shaping N.H.’s Next Budget

From his perch in the basement of an apartment building a few blocks away from the Statehouse — that would fit well “in an odd, very New Hampshire-politics film noir, one where the detective decorated his office with posters of free-market economists Milton Friedman and F.A. Hayek” — Charlie Arlinghaus has spent years scrutinizing New Hampshire’s budget process. Now, he’ll be right in the middle of that process himself. NHPR’s Josh Rogers has more

In Other News...
Derek Barka at SilverTech, the Manchester digital marketing firm where he works as Senior Director of Technology.
Credit Todd Bookman, NHPR

NOW HIRING: Lots of Places, Actually

It’s no secret that unemployment in New Hampshire, on paper at least, is low — really low. Which might be a good thing — unless you’re a business who’s trying to find people to actually fill the jobs you have. NHPR’s Todd Bookman caught up with companies across the state, from tech firms to nursing homes, about the challenges they’re facing because of the state’s labor crunch

Where Business Development Takes a Backseat to Preservation

These days, plenty of towns are turning to real estate or business development as part of their long-term strategy for financial stability. But in parts of New Hampshire’s Seacoast, some other towns are taking the opposite approach. As one town administrator put it: “The squirrels and the deer are not calling for services, where residents do.” 

For Some N.H. Vets Facing Run-Ins With the Law, A New Path to Recovery

But that path, as one veteran’s story illustrates, doesn’t come without its own challenges. NHPR’s Peter Biello talked to one former airman from Milford who turned to veterans’ court about the pros and cons of this program. (Be sure to stay tuned for more stories about veterans’ issues throughout the month of November.) 

Is Flooding Getting Worse? Your Perception Might Depend on Your Politics

At least, that was the takeaway from some new research out of UNH. A survey of more than 2,000 New Hampshire residents found that self-identified conservatives were less likely than self-identified liberals to agree with the idea that flooding is on the rise. NHPR’s Jason Moon has more

By The Numbers

4,493 New Hampshire voters were still Feelin’ The Bern on Election Day, even if the Vermont senator wasn’t officially on the ballot. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who came in second in the state’s presidential primary, also scooped up more than 1,300 write-ins. (NHPR)

250 beds, give or take, are sitting empty at the $270 million federal prison that opened up a few years ago in Berlin. (Berlin Daily Sun)

Three more months of drought could be in store for New Hampshire, according to projections from the U.S. Drought Monitor. They’re forecasting that dry conditions will persist through at least February. (Associated Press

330 acres of the White Mountain National Forest were ravaged in a recent brushfire. (WMUR)

1,100 people (and counting) wanted Dartmouth to give two students a second chance after they left a hibachi grill unattended on a dorm rooftop, which then started a fire that’s since left the building uninhabitable — but the college is standing by its disciplinary decision. (The Dartmouth)

A “360-Degree Strategy” for tackling drug abuse is rolling out in Manchester under the direction of the DEA. In practice, that strategy includes drug prevention dance programs for local schools and increased drug trafficking enforcement, among other steps. (NHPR

$300 of town funds in Pittsburg will go toward X-rays for an abandoned 12-week-old puppy named “Holly” who was left on her own in some nearby woods. The vote was unanimous. (Union Leader)