Politics

Political news from New Hampshire Public Radio, from the State House to the First in the Nation Primary.

NHPR/Hannah McCarthy

Wednesday was Organization Day for the New Hampshire Legislature, when all 400 members of the House of Representatives gather for the first time since being elected. Reporter Hannah McCarthy spoke to three brand-new reps about their decision to run.

NHPR Staff

Speaking at a Business and Industry Association energy symposium, Chris Sununu said New England needs more natural gas and anyone who disagrees is wrong. He said the pipeline proposed for NH and scuttled by the Kinder Morgan company earlier this year would have been wrong for the state. But Sununu added he hopes Kinder Morgan and other companies will look to build here in the future, and said if the project is designed with local input, and he’s persuaded it works for New Hampshire, he’ll fight for it.

FILE

Federal legislation aimed at helping states struggling with the opioid epidemic is headed to President Obama’s desk. That’s after the U.S. Senate Wednesday passed the proposal 94 to 5.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Bill Gardner, best known as the guardian of New Hampshire’s First in the Nation Presidential Primary,  was elected to his 21st consecutive term as Secretary of State Wednesday.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

After winning the support of the full New Hampshire House, Republican Rep. Shawn Jasper is set to serve another term as House Speaker.

And unlike the last contest for speaker, this year's election went largely as expected.

Heading into November, New Hampshire Democrats talked a big game when it came to their hopes for retaking control of the state Senate.

But when the Republicans ended up maintaining the same 14-10 margin they’ve held for the past two years, Democrats placed at least part of the blame for their losses on gerrymandered district lines.

As it turns out, they might have a point.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

State lawmakers will chose the next Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives Wednesday.  

Current Speaker Shawn Jasper looks in good position to keep his speaker’s gavel, with Republicans holding a solid majority in the House. 

A federal appeals court has upheld a 2014 New Hampshire law that puts limits on how long third parties have to collect the necessary signatures to petition their way onto a general election ballot.

The Libertarian Party of New Hampshire urged a three-judge panel in Boston to strike down the law, saying it could prevent third-party candidates from getting on the ballot.

The panel agreed Friday with a judge who found the law creates reasonable restrictions justified by the state's interest in requiring parties to demonstrate a sufficient level of support.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

This week the full New Hampshire House will decide who will lead the chamber for the next two years.

Chris Jensen / NHPR

As rivals vying for their party's gubernatorial nomination, Jeanie Forrester clashed with Chris Sununu. Forrester said Sununu lacked wisdom, was immature and mocked him as a product of a political dynasty. But no sooner had Forrester announced for GOP chair, and promised to "make NH red again, " than Chris Sununu was there to offer his backing. In a statement he praised her as someone who could build on what Sununu called the GOP's "strong voter contact program and aggressive fundraising operation."

2016 was a mixed bag for New Hampshire Republicans. The party’s top elected official, Senator Kelly Ayotte, lost her seat to Governor Hassan. But Chris Sununu’s win over fellow executive councilor Colin Van Ostern gave the GOP the Governor’s office for the first time in a dozen years.  

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

House Speaker Shawn Jasper looks set to keep his gavel for the next two years. He won the support of his Republican caucus during Wednesday night's vote for Speaker for the upcoming legislative session.

But it wasn’t easy – it took two rounds of voting,  with the last round putting him over the top by the slimmest of margins.

A New Rep Learns The Ropes On State House Orientation Day

Nov 30, 2016
Hannah McCarthy/NHPR

The New Hampshire House has 400 members. But few of them are under 30. Donovan Fenton is among the young newcomers. He's 27 years-old, and will soon represent his hometown of Keene.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Republican House members will meet Wednesday afternoon to choose who they want to lead the 400-person chamber for the next two years.

Hannah McCarthy/NHPR

New state representatives got a crash course in lawmaking on Tuesday and Wednesday.

In preparation for the 2017 legislation session, representatives-elect crowded into a large room in Concord's Legislative Office Building.

One of the incumbents tasked with teaching the newcomers — Rep. Tara Sad — made things interesting, acting out the process of drafting a bill.

"I have a really good idea for a bill," Sad said, playacting to Jill Sieveking, Director of Legislative Office Services. "But I don't know anything about it. Can you help?"

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Raymond Buckley, the longtime leader of New Hampshire’s Democratic party, is now running to be his party’s national chairman. Buckley may lack the name recognition of some of his potential rivals, who include a member of congress, a former presidential candidate and a current cabinet secretary. 

New England Readies For Trump’s Refugee Plans

Nov 23, 2016
Allegra Boverman for NHPR

President-elect Donald Trump hasn’t elaborated much on immigration policy, beyond what he laid out during the campaign.  But enough has been said that many believe he will limit the number of refugees allowed into the U.S.

Before the election, at numerous campaign events, then candidate Donald Trump made it clear he would not be putting out the welcome mat for refugees from Syria, who now number in the millions.

Note: This story was reported as part of the New England News Collaborative.

Emily Corwin for NHPR

New Hampshire corrections officials are asking state budget writers for nearly 30 million more dollars in the next budget to help pay for an ongoing labor shortage.

FILE

After this month’s elections, Republicans will maintain control of the New Hampshire House of Representatives.

Now House lawmakers must decide who will lead the 400-member chamber come January. The current Speaker Shawn Jasper is hoping to keep his gavel but he faces some challengers within his own party.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

Governor-Elect Chris Sununu will officially cut ties with Waterville Valley Ski Resort on Dec. 31 – just a few days before he’s set to officially step into his role as governor.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, one of President-elect Donald Trump's most prominent local backers, is in the running to join Trump's cabinet as secretary for veterans affairs.

As Scott Brown left Trump Tower he told reporters his meeting with the President-elect was "great," and that he expects to hear if Trump has selected him to lead the VA after Thanksgiving.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Gov. Maggie Hassan kicked off the state’s two-year budget-writing process Friday at the Statehouse. But it was remarks from Governor-Elect Chris Sununu that seemed to get the most attention from budget writers.

CREDIT CREDIT MIKECOGH VIA FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

A state audit finds that the Department of Corrections has successfully cut the time it takes inmates to complete sex offender treatment but there's still more work to do.

CREDIT MIKE ROSS, UNH

Officials with the University System of New Hampshire say they hope to freeze in-state tuition for the 2018 and 2019 academic years.

That’s if state budget writers approve the university system’s spending request: $88.5 million in 2018 and $93.5 million in 2019. That's a roughly $20 million increase from what state budget writers gave the system in the current state spending plan.

josh rogers/nhpr

No sooner had Chris Sununu slipped into the council chambers though the back door than the well-wishing began.

First, there was Maj. Gen.William Reddel, the adjutant general of the New Hampshire National Guard: "Sir, congratulations."

And then Public Utilities Commission Chairman Marty Honigberg: "Congratulations."

"OK, thanks, good to see you," Sununu replied. "Everything going good over there?

"Oh, every day is better than the day before," Honigberg said.

"That’s the attitude man, that’s the attitude," Sununu said. "I love it."

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

With the election season over, lawmakers' focus now turns to crafting New Hampshire’s next two-year budget.

State agencies begin presenting their spending proposals to legislators Friday morning. It will be the first time Governor-Elect Chris Sununu will outline his plans to budget writers.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Rep. Steve Shurtleff has been tapped by his fellow House Democrats to lead the caucus again next year after serving in the same position this term.

Thursday's vote was unanimous, as no other candidate was in the running.

Shurtleff, who’s serving his sixth term in the House overall, says he’s honored to continue his role as House Minority Leader.

“You know I take it as a vote that the Caucus believes I’m acting in the appropriate manner and serving the Caucus but more importantly serving the interest of New Hampshire," Shurtleff said.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Its official: Sen. Andrew Hosmer of Laconia will not be returning to the New Hampshire Senate next year. The Laconia Democrat hoped to pick up votes in Wednesday’s recount, but Republican Harold French's margin of victory in the District 7 race actually increased by 4 votes.

josh rogers/nhpr

Charlie Arlinghaus works in the basement of a down-on-its-heels apartment building a few blocks south of the State House. The building, and the no frills feel of the office, would work 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 and pitched himself as connected to the budget process.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen has been chosen to help plan the country’s 250th birthday.

Shaheen was appointed by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. The bipartisan commission, formally known as the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission, is made up of eight members of Congress, 16 private citizens and eight federal officials.

Shaheen said in a statement that she’s honored to represent New Hampshire as the state “has a deep-seated history in American democracy.”

Meetings will take place at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. The celebration is scheduled for July 2026.

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