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Sept. 12: Sununu is in, is Hassan?

Saturday, September 12, 2015 5:05
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(Before It's News)

The complicated politics of the 2016 gubernatorial election in New Hampshire took on a new wrinkle this week with Chris Sununu’s surprise announcement that he will join the race.

In fact, the Republican member of the governor’s Executive Council is the first announced candidate for governor.

Sununu’s announcement only complicates matters for Gov. Maggie Hassan and other Democrats, now that, with Labor Day behind us, the campaign season for 2016 begins in earnest. It also complicates matters for other Republicans who might enter the race.

Sununu made the announcement on Labor Day at  the annual Salem Republican Town Committee picnic at the Derry-Salem Elks Lodge. While a lot of attention at the picnic was focused on presidential candidates Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, John Kasich and Scott Walker, Sununu grabbed the headlines with his announcement that he was running.

Sununu, a resident of Newfields, is the chief executive officer of the Waterville Valley Resort. He represents District 3 on the Executive Council. He is the son of a former governor, John H. Sununu, and brother to a former U.S. Senator, John E. Sununu.

“People are looking for leadership in this state,” Sununu said in an Eagle-Tribune story.

One big question is the political intentions of Gov. Hassan. The incumbent Democrat said she’ll wait until after the budget stalemate is resolved to announce whether she’ll run for re-election or, as some have speculated, announce a challenge to Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte.

She is not alone in that sentiment of wanting to wait before announcing her intentions. Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley of Wolfboro and Sen. Jeanie Forrester, R-Meredith, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, are both thinking about running for governor and both are saying a decision will have to wait until after the budget is finally resolved.

Running for governor “is certainly something that, when the time is right, I’ll look at,” Forrester said to WMUR. “But right now I’m focused on the budget.”

“I’ll assess my options when the budget is resolved,” Bradley said to the Concord Monitor.

Lawmakers will consider Hassan’s veto of the 2016-2017 budget next week.

Curfews in the news

The city of Franklin this week reinstated a curfew for children under 16. Children need to be out of public areas after 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and after 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings. Parents of children caught violating the curfew could face fines.

Franklin had a curfew in place for several years, but was suspended a two of years ago because of enforcement concerns, according to the Concord Monitor.

The New Hampshire branch of the American Civil Liberties Union has put the city on notice that it opposes the curfew.

Somersworth is also getting it on the act. Mayor Dana Hilliard said in a Foster’s Daily Democrat story that an “overdose of juvenile independence” has led to the destruction of public and private property in the Hilltop City and the time has come for a curfew.

Solar energy and net metering

Solar energy came to New Hampshire in a big way this week with the ribbon cutting on a new base of operations in Manchester for California-based SolarCity.

The company installed more than 40 percent of the residential solar panels in the country last year, and has been doing business in southern New Hampshire since April, according to NHPR.

But the growth of residential solar installations is affected by something called net metering. It allows consumers who produce energy to be credited for sending power back onto the grid. Total credits here are capped at 1% of peak energy demand statewide, and divvied up between the utilities based on market share. Some utilities are reaching their caps, which make the economics of rooftop solar more tenuous, according to the NHPR story.

Gov. Hassan, who was on hand for the ribbon cutting, said the state may have to revisit the cap.

Midnight vote in Dixville Notch

Every four years, the Balsams Resort in Dixville Notch becomes somewhat famous for being the first place in the Granite State where primary presidential ballots are cast.

The resort closed in 2011 but reopened for one night in 2012 so that the midnight voting tradition could continue. Now the resort is undergoing some extensive renovation, raising questions again as to whether the tradition will continue. The developer assures that the intention is to keep the tradition alive in 2016.

“The desire is to continue the tradition of voting first in the first-in-the-nation primary. We believe that it's important not only for Dixville but for all of the North Country and quite frankly, for the state of New Hampshire. This voting tradition in Dixville has garnered a great deal of attention for not only the Balsams but for the region and the state,” project spokesman Scott Tranchemontagne said to WMUR.

On our Facebook page this week, we got into discussions about the governor’s race, youth curfews and bear baiting. Sound interesting? Join in.

Live Free or Die Alliance


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