It’s Election Day in Senate District Sixteen as voters go to the polls to fill the vacancy created by the death of Senator Scott McGilvray, Democrat from Hooksett, who passed a few months ago. On the ballot are former Senator David Boutin, Republican from Hooksett, who retired the seat rather than run for reelection last fall due to family matters that have since been addressed, Alderman Kevin Cavanaugh, Democrat from Manchester, and Jason Dubrow, Libertarian from Dunbarton. The winner will complete the term in the current legislative session.
The race has garnered attention across the state and from around the nation as outside groups, notably in support of Cavanaugh, have poured money and workers into the campaign. Our Politically Buzzed segment anchor Kimberly Morin documented the spending and efforts in her weekly interview on Girard at Large yesterday morning. Morin said it’s nearly impossible to know how much money was being spent by outside groups because they’re spending so called “dark money” donations, which don’t need to be disclosed by the organizations spending it.
The focal point of the campaign has become Cavanaugh’s statement that Manchester should become a sanctuary city, saying the city needed to be welcoming. That drew fire from critics who said that Cavanaugh either didn’t understand what a sanctuary city was or didn’t care about the consequences of welcoming criminals to the city by protecting them from federal deportation efforts. Republicans have pummeled Cavanaugh on that issue and on his silence while fellow aldermen violated the city’s charter by voting on contracts it prohibits them from voting on on because immediate family members were covered by the contract, thus providing a conflict of financial and personal interests.
District Sixteen includes Manchester wards One, Two and Twelve and the towns of Candia, Hooksett, Dunbarton and Bow. Polls opened in the Queen City, Hooksett and Candia at six, in Bow at seven and at 8 in Dunbarton. All polls will close at seven tonight. Stay tuned to Girard at Large on Facebook. We’ll have the results.
Since we just mentioned those pesky charter violations, we thought we’d let you know that Manchester resident Lisa Gravel, who lit up the Board of Mayor and Aldermen over the issue at its meeting last Tuesday, sent her complaint demanding that Ward Two Alderman Ron Ludwig and Ward Eleven Alderman Normand Gamache be sent to the Conduct Board, with over one hundred signatures collected after appearing on this show last Thursday.
Gravel said that between standing for a few hours at City Hall Plaza and responding to social media posts from people who heard her on this show and wanted to sign, she sent her complaint with one hundred twenty seven signatures. She also sent us the letter she wrote and is urging those who agree with it to make it their own and send it to City Hall as a way of stepping up the pressure on city officials to ensure the city’s charter is followed.
Gravel’s taken aim at Ludwig and Gamache because of their recent vote to accept a fact finding report recommending a whopping pay raise for the city’s firefighters. Both have sons on the Fire Department and, therefore, under the charter, shouldn’t have voted on the report. Gamache and Ludwig have voted on other firefighter contracts and teacher contracts covering immediately family members in the past two years. In September, 2 0 1 5, Ludwig acknowledged violating the charter in voting for the teachers contract which covered his wife. Ward Nine Alderman Barbara Shaw did the same in voting for the same contract, which covered her daughter. Gamache voted for the teacher’s contract, which covered his daughter, as well.
We’ll publish Gravel’s letter at Girard at Large with instructions on to whom it should be sent following this morning’s show.
News from our own backyard continues
Governor Christopher Sununu, Republican from Newfields, announced the return of thirty million dollars to cities and towns for road improvements, yesterday. The distribution was a result of his signing Senate Bill 3 8, which made an appropriation to the Department of Transportation for local highway and municipal bridge aid. In a statement released yesterday, Sununu said, quote:
“For years we have heard how the state cannot control local property taxes, but what we can do is use infrastructure grants to give our towns more financial flexibility and target key areas of need to our communities, which will revitalize New Hampshire’s aging infrastructure, and reinvigorate our local economies.”
Senate President Chuck Morse, Republican from Salem, and House Speaker Shawn Jasper, Republican from Hudson, were also quoted in the governor’s statement. Morse credited responsible budgeting in the prior fiscal year for the distribution, saying the state, quote:
“produced significant surplus that has not only grown the rainy day fund, but allowed our state to return millions of taxpayer dollars to our communities.
For his part, Jasper said the governor and legislature made it a priority to send cash back to local communities, saying quote:
“The distribution of these dollars demonstrates our commitment to improving our state’s infrastructure in each corner of our state. The health of our roads and bridges are an important investment for our communities and local economies.”
“With new leadership, Manchester will do its part to uphold the Paris Climate Accord to combat global climate change.”
That’s just part of what Manchester mayoral candidate Joyce Craig wrote in a recent Facebook post condemning Mayor Ted Gatsas for not joining with two other mayors and other elected officials from a total of five New Hampshire cities in Concord last week at an event where they pledged to uphold the accord. In the post, Craig declared that Manchester should lead the state in protecting the environment and accused Gatsas of standing in the way. As mayor, she said she would quote:
“work with business and community leaders to invest in green initiatives, including soliciting proposals for clean, renewable wind and solar energy projects that will create revenue for the city, decrease our energy rates, and protect our environment.”
As we close this morning, we send our condolences to the family and friends of longtime Memorial High School teacher and state champion basketball coach Peter Poirier, Jr. Poirier was also integrally involved with Babe Ruth Baseball, bringing a Babe Ruth World Series to Gill Stadium, which broke league attendance records. Poirier, an active Democrat politically, ran for mayor against Mayor Bob Shaw in 1985. The Manchester Board of School Committee recently named the basketball court in the Memorial gymnasium after Poirier, who passed Sunday at the age of eighty one.
That’s NEWS from our own backyard! Girard at Large hour ___ is next!