Dover Dems hosting Pub Night

DOVER — The Dover Democratic Committee’s monthly Pub Night will take place at Dover’s Flight Coffee Thursday, July 26, from 5 to 7 p.m. The event is open to the public.

Flight Coffee is located at the corner of Central Avenue and Third Street in downtown Dover. In addition to an extensive array of coffee choices, Flight also offers more “spirited” beverages.

Pub Nights are an opportunity for local citizens interested in government and the electoral process to meet people with similar concerns in an informal setting, according to a committee spokesman. The events are designed to complement the DDC’s monthly meetings and other activities and to offer attendees the opportunity to exchange ideas and explore ways to play an active role in a variety of initiatives the DDC sponsors.

“The unique current political environment has left many citizens with the desire to engage more in the process,” said DDC chair James Verschueren. “Our organization’s programs and events offer a variety of opportunities to come together to talk and listen in a welcoming and respectful environment.”

For more information on the Dover Democratic Committee, visit


July, 14 2018

NH Democratic reps say Trump-Putin summit ‘troubling,’ ‘shameful’

Sen. Hassan, Rep. Shea-Porter, Rep. Kuster, and Sen Shaheen

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire’s Democratic congressional delegation used words like “troubling” and “shameful” to describe President Donald Trump’s decision Monday to question his own intelligence agencies’ conclusions that Russia was to blame for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.

“Never did I think we would see the president of the United States blame our own country for attacks by an adversary on the very foundation of our democracy,” Sen. Maggie Hassan said. She said Congress must come together to hold Russia accountable.

Trump, who met with Russia’s Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, declined the chance to denounce Putin for the interference efforts, which U.S. intelligence agencies insisted they occurred, including hacking of Democratic emails, the subject of last week’s indictment of 12 Russians.

“It’s troubling that President Trump puts the word of President Putin above that our own intelligence agencies,” Rep. Annie Kuster said, adding, “The president of the United States is in a unique position to stand up to President Putin and instead Trump is projecting weakness on the global stage.”

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said it’s shameful that Trump can’t bring himself to confront the attacks. “Instead, he chose to vilify the men and women of our intelligence community,” she said.

Rep. Carol Shea-Porter called for Trump to step down “and spare our people a drawn-out ordeal.” She said President Richard Nixon did so “for far less.”


July, 14 2018

From by John DiStaso

N.H. gov signs controversial voter residency requirement bill into law

CONCORD, N.H. - Calling it a way to restore “equality and fairness to our elections,” Gov. Chris Sununu on Friday signed into law highly controversial legislation requiring anyone voting in New Hampshire to take action to become a resident of the state.

House Bill 1264 will take effect July 1, 2019, which means the upcoming 2018 elections will be held under the existing statutes that allow people domiciled in the state to vote in the state even if they are not residents of the state.

But beginning in the 2019 municipal elections – and in the 2020 elections – people who vote in New Hampshire will be residents of the state and if, for instance, they do not have a New Hampshire driver’s license, they will be required to obtain one within 60 days of voting. They must also register their vehicles in the Granite State.

If they do not take action to become residents, they could face penalties and would be required take such action or no longer vote in the state.

In a statement Friday afternoon, Sununu said:

“I have expressed serious concerns regarding HB 1264’s constitutionality from the very beginning. Following its passage, I requested an advisory opinion from the state’s Supreme Court to put this issue to rest once and for all. And the Executive Council agreed.

“House Bill 1264 restores equality and fairness to our elections, and the Supreme Court has ruled the bill is constitutional while affirming that New Hampshire has a compelling state interest in seeing this bill enacted. Finally, every person who votes in New Hampshire will be treated the same. This is the essence of an equal right to vote.

“For this reason, and pursuant to my duty to uphold the provisions of our State Constitution, I signed House Bill 1264 into law.”

Sununu’s decision to sign the bill into law was a reversal from his original position. He said in December that he hated a virtually identical bill and, as recently as mid-May said that his “position has not changed” and that he was concerned about the bill’s constitutionality.

With the approval of the Executive Council, Sununu sent the bill and six constitutional questions about it to the state Supreme Court in mid-May.

The court issued an advisory opinion Thursday stating that the bill is in fact constitutional because, even if it imposes new requirements that discourage some people from voting in New Hampshire, it “serves the compelling state interest of insuring that those allowed to vote in this state share a community of interest with the population generally."

But the court majority also wrote that they were answering questions posed by the governor and Executive Council about the "general application" of the bill, and that they could not give an opinion on whether they would find the bill constitutional in the specific circumstances of a specific case that may be brought before it in the future.

Sununu said in May that if the court found the bill constitutional, “it would be hard not to sign it.” And in late June, he said on a Boston radio talk show that if the court decided the bill was constitutional, “we can sign the bill with I think great confidence that we’re protecting the integrity of the system, we haven’t violated any constitutional rights and finally New Hampshire’s laws are kind of up to par with everybody else.”

New Hampshire is currently the only state without a residency requirement for voting.

The Republican governor’s decision to sign the bill sparked widely divided partisan reaction and is sure to be a major issue in the upcoming gubernatorial election.

Voting rights groups, which demonstrated outside of Sununu’s office at the State House on Friday morning, blasted the governor, saying he flip-flopped.

“This harmful legislation would silence the voices of far too many Granite Staters, particularly residential students,” said the Campaign for Voting Rights. “HB 1264 would require individuals to obtain a New Hampshire driver’s license and car registration to vote in the state, implementing a post-election poll tax that will disproportionately impact citizens including the state’s college students.”

Democratic candidate for governor Molly Kelly said, "Chris Sununu confirmed today for voters that his words mean nothing. By signing Hb 1264, he has violated voters' trust. He will be replaced in November." 

The members of the all-Democratic congressional delegation had urged Sununu to veto the bill.

“New Hampshire, home of the first-in-the-nation primary, is a model for political and civic engagement. Unfortunately, this legislation threatens to dissuade and intimidate Granite Staters from voting and risks tarnishing our state’s revered reputation,” said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

Sen. Maggie Hassan had urged Sununu to “stick to his word and veto this partisan attempt at voter suppression,” while U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter said, “Republican leaders in our state are trying to make it harder to vote, and that’s just wrong.”

U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster said, “Gov. Sununu clearly indicated his opposition to a nearly identical measure, and I urge him to do the right thing and veto this attack on one of our nation’s most cherished rights. We should be encouraging more young people to be civically engaged and to vote, not creating barriers that make it harder for people to take part in our democratic process.

Republicans praised Sununu.

"Voter integrity matters to the people of New Hampshire, and Granite State Republicans have led on the issue of increasing voter integrity in our state," said NHGOP Chairman Wayne MacDonald.

"Republican legislative leadership in the Granite State deserves high praise for getting this crucial legislation passed, and with Governor Sununu’s signature today, it’s one more example of how New Hampshire Republicans get the job done.”

New Hampshire House Majority Leader Richard Hinch, R-Merrimack, said Sununu showed leadership by seeking the advisory opinion from the Supreme Court and by signing the bill.

“I don’t believe it is unreasonable for us to require that those who participate in our elections be residents of our state,” Hinch said. “What I do believe to be unreasonable is that we have had two classifications of voters in our state: those who abide by our statutes and laws as residents, and those who don’t. HB 1264 becoming law is a major win for election integrity and voters in New Hampshire.”

Meanwhile, Gilles Bissonnette, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire, said this week that the group may bring a court challenge to the new law if Sununu signed the bill. He reiterated after the signing that the ACLU-NH is considering legal action.


July, 13 2018

From by Brian Early

Dover council demands end to border checkpoints

DOVER — The City Council unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday that calls on the governor, the congressional delegation and the director of Homeland Security to demand an end to the Border Patrol’s “coercive checkpoints” in the state and “immediately halt” policies that separate or imprison families.

It’s the second resolution the council has passed in the past two weeks and the third since October that voices the council’s support for the rights of immigrants.

At its June 27 meeting, the council unanimously approved a resolution that called for an immediate end to President Donald Trump’s “zero-tolerance” immigration enforcement policy that had led to thousands of separations of parents and children in two months. At that meeting, Mayor Karen Weston said she would bring forward a resolution that called for the end of immigration checkpoints within the state borders. At the Oct. 11, 2017, meeting the council reaffirmed “the city of Dover’s commitment to immigration and cultural diversity.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a federal agency underneath the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is tasked with border security. Federal law allows interior Border Patrol checkpoints within a “reasonable distance” from the country’s international border to patrol the border and prevent illegal entry into the country. A reasonable distance, as defined by the code of federal regulations (CFR), is within 100 air miles from any external boundary of the United States.

Last year, the Border Patrol conducted two checkpoints in the area of Woodstock on Interstate 93, miles away from the Canadian border. So far this year, two more have occurred with more planned.

Weston called the checkpoint “racial profiling.” Weston said she knew of one woman who was detained at the checkpoint and then held at the Strafford County jail for two weeks before she was allowed contact with her family. Weston said a Mexican-born woman who is now a U.S. citizen was stopped because of the color of her skin and wasn’t carrying any documents to prove she was a citizen immediately.

Weston and other councilors blasted the lack of immigration policy, from the president’s enforcement to the lack of action from Congress to legislate a solution.

Wednesday’s resolution, which was introduced by Weston and Ward 5 Councilor Dennis Shanahan, was cosponsored by the rest of the council. It directs City Manager Michael Joyal to send a letter to Gov. Chris Sununu, the congressional delegation and the director of the Homeland Security within 30 days of passage in support of the resolution.

Many residents spoke in favor of the resolution during public comment at the beginning of the meeting. Daniel Pontoh, a community organizer of the American Civil Liberties Union – New Hampshire who lives in Dover, said he said he no longer recommends to people to visit the North Country of the state. “How could I tell them to go check out the White Mountains if they could be detained?” he told the council.

Peggy Kieschnick said she has never thought she would need to bring proof of citizenship when she goes to the White Mountains. Because of the color of her skin, she felt it would be unlikely she would be detained. “It shouldn’t be any different if my skin were brown, or I spoke with an accent or looked scared in a car,” she said.


From by Brian Early

Solar panel array coming to Dover High School, indoor pool

DOVER — The City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved two solar projects for city-owned buildings, and the prep work on one of those projects began Thursday morning.

The City Council at their meeting approved two power purchase agreements that will allow the Brentwood-based solar energy company ReVision Energy to install a solar array on the new Dover High School and Career Technical Center and one on the roofs of the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire and Dover Indoor Pool, which share the same electrical meter.

Director of Community Services John Storer told Foster’s Daily Democrat Thursday that ReVision officials were on site at the museum and pool scouting the rooftop that morning. Both projects are anticipated to be completed by the end of the calendar year.

The projects come with no upfront costs for the panels or installation, but a requirement to purchase energy produced by the panels for up to 20 years at prices projected to be below market rates. The city has the option to purchase the installations in the sixth year. If it did buy the panels, which City Manager Michael Joyal said he would recommend to a future City Council, the city would no longer have to pay for the electricity generated from the panels.

The high school project is estimated to cost $1.6 million to install the solar panel array. According to a budget worksheet, the city estimated it would save $292,246 over 20 years, even including the cost of a 15-year bond to purchase the system in year six for an estimated $1.1 million.

The high school net-metered project would install 2,851 320-watt solar modules, 23 inverters; 1,432 DC optimizers and a data acquisition/monitoring systems with a revenue-grade meter, according to the PPA. The solar installation would not need any penetration of the roof, the PPA states.

At Wednesday’s meeting, James Hasselbeck of ReVision explained how they work with the roof manufacturer for the installation to not affect the roof warranty. “We’re all over this,” he said.

The proposed system is engineered to produce 1.5 million kwh of solar electricity annually, about 40 percent of the high school’s projected load, according to the PPA approved by the council. Part of the agreement with ReVision includes an educational component to get high school students involved in learning about energy and how the system works.


July, 11 2018

From by Brian Early

Candidates for governor visit Dover

Molly Kelly and Steve Marchand 
photo by Shawn St. Hiliare/

DOVER -- A significant challenge of politicking is getting people to pay attention. In the summer, that challenge is even more difficult.

That wasn’t the case on Tuesday night when the two Democratic candidates for governor spoke before a group organized by the Dover Democrats and the Strafford County Democrats. About 75 people filled the McConnell Center cafeteria to hear from former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand and five-term State Sen. Molly Kelly.

It wasn’t a debate but a forum where each candidate spoke in front of the crowd and give their spiel of why voters should choose them in the upcoming Democratic primary in September and took questions from the audience.

Marchand ran for the Democratic nomination in 2016 but lost to Colin Van Ostern, coming in second. Marchand said the decision to run for governor came in the wee hours of election night 2016 after Donald Trump was elected to be U.S. president and Chris Sununu, R-Newfields, was elected as New Hampshire’s governor.

Officially, he announced his intention in April 2017. He argued the election in November could be a defining moment for the next 20 to 40 years, saying it was a similar time as in President Ronald Reagan’s inaugural address in 1981 when Reagan said, “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” Marchand said that message had permeated politics for decades after it was spoken. He argued that everyone in the room who believes differently must fight for it.

Kelly, who lives in Harrisville outside Keene, announced her intentions to run for the corner office in April of this year. The former state senator representing District 10, which includes Keene and surrounding communities, was first elected in 2006. Voters returned her to the seat until 2016 when she opted not to seek re-election.

Both candidates sought to link Trump with Sununu, getting many applauds in nods in the partisan room. Kelly said that Trump’s policies had made their way to the state. “I cannot sit on the sidelines,” she said.

Kelly, who was one of 11 children, said the state, like her family, must work together. “If one of us is to succeed, we most all succeed. If one of us is to thrive, we must all thrive,” she said. Kelly said she understood what it was to struggle.

Marchand also highlighted how his parents were first-generation immigrants from Canada and how he was the first one to go to college. He said one of his first introductions into health care was his mother having a heart attack when she was 39-years-old. The family had to declare bankruptcy to shed the enormous medical costs, he said.

Both hit similar themes on gun control, immigration, public education funding, the high costs of higher education, health care and reproductive rights. Both said they would sign a bill to repeal the death penalty if it reached their desk if elected. Sununu vetoed a similar bill last month.

Kelly sought to show she had more state political experience from her time in the Senate and having to take a position on many bills each session, some of which she said kept her up at night as she worried about the consequences of her votes.

“I am tested, and I am ready to be that leader,” she said.

Marchand spoke about his experience as mayor and on the Portsmouth City Council to start changing the city’s zoning laws to adapt to a changing climate and rising sea levels. He said there are many incentives in the state that are perverse that are helping the state have the lowest birth rate in the country and the second highest median age.

“We can do this better,” he said.


July, 10 2018

From by Brian Early
Few contested primary races for Strafford County reps

DOVER - Democrats have a 10 candidate edge over Republicans in state representatives races in Strafford County, according to the Secretary of State's office.

Candidates running for office had to file paperwork during the first half of June, which was finalized by the Secretary of State’s office by late June. The candidates affiliated with a political party will have a primary on Sept. 11.

In Strafford County state representatives races, 39 Democrats are running for office versus 29 Republicans. However, despite the filings, there are very few seats that will be contested in the primary election.

There are 25 state representative districts in Strafford County that each has between one and five elected representatives. Out of those districts, there are only three contested primaries on the Democrat side and one on the Republican side.

In Strafford District 6 that represents Durham and Madbury, six Democrat candidates have filed for the five available seats. Five are incumbents — Wayne Burton, Timothy Horrigan, Marjorie Smith, Judith Spang and Janet Wall — and one newcomer, Cam Kenney.

Another Democratic primary will be in Strafford District 22 that represents Rochester’s Wards 1 and 6. Peg Higgins and Shawn Mickelonis are competing in the primary to see who will take on incumbent Republican Thomas Kaczynski, Jr. in the general election.

The only other Democratic primary is in Strafford District 18, where four candidates have filed for three seats. Incumbent Roger Berube is seeking re-election along with Gerri Cannon, Wendy Chase and Cecilia Rich. Strafford 18 will be interesting to watch in the general election as current Democratic Rep. Dale Sprague has filed to run an independent and appear on the general election ballot in November.

On the Republican side, only Strafford District 5, which represents Lee has a contested primary. Scott Bugbee and Bill Fortune are competing to see who takes on Democratic incumbent Jeffrey Salloway.


July, 7 2018

County, city Dems co-host gubernatorial candidates Kelly, Marchand

Molly Kelly and Steve Marchand

DOVER — Area residents will have the opportunity to exchange ideas with Democratic gubernatorial candidates, as the result of the joint efforts of The Strafford County Democratic Committee and the Dover Democratic Committee. Candidates Steve Marchand and Molly Kelly will speak July 10 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the McConnell Center Cafeteria, 32 Saint Thomas Street in Dover.

Kelly served four terms in the New Hampshire Senate. A graduate of Keene State College and Franklin Pierce Law Center, she worked as a financial advisor prior to running for office. As a state senator, she helped expand training and education for advanced manufacturing jobs. She also served on a number of committees. Since leaving office in 2016, Kelly has facilitated forums for the Center for Civic Engagement.

If elected governor, Kelly says she is committed to build a New Hampshire that works for everyone. For more information, visit

Marchand has served as mayor and city council member for the city of Portsmouth and director of corporate relations at the University of New Hampshire. He received bachelor of arts degrees in international relations and public affairs and a master’s degree in public administration from Syracuse University.

Early in his career, Marchand audited local, county, and state governmental agencies across the nation, helping departments to define and measure results and apply findings to improve effectiveness of operation.

If elected governor, he says he intends to apply his experience to build a grassroots economic vision to move New Hampshire forward. For more information, visit

For more information on the Strafford County Democratic Committee, visit

For more information on the Dover Democratic Committee, visit