Rep Steve Vaillancourt


Reading Room--A New Year With A Great Woman (Catherine)

Catherine the Great by Robert K. Massie (2011, Hardcover) 

            The best biographies capture the essence of the life of the subject and a feel for the times in which the subject lived.

            Some biographies are excellent at one or the other but fail to do both.  For example, a few years back, I found a biography of James Polk excellent for explaining the Mexican War, Westward expansion, the Northwest settlement with Great Britain, and other important aspects about an exciting time in American history.

            However, I came away feeling cheated about the human being who was James Polk.

            As expected, Robert Massie’s new biography of Catherine the Great, the German petty princess who as Empress of Russia rose to become perhaps the most powerful human being on the planet, succeeds to a great extent on both fronts.

            However, while Massie’s previous biography of Peter the Great was outstanding in every sense of the word, I found too many quibbles with this biography of Catherine to rate it in the very top tier.

            The first half, dealing with the young girl and woman who was carted off by her ambitious mother to Russia and found herself trapped in a loveless marriage with future tsar Peter III, is truly outstanding, but Massie somehow comes up just short on the second half dealing with Catherine’s long and magnificent reign.

            Of course, it could be that I read the sections in different environments, the first half over New Years Weekend in cafes and restaurants and hotels in a snowy and sleety Montreal, the second half back at home in Manchester.

            I literally could not put the book down while I was in Montreal.  That’s how fascinating the personal story of Catherine was.  For the second half, I actually had to force myself to continue reading, perhaps because I knew much of the history of this period and wasn’t entirely confident with what Mackie was saying.

            For example, he pooh-poohs the notion of Potemkin villages, those phony constructions which have come to signify unreal accomplishments.  Massie basically claims there were few, if any, Potemkin villages.  He sites the presence of Joseph II, Austria’s monarch at the time, on Catherine’s voyage to naysay the existence of such “villages”.

            I am not convinced.

            Massie also, while detailing the dozen lovers who became Catherine’s “favorites”, is mum about legendary stories of Catherine’s proclivities with living beings of another species.  I recall vividly how my Russian history professor in college gleefully told of Catherine’s bedtime encounters with various animals, and the professor seemed to place a larger animal in the bed every time he related the story.

            Certainly, Massie must have heard of such stories.  At least, he could have mentioned how he believes there is no truth to them.

            Massie also seems to get sidetracked in irrelevant details; he spends five pages on John Paul Jones’s life in Catherine’s court, an intriguing story but far less essential to the story of Catherine than would be…for example…a report on her third child who was taken from her at birth.  Massie virtually ignores this child, and while he does justice to the machinations of the Romanov line of succession prior to Catherine, he doesn’t do justice to those who came after here, her son Paul I who was replaced by his son Alexander a few years after Catherine’s death.

            Massie seems fair in passing judgement that while Catherine was not responsible for the death of her overthrown husband, she very well could have known something bad would happen to Peter when she left him in the care of the brother of her lover Gregory Orlov.  (Peter was either deliberately killed by Orlov or died in a scuffle--Massie covers the story very well indeed).

            Massie is excellent at explaining the hypocrisy of the term “enlightened despot”, a title Catherine shared with Joseph II and Frederick II of Prussia.  He goes into great detail about Catherine’s relationship with Voltaire, Diderot, and other philosophes yet points out that her rule was less enlightened than her thought process.

            The author nails the spirit of the Pugachev revolt and how it helped convince Catherine that Russia was not yet ready for freedoms, for setting serfs free from the land for example (that task would be left to Alexander II in the 1860s).

            Although he spends many pages on Catherine’s relationship with Potemkin, it’s somewhat less than satisfying. 

            However, those are mere quibbles.  This is a very good biography; apparently others have found it great because it’s been on the New York Times best seller list so long that Barnes and Nobles had it marked down 40 percent and unlike most books, I actually bought this one.

            Maybe I should have stayed in Montreal an extra day and finished it there; maybe it was the climate of that city which caused me so much joy with the first half of the book.   One never knows how much one’s environment affects how one reacts to a book.

To jog my memory, I googled Catherine and bestiality and here's what I came up with, something Massie never mentions, not at all.  Even though it's probably not true, he probably should have quashed this very well traveled rumor.  Oh well, a mere quibble of a fine book indeed, highly recommended.

Catherine the Great: Anatomy of a Rumor

The salaciousness of a rumor often helps it survive—take Catherine the Great and how she is remembered.

By Jennifer Drapkin, published on November 01, 2005 - last reviewed on December 28, 2011

imageIf you haven't heard the story about Catherine the Great, then clearly you never passed notes in history class. The rumor is that the lusty czarina was crushed to death while trying to make love to a stallion. Of course, it's completely false: Catherine died from a stroke in her bed at the age of 67. The fact that the horse legend has survived for over 200 years is testament to the wily persistence of rumor.

During her lifetime, Catherine made many enemies throughout Europe. After her death, the horse myth probably emerged from the French upper class as a way to mar her legend. "She was a woman in power with a promiscuous sex life," says Michael Farquhar, author of A Treasury of Royal Scandals. "Her contemporaries were never comfortable with that."

From France, the myth may have traveled into the American press, which was famous for printing scandals at the time. "The press of our Founding Fathers makes the National Enquirer look tame," says Farquhar.

Many rumors survive on shock value combined with a nugget of truth. Catherine the Great did not look for fulfillment in the royal stables, but she did handpick lovers from the royal cavalry. Hitler was not impotent, though he had only one testicle. Caligula did not eat his sister's fetus, though he committed incest with at least one of his sisters, possibly all three.

Unlike Others, Gatsas Gambling Plan Is Constitutional

            As the New Hampshire House committee on Constitutional Review and Statutory Recodification began the process of determining whether a gambling bill before it is in fact constitutional, one fact became clear today.

            The Gatsas plan, which I adopted under the moniker “Your Honorable Plan for Expanded Gambling” in the spring of 2010 and brought forward again today, may in fact be the only plan which passes Constitutional muster.

            That’s because the plan currently before the committee, the one which passed Ways and Means earlier this year but never came to a House vote (because Speaker O’Brien knew his committee would be overturned on the House floor) most likely creates monopolies which violate Section 83 of the state Constitution.

            The Gatsas plan avoids that problem because the state maintains control of the facilities and merely shares space (and revenues) with vendors.  As Rep Seth Cohn, R-Canterbury, pointed out, it’s like the EZ pass program.  The state does not provide a monopoly to the EZ pass provider; it merely chooses a vendor.

            The Gatsas plan, as modified in the Your Honorable Plan, also is less likely to be ruled a monopoly since it creates six facilities, all to be chosen on the basis of sealed bids.  Unlike the plan passed by Ways and Means which calls for a $50 million payment each of for two licenses, the Your Honorable Plan calls for four vendors of 500 machines at a minimum of $10 million and two vendors with 1000 machines at a minimum $20 million.

            Another benefit of the Gatsas/Vaillancourt plan is that the state keeps 60 percent of the profits whereas it gets only 40 percent in the Ways and Means plan.

            As part of my brief presentation to the committee today, I presented a handout which I’d created back in May 2010.  It runs through the percentages for every party involved in the plan and proves how a vendor could operate at a profit, albeit not an obscene profit which the D’Allesandro plan (the model for the Constitutionally questionable Ways and Means plan) always presented.

            I’ve been invited to work with a subcommittee on the Your Honorable Plan.  Maybe the committee should invite the real author of the plan, His Honor Ted Gatsas, former Senate President.

            If I had electronic copies of the sheets, I’d post them here, but so far, I’ve only been able to locate paper copies.  Had Jim Rivers, the most competent staffer in the House, not been fired in the disgraceful shake-up by Speaker Bill O’Brien, maybe I could get the copies scanned in.  That’s the kind of thing Jim could have done in a snap, but then he wasn’t a political hack like so many others are these days.


Gingrich Continues To Bastardize History 

Justice Samuel Chase whom Jefferson sadly tried to have impeached (a fact The Eft conveniently ignores as he exhorts legislatures to pursue judges) 

An American Betrayal: Cherokee Patriots and the Trail of Tears

           Glen Beck had it right when he appeared on O’Reilly last night, and it’s an issue I’ve had on the list of things to blog about for a week now.

            Newt Gingrich (henceforth known as The Eft), in his lust to become demagogue in chief and in an attempt to make it sound like he knows a great deal about history, continues to conjure up half truths about history.  Yes, indeed, he continues to bastardize history.

            In Monday night’s debate on Fox, the Eft quoted President Andrew Jackson about how our goal should be to kill our enemies.  As Beck pointed out, Jackson unfortunately did not stop at killing agreed upon enemies.  He is responsible for one of the most shameful episodes in American history, the killing of thousands of Cherokee Indians in the relocation effort which came to be known as the Trail of Tears.

            How anyone, certainly a Presidential candidate, could quote Andrew Jackson about killing enemies without any mention of this tragic episode of senseless killing is…well, it’s just indicative of a demagogue who would say or do anything to score a few debate points, to conjure up an applause line.

            Coincidentally, I’m currently reading a new book (An American Betrayal, Cherokee Patriots and the Trail of Tears by Daniel Smith) on the Cherokee strategy.  Perhaps the Eft should read this before he decides to glorify Andrew Jackson’s “killing” strategy. 

            I agree with Glen Beck that three Presidents the Eft lionizes are three of the worst in American history—Jackson along with Woodrow Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt.  Wilson’s devotion to “progressivism” and attack on freedoms is rivaled only by his incompetence in foreign policy that led to tens of millions of needless deaths (yes, I believe that Wilson’s Peace at Versailles was a direct cause of World War II and all it entailed).  Teddy Roosevelt not only denied freedoms to Americans but his jingoistic foreign policy, his expansionist ideas in total violation of all previous American history, set us on the road to being policeman of the world, an effort which today is helping bankrupt a once great country.

            Are we to expect the Eft to quote Wilson and TR tonight?

            This is not the first time the Eft has bastardized history.  In fact, he does it on a regular basis.  In his previous insane assertions that we should haul judges before legislative tribunals, he sited Thomas Jefferson.  While Jefferson was a great man, at least in ideals, he was hardly committed to the democracy he pretended to be. 

            Two of the most disgraceful episodes in Jefferson’s presidency were when he in fact attempted to interfere in the judicial process, first by attempting to have Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase impeached because he had the audacity to oppose Jefferson; and then when he attempted to have Aaron Burr convicted of treason.

            Both Burr and Chase beat the charges (for details, refer to the biography of Burr, Fallen Founder), and rightly so, but not for lack of Jefferson’s attempt to interfere with the judicial process.

            Thus when the Eft sites Jefferson positively in a pissing contest with the judiciary, he is just as wrong as when he sites Andrew Jackson’s “kill your enemies” philosophy.

            So far, Glen Beck has been the only pundit I’ve noticed to comment on The Eft’s strange reading of history, but it’s an area rife for more discussion.

            Does this disqualify the Eft from being President?  No, there are plenty of other reasons to disqualify him for that, but it goes to show that this sublime egomaniac really doesn’t know nearly as much as what he pretends to know.

            Once again, the Eft has displayed that a little knowledge, in the mind and on the tongue of a dangerous demagogue, is a dangerous thing indeed.

            Long Live Lady Liberty!

            Ron Paul for President!   (Glen Beck might not agree with that, but he should).


Jasper Can't Avoid His Opposition To Income Tax Amendment

No matter how many times he might succeed in interupting me, with the help of a Speaker who has assumed near total dictatorial powers on the floor of the New Hamsphire House, Hudson Reprsentative Shawn Jasper cannot lie his way out of this one.

In 2005, not only was he among the 17-1 majority of the Ways and Means Committee to vote against the nearly same Constitutional Amendment (there was another committee vote on recommendation with a 7-12 result), the current Deputy Majority Leader spoke on the House floor.  Obviously ashamed of what he said then, he strenously objected to any mention being made of history.  Neither he nor the Speaker, however, can control what is posted here.

I researched the 2005 debate and here are the remarks, including from Weare Rep. Neal Kurk who also opposed a CACR banning an income tax then but supported it today.  Ah yes, when marching orders change, many people change their principles, contrary to Section II of House ethics guidelines which clearly state "Legislatrs should employ independent objective judgement in performing their duties."

Independent objective judgement no longer exists in the House of O'Brien.  By the way, if there's any interest I can post the entire roll call from 2005.  Jasper and Kurk, you'll see, aren't the only ones with egg on collective faces.


Rep. Jasper:  Thank you, Mr. Speaker.  I believe that I do represent my constituents and I think that’s why they’ve elected me to this House six times over the last 20 years.  And during those six terms I have always opposed an income tax and I will always oppose an income tax.  I’ve heard people say that it’s a fair tax.  Well, the fact is that because you are a New Hampshire resident, if you work out of state you won’t pay a dime, only New Hampshire residents who live in this state and work in this state pay that tax, to me makes it one of the least fair taxes. 

So why wouldn’t I be in favor of putting this into the constitution and prohibiting it?  We’ve heard a lot of good arguments, I think on both sides so I’m not going to go over those again.  My reasons are a little bit different, and they are that I believe that it is important for us to have this debate each and every session.  I believe that we will, as we have in the past, if it’s not in the constitution because I believe it is very important for our constituents to know how the people in this chamber feel about the issue of taxation.  I was against  Tabor   I spoke against that for essentially the same reason.  I don’t like taxes, I don’t want to increase them, I don’t like spending. I was one of 39 who voted against the budget last time.  But I think it’s important for our constituents, if they care, to be able to pull out the roll call from each session and look and see how we stand on a myriad of issues.  Every time we lock something into the constitution, we take that debate away from our constituents.  We take that record that we should be running on away from our constituents.  The people who are elected here, their vision for what New Hampshire should be, becomes a little bit more clouded because the really important issues on how they feel may, in fact, not be in the public view.  I think we need to have this debate.  I think we need to stand here and go on the record as we did yesterday on the income tax, and on spending and let the people decide then,  otherwise we may end up with a chamber full of people who no one really understands how they vote and when push comes to shove they may not like it.  I stand here proudly against this bill and ask you to join with me in making sure this House continually goes on the record  because I think what happened in 1999 had happened and the governor had signed the income tax into law, this chamber would have been cleaned out the next session and we would have had a lot of new people in here.  I don’t think the people of this state want an income tax.  I think they would have reacted to what we did and I think that is very important for our form of government.  Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

Rep. Giuda:  Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. To the representative from Hudson, would it be reasonable to say that if an income tax was instituted by this chamber, that regardless of whether the voters removed it in its entirety, that the legacy would remain. That the taxation would stay in place regardless of who came in the next term and that that is what we are trying to avoid?

Rep. Jasper:  I absolutely disagree with you.  We put laws on the books all the time and the legislature repeals them or not based on the membership in this House.  I think if we enacted an income tax and this chamber were cleared out, the people coming in here would see that as a clear mandate and that income tax would probably never even have the opportunity to actually go into effect.

Rep. Kurk.  Thank you, Mr. Speaker.  For those of us who oppose an income tax isn’t the most important reason to vote inexpedient on this, is so that we continue to have a wonderful issue to beat up our opponents?

Rep. Jasper:  That is certainly one way of looking at it and I wouldn’t disagree with you, Rep. Kurk.


 Here are the majority and minority reports and the vote from March 9, 2005.  A Yea was a vote to concur with the committee report of killing the bill.


House Journal No. 26



(Deputy Speaker Weyler in the Chair)

The House was called to order at 10:00 a.m.



CACR 13, relating to prohibiting an income tax.  Providing that no tax on personal income shall be levied by the state of New Hampshire.  MAJORITY:  INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE.  MINORITY:  OUGHT TO PASS.

Rep. Steve Vaillancourt for the Majority  of  Ways and Means.  This Constitutional Amendment Concurrent Resolution would enshrine in the state constitution the provision that an income tax may not be adopted in New Hampshire.  The majority of the committee, even many who oppose the implementation of an income tax, do not believe future legislators should be so hamstrung.  Were this to pass, and should 65 percent of citizens and/or legislators at some point in the future determine an income tax would be a good idea, it would be impossible to implement since the amendment would first have to be repealed (by a 60 percent vote of a future House and Senate to put the matter on the ballot and then by two-thirds of citizens voting at the polls).  Thus, this amendment could remove the options of a future substantial majority.  As with past amendments which the committee has considered and defeated, the majority of Ways and Means does not believe our constitution should be used as a referendum or for measures which may not stand the test of time.  Certainly, a CACR should not be used as an opinion poll.  Some published polls show that 35-40 percent of New Hampshire citizens support an income tax, not enough to pass one but certainly enough to block this amendment.  They would certainly be joined by others, like many on the committee, who opposed an income tax but oppose prohibiting one constitutionally.  Thus, while it might be fun to see what percentage this CACR would receive, it would serve no other purpose than to use the basic law of New Hampshire for purposes our forefathers would not condone.  Out of respect to the CACR sponsors, the committee took a vote on reconsideration in light of a potential amendment which stipulated both earned and unearned income would not be taxable.  The precise wording was, “no new tax shall be levied, directly or indirectly, upon a person’s income, from whatever source it is derived.”  The vote on reconsideration failed 7-12 with some members noting that the amendment was even more restrictive than the original CACR.  Vote 17-1.

Rep. Peyton B. Hinkle for the Minority of Ways and Means:  Part Two, Articles 6 and 6-a  of the New Hampshire Constitution identify the specific taxes, fees and tolls that may be used to pay for the public cost of government, but nowhere is taxation of personal income authorized.  CACR 13 is designed to lay to rest the idea of an income tax and clearly declare that it is not to be used as a source of state revenue.  Those testifying in favor of the resolution pointed out that people with portable incomes who are free to locate anywhere in the country would, with the passage of this resolution, be able to move to New Hampshire and know with confidence what taxes they would be responsible for in the future.  These are the same people who invest in businesses in the state and help create jobs.  This resolution would act as an incentive to people to move to New Hampshire and invest their economic resources in the state.  Our present method of taxation provides a more stable revenue stream, whereas an income tax is more prone to rise and fall with the fluctuations in the economy.  States having an income tax, such as Colorado, experience wide swings in revenues.  Past experience has shown that governments have a propensity to tax and spend, and instituting a new tax does not guarantee that other taxes would be eliminated.  Retired people living off their savings would be harmed by an income tax.  Finally, CACR 13 would provide the people the opportunity, once and for all, to resolve the prospect of any new tax being levied on their income.

Reps. Mirski and Itse spoke against and yielded to questions.

Reps. Hirschmann and Camm spoke against.

Reps. Jasper spoke in favor and yielded to questions.

Rep. Vaillancourt spoke in favor.


Rep. O’Neil moved recommit to committee.

Reps. Major and Mirski spoke in favor

On a division vote, 101 members having voted in the affirmative and 221 in the negative, the motion to recommit failed.


Rep. Mirski  requested a roll call; sufficiently seconded.

The question being adoption of the majority committee report.

YEAS   220   NAYS   103





YEAS   220






Allen, Janet

Fitzgerald, James

Heald, Bruce

Millham, Alida

Morrison, Gail

Pilliod, James

Russell, David

Thomas, John

Veazey, John

Whalley, Michael








Ahlgren, Christopher

Babson, David Jr

Brown, Carolyn

Buco, Thomas

Chandler, Gene

Knox, J David

Martin, James

Merrow, Harry

Olimpio, J Lisbeth

Patten, Betsey

Philbrick, Donald







Allen, Peter

Butcher, Suzanne

Butynski, William

Chase, William

Espiefs, Peter

Hogancamp, Deborah

Mitchell, Bonnie

Parkhurst, Henry

Pelkey, Stephen

Plifka, Stanley Jr

Pratt, John

Richardson, Barbara

Roberts, Kris

Robertson, Timothy

Sawyer, Sheldon

Tilton, Anna

Weed, Charles









Buzzell, Bernard

King, Frederick

Mears, Edgar

Merrick, Scott

Remick, William

Richardson, Herbert

Stohl, Eric

Theberge, Robert

Tholl, John Jr









Almy, Susan

Benn, Bernard

Bleyler, Ruth

Cooney, Mary

Gionet, Edmond

Hammond, Lee

Harding, A Laurie

McLeod, Martha

Mulholland, Catherine

Naro, Debra

Nordgren, Sharon

Sokol, Hilda

Solomon, Peter

Ward, John

Williams, Burton







Beaulieu, Jane

Bergin, Peter

Brassard, Paul

Brundige, Robert

Calawa, Leon Jr

Carlson, Donald

Chabot, Robert

Chase, Claudia

Christensen, D L  Chris

Clayton, William

Clemons, Jane

Cote, David

Cote, Peter

Craig, James

Daniuk, Caitlin

DeVries, Betsi

Dokmo, Cynthia

Drisko, Richard

Egbers, Fran

Emerton, Larry

Essex, David

Foster, Linda

Garrity, Patrick

Goley, Jeffrey

Gorman, Mary

Graham, John

Hall, Betty

Harvey, Suzanne

Holden, Randolph

Infantine, William

Irwin, Anne-Marie

Jasper, Shawn

Jean, Claudette

Johnson, Paula

Kopka, Angeline

Kurk, Neal

Lasky, Bette

Lefebvre, Roland

Matarazzo, Anthony Sr

Messier, Irene

Movsesian, Lori

O'Connell, Timothy

Pappas, Christopher

Pilotte, Maurice

Rosenwald, Cindy

Ross, Lawrence

Rowe, Robert

Ryder, Donald

Schulze, Joan

Smith, David

Sullivan, Francis

Sullivan, Peter

Vaillancourt, Steve

Wheeler, Robert








Blanchard, Elizabeth

Bouchard, Candace

Brueggemann, Donald

Clarke, Claire

Currier, David

DeJoie, John

DeStefano, Stephen

French, Barbara

Gile, Mary

Hager, Elizabeth

Hamm, Christine

Hess, David

Kidder, David

Lockwood, Priscilla

MacKay, James

Maxfield, Roy

McMahon, Patricia

Oliver, James

Osborne, Jessie

Owen, Derek

Potter, Frances

Reardon, Tara

Rush, Deanna

Ryan, Jim

Shurtleff, Stephen

Tilton, Joy

Tupper, Frank

Wallner, Mary Jane

Walz, Mary Beth

Whiting, Herbert

Williams, Robert







Abbott, Dennis

Belanger, Ronald

Bishop, Franklin

Blanchard, MaryAnn

Buxton, Donald

Cali-Pitts, Jacqueline

Carson, Sharon

Casey, Kimberley

Charron, Gene

Cooney, Richard

Dalrymple, Janeen

DiFruscia, Anthony

Dowd, John

Flockhart, Eileen

Forsing, Robert

Francoeur, Sheila

Gould, Kenneth

Griffin, Mary

Headd, James

Ingram, Russell

Katsakiores, Phyllis

Langley, Jane

Major, Norman

Mason, April

McKinney, Betsy

Moody, Marcia

Nowe, Ronald

Pantelakos, Laura

Parker, Benjamin

Robertson, Carl

Sanders, Elisabeth

Splaine, James

Stone, Joseph

Waterhouse, Kevin

Weare, E Albert

Wells, Roger

Zolla, William









Berube, Roger

Bickford, David

Brown, Jennifer

Brown, Julie

Callaghan, Frank

Cataldo, Sam

Chaplin, Duncan

Creteau, Irene

Domingo, Baldwin

Dunlap, Patricia

Grassie, Anne

Heon, Richard

Hilliard, Dana

Johnson, Nancy

Kaen, Naida

Keans, Sandra

Knowles, William

Rollo, Michael

Rous, Emma

Schmidt, Peter

Smith, Marjorie

Spang, Judith

Taylor, Kathleen

Wall, Janet






Cloutier, John

Converse, Larry

Donovan, Thomas

Ferland, Brenda

Franklin, Peter

Gale, Harry

Houde-Quimby, Charlotte

Irish, Christopher

Jillette, Arthur Jr

Phinizy, James

Prichard, Stephen

Rodeschin, Beverly





NAYS   103






Boyce, Laurie

Rosen, Ralph

Tilton, Franklin

Wendelboe, Fran






Dickinson, Howard

McConkey, Mark








Emerson, Susan

Hunt, John

















Alger, John

Barker, Robert

Eaton, Stephanie

Giuda, Robert

Ingbretson, Paul

Maybeck, Margie

Mirski, Paul

Sorg, Gregory






Aboshar, Jeffrey

Adams, Jarvis IV

Allan, Nelson

Baines, Stephen

Balboni, Michael

Barry, J Gail

Batula, Peter

Bergeron, Jean-Guy

Biundo, Michael

Boehm, Ralph

Buhlman, David

Carew, James

Clark, Mark

Coughlin, Pamela

Crane, Elenore Casey

Dyer, Donald

Elliott, Nancy

Francoeur, Bea

Gibson, John

Golding, William

Gonzalez, Carlos

Goyette, Peter Jr

Haley, Robert

Hansen, Ryan

Hawkins, Ken

Hellwig, Steve

Hinkle, Peyton

Hirschmann, Keith

L'Heureux, Robert

McRae, Karen

Mead, Robert

Mooney, Maureen

O'Brien, William

Ober, Lynne

Price, Pamela

Reeves, Sandra

Renzullo, Andrew

Slocum, Lee

Souza, Kathleen

Stepanek, Stephen

Tahir, Saghir

Ulery, Jordan

Villeneuve, Maurice

Wheeler, James






Anderson, Eric

Danforth, James

Field, William

Kennedy, Richard

Klose, John

Langlais, Thomas

Marple, Richard

Soltani, Tony






Allen, Mary

Asselin, Michael

Bettencourt, David

Bicknell, Elbert

Cady, Harriet

Camm, Kevin

Coburn, James

Dodge, Robert

Dumaine, Dudley

Flanders, John Sr

Garrity, James

Gilbert, Karl

Gillick, Thomas

Hopfgarten, Paul

Hughes, Daniel

Introne, Robert

Itse, Daniel

Johnson, Robert

Johnson, Rogers

Katsakiores, George

Kobel, Rudolph

McMahon, Charles

O'Neil, Michael

Putnam, Ed II

Quandt, Marshall Lee

Quandt, Matthew

Smith, Paul

Stiles, Nancy

Welch, David

Wiley, Robert

Winchell, George







Easson, Timothy

Hofemann, Roland

Hollinger, Jeffrey

Newton, Clifford










and the majority committee report was adopted.


Redistricting Plan Must Maintain Integrity Of Cities

            In a noble attempt to accomplish the thankless task of redistricting 400 New Hampshire House seats without ending up in court, House leadership has pursued a course which ironically will lead to more, rather than fewer, legal challenges.

            Leadership has bought into the lawyers’ contention that cities deserve no special treatment, that wards in fact be treated just like towns and therefore can be split apart and joined with surrounding towns to create legislative districts.

            While that analysis may be technically correct, it ignores more than a century of tradition that, if at all possible, cities be kept intact and not torn asunder in various combinations which towns of competing interests.

            Certainly leadership is wise enough to realize that history and tradition play a large role in legal proceedings, and I suspect the state will lose if cities join together to challenge this redistricting plan.

            That is not a threat on my part.  I would prefer that the problem be ironed out so that a court challenge will not be necessary, but from what I read in the media, Concord has already threatened legal action.

            In a sense, Concord is treated even more egregiously than Manchester in the plan passed now before us.  At least each Manchester ward is allotted two reps of its own prior to two of our wards (8 and 9) being placed with Litchfield in a floterial district. 

In the case of Concord, one of its wards (with more than 4000 people) is totally denied a representative and is placed with Hopkinton, a strategy clearly in violation of the Constitutional amendment passed in 2006.

            Although Manchester does in fact border Litchfield in an area where ward 8 extends south of the airport, the city has very little in common with this beautiful farming community. 

            However, it’s worse than that.  In many instances, the interests of Manchester and Litchfield are totally opposite.  In the school funding plan passed this year (actually a repeal of last year’s plan), Manchester lost more than $30 million, and Litchfield was one of the communities leading the charge to make changes.

            Any good representative could never adequately balance the interests of both Manchester and Litchfield when voting on such issues.

            In fact, the balancing act is difficult enough for a State Senator who represents both areas.  Just ask former Senator Betsi DeVries or current Senator Tom DeBlois.

            With each senator representing approximately 55,000 people, Senate districts must be large and contain disparate elements.

            However, the beauty of the New Hampshire House with its 400 members is that each member should be able to represent a small number of people (3291 ideally) whose interests are similar.

            When leadership bought into the legal argument that the integrity of cities is a low priority in creating districts, it went against traditions which have served this state well through the years.  Thus even if legal questions were not involved, I would feel compelled to oppose this plan.

            Manchester already loses two Representatives since our population has not kept pace with the rest of the state.  In fact, in the last 40 years, Manchester has lost nearly a third of its legislative delegation, down from 48 representatives down to the 33 we deserve today.  Math drives that process, and we can’t argue with it.

            However, Manchester stands to lose two more Representatives if the committee’s plan becomes law. 

            We can and do argue with that.

            For municipal purposes, all cities in the state have eliminated voting by parties.  You won’t see a Democrat or Republican on any of our ballots.  As elected officials, we have to work together for the benefit of all.  Compromise is not only a good thing; it is essential.

            I suggest that rather than risk going to court, leadership accept the spirit of compromise and come up with a redistricting plan which does not join cities, especially large cities, with small towns which have competing interests.

            Officials in Manchester did what the state asked us to do earlier this year.  They realigned the 12 wards so that they are approximately equal in population.  The understanding in accomplishing that task was that similarly populated wards could be grouped together in sensible legislative districts.  We never imagined we would be combined with Litchfield nor, I trust, did the voters, who passed the Constitutional amendment in 2006, ever imagine that such a thing would occur as a result. 

            Plans already exist to maintain the integrity of Manchester and Concord.  We’ve all seen them.  All House leadership need do is amend the approved plan, and we’ll all be happy.