Rep Steve Vaillancourt



Monday
May072012

Bolster To Seek Groen Seat

This was quick!

You read it here first.

Alton Republican Representative Peter Bolster (some would call him a RINO--not that there's anything wrong with that--I think they prefer the monikder "Main Streeter") has apparently decided to run for the District 6 State Senate seat being vacated by Fenton Groen.  This email was forwarded to me, not by Rep. Bolster, but by a Main Streeter he sent it to.

Alston was just added to this Senate district with the new plan.  Thus, it's at one of the geographic extremities of the district which should be dominated by Rochester.  Rep. Bolster may not be conservative enough to win a one-on-one Republican primary; he would do better in a multi-candidate field; and as a moderate, he would have a better chance of holding the seat for Republicans.

 

                  "It looks like with Sen. Fenton Groen dropping out of the

Senate Race in the new District 6 (Rochester, Farmington, New Durham, Alton,

Barnstead and Gilmanton), I will probably run for the Republican Nomination.

I may have competition from Rep. Sam Cataldo of Farmington and there may be

others (another right winger would help in the numbers game). I hope I can

have your support as you all will have mine.

                                     Rep. Peter Bolster"

Friday
May042012

Et Tu, Fenton?

"Et tu, Brute," Shakespeare had Julius Caesar proclaim prior to receiving the unkindest cut of all, the one which did him in.

The line seems especially appropriate today with Rochester Republican District 6 State Senator Fenton Groen's announcement that he won't seek re-election.

After the Republican-controlled Senate went out of its way to "gerrymander" (perfectly legal of course) the district to make it much easier for Groen to be re-elected, now he decides not to run again. 

Truly, this is the unkindest cut of all, much worse than the decision from Berlin Republican Senator John Gallus last week. 

Rather than "Et tu Brute" perhaps a rock lyric would be more appropriate.

"Another one bites the dust."

And now there are seven incumbent Republican senators not seeking re-election (I include Andy Sanborn who's moving to a new district--Bedford--and will face a stiff primary challenge from Rep. Ken
Hawkins should he decide to run).

Conjure this image in your mind.  Ray Buckley and/or Kathy Sullivan are sitting back sticking pins in voodoo dolls.   Aha, got another one.

That's only a joke, so don't sic the PC police on me.

However, it seems clear that just as Speaker Bill O'Brien's tyranny has jeopardized Republican control of the 400-member body, Republican control of the Senate could be slipping away as well.

Last week, I presented my ratings showing how Democrats will be favored to capture the Gallus seat.  I hear that Berlin Democrat Rep Robert Theberge is running, and I assume he'll win.

Hold for a minute while I go to the files to get my numbers for the Groen district.  As I noted, it's been "gerrymandered" to make it much more Republican (with the addition of highly Republican Alton), but let's get specific.

Be right back.  Gotta go to my car.

----------------------------------

It was worth the wait.  Very interesting.

The new district six includes all of Rochester (about 30,000 people, more than half the district), Farmington, Milton, New Durham, Gilmanton, and Alton.

Keep in mind that 50.00 in my calculation means the district in exactly half Democratic and half Republican; 100.00 is all Republican; 0.00 is all Democratic.

Barrington, Madbury, Nottingham, and Somersworth (mostly Democratic areas) were removed from the district.  That's the way "gerrymandering" works.

Rochester is an excellent example of a neutral area.  It’s 50.01 (I kid you not) according to my numbers, but Alton is 63.93, Gilmanton 53.97, New Durham 56.58, Milton 52.42, and Farmington 53.34.

Thus, you can see that every town in the district is at least slightly Republican, so it should come as no surprise that the district’s rating will be overall in favor of a Republican, but note that it hasn’t been that way in recent years.

In 2002, I had the district with a 6.06 percent Democratic advantage, no surprise since Democrats held the seat until Groen upset Jackie Cilley in the Republican sweep year of 2010.

If no changes had been made in redistricting, I had the district with a 3.50 percent Democratic advantage, but of course, many changes were made, so many that my numbers show a 6.14 percent Republican advantage now (which would mean a generic 53-47 margin for a Republican candidate).

In other words, Republican Senate “gerrymanders” changed the district to make it 9.64 percent more Republican.

That’s why I reported last week that while Groen would be favored, he would not be a sure thing.

It becomes very interesting now that he’s out.  The most logical candidate would be a moderate from Rochester, someone in the Jackie Cilley tradition.

This district has changed so dramatically that numerous possibilities spring to mind.

For example, how about someone who was too “liberal” for the Republican party and is now a Democrat?  Yes that would be long-time Rochester Representative Sandy Keans.

Wouldn’t that be interesting?

For Republicans, no…I’m not even going to suggest Julie Brown who takes pride in being attacked by the right wing of her party, but another renegade Republican who just might do it would be Alton’s Representative Peter Bolster.  My choice would be former New Durham Republican Rep David Bickford.  He actually ran for the Senate last time, but New Durham was in with the Laconia district then.  The most logical candidate would be a Rochester Republican.  Hey, Senator Groen’s brother, Represenative Warren Groen, could do it.  He’s far too much of a social conservative for my taste, but then, it’s not my district.

Let the battle begin.

My early out on a limb prediction—Senator Sandy Keans; it has a good ring to it, and it would be a big gain for Democrats.

Thursday
May032012

Media Watch--Googling For Kafuffles

            It’s been a while since Media Watch has appeared, so it’s time for a potpourri, if not a kafuffle, this week.  (Thanks spell check, I wanted to go with KERfuffle).

Googling The Telegraph--Having missed the redistricting hearing in Superior Court this morning, I thought I’d play a little game—Google for News. 

            Kevin Landrigan and the Nashua Telegraph is the winner.  Out of the media sites I googled (Union Leader, Monitor, WMUR, Telegraph), I found the story on this morning’s hearing only in the Telegraph.  It might be my error; I’m still a novice at this Googling business, but I deem it fair to suggest that the Telegraphy wins today’s news cycle, at least for those interested in this court action.  And it was on the regular site, not that pay for news service which I refuse to use.  Good job.

            The story was just about what I expected; Superior Court is trying to hurry this matter along to the Supremes and wants all parties to agree to facts and come back next Wednesday.  Speaker O’Brien’s $50,000 lawyer (that was prior to this action—that’s how much taxpayers have already paid on this kafuffle) seemed to be the only one who didn’t want to speed things along.  Could it be shades of Dean Smith and the Old North Carolina four corner offense—run out the clock?

            Kevin didn’t say that in his story—no good reporter would—but there’s enough there to read between the lines.

            The Telegraph’s series on Speaker Bill O’Brien this week, on the other hand, is virtually unreadable (sorry Kevin, sorry Jake Berry).  Who cares what has beens like Peter Ho! Ho! Ho! Burling, Bob Pay For My Suction Reduction Clegg, and the Wendelbonian think?  Make it stop!

We Miss Howie—WRKO’s homophobic Howie Carr is apparently out sick this week and I for one miss his outrages.  He’s been replaced by two of the dullest talksmen ever, former pol Avi Nelson (whom I tend to agree with but find extremely dull; he sounds like he’s asleep); and Colonel David “Call Me Dave” Hunt.  Ugh!

The Indian For Senate—Avi Nelson seems intent on following Fox News into the Elizabeth Warren as 1/32nd Cherokee kafuffle (how many times can I use that word in this article?) today.  She’s the left wing loonie running against Scott Brown for Massachusetts Senate, but rather than point out her insane views, right wing media seems fascinated these days by noting how she made up an Indian minority heritage when she was at Harvard. 

This is news?  It’s certainly titillating in the Howie Carr tradition, and we should expect the full barrage from the likes of Letterman, Leno, and Conan (sadly I don’t get that station, I truly miss Conan).  However, I suspect voters aren’t all that interested in the Cherokee blood story any more than they were with Connecticut Senate candidate Bloomberg lying about serving in Vietnam, any more than most Americans are about Obama’s birth certificate.

Right wingers need to concentrate on the truly scary economic policies of people like Warren and Obama and lay off the silly stuff although I have to admit, I get a good laugh out of the Cherokee woman trying to defend her past lies.

Go Scott Brown, go!

A Leggy Approach—Speaking of Fox News, you can get more legs than ever before.  If you happen to be up at 5 a.m., Fox has a new show with two lovely lovelies sitting on stools so their legs are on full display as much as possible.  It’s apparently not enough that Gretchen at 6 a.m. sits on the couch with a low cut top and those glaring legs—she sits between two fully clothed men.

The fact that Fox goes out of its way to flaunt skin should be newsworthy.  Rather than pose Bob Beckel on the end for the Five, they place the leggy woman there (who would want to see Beckel’s legs).  Even on that overnight show, Red Eye, they manage to place the leggiest guest so as to get the best camera angles.

Enough already, Roger Ailes, we know you care more about ratings than being fair and balanced, but enough exploitation of female reporters!

IB Madness!—She saved the quote for the final paragraph of a very long story, but Monitor reporter Molly A.K. Connors made me fully appreciate Bedford Senator Ray White this week in the story about HB1403, the House’s inane attempt to limit spread of  International Baccalaureate (IB) in the state.

You gotta love Senator White for hitting the nail precisely on the Libertarian head.  “If you’re an unapologetic, libertarian-minded small government conservative like me, there is absolutely no excuse for supporting curriculum decision at the state level.”

That’s exactly what I was thinking when I voted against this insanity in the House.  Good job Senator White; we’ll miss you.

For more on the pro side of IB education, the Union Leader ran an excellent op-ed piece Monday by Jeffrey Beard.  Ah yes, the always fair and balanced Union Leader!

Update--The Union Leader today actually weighed in with an editorial in opposition to this silly bill--there's hope for us yet! 

Venomous Burns—For out and out venomous meanness, nobody beats Sunday Monitor columnist  Katy Burns (although some would say I surpass her here).  This week, she must have been channeling her inner Howie Carr when she set out to attack Litchfield Republican Rep and State Senate wannabe George Lambert.  I actually agreed with much she had to say about Lambert’s tabling Senate bills, but she said it in such a mean-spirited way that…well, even I could not top her.  You win, Katy, you win!

Redistricting Insight—Grant Bosse’s op-ed piece (Monitor and perhaps other papers) on redistricting law suits seemed well thought out.  I’ve said all along that the Manchester suit has less chance than the others.  That’s why Manchester Reps needed to stand together to stop this before it got to court—alas the seven serpents (we are still using the graphic on my Channel 23 show—it’s become quite the hit!) did not—Will Infantine, Mike Ball, Leo Pepino, Connie Soucy, Ross Terrio, Kathy Cusson-Cail and Carlos Gonzalez.  In the “you just can’t make this stuff up” department, after stabbing his city in the back, Pepino actually signed on to the law suit opposing the plan.

Time to hang it up, Leo!

Sausage In Keene—Keene Democratic Rep. Cytnhia Chase offered one of the best looks at last week’s House kafuffle.  Check out her op-ed piece “How sausage is made in the NH House—In Concord snow plowing is related to unions, and abortion is related to business research” in the Sentinel from last weekend.

By the way, I’ve agree to hit the Keene airwaves Friday morning as the guest of Dan Mitchell on WKBK, 1290 am and 104.1 am, in the 9 a.m. hour.  I’m not sure why, but then…why not?

All The Best, Norma—Our favorite reporter, Norma Love of AP, will be out for several weeks while on the mend.  We wish her well.  If you’re into prayer (hey, I just finished reading Penn Jillette’s book, what can I say?), say a prayer for her.

Wednesday
May022012

Dig Those Crazy HRA Scores!

            The House Republican Alliance, the conservative group of House Republicans, is out with its first score sheet of the year, and all I can say is, “Dig those crazy ratings!”

            According to the HRA scores, I’m a much better Republican than former Speaker Gene Chandler (73 vs. 62); than former GOP leader Sherm Packard (73 vs. 57); than David Hess (73 vs. 55); and, among many, many others than former Finance Chair Neal Kurk (73 vs. 51).

            Yes, you read that correctly. 

            I, your humble maverick, your proud gadfly, score a 73 while Neal Kurk votes with Democrats almost half the time!  That’s what 51 means—you’re voting with the HRA only slightly more than half the time.

            To be specific, I’ve voted the HRA position 77 out of 105 times; Rep. Kurk only 54 out of 105 times.

            But that’s just the tip of a very confusing iceberg.  Bill Belvin, who served as Division I Finance Chair when I was on that august committee, gets a 52 to my 73.  He’s voted with his HRA brethren only 55 times, a whopping one time more than Rep. Kurk.

            Guess who’s tied with me at 73?

            Yes indeed, your Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt gets 73 percent.  The only difference is that while Rep. Kurk and I have been present for all 105 votes, D.J. has missed ten percent of the votes, so he’s voted with the party (which he’s supposed to be leading) only 69 of 95 times.

            As you probably know, the Speaker is only called upon to vote during tie situation, but Bill O’Brien, unlike prior Speakers, decides to vote from time to time, and guess what?  He’s only voted with the HRA seven of nine times.  Deputy Speaker Pam Tucker has only voted with the HRA 66 of 88 times (75 percent—she’s been absent 16 percent of the time).

            The HRA explains that its scores are based on how a Representative “supported the principles of fiscal restraint, personal freedom and responsibility, small government, free enterprise, and strong family values.”

            This is so much fun; let’s check out some more RINOS (certainly anyone falling below 70 should be considered a RINO, n’est-ce pas?).

            Hmmm…

            Shawn Jasper, Bettencourt’s deputy leader, 61 percent; he voted with the HRA only 63 of 103 times.  He missed two votes—must be when he didn’t dare stick around to vote on the Cohn redistricting amendment the second time around.  Actually Jasper was actually officially listed as excused for that vote although he was present for the vote just before it and just after it (as were four other Hudson Reps)…but that’s a story…a very long one for another blog.

            My seatmate, North Country police officer John Tholl (rumored to be a candidate for the Gallus senate seat) must be a RINO—he’s in at 59 percent.

            Former Ways and Means Chair Norm Major checks in at 69%, seven points less than current Ways and Means Chair Steve Stepanek (76) and five points less than Finance Chair Ken Weyler (74).

            How can this be?

            Maybe HRA tri-chairs Dan McGuire (97), Marilinda Garcia (92) or better yet Stephen Palmer (98) can offer an answer.

            Never have so many Republicans scored so low on the HRA score sheet.  I’m not making editorial comments here, just stating a fact and asking the question—why?

            Or How?

            How can Neal Kurk be with Democrats almost half the time…or Sherm Packard…or Gene Chandler?

            Am I reading this right?

            Last year, I had a 90 on the HRA sheet; I wasn’t pleased; it was far too high a score, I told myself, fully realizing that my score would go down this year because unlike last year when we dealt with fiscal issues, we’re facing social issues this year.

            After all, I am the most fiscally conservative member of the House and the most socially liberal.  Cut more spending and legalize not only marijuana, but also prostitution; that’s my mantra, so a 73 seems entirely fitting for me.

            Seth Cohn (80) and I agree on most issues, so his score makes sense, but D.J. and I together at 73, 12 points ahead of Jasper and 14 ahead of Tholl?

            How can this be?

            I can hardly wait to see the Liberty Caucus score sheet at the end of the year; I expect to be around 90 there (I know I’ve gone against their recommendations at least four times, and those are my philosophic brethren).

            So, you may ask yourself, was anybody 105 for 105 with the HRA?

            No.

            Grafton County Rep. Charles Sova (I like him a lot) was 104 for 104.  Hillsborough County Rep Holly Mecheski was 73 for 74.

            The highest scoring Democrat was…regular readers here should be able to guess this one…Roger Berube at 35 percent, ahead of Dom Domingo at 30 percent (but Dom missed 71 percent of the 105 votes) and Manchester’s John Gimas who, with an excellent 96 percent attendance, voted with the HRA 26 percent of the time.

            John…don’t tell Raybo, John.  You may be primaried if you do.

            The lowest scoring Republican, you ask?

            Now that Derry Rep Ken Gould has left us, that honor falls to…the envelope please…Carolyn Gargasz at 24 percent, one point ahead of Julie Brown, two ahead of Priscilla Lockwood, three ahead of David Kidder, and five ahead of Alida Millham.  Sorry, Irene, you're up at 42 percent...next thing you know, you'll be vaulting past Neal Kurk.

             Of course, these numbers don't include Manchester Rep Norma Champagne who scored a ZERO because she was absent for all 105 votes.

            You can check out the score of any of the 400 Reps (plus attendance for the 105 votes) by going to nhhra.org. 

            Hey blogmaster, maybe we should put the entire sheet up here.

            This is so much fun I’m tempted to continue, but let’s wait for an explanation from the tri-chairs before we plow any more ground.

            But wait…you need to know this…11 percent.

            That’s Democrat leader Terie Norelli’s score (with 88 percent attendance).

            The absolute lowest scores of people who show up from time to time…Strafford County Democrat Dorothea Hooper—34 percent attendance and three percent score; and Manchester’s Nick Levasseur—42 percent attendance and seven percent score.

            Depending on how you look at it—they could be wearing badges of honor!

Wednesday
May022012

Redistricting Law Suits--Five And Counting

Last time we checked, the number of redistricting law suits stood at three.

As everybody prepares to head to court Thursday morning at 9 a.m. (Hillsborough Superior--near the police station), we're up to five and counting.

Last week, Manchester, Concord, and Democrats had filed suits.

This week, Republicans (led by Lee Quandt and Tony Soltani but also including me) have filed along with the folks from Gilford/Meredith.

Just to review, Gilford deserves slightly more than two Reps, Meredith slightly less than two Reps.  The House-passed plan denies each town their own Reps and lumps them together, contrary to the Constitutional Amendment passed in 2006, for four of their own.  Thus, either town could end up with ZERO Reps.  The Parison compromise would have allowed each town to have one Rep with two to be floated, similar to the fix that was offered for Hudson and Litchfield in the Seth Cohn Amendment which was passed by the House (until Speaker O'Brien went berserk and bullied Republicans into reconsidering it).

O'Brien, not content to intimidate House members, is now insisting that he be allowed to argue the case in court.  Interestingly, the New Hampshire Senate has filed a motion to NOT allow that.  It would be ironic indeed if the court shuts O'Brien down the way he on the House floor shuts off those Reps he doesn't agree with.

But you know me.  I believe in free speech, so I say let O'Brien plead his case.  Maybe he can explain how House Republicans (including Paul Mirski) ten years ago passed two plans, one with a 22.44 percent deviation, the other with 16.85 percent deviation, but now the Mirskiites are insisting on a ten percent standard which makes it impossible to follow the state Constitution.  I just happen to have copies of those plans…just in case the court is interested!

You just can't make this stuff up.

I'm no lawyer, but I do recall some legal admonition about a man who serves as his own lawyer has a fool for a client.

Hmmm...O'Brien serving as his own lawyer...hmmm....what kind of client does that make him?

As I say on my TV show this week...The Liberty Express...check it out on vimeo.com/channels/libertyx...those four most welcome words in the English language come to mind...

I

TOLD

YOU

SO.

Let the fun begin, but lest we forget...

Tragically this all could have been prevented, but for the HUBRIS of one man…hmmm. Who would that be?