Rep Steve Vaillancourt



Thursday
Sep182014

Scotsmen Are Expected To Vote "No" Today

Poll: No Campaign Has 6-Pt Lead

Were I in Scotland today and were I Scottish, I probably would vote to break the "eternal" ties with England and the U.K., but I doubt that will happen (latest polls have "No" leading by six points or so).

In fact, I was in Montreal the weekend leading up to the historic vote there in 1999, the time when Quebecers came within half a percent of taking the first step to move away from Canada.

I would not have voted to move Quebec out of Montreal, but then the Canadians don't have quite the imperialistic history that the Brits do. I've always believed that many of the problems of the modern world (at least the 19th and 20th century world) were either a direct or indirect result of British imperialism.

Two points must be made.

The closer a people get to separation, the more qualms seem to set in; that's a big plus for the "no" side.

However, predictions of problems should the yes side prevail are highly overrated, to the point of fear mongering by the big wigs in London. Not much will happen to hurt England or Scotland should the yes side prevail, and American interests are virtually non-existent; in other words, they're vastly exaggerated.

Recent documentation has come out showing how President Bill Clinton was working behind the scenes for the No vote in Quebec and was making contingency plans for the possibility that Yes passed. All indications today are that Quebecers are pleased with their narrow decision 15 years ago, so much so that the Parti Quebecois, the separatists, was thrown out of office at the provincial level earlier this year, and there's ZERO talk of calling for another referendum any time soon.

The United States should not have been involved in Canadian/Quebec internal politics, and the United States should not be involved in internal UK/Scottish affairs, but our leaders in Washington just can't seem to avoid getting involved in simply everything.

Like it was up to Quebecers to decided, it's solely up to Scots to decide.

Actually, other than Quebec, splits have been quite common recently. I'll never forget I was sitting in my eastern Berlin third floor apartment listening to the BBC (and watching fireworks exploding below), at the stroke of midnight December 31, 1992 when Czechoslovakia dissolved, entirely peacefully, into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.  I was actually doing a bit of filming at the time and intoned, “Czechoslovakia is no more.”

The dissolution of Yugoslavia was hardly as peaceful, but it seems to have worked out well.

One nation, now and forever (a Daniel Webster phrase) represents more overblown rhetoric than political reality.

People (or a people) should have the right to decide their fate.

As surprising as it may sound, I most likely would have opted to let the south go its separate way in 1861 rather than fight a civil war.

While I most likely would vote Yes today were I a Scotsman, I am not a Scotsman, and it's really none of my business.

Wednesday
Sep172014

Make Way For The Return Of Rep. Peter Silva

            

                At long last, the filing period for state offices is officially over.

                Even after the primary, the parties had until yesterday to fill vacancies which still existed.

                Believe it or not, even after several candidates managed to get on both sides of the ticket last Tuesday (35 write-ins on the opposing party’s ballot is all it takes), vacancies remained.

                Normally, these last minute candidates are not all that serious and should simply be considered ballot fillers.

                However, Republicans came up with a former Majority Leader, Peter Silva, who should actually be considered a favorite to top the ticket in Hillsborough District 35, Nashua Ward 8 which elects three Representatives.  Remember that Silva became Republican leader in 2012 following the resignation of D.J. Bettencourt, of Salem.  Ah yes...

                In the primary there, Democrats nominated Mangipudi, Hansberry, and Jean with 228, 181, and 160 votes respectively.

                The two Republican candidates, Stebbins and Brophy, received 422 and 303 votes. 

                Silva has tremendous name recognition.  Remember he lost in the Democratic sweep in Nashua in 2012 and then lost a special election to Mangipudi.  An unfortunate remark was made in the heat of that campaign (see link below), but it’s most likely forgotten by now, and  take this one to the bank—Silva will win this time, one of the few “ballot fillers” about whom we can say that.

                Mangipudi sat next to me on the Criminal Justice Committee; even as a first term Rep, she never tired of asking questions, most of them irrelevant; she was not one of my favorites, to say the least.

                Speaking of being on both sides of the ticket, check this out.

                Merrimack District 5 consists of New London/Newbury and elects two Reps.  Each party could find only one candidate, and they both received enough write-in votes to be on both sides of the ballot.

                Republican David Kidder, one of the few moderate Republicans remaining, received 826 Republican votes and 70 Democratic write-ins. 

                Democrat Karen Ebel received 296 Democratic votes and 60 Republican write-ins.

                This could be a first; obviously they’ll both win in November.  (It must be nice not to have to spend October on the campaign trail).

                Not that she needed to be on both sides of the ballot in highly Democratic Strafford 6 (Durham/Madbury) which elects five Reps, but Janet Wall once again received enough Republican write-ins (46) to make it on both sides.  Republicans could find only one candidate to run in this race; no other Democrat (Smith, Spang, Horrigan, or Burton) managed to get on both sides, but virtually no Democrat could ever lose in this district.

GOP's Peter Silva says Ward 8 polling place looked like ...

www.nashuatelegraph.com/.../gops-peter-silva-says-ward-...
 
Wednesday
Sep172014

Upping The Number To 250R On "Around Town"

                For the first time in nearly two years, I agreed to sit down for a full half hour TV show yesterday. You may remember that at the outset of 2013, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to refrain from television and basically I carried the pledge over into this year.  I tend to be overexposed .  At the end of 2013, I abandoned my own hour weekly show on Manchester Community TV (it became too much like real work), but even today, at least one out of two times when I’m in the library, the supermarket, or McDonalds (writing blogs), someone will come up to me and talk about my TV show...as if it's still on.

              Apparently once one is on TV, one is never forgotten.  (I did "More Politically Alert" for ten years providing "the kind of information you can't find anywhere else").  The only TV I’d done all the past 18 months was when I was so upset by Mayor Ted Gatsas shutting down stores for selling a perfectly legal product (Spice) that I acted on the urge to dash down to the Joe Kelly Levasseur Show to vent.  Sure enough, someone immediately came up to me at McDonalds that night to say they she just seen the show.

                When Concord Rep Dick Patten asked me to do his show (Around Town; I’m not even sure when it airs or on which station; one can always google it), I agreed, and it was a hoot.

                Talk about a low key host, that’s Dick Patten.  It was almost like sitting at home in your living room.

                Not that I ever want to scoop myself (in this blog), but I made some news on the show…if anyone watches.  I upped my prediction of Republican take-over of the New Hampshire House once again, up from 239 to 250 seats based on primary results which I’ve only alluded to here.  Heck, Democrats could lose five more seats than I had originally thought in Manchester alone.

                I predicted that while Frank Guinta and Marilinda Garcia would win the Congressional races against Carol Shea Porter and Annie Kuster this year, they would both lose the seats comes 2014.

                As I’ve always said, top of the ticket matters, and Barack Obama, while not on the ticket, will be a major drag on Democrats up and down the ticket this year, but I suspect Republicans will alienate enough voters that the pendulum will swing back the other way come 2016.

                Dick seemed to be pro gambling and while as a Libertarian, I support people’s right to waste their money any way they see fit, I felt compelled to opine once again that the New Hampshire House will not pass any gambling play next year, especially one which sends hundreds of millions of dollars to an out of state, yes, even an out of country, company operating a monopoly.

                I managed to get a plug in for my top two issues—either decriminalization or legalization of marijuana and a simple bill that would stop making law breakers out of 90 percent of our population, raising the interstate speed limit to 70 miles an hour.

                Dick seemed much more interested in government-sponsored railroads than I am.  I pointed out how rail is big in Europe, but Americans still have a love affair with their automobiles, and I would only support railroads if users bear the cost of running them; in other words, no more government handouts.

                That sounds like a consistent position for any libertarian to take; and I’m nothing if not a consistent libertarian.

                The half hour went by so fast, I can’t remember what else we talked about.

                Oh yes, I recall a bit of lamenting from both of us that far too many elected officials simply follow the party line rather than acting as independent sentient human beings, long a concern of mine, and leadership of both parties are equally guilty of coercion although it seems Terrie Norelli and her Democrats were especially guilty this past session.

                I got the feeling Rep. Patten was not a Norelli supporter.  Oh well, as Alexis said on Dynasty…cue up one of my favorite lines…”It’s all in the past now.”

                I enjoyed the guest shot on Around Town (or whatever the name is) that I actually considered going back to doing my own weekly show…for about five minutes, and then sanity returned.

                At least I don’t have to worry about my fellow citizens of Manchester seeing Around Town; it apparently only airs in Concord.  That’s fine with me; I seem to be as overexposed as ever.

                Chances are that within moments of reading this, others, those whom I’ve managed to say no to for the past 18months, will be asking again.  My excuse, “I swore off TV as a New Year’s resolution” appears to be invalid these days.

Around Town
Wednesday
Sep172014

Will NH Republicans Move A Step Closer To Marriage Equality?

Don't hold your breath...but...

At Saturday’s state convention, New Hampshire Republicans reportedly will be offered language to make the state party platform less hostile to homosexuals.

Mind you, the new language does not go as far as to endorse marriage equality; that’s what all recent polls show Americans favoring (see below), but it would remove the language that marriage is “the legal union between one man and one woman.”

Manchester Republican Chair Tammy Simmons, who as a Representative three years ago fought against repeal of the gay marriage law, has sent me a copy of the proposed new language.

It notes that the party shall “value marriage, rooted in love and lifelong commitment as both a religious institution and as a fundamental, personal freedom and one of the foundations of a civil society.”

While that sounds like a step in the right direction to me, I understand opposition will be ferocious from the right wing.

Ironically, I received this wording at the same time I heard on the radio (most likely in the Press Pool with Julie Mason on SiriusXM Potus) that Ohio Senator Rob Portman, who has a gay son and has come out in favor of marriage equality, is thinking of running for President.

Ah yes, there may be hope for the Grand Old Party, my party, after all.

Through the years, I have avoided these party conventions, but maybe I’ll have to head for Southern New Hampshire University Saturday morning.

Republicans chose delegates to the state convention on their primary ballot last week (Democrats employ a different system), but any Republican who won a primary for any office is also provide delegate status.

I guess that means I’m in. I don’t suppose they would welcome a half hour speech pointing out how now more than ever we should honor the right of any human being to marry the person he or she loves, not only for his or her sake but for the betterment of our society as well.

Here are a spate of recent polls (from pollingreport.com) which all show support for marriage equality, generally with margins in the 10-20 percent range.  Note how the CBS number has gone up from +13 in August to +19 in September.

September 15--CBS/New York Times 56-37 % support gay marriage.

August 7—Marist—54-38 % support for gay marriage.

August 4—CBS—53-40 % support for gay marriage.

June 1—ABC—56-38 % support for gay marriage.

May 11—Gallup—55-42 % support for gay marriage.

March 10—Bloomberg—55-36 % support for gay marriage.

February 26—Pew—54-39 % support for gay marriage.

Wednesday
Sep172014

90% Of UND Manchester Voters Reverted Back To UND 

                Thanks to Manchester City Clerk Matt Normand, we are provided an advance look at primary day registration, first time voters, and how Independents (officially known as Undeclared in New Hampshire) went last Tuesday.

                Keep in mind that these totals are only for Manchester; it’ll be a while until the Secretary of State’s office has the final statewide totals.

                New Hampshire state law allows for any Undeclared voter to take a primary ballot for either party and to actually revert to undeclared status before leaving the polling place.  Among others, I’ve fought hard for this “right” in the past, and indication from Manchester are that Undeclared voters clearly want to remain undeclared.  In the past, some Reps (sadly, mostly Reublicans) have attempted to force a three month waiting period before undeclared voters could revert back; I always thought of it as a three month hostage takeing! 

               89.3 percent of undeclared voters in Manchester (2645 of 2963) changed back to the undeclared status prior to leaving the polling place.  I suspect the number will be similar statewide.

                However, I was a bit surprised that 24.7 percent of Undeclared voters took a Democratic ballot (732 of the 2963); 75.3 percent (2231) took a Republican ballot.  Since there were very few contests on the Democratic side (Executive Councilor, County Commissioner only), one would have expected even fewer Undeclared voters to opt for a Democratic.  I’ll look for he number to be closer to 85-15 percent statewide; let’s make that an hypothesis.

                Equally as puzzling to me was a relatively high number of new voters.  Another great feature of New Hampshire law is that a voter can register and vote at the same time.

                One would have expected very few voters energized enough to come out and register Democratic since they then had to vote Democratic.

                Of 608 new registrants (that’s about 50 per ward, much more than I would have guessed), 263 registered Republican (43.3 percent), 249 undeclared (40.9 percent), and 96 Democratic (15.8 percent).

                With 7230 Manchester voters taking a Republican ballot, Undeclareds (2231) represented 30.8 percent.  With 5026 total Democratic ballots cast, Undeclareds (732) represented 14.6 percent.  Overall, of 12,256 total votes cast, the Undeclared total of 2963 represents 24.2 percent.

                My hypothesis is that we'll find Manchester slightly more Democratic than the overall state profile, no big revelation since registered Democrats enjoy a significant lead among the city's 52.228 regisltered voters.

                I may be the only one interested in such data (I suspect not) and for providing it so quickly, a big thanks to Matt Normand.  I’ll run the percentages statewide once the data is in…whether you want me to or not.

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