Steven J Connolly


Suave Political Meaning. 


To The Editor:

Senator Jeff Woodburn of Dalton is running for re-election for Senate District #1.

"It's all about the North Country our rural culture, values and way of life." Woodburn states in his official campaign announcement. First elected to this geographically expansive senate seat in 2013, the question is what has Sen. Jeff Woodburn actually done for the North Country?

The answer to this question might be more challenging than it seems. It's clear that the local economy is stalling and answers from Concord are not apparent. Sen. Jeff Woodburn is minority leader in the senate, a position that should be able to deliver progress and results to a district that borders Vermont, Maine and the Province of Quebec. Just last week Sen. Woodburn was in a "leadership summit" at the suave Mountain View House in Whitefield, other than fake photo ops and sipping champaigne it would be interesting to see how much 'leadership' was actually generated there.There Was A Leadership Summit At The Mountain View House. Is This An Irony? Or Is This Reality?

I don't think Sen. Jeff Woodburn has done anything except stand behind Gov. Maggie Hassan and her failed creation of an "innovation economy" in New Hampshire which in reality is state budget deficits, heroin deception, a floundering economy and the never ending political rhetoric for a campaign for U.S. Senate. The North Country deserves better than this.

There are two candidates that have come forward to replace Sen. Jeff Woodburn. Rep. Leon Rideout from Lancaster is running who has significant experience serving local people as both a state rep. and as a selectmen. I'm confident the Rideout campaign will spend a great deal of time talking about reality and what Sen. Woodburn clearly isn't doing for this area. The other less well known candidate is Sugar Hill resident Dolly McPhaul, who has taken a clear leadership position on the Eversource Northern Pass Proposal and what this will do the North Country if it is to move forward. Dolly McPhaul has been doing--on her own time what Sen. Woodburn should have been doing all along.

The political campaigns will all make their pitches as to who should be the next senator from District #1. This is your chance to create substative change. Ask for more and most of all demand more.






Vision Of Past And Future. 

It was my interest in rail that led to my involvement in NH politics and what a ride that it has been.

In any case, yesterday I went to what was once one of my favorite and most frequent railfan sites. And this is Wells River, Vermont. Back in the day this was a major railroad junction and nexus. It declined with the rest of the industry after WW II but it sill continued to be a major freight throughfare right through to about 1999.

This is shot that probally represents the epicenter of this important activity. I'm standing on the southern terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway "Lyndonville Subdivision" that runs south from Canada. I'm looking south at the Boston & Maine line that leads to White River Junction, Vermont and down the Connecticut River to East Deerfield, Mass. The line to the left also belonged to the Boston & Maine and it was their line to the papermills at Berlin, Groveton and there was also some salt and lumber business at Littleton.Wells River, Vermont. This Is Both A Vision Of Past And The Present.

Today all this is gone. The successor the the Boston & Maine, New Hampshire & Vermont Railroad abandoned most of the line to Berlin and Groveton and thus severing this connection. The Canadian Pacific evaculated from it's portion and sold their line to the State of Vermont. Later the Boston & Maine and it's owner Guilford Rail System would sell their portion of line from Wells River to White River Junction, VT to the State of Vermont for about $3.2 million dollars.

I used to go to this exact location and see all kinds of rail activity. At one point Ford Motor Company was bringing cars down from Canada via this route. I mean there was autorack after autorack interchanging from the CP to the B&M and it was happening right here. Actually, to get technical, it was CP to the Springfield Terminal Railway (ST). The ST was a successor to the B&M during the last years of operations on this line.

Today, all this is gone. The State of Vermont, as owner, signed a 30 year lease with two options for renewal to the Washington County Railroad, part of the Vermont Rail System. And they do run trains from White River Junction up to Newport, VT. And I don't think anywhere near the scale of what the CP and B&M were doing for traffic but this is only my vision.  

I'm sure 'Guest' can point out showing me that I'm wrong. But the history of this area is what is making me think of the proposed Canadian Pacific/Norfolk Southern merger. Which I still hope gets rejected by the Surface Transportation Board.


Intended Meanings. 

It's snowing up here in northern New Hampshire. This really isn't that amazing because this is what it does in this part of the world.

In any case, for whatever reason I'm still smarting from my last blog posts about the rail and how 'Guest' correctly pointed out that I'm clearly wrong, at least in the geographical part. I must have re-read my post ten times, this whole situation could have been avoided by the simple use of one four letter word: (and no that word), but the word: near. Had I said, "near Albany" this whole situation could have been avoided. Everyone that writes something has the responsibility to edit it.

But let's move on...

So, this morning I got a voice mail on my smartphone from the Caledonian Record newspaper to verify my letter to the Editor. And I called them back, "Good Afternoon, the Caledonian Record" the voice says. Of course it's only 0845.

I replied: "Good Morning Caledonian Record!." I don't think she got it.

So I'll revise my earlier statement, anyone that writes or says something has the responsibility to edit it.


Candidate Questionare. 

I'm considering doing a candidate questionare for the candidates running for office up here in the North Country.

I have numerous concerns about where issues are headed, or not headed, depending on how the issue is considered. This is a draft of what I'm thinking:

Northern Borders Regional Commission- How is this taxpayer financed (agency?) actually helping local communities in New Hampshire and Vermont?

Ask a question about Northern Pass proposal?

Ask a question about expanded casino gaming in New York and why it isn't possible for New Hampshire to do the same?

Ask a question about what their vision for the North Country is?

There has been at least one proposal to create a "State Bank" operated and run by the state and compete with regular banks and credit unions?

Ask a question about energy policy?

Do you have any questions NHINSIDERS?


Bad Railroad Merger. 

Draft II

To The Editor:

There was an announcement recently that could have a negative impact upon the local economies of both New Hampshire and Vermont.

The Canada based Canadian Pacific Railway has made an unsolicited offer to purchase the Norfolk Southern Railroad, which is a large rail carrier with a strategic presence in the Northeast. The Norfolk Southern has direct access to both New Hampshire and Vermont through it's ownership of Pan Am Southern, itself being the former Boston & Maine Railroad "west end" which is the rail lines west of Ayer, Massachusetts to Albany, New York and north of East Deerfield, Mass. along the NH/VT border to White River Junction, Vermont.

If this railroad merger is approved the Canadian Pacific Railway will control a major gateway and direct rail access to all of New England. This proposed rail merger will be expensive to execute as all rail mergers are. This will likely result in higher freight rates to and from New England, and even higher for interchange to light desity rail lines like what is operated in New Hampshire and Vermont. These higher freight rates would tranlate into higher consumer prices and very likely a loss in local jobs for businesses that are dependent on the rail.

Please contact Senator Kelly Ayotte at (603)-622-7979 or (603)-752-7702 and request that her office pressure the Surface Transportation Board to deny this railroad merger application and it's implications to both New Hampshire and Vermont.