Steven J Connolly

Wednesday
Dec102014

Queensryche.

I'm reading about the Gov. Hassan inauguration and the 'North Country Ball.'

It's at the Mount Washington Hotel and as you might imagine it will be a ceremony that will befit royalty and the upper echelons of society.

Wonder how many people from the 'North Country' will actually attend this black tie event?

I'll answer this. Not many or at least not more than 12. And of these twelve they'll be attorneys with political bents, the well off, and several retirees of course. Not a sampling of the North Country demographics that exist here, but this is the way that it is done.

In 1996 as I was starting my second term in the NH House. New governor Jeanne Shaheen had a "North Country Ball." It was a very good event. It was affordable $25.00 took place at the Royalty Inn in Gorham it had an open bar, good food, many local people attended and the speeches including Gov. Shaheen were very light hearted and fun. I remember Gov. Shaheen telling many funny jokes about her husband Billy.

Of course life in 1996 was different than it is today.

I think Gov. Hassan and her inauguration party at the Mount Washington Hotel is symptomatic of what she really is: a growing divide between the rich and the poor. With the obvious preference to those who are or aspire to be rich including it's values like "innovation" and STEM.

I'm sure the caviar and wine will be flowing as if in testament to a queen that will rule and not serve.

Monday
Dec082014

Live Free Or Not. 

I'm still working on verifying the historical details including the dates described.

DRAFT

To The Editor:

  The state motto of New Hampshire is Live Free or Die. An ideal that is not only under assault, it may be destroyed.

  In 1620 the King of England, George I had an issue on his hands. The king was trying to establish governance of a newly established New Hampshire colony. The king knew one thing for certain: that NH citizens do not like centralized government or power. So George I created a five member Executive Council, a large citizen legislature and later appointed state officials whose terms far outshine the powers of a sitting governor.

  It is a state government that has worked well. New Hampshire now stands apart from every other New England state in everything from personal freedom, land use to taxation.

  But this may be ending. Gov. Maggie Hassan and Sen. Jeff Woodburn have questionable to no use for the traditions of the past. It's my understanding that Gov. Hassan is quietly lining up support, including Sen. Woodburn, to implement a statewide income tax. This undoubtedly, to finance an "innovation economy" based on the size and power of the state at the expense of freedom, life and even death. This isn't New Hampshire.

Saturday
Dec062014

Sweet Pea Politics

Last night was a typical early December night in New Hampshire. Snowing, cold, dark and a forerunner of what is to come. I think most people use good judgement and stay put on nights such as these.

Not me.

Almost on the spur of the moment I decided to venture to Waterville Valley, NH to listen to Carl Lindblade on the UNH speaker's series give a talk about the Bretton Woods Monetary Conference in 1944. I worked at the Mount Washington Hotel for six seasons and have a continuing interest in WW II history so I had two reasons for venturing out into the darkness.

It was about an hour and it wasn't designed to be PHd dissertation about economic or financial policy. It was a survey of the confrence, it's meaning and Mr. Lindblade also interjected some of the personalities of the day including doing a very good impression of Sir Winston Churchill. 

In any case I ended up picking up some interesting NH political history that had I not attended probally wouldn't have ever come across. The first one is sweet peas. From what I understand is 'back in the day' sweet peas from New Hampshire were an intergral part of any political or power event and they came from farms across New Hampshire. Sweet Peas.

And the second an interesting piece is Gov. John Winant. Gov. John Winant First NH Gov. To Be Re-Elected To A Second Term.NH Citizens Do Not Like Centralized Poltical Power.

A fascinating individual in the history of the granite state. Mr. Lindblade explained that since the time of King George. New Hampshire citizens "do not like centralized government or centralized political power." So, hence the existence of an Executive Council, a large legislature and state department heads whose appointed terms far out distance the power of a short-term sitting governor.

Gov. John Winant was the first NH Governor to be re-elected to a second term. At a very bad time too. 1931-1935. The great depression. Think things are bad now. Try back then. We've come a long way baby!

Winant also went on to serve in another capacity during a dark hour. As U.S. Ambassador to England starting in 1941.

I could go on here about this powerful individual but I won't.

From what Mr. Lindblade was saying there are plans to have a lecture series about Gov. Winant.  

 

Thursday
Dec042014

Stacey Cole Tough. 

This won't be the most well organized blog I've ever done on nhinsider.com but I wanted to write a few words out of great respect and admiration for the passing of Stacey Cole aged 92. 

This actually happened 20 years ago when I was a freshmen in the New Hampshire House. I'm sure very similar to many freshmen legislators I went into the statehouse with too much idealism, self-worth, ideas, visions and a naive view of what serving in the NH House of Representatives is all about.

Deputy Speaker Stacey Cole solved all of these issues for me and I respect him greatly for this. 

So it goes like this. I submitted an LSR dealing with the movement of solid waste by rail across Vermont and into New Hampshire, including a study committee to consider how this would improve landfills, garbage and the rail networks that these were on. Vermont is doing a similar study on their side of the river.

It got refereed to the wrong committee. I'd think since it was a transportation type of bill it would have gone to either transportation or public works. It didn't it got sent to environment and agriculture.

So I decided to appeal this assignment and under house rules the Deputy Speaker was "responsible for assignment of legislation(LSRs)."   Now let's forward to the meeting in the Deputy Speaker's office on the third floor. Rep. Cole is clearly an experienced, knowledgeable legislator; I think he got his first political appointment in 1959 and has political experience in Washington and Concord in strategic areas ranging from petroleum to timber harvesting. 

So in I go..... I explain to the Deputy Speaker that I felt that this LSR had been assigned to the "wrong committee." And I'll never forget the response that I received: the best way I can describe this would be like a mouse putting on boxing gloves, going into the ring and questioning Mike Tyson about his abilities as a professional boxer. I can remember walking down the hallway afterwards thinking, this wasn't a question of being handed my ass because I never had an ass to begin with. 

Not once did the Deputy Speaker ever raise his voice, not once was there any emotion but he certainly did make it this very clear. Very professionally and very diplomatically. And I could tell throughout that the Deputy Speaker had deep respect for the institution, it's values and what it's role is in New Hampshire. 

I think in today's world it is very easy to forget this. 

But I'll never forget Rep. Stacey Cole. 

My LSR was killed not a week later. 

 

Monday
Nov242014

Decision Time. 

This morning I was reading in the Concord Monitor about the challenges of NH Budget Writers in the upcoming Biennium.

Challenge here is an understatement. Impossibility is the better term.

I think this state is approaching disaster yet, no one is talking about it!

This is a letter to the editor I'm thinking about sending. I'm still working on an employment endeavor in Canada so I'm trying to not move into too many directions at once. And right now NH politics isn't a very good direction to be moving in.

To The Editor:

The upcoming legislative session in New Hampshire will prove decisive in showing either the way forward or the way backward. The granite state is $400 million dollars in deficit as Gov. Maggie Hassan proposes some $2.6 billion in new spending, this amid an expansion of programmes like expanded Medicaid.

This level of spending and debt isn't sustainable or good policy. But it is however, what Gov. Hassan clearly wants for New Hampshire: big government, big spending and a taxation heavy "innovation economy." The vote on the state budget will show exactly which way New Hampshire is heading. Local legislators like Rep. Brad Bailey,Rep. Linda Massimilla and Rep.-elect Erin Hennessey all campaigned on themes of "supporting the North Country."

It will be interesting to see if these legislators demonstrate any real independence and leadership or simply talk like parrots and go along with the big spending and innovative governor. My guess is that it will be the later.