Andrew Hemingway: “We are talking about the importance of protecting life”

Andrew Hemingway
Andrew Hemingway

Andrew Hemingway wants to be New Hampshire’s next governor. He’s twenty days away from a big hurdle: the primary election that pits him against former BAE executive Walt Havenstein. Both men are putting in countless miles getting to events and meeting voters. Andrew Hemingway made a priority of coming to Concord on a recent weekend to speak at a pro-life gathering arranged by supporters of Senate candidate Bob Smith.

One can’t help but be struck by Hemingway’s youth (early 30s) when he’s at a forum with other candidates, many of them a generation older, with that much more experience. He didn’t sound like a newcomer when he took the mic, though, and made his appeal to the pro-life voters listening on the State House plaza.

One of the things I’ve been most impressed and excited about throughout this process is meeting people. It’s the most rewarding part of this. If you’re not excited and interested in the people of New Hampshire, you’re probably doing the wrong thing. I have been amazed at the number of individuals who are pro-life, yet have been beaten into submission and into silence. Folks, we have over 500 Republicans running in this state right now for election, and yet when we hold a pro-life rally on the steps of the capitol building, are they there? I think we should take a count, not so much of who is here, but who is NOT here. They say that they’re Republican, yet do they represent what it means to be a Republican? Because last I checked, the right to life, the value and the sanctity that we put on human life, is still in our party platform. And I want to say thank you …to the state candidates who are here, I want to say thank you to all of you who are here, who are willing to stand up regardless of what the mainstream media tells us, regardless perhaps sometimes of what our own party leadership tells us. We know that life is sacred from conception until natural death.”

He called out Republicans supportive of the abortion agenda. He knows perfectly well that New Hampshire voters have varying views. He also knows what the Republican platform says.

“…in our party, we were putting forward individuals who are pro-choice, who are actually scornful of individuals who carry the pro-life banner and stand up for life. We see it in these closed rooms. We’re told ‘you can’t talk about that. Don’t talk about that issue.’ Anyone who has run for office knows that this is true. Absolutely true. ‘You can’t talk about that issue. After we win, then we get to talk about it.’ No. That is why we lose.”

Andrew spoke boldly about the 2011 Executive Council vote to deny Planned Parenthood the Title X family planning contract it had come to expect every two years. (Here’s a review of that situation, including how PP recovered from the vote.) He doesn’t buy into the segregated-funds argument advanced by PP, which says that Title X funds cannot be used for abortion – this from northern New England’s premier abortion provider, which complained about having to drop cancer screenings when Title X funding was compromised. Apparently staff salaries and public policy work are more critical than cancer screenings — but I digress.

You know the funding of Planned Parenthood came up in our Executive Council. And if not for Republicans voting for that funding, it would have been shut off. It would have been stopped. Countless lives would have been saved in this state. We were two votes away. I believe that with the right leadership in Concord, with the right leadership in the governor’s office, with a conservative House, with a conservative Senate, we can stop the taxpayer funding of abortions in our state.”

Taxpayer funding of abortion providers, actually. Any move to let taxpayers divest from that industry is a step in the right direction.

Am I drawing a figurative target on his back by reporting what he said? I don’t think so. A big-bucks abortion advocacy group has already signed on with Governor Hassan, and that will not change. Walt Havenstein and Andrew Hemingway can both expect slander and lies once the primary’s over, no matter who wins:- “denying health care to women” if they support taxpayer divestiture from abortion providers, “bosses making women’s health care decisions” if they support the Hobby Lobby decision and conscience rights for employers (including female business owners), “putting women’s safety at risk” if they’re not on board with the buffer zone and its nullification of the First Amendment “up to 25 feet” from abortion facilities.

Where to from here?:

You’ve got to ask yourselves ‘how to we take that next step?’ Is it just rallies? Is this just where we come and we clap and we cheer and we say Yes and we get fired up, and then we stop? No. You can’t let this stop. This needs to be a starting point. Is there any other greater cause? No. This is it. The pinnacle. So we must move forward on this cause. You must take the energy from this day and move this cause forward. Believe me: at every single stop, in all 200 places, we are talking about the importance of protecting life. … [Pro-life candidates] will keep fighting. But we need your help. We need your support. We need you to rally your friends and your family. Make sure everybody who votes September 9th votes pro-life.”

Thanking a voter who picked up a yard sign
Thanking a voter who picked up a yard sign

I spoke with Andrew privately after the event. I had to ask him a question that he’s probably heard often. Walt Havenstein is a man of proven managerial skill, as is known by many New Hampshire residents who have worked at BAE Systems. (I include my own family in there.) How can Andrew Hemingway compete with that kind of management experience? “Yes. Walt does have management experience. No question. But he’s not an entrepreneur. He’s a manager. He’s not a creator. I’m an entrepreneur. I’ve started businesses, I’ve sold businesses. I understand small business.” He noted that most New Hampshire businesses fall into that category. “I understand New Hampshire. I grew up here.”

I asked him if anything had surprised him about the state during his campaign travels. “Some of the manufacturers here that I’d never heard of!” And one more thing: “How beautiful our state is. I thought I knew that already. Then I go someplace new, and I think, ‘oh, this is amazing,’ and then I have another stop later in the day, and it’s a place just as amazing.”

After the rally, he stayed to talk with voters. No looking at his watch. He spent more time listening than talking. Retail politics at its best. As he said, he understands New Hampshire.




Gallery: pro-life rally sponsored by Women for Bob Smith, 8/17/14

Women for Smith pro-life rally, 8/17/14

Candidates gathered on State House plaza in Concord Sunday afternoon to make their pitches to pro-life voters. Here’s a selection of the speakers. Thumbs up to Women for Bob Smith, who organized the event and managed to bring together a wide variety of candidates.

Bob Smith, running to regain his seat in the U.S. Senate representing New Hampshire: "I don’t know if you know the impact that you have, and how much it means to me that you’re out there."
Bob Smith, running to regain his seat in the U.S. Senate representing New Hampshire: “I don’t know if you know the impact that you have, and how much it means to me that you’re out there.”
 Andrew Hemingway, candidate for governor, on the right to life: "Is there any other greater cause? No. This is it. The pinnacle. You must take the energy from this day and move this cause forward."
Andrew Hemingway, candidate for governor, on the right to life: “Is there any other greater cause? No. This is it. The pinnacle. You must take the energy from this day and move this cause forward.”


Pro-life candidates plan rally in Concord August 17

[8/14: This post has been revised to reflect a change in the lineup of speakers.]

No endorsements here – remember, I’m not a PAC, and I have a day job that calls for primary neutrality – but I have no problem drawing your attention to an event this Sunday, August 17.  A pro-life rally in Concord planned by a candidate, no less. Other candidates will be on hand as well, reaching out to pro-life voters. Huzzah, says I!

Come to the State House plaza Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. for this pro-life gathering sponsored by Women for Bob Smith. Should be a nice ice-free change from the usual January rally before the March for Life. Sunday’s speakers, as announced so far, include former-and-maybe-future Senator Bob Smith, Republican gubernatorial candidate Andrew Hemingway, Darlene Pawlik of New Hampshire Right to Life, and activist Karen Testerman. On board with one of these candidates? They’d love to see you there. Still working out who to vote for in the primary, which comes a little over three weeks from the rally? Come hear what they have to say.

Speaking of Karen Testerman, I ran into her at a local coffee shop yesterday. She radiated the energy that always animates her when there’s a campaign going on. She bowed out of the primary and pledged her support to Bob Smith. She meant business. She’s looking forward to Sunday’s rally. Her parting words to me regarding the Smith campaign: “If we get fifty percent of the registered voters who are Catholic and Evangelical, we win.” Ah, but that’s the catch: will the pro-life voters, regardless of faith affiliation or lack thereof, come out in an off-year primary?

Smart candidates care about that. I look forward to hearing from some of them Sunday.


Pro-life candidates gather in Manchester

New Hampshire Right to Life’s political action committee showcased signers of its 2014 “Affirmation Statement” Thursday evening in Manchester, with guest speaker Rebecca Kiessling of Save the 1. (See coverage of a May 2013 interview with Kiessling and Darlene Pawlik here.) The deck at Murphy’s Taproom was the setting for a few speeches and a lot of mingling with New Hampshire candidates for offices ranging from state representative to U.S. Senate.

Rebecca Kiessling
Rebecca Kiessling (event photos by Ellen Kolb)

Kiessling, conceived in rape, takes “exceptions” legislation personally. When a law restricting abortion has an exception for pregnancies resulting from rape, “I’m that exception.” She campaigns nationwide for legislation respecting the lives of all preborn children. She urged candidates to keep two things in mind when faced with pressure to endorse exceptions. “First, don’t ever say [pregnancy from rape] is rare. It’s not. Twenty-seven thousand [children are] born every year as a result of rape. Don’t diminish, just defend. Number two, talk about our sense of justice in America. It is extreme to punish an innocent person for someone else’s crime, and we don’t do that. It’s un-American.”


Andrew Hemingway, Republican candidate for Governor
Andrew Hemingway, Republican candidate for Governor

Introduced by PAC chairman Darlene Pawlik as “the only pro-life gubernatorial candidate,” Andrew Hemingway began his remarks by reflecting on the New Hampshire state motto. “I am running for governor because I believe our state motto, Live Free or Die, is more than just a catchy marketing phrase. It’s a statement of principle. The first of our rights is the right to life.” Referring to the GOP, “As a party, I do not believe we should be backing away from this issue. This is a fundamental right.” He thanked his listeners before giving them a challenge. “I have traveled around the state of New Hampshire, and there is a re-awakening to the issue of life. I’m excited about it. Hopefully, all of us tonight will be more inspired, and we’ll meet candidates who will carry the torch. We’ll see a life-voters turnout in September. That’s what we need. And I don’t know how to express this enough: there is a tremendous amount of responsibility that comes with the knowledge of these types of issues. You need to tell every single person voting in September how important this issue is. Candidates can only do so much. It’s you. We need you. Talk, talk, talk to as many people as you can.”

Former U.S. Senator (and current candidate) Bob Smith
Former U.S. Senator (and current candidate) Bob Smith

Former U.S. Senator Bob Smith, running to regain his seat, got a warm reception from the crowd in tribute to his eighteen years as a pro-life leader in Washington. He took the mic and cast a sly glance toward WMUR-TV’s political reporter, James Pindell, who arrived just after Kiessling had finished speaking. Smith got a round of applause for urging Pindell to feature Kiessling and her story in his report on the event. Then, he turned to his own candidacy. “It’s been the highest honor and privilege of my entire political life, and indeed almost of my whole life, to stand on the Senate floor on numerous occasions, and before that the House floor, and stand up for life. The ultimate freedom, the ultimate liberty, is the right to be born. I just want to be a little bit personal here. We speak about this issue in general terms. ‘A woman’s right to choose.’ Or ‘a fetus.’ It’s very impersonal. But let me tell you something: it’s pretty damn personal when you get to know what happens. I’ve cried with women who have had abortions, I’ve cried over the babies who have died from abortions, and I’ve cried with people who’ve performed them and regretted them.” He said this election “is not about the big money. It’s really not. It’s about issues like this one. This is what matters. When the history books are written, you are the heroes. We [candidates] have the easy part. It’s you who are behind us that make us do what we do, because we believe. We know you believe. We know you want us to do the right thing and stop this atrocity. I spent eighteen years trying to stop it, and if God lets me, I’ll spend the next eighteen years and I WILL stop it.”

Also attending were candidates for state Senate and House who have signed NHRTL-PAC’s Affirmation Statement. The PAC uses the Statement as the first step in an endorsement process. The names of endorsed candidates will go online Monday, August 5 at and will be updated throughout the campaign season.