Observations on the Republican candidates for N.H. Governor 2016

For what it’s worth, I offer a few notes on votes cast by the people running for New Hampshire Governor in the Republican primary.

I’m not ignoring the Democrats. It’s just that I refuse to pretend that there are any distinctions among them on the right to life and the desirability of forcing you and me to hand money to abortion providers. PPNNE’s Action Fund has endorsed Colin Van Ostern, if that tells you anything.

Clockwise from upper left: Frank Edelblut. Jeanie Forrester, Chris Sununu, Ted Gatsas. Gatsas photo: Facebook; all others from nh.gov.
Clockwise from upper left: Frank Edelblut. Jeanie Forrester, Chris Sununu, Ted Gatsas. Gatsas photo: Facebook; all others from nh.gov.

I’ve interviewed Frank Edelblut. He’s got a decent voting record in his one and only House term. (I tracked some 2015 and 2016 votes.) He’s been endorsed by New Hampshire Right to Life PAC (and the name is spelled “Edelblut,” folks).

Jeanie Forrester has been a state senator for three terms. Her record can’t be compared directly with Rep. Edelblut’s, since most life issue bills originate and are killed in the House.

  • She voted for the parental notification law (HB 329) that was passed in 2011 over John Lynch’s veto.
  • In 2012, she supported the fetal homicide bill (HB 217) that came achingly close to passage, falling to a veto. She supported the ban on partial birth abortion (HB 1679, which became law). She voted against killing the Women’s Right to Know bill (HB 1659, also known as Informed Consent). She voted to send a post-20-week abortion restriction to interim study, effectively killing the bill. She voted along with 16 other senators to table a bill to restrict public funding of abortion providers (HB 228).
  • In 2014, she opposed repealing the death penalty (HB 1170).
  • In 2015 and 2016, when fetal homicide bills (HB 560 and SB 40) got bogged down, she ended up along with several pro-life colleagues voting for troublesome Senate language that had been amended to define “viable” [fetus] as being “capable of sustained extrauterine survival.” If that language was designed to pick up votes from a couple of resistant Republican senators – as I suspect it was – it fell short. (See my coverage of these bills.)

Ted Gatsas was a five-term state senator before being elected mayor of Manchester. In the Senate in 2003, he supported a parental notification bill that became law only to be repealed a few years later. (A second bill passed after Gatsas left office and remains in effect.) In 2007, when the Senate considered a bill to ban the Department of Health and Human Services from entering into contracts with abortion providers (SB 77), he voted against killing the bill. In 2008, pro-abortion senators tried to pass an “adult involvement” bill (SB 527) as an alternative to parental notification for minors seeking abortion. Gatsas voted against the bill, before it was sent to interim study on a voice vote.

And then there’s Chris Sununu. He has thrice voted as an Executive Councilor to give contracts – that’s your money – to abortion providers (2011, 2014, 2016). He managed to vote against one Planned Parenthood contract in August of 2015, but his recent vote flipped that and sent him back to what is apparently his comfort zone. He has no legislative record to confirm where he stands on other life-issue policies.

I strongly advise concerned voters to contact candidates directly for more information.


Edelblut: Sununu “doesn’t know what he believes in”

Gubernatorial candidate Frank Edelblut, one of several Republican primary contenders, took fellow candidate Chris Sununu to task after Sununu flip-flopped on Planned Parenthood funding at today’s Executive Council meeting. I spoke with Edelblut briefly after the Council’s vote.

“We need a Governor who knows what he believes in,” he said. “Chris Sununu has been playing politics with this thing for the last week, maybe ten days, playing us, because he doesn’t know what he believes in. He just appropriated money to an agency that’s already overspent their budget by 16 million dollars, and just gave them another $600,000. That’s just wrong.”

Frank Edelblut (at right) talks with Jean Ferreira (in hat) before Executive Council meeting. Ellen Kolb photo.
Frank Edelblut (at right) talks with Jean Ferreira (in hat) before Executive Council meeting. Ellen Kolb photo.

Two other Republican gubernatorial candidates critical of Sununu’s vote weighed in via social media.

Ted Gatsas on Twitter:

Jeanie Forrester on Facebook:

On the Democratic side, gubernatorial candidate Colin Van Ostern was one of the Councilors joining Sununu in supporting the PP contract.


NH Senate Tables HB 370; Education Tax Credit Intact

Republicans in the New Hampshire Senate today derailed an attempt to repeal the state’s education tax credit. On a straight party-line vote, senators voted 13-11 to table HB 370. A two-thirds vote would be required to remove the bill from the table, and further action is unlikely.

I’ve written about the bill and people affected by it here, here, and here. New Hampshire’s education tax credit is available to businesses that donate to a private scholarship fund to benefit students in grades K-12. The scholarships give lower-income families a greater range of educational choices. No state money is given to these families, and the program is therefore not a voucher.

The bill’s docket shows an interesting sequence of events on the Senate floor today, and at this writing the actual roll calls have not yet been linked. The Health, Education, and Human Services committee’s recommendation to kill (ITL) the bill was the motion that drove the day’s debate, but that motion was not acted upon. Instead, after long and emotional debate, Sen. Jeanie Forrester (R-Meredith) moved to table the bill. That motion was adopted 14-10, and I don’t know the name of the lone Democrat who voted with the majority. Sen. Bradley then moved reconsideration, as a parliamentary maneuver, and a second vote on the tabling motion was taken. That was the 13-11 vote that decided the matter.

Senators like Lou D’Allesandro and Molly Kelly who have spoken with passion and eloquence about trusting women and valuing choice when it comes to abortion took a different approach to the education tax credit. “Choose what?” has always been my response to right-to-choose rhetoric. For New Hampshire’s Democratic senators, trusting women to choose apparently finds its limit in education policy. After all, a lot of moms have applied for these education-choice scholarships for their children.

The Network for Educational Opportunity, which administers the scholarship find in New Hampshire, had this post on its Facebook page after the vote: “We want to thank ALL of you wonderful people for your support through this legislative battle. Your calls, emails, letters to the editor of papers, Facebook shares, attendance at hearings, prayers, well wishes, and notes of encouragement all helped us win today.”

Governor Maggie Hassan opposes the tax credit and had promised to sign repeal legislation. Her official statement after the vote today referred to a “misguided voucher program,” despite the fact that the tax credit law has no relation to vouchers.