Primary Source: Governors Scott, Sununu to Make Joint Appearance in N.H.

  • Valley News political columnist and news editor John Gregg in West Lebanon, N.H., on September 20, 2016. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu are slated to appear together this evening in eastern Grafton County as part of a Republican dinner.

They are both listed as keynote speakers for the Pemi-Baker Valley Republican Committee’s Lincoln-Reagan Dinner to be held at the Woodstock Inn and Brewery in North Woodstock, N.H.

Sununu earlier in the day is to deliver his state of the state address to the New Hampshire Legislature. He gave a shoutout to former President Ronald Reagan last week, proclaiming Feb. 6 as “Ronald Reagan Day” in New Hampshire.

It would have been Reagan’s 107th birthday. Did we mention that it’s an election year?

In truth, Sununu had to be heartened by the latest Granite State Poll from the University of New Hampshire Survey Center. The poll released on Tuesday showed the first-term Republican with a 61 percent approval rating, including a 71 percent standing among independents.

On Wednesday, his 2016 Democratic opponent, Colin Van Ostern, said he would not run again this year, saying in a Facebook post, “The resiliency of our democracy and the ability of grassroots activism to make steady progress even in tough times inspires me every day, and I believe the people of our state will be an important part of leading the course correction that our country needs in 2018. ... I also know that spending another year campaigning full-time for Governor just is not the right choice for me or my family — especially after doing so just last year.”

Former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand is running for the Democratic nomination and he may soon be joined by an experienced Democrat who could appeal to anti-Trump voters — former state Sen. Molly Kelly, who represented the Keene area for 10 years in Concord.

Former House Speaker Terie Norelli told the Keene Sentinel that Kelly called her two weeks ago, asking if she should run for governor.

“I told her, yes, she should run. She has a great personal story, a strong legislative record. Molly is the kind of leader we need right now — especially now,” Norelli told the Sentinel.

For his part, Sununu on Wednesday indicated he was bringing in a heavyweight fundraiser to an event for his campaign next month.

“Look forward to welcoming Vice President @mike_pence to the Granite State in March for a Friends of Chris Sununu dinner!,” Sununu tweeted.

Tough Time in Royalton

Here are some hearty best wishes to state Rep. David Ainsworth, R-Royalton, who has been having a difficult health year and hasn’t been in the Vermont House this session.

The 63-year-old dairy farmer — the fifth generation in his family on the land along Route 14 — is now at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center following a series of complications, including an autoimmune condition, after a kidney transplant two years ago.

Ainsworth, whose district also includes Tunbridge, attended meetings of the Joint Fiscal Committee in Montpelier in November and had hoped to return to full-time legislating at the start of the session in January, but was hit by a staph infection around Christmas.

“It sometimes seems like one step forward, and two steps backwards,” said his wife, Peggy Ainsworth.

Ainsworth, one of the few dairy farmers in the Legislature, has been trying to monitor House business with his state iPad.

“He wants you all to know that he is keeping watch on what is going on at the Statehouse and is in contact with people there — making comments on bills and so forth. He is still able to help you with any issues you may have,” Peggy Ainsworth posted on her husband’s campaign Facebook page last month, when he was still at Mt. Ascutney Hospital in Windsor.

On Wednesday, she updated it to say, “Just letting you know, David is still in the loving care of medical professionals! He can still be reached by email at farmerainsworth@myfairpoint.net.”

In the meantime, Peggy Ainsworth, who also serves on the Royalton Selectboard and is raising two granddaughters with her husband, is helping milk the herd of 42 cows at the farm.

“Between the hired man and myself, the two of us have been trying to keep things going, and the low milk prices don’t help,” she said.

Briefly Noted

Travel writer Rick Steves will be in Montpelier today to testify before a Vermont Senate committee and then appear with Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman, a Progressive, in support of regulating and taxing marijuana.

Windsor Town Manager Tom Marsh was in Montpelier on Wednesday to testify in support establishing a state commission to decide the future of the former prison farm in Windsor. Also testifying was Windsor resident John MacGovern,

“Windsor and this southeastern part of the state have special problems; it is so close to the border of New Hampshire, and so often gets the short end of the stick,” MacGovern told lawmakers.

John P. Gregg can be reached at jgregg@vnews.com.