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Retired Teacher Seeks Odell’s Seat

Linda Tanner

Linda Tanner

Sunapee — A first-term Democrat who represents several Sullivan County towns in the New Hampshire House formally declared her candidacy for the District 8 state Senate seat now held by Republican Bob Odell, who is retiring.

“During my time in the House, I have seen important legislation get stalled in the Senate. The people of this district will be able to count on me as a voice of reason on the issues that affect families like education reform, women’s health and job creation,” state Rep. Linda Tanner, D-Sunapee, said in a statement announcing her candidacy. “As a senator, I will be able to advocate and collaborate with all senators to move good legislation forward.”

The 68-year-old Tanner grew up in northeast Pennsylvania and moved to New Hampshire in 1969. She taught health and education at Kearsarge Regional High School for 35 years.

She first won election to the House in 2012 for the Sullivan County floterial district comprised of Plainfield, Grantham, Cornish, Springfield, Sunapee, Newport, Unity and Croydon.

Democrats said her experience at Kearsarge, which has five towns in the Senate district, and her large House district make her a known quantity in a good chunk of District 8, which straddles Sullivan, Merrimack, Cheshire and Hillsborough counties.

“The New Hampshire Democratic Party is extremely pleased to see Rep. Tanner jump in the race,” said party spokesman Lucas Meyer. “She’s been a strong advocate for public education, pay equity, women’s access to health care and marriage equality.”

District 8 comprises Newport, Grantham, Sunapee, Croydon, Unity, Springfield, New London, Goshen, Newbury, Sutton, Bradford, Lempster, Acworth, Langdon, Marlow, Washington, Hillsborough, Windsor, Stoddard, Antrim, Deering, Bennington, Francestown and Weare, with Weare the largest community, followed by Newport and Hillsborough.

Two Republicans have already said they are running for their party’s nomination — Jerry Little, a Weare resident and former president of the New Hampshire Bankers Association, and J.P. Marzullo, a former Deering selectman who labeled Odell, long seen as a moderate , a “liberal senator.”

Both Little and Marzullo said they would have opposed Medicaid expansion, which Odell and two other Republicans supported in the state Senate.

Tanner voted for it in the House .

“My thinking is 50,000 New Hampshire citizens needed health care, and it was there for us to do the right thing. I appreciate the fact that some people were very hesitant about taking the federal funds, but if we didn’t take them, they were going to go somewhere else as well,” she said.

Tanner also said she voted for repeal of the death penalty — as did Odell — and as a former educator, is concerned by the reliance on standardized testing to evaluate teachers and schools.

With Republicans holding a 13-11 majority in the state Senate, the vacant District 8 seat promises to be fiercely contested in November.

Tanner noted that Gov. Maggie Hassan, a first-term Democrat, won the district by 10 percentage points in 2012, when President Obama carried it by almost 4 percentage points.

Tanner lives in the Georges Mills section of Sunapee with her spouse, Lori Dee Windom, who works in information technology for a distributor for small grocers. The couple have been together for 28 years and were married after New Hampshire legalized same-sex marriage in 2010, Tanner said.

The filing period for state offices runs from June 4 to 13. State primary day is Sept. 9.

John P. Gregg can be reached at jgregg@vnews.com or 603-727-3217.