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John Gregg: Shumlin Speaks Out on Utility Lines

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin this week reiterated his opposition to the Keystone XL oil pipeline, saying the proposal to carry oil extracted from tar sands in western Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast would contribute to global warming. “If we can’t get through our thick heads — after what we have been through as a nation in terms of weather challenges, just since (Barack) Obama has been president — that we can’t afford to burn every drop of fossil fuel that we can extract from

John Gregg: N.H. Republican Establishment Weighs In on Candidates

Two mainstream New Hampshire Republicans are lining up support from some known quantities in the GOP establishment as they face primary contests this summer. Former defense contractor Walt Havenstein this week released the names of seven sitting state senators — a majority of the 13-member Republican caucus — who have endorsed him in his bid to unseat Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan. Havenstein, the former CEO of BAE Systems, faces a primary against libertarian-leaning Republican strategist Andrew Hemingway of Bristol. But Havenstein’s campaign said the state

John Gregg: Candidates Stepping Forward for Odell’s Senate Seat

A second Hillsborough County Republican has said he plans to run for the Newport-area New Hampshire Senate seat long held by state Sen. Bob Odell, R-New London. And a Democrat from Sunapee also acknowledged yesterday she is seriously considering a bid for the District 8 Senate seat. Weare Republican Jerry Little — the former president and executive director of the New Hampshire Bankers Association — said on Wednesday he was encouraged weeks ago by Odell to consider a run if the incumbent retired. Odell, a

John Gregg: Odell May Face Primary Challenge

Newport-area state Sen. Bob Odell, one of the most influential lawmakers in Concord over the past decade, may be facing a primary challenge from a conservative Republican. The reason: challenger J.P. Marzullo, a former Deering, N.H., selectman who is vice chairman of the New Hampshire Republican State Committee, doesn’t think Odell is conservative enough. Marzullo, who referred to Odell as a “liberal senator” in his announcement, said he is especially disappointed that Odell and two other top Republican senators supported Medicaid expansion as part of

John Gregg: Hanover Republican Highlights Differences With Brown on Guns

Former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, the emigre from Massachusetts, is drawing most of the media attention and national Republican money in his likely run for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire. But that hasn’t stopped former state Sen. Jim Rubens, the Hanover Republican already in the primary, from ramping up his aggressive grassroots campaigning in recent weeks. Rubens, a centrist who has notably opposed both expanded gambling and global warming, last month met with gun rights supporters across the state to highlight his opposition to an

John Gregg: N.H. Pop Quiz For Brown

Massachusetts transplant Scott Brown issued a web video on Wednesday highlighting the fact that he and his wife, Gail, are traveling around New Hampshire as he explores a likely bid to unseat U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H. The Browns “will be traveling around this great state to introduce ourselves. To ask questions. To speak with everyone, of every background, Republicans, Independents, Democrats alike. And above all, to listen and learn,” the former Bay State Republican senator said. Since being a lawmaker from New Hampshire involves

John Gregg: Remembering Judge Billings

Gov. Peter Shumlin has ordered state flags across Vermont to be lowered next Wednesday through Friday to honor the late Franklin S. Billings Jr., the former Vermont House speaker and chief justice of the state Supreme Court who died Sunday in Woodstock. Billings was a monumental figure in Vermont politics, helping preside over the reapportionment of the House that made Vermont more democratic, and Democratic, even though Billings himself was Republican. The 91-year-old Billings died in the house where he was born and lived all

John Gregg: Politics and Parties

The two candidates vying to fill the sprawling District 1 Executive Council seat held by the late Ray Burton are targeting voters in the Upper Valley. Former state Sen. Joe Kenney, R-Wakefield, has scheduled a public forum in Claremont on Feb. 27 to discuss why several hospitals — including Valley Regional Hospital, Alice Peck Day, and Cottage Hospital — were excluded from Anthem’s exchange network under the Affordable Care Act. “Our people do not have a single hospital in Sullivan County that is in the

John Gregg: Marginal Numbers

New Hampshire’s two Democratic members of the U.S. House, Annie Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter, are going to have to work hard this year to win re-election. This according to a WMUR Granite State Poll by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center released this week that says both incumbents face “serious re-election challenges.” Kuster, a first-term congresswoman from Hopkinton whose Second District seat includes the Upper Valley, has only a 30 percent favorability rating. While the two Republicans vying to unseat her, former state Sen.

John Gregg: Looking For Votes

There’s now less than six weeks to go before New Hampshire’s March 11 Town Meeting Day and the special election to fill the vacant District 1 Executive Council seat of the late Ray Burton. In campaign spending reports filed Wednesday, Hanover Democrat Mike Cryans, who was unopposed in last week’s primary, reported almost $60,000 in his campaign war chest, including $1,000 contributions from Friends of Maggie Hassan and the New Hampshire Educators Political Action Committee. Wakefield Republican Joe Kenney, who handily won a three-way primary,