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John Gregg: Claremont Offices On the Chopping Block in N.H. Budget

The proposed $11.3 billion state budget headed toward a vote in the New Hampshire Senate today has some potentially bad news for the Upper Valley. The measure includes plans to close four district offices for the Department of Health and Human Services — in Claremont, Conway, Laconia and Rochester, according to both SEIU Local 1984 of the State Employees Association and state officials. The Claremont office handles a host of duties, including food stamp benefits; Division for Children, Youth and Families services; and protective services.

John Gregg: O’Malley Coming to the Valley

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is expected to formally announce his candidacy for president on Saturday in Baltimore, then head directly to Iowa and New Hampshire for campaigning. In fact, the 52-year-old Democrat, who defeated an incumbent Republican in 2006 and served two terms as governor, will be campaigning in the Upper Valley Sunday evening, with a 7 p.m. appearance at Dartmouth College at the Baker-Berry Library. Though many New Hampshire Democrats have either endorsed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or remained neutral in

John Gregg: Mika B's Dartmouth Road Trips

The two top leaders of the Vermont Legislature are pleased with measures that passed this session. House Speaker Shap Smith, D-Morrisville, said that resolving a budget gap with a mix of cuts and new revenue and passage of a clean water bill, renewable energy legislation and a school governance measure all set the stage for important improvements. “I think those are pretty dramatic moves, and this session, from my perspective, was one that was less about the glamorous issues and more about just rolling up

John Gregg: Advertising for Ayotte

U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., has been a consistent opponent of the Affordable Care Act, was the only senator from New England to vote in April 2013 against expanded background checks for gun purchases, and in March of this year was one of 47 GOP senators to sign a letter to the Iranian leadership, trying to thwart a potential nuclear deal with the Obama administration. The first-term incumbent also happens to be up for election in 2016 and could face a strong challenge from Gov.

John Gregg: Too Bernie to Fail?

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders Wednesday filed a bill to break up the country’s biggest banks, saying the six largest financial institutions in the United States now have $10 trillion in assets, or almost 60 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product. “No single financial institution should have holdings so extensive that its failure could send the world economy into crisis,” Sanders said in a news release. “If an institution is too big to fail, it is too big to exist.” Separately, the Vermont independent also

John Gregg: New Poll to Ponder

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker must have liked what he saw in a New Hampshire primary poll released this week. Walker had a surprising 24 percent support from likely Republican primary voters who said he was their top choice in the poll by North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling. That far outpaced Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who had 14 percent support; Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., with 12 percent; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, 10 percent; 8 percent apiece for Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Gov. Chris Christie,

John Gregg: Health Care Hangover

There were some surprising numbers in the 45th annual Town Meeting Day Survey results released this week by state Sen. Bill Doyle, R-Montpelier. Chief among them was that only 31 percent of respondents believe a carbon tax would benefit Vermont’s environment (41 percent said it wouldn’t) and that 65 percent of the 11,000 returns said the state should have a one-day sales tax holiday. And only 39 percent said Vermont should legalize marijuana, while 48 percent were opposed. While Gov. Peter Shumlin’s focus on cleaning

John Gregg: Likely Clinton Campaign Manager Has Strong Valley Ties

The 1998 Hanover High School graduate who is likely to serve as Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign manager is getting national attention. The New York Times on Sunday ran a front-page profile of Robby Mook, 35, who grew up in Sharon and Norwich, and got his start helping out on Vermont House campaigns. Through contacts at the nascent Clinton campaign, Mook, who went on to Columbia University, declined to comment Wednesday, and also shied away from the Times. Former Vermont state Sen. Matt Dunne, a

John Gregg: Sharp Elbows in Vermont

Vermont Democrats went after Lt. Gov. Phil Scott — hard — last week in a clumsy attempt to muddy the top Republican in the state. Scott, who previously served in the state Senate and remains popular with many of his former colleagues, put out a news release after defense contractor Plasan North America said it was closing its plant in Bennington this summer, costing 62 jobs. The company makes armor for military vehicles out of composite material, and the closing comes after another Plasan plant

John Gregg: Waiting for Hillary Clinton

New Hampshire Democrats are waiting to see when — let’s not bother with the if — former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gets into the presidential race. And it’s clear that she will again have the state’s most experienced, and most influential, Democrat behind her. U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., noted on MSNBC’s Hardball this week that she was one of a group of Democratic female senators who have written Clinton encouraging her to run. “I think Hillary Clinton would be a terrific president,” said