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John Gregg: Assisting Ayotte

For all the heat U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., has gotten for her vote against expanded background checks for gun purchases, she is rallying support from Republican-leaning law enforcement officials from the Upper Valley. Enfield Police Chief Richard Crate, retired Grantham Police Chief Russ Lary, and former Grafton County Deputy Sheriff Barbara Dutile all appeared in a television ad supporting the first- term lawmaker from the Iowa-based American Future Fund, which promotes “conservative and free-market ideals,” according to its website. In the ad, released earlier

Gregg: Happening in Hanover

The Hanover Inn will again be the center of the political universe, albeit briefly, on Saturday as former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., headlines a Grafton County Republican luncheon. Brown, who lost his seat in November to Democrat Elizabeth Warren, has hinted that he might consider a Senate run in New Hampshire, where he has family ties and owns a beach house in Rye. Asked about a possible Senate bid in the Granite State on Fox News Sunday, Brown demurred, but when pressed said, “Nothing

Gregg: Vermonters Sound Off 

Results from the annual Town Meeting Day Survey conducted for the past 43 years by state Sen. Bill Doyle, R-Montpelier, were released this week and showed Vermonters to be pro-wind but against nuclear power, keen on hemp and pot, and against higher taxes but in favor of expanding the bottle deposit bill. That’s a bit of an oversimplification, but the so-called Doyle Poll showed that only 33 percent favor an increase in the gas tax to pay for roads and bridges, while 56 percent were

Gregg: Tower Power 

Senate President Pro Tempore John Campbell earlier this month was the recipient of an unusually blunt letter from a prominent Upper Valley businessman/environmentalist. Strafford resident Jeff Wolfe, the founder and chairman of White River Junction-based groSolar, castigated Campbell for supporting a bill that would subject renewable energy projects, such as wind turbines on ridgelines, to Vermont’s Act 250 land-use law. Wolfe’s point is that wind and solar projects are needed to protect the environment and combat “global climate disruption.” “I was astonished to hear that

Gregg: Changes In House

It’s not just social issues that have seen a sea change in the New Hampshire House since Tea Party Republicans were ousted by voters in November. Fiscal and tax policy have also moved toward the progressive, or at least centrist, spectrum. Case in point — the House yesterday voted 206-149 to kill a proposed constitutional amendment that would have made it harder to raise taxes or fees. Largely along party lines, Democrats voted against the proposal, which would have required 60 percent support in the

Gregg: Settling Into The Senate  

State Sen. David Pierce, the first-term Hanover Democrat representing the heart of the Upper Valley, wants to restore cuts in state aid to higher education and raise the gas tax to restore New Hampshire’s crumbling roads and bridges. Pierce, whose newly drawn Senate 5 district stretches from Lyme to Charlestown and includes Hanover, Lebanon, Claremont, Plainfield, Cornish, Enfield and Canaan, said his focus remains what it was during the campaign: jobs and the economy, education and health care. “Those are three legs on the same

Gregg: Leahy Holds Court

U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., yesterday said he wouldn’t wind up taking what historically has been the plum chairmanship in the Senate, heading the Senate Appropriations Committee. Instead, Leahy will remain chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and keep his seat on Appropriations, which is likely to be chaired by Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md. “Congratulations to my friend @SenatorBarb who will be 1st woman to chair Senate Appropriations Committee. She’ll be great (already is),” the 72-year-old Leahy posted on Twitter. Leahy, a former prosecutor who

Gregg: Wooing Women

U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, a Fox News favorite, is broadening her repertoire. The first-term New Hampshire Republican has played a prominent role, on television, raising objections to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s potential nomination to become secretary of state. A Washington Post story last week called her “an influential new voice” in the GOP, and the paper’s conservative-leaning blogger, Jennifer Rubin, separately wrote that Ayotte “spoke in measured tones, with the attention to detail that those immersed in national security policy and high-stakes fiscal negotiations are

Gregg: Concord Shuffle 

With Democrats having swept back into power in the New Hampshire House, several Upper Valley lawmakers are again likely to play central roles in setting fiscal and budget policy. Although Democrats still have to settle who will be the Speaker next term at their caucus on Saturday — Portsmouth Democrat Terie Norelli, the former speaker, is trying to fend off a challenge from Nashua Democrat David Campbell — it’s likely that Hanover Democrats Sharon Nordgren and Bernie Benn will play top roles on the House