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Primary Source: Buttigieg lands Lebanon endorsements

  • John P. Gregg. Copyright (c) Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Look for a number of Democratic presidential candidates to flock to Manchester this weekend for some face time with party officials and activists at the New Hampshire Democratic Party convention.

In the meantime, campaigns are rolling out a number of local endorsements in hopes that support from your neighbor might influence you.

Most notable, perhaps, is that Lebanon City Councilor Sue Prentiss, a former mayor who had been a Republican until the Trump era, says she is backing Pete Buttigieg for president.

“First of all, America is made up of cities and towns, and who better to understand how to lead than somebody who has run a city? I see that in this guy,” Prentiss said of the South Bend, Ind., mayor in a phone interview Wednesday.

Prentiss during the 2016 presidential primary was on the steering committee for former New York Gov. George Pataki’s short-lived presidential campaign, but left the GOP two years ago and now is an independent.

A certified paramedic and former manager of emergency medical services at Concord Hospital, Prentiss accompanied Buttigieg as he walked through downtown Lebanon two weekends ago and met with residents, including firefighters and people on the street. She said he appears data-driven, has had to deal with issues like consent decrees for combined sewer overflow projects (an issue in Lebanon), and even asked about community paramedics, who can help alleviate costs on local ambulance services.

“He understood the problems cities are facing,” Prentiss said.

Also endorsing the 37-year-old Buttigieg this week is longtime state Rep. Susan Almy, a 73-year-old Lebanon Democrat and chairwoman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

“We need a president who will reach out to all Americans and remind them of our shared values and what they mean in action,” Almy said in a statement released by the Buttigieg campaign. “We need Pete Buttigieg’s ability to listen and bring people together, his calmness, competency, determination and his youth.”

Also joining the Buttigieg bandwagon is state Rep. Andrew O’Hearne, D-Claremont, a retired Claremont police officer who now serves on the City Council in Claremont.

O’Hearne, in a statement from the campaign, said Buttigieg is a “once-in-a-generation candidate.”

“We need a president like Pete who can bring fresh, practical solutions to the challenges facing this country and who isn’t stuck in the old ways of Washington,” O’Hearne said.

Former state Rep. Andy White, D-Lebanon, a former Lebanon firefighter, is also backing Buttigieg.

Meanwhile, the campaign of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., on Wednesday announced the endorsement of Dean Barker, a Democratic activist who more than a decade ago founded the Blue Hampshire blog and now serves as chair of the Andover, N.H., School Board.

“Kamala Harris knows how to prosecute the case against this president, because she has gone after the corrupt and the powerful before, and as president she will have the experience to return to the American people the faith and confidence we expect in our principles of justice,” Barker, who teaches in the Kearsarge Regional School District, said in a news release from the campaign.

Office space

It could be a busy day for political surrogates on Thursday in Lebanon. U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III, D- Mass., will be in the city to open a field office for U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, whom he endorsed in February and hopes to succeed representing Massachusetts in the Senate.

This will be the first New Hampshire appearance on behalf of Warren by Kennedy, who will be at the Lebanon office opening at 2 W. Park St. at 2:15 p.m.

Also in the city later in the day will be Chasten Buttigieg, husband of the South Bend mayor, who will be at a nearby suite at the same Lebanon building to open the Buttigieg campaign’s Lebanon office at 6:45 p.m.

Chasten Buttigieg will also be in Claremont on Friday morning to open the “Pete for America” Claremont office at 9 a.m. at 24 Crescent St.

Plans to ponder

The Democratic presidential campaigns continue to release various policy plans. U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., announced a $3 trillion — you read that right — plan to address climate change and move to a carbon-neutral economy over the next 25 years. It includes an “environmental justice fund” that would target lead paint and water lines, renewable energy and efficiency investments in rural and low-income communities, and a reauthorization and tripling of the Superfund tax on chemical and oil companies. Booker also would roll back subsidies to the fossil fuel industry to help pay for the plan.

Warren also unveiled a “clean energy” plan for the country this week that calls for “decarbonizing our electricity production, our vehicles and our buildings.”

It would include committing $1 trillion toward clean energy by reversing Trump-era tax cuts for the wealthy and large corporations, according to her campaign.

“Taking bold action to confront the climate crisis is as important — and as urgent — as anything else the next president will face. We cannot wait,” Warren wrote in an op-ed about her plan.

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