Primary Source: Sixth Democratic debate lacks some name candidates

  • 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
Published: 12/18/2019 10:34:18 PM
Modified: 12/18/2019 10:34:30 PM

Political junkies will be watching PBS on Thursday evening as the sixth major debate among Democratic presidential candidates takes place in Los Angeles.

The forum, which starts at 8 p.m., will feature former Vice President Joe Biden; U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; South Bend, Ind, Mayor Pete Buttigieg; entrepreneur Andrew Yang; and billionaire activist Tom Steyer.

But it won’t include U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.; billionaire media mogul and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg; U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii; former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick; U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.; and former Housing Secretary Julian Castro, among other candidates, because they didn’t meet polling or donor thresholds to qualify. (Gabbard also earlier this month said she wouldn’t participate even if she did qualify.)

There has been a bit of a lull in Upper Valley campaigning this month — in large part because Dartmouth College, home to thousands of potential voters, is on break from Thanksgiving until early January. But Bennet is planning eight stops across New Hampshire on Friday and Saturday, including three in the Valley.

The former Denver school superintendent will hold a Grantham “meet and greet” Friday at 7 p.m. at the Farmer’s Table Cafe on Route 10 North. Then on Saturday, he’ll speak at an Enfield house party at 9 a.m. at the Johnston Drive home of Barbara Jones and then hold a Sunapee town hall forum at the Abbott Library at noon.

But Bennet’s campaign this week also said it needs to raise $700,000 “to fully capitalize” on his focus on New Hampshire, where he has said he will hold 50 town halls before the Feb. 11 primary.

For his part, Patrick on Thursday will hold a policy roundtable in Manchester while most of the big-name candidates are in California for the debate.

New Hampshire will be home to a debate, but it won’t be at Dartmouth. The eighth Democratic debate, following one in January in Iowa, will be held Feb. 7 at Saint Anselm College in conjunction with ABC, WMUR-TV and Apple News.

On the Republican side, supporters of former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld filed the required petitions with the Vermont Secretary of State’s Office to get his name on the 2020 Vermont presidential primary ballot.

“Vermont Republicans will now have a choice, a chance to vote for a rational, intelligent and decent person to be their party’s nominee for president of the United States,” Windsor resident John MacGovern, a member of Weld’s 2020 steering committee and a former Windsor County GOP chairman, said via email. “And let’s hope that the Republican State Party apparatus will not seek to intervene in this primary election and will maintain the traditional neutrality.”

Vermont’s March 3 primary is part of Super Tuesday, when 14 states, including California, Texas, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Virginia, all vote.

Budget bragging

Members of the New Hampshire and Vermont delegations are highlighting budget measures they included in bipartisan appropriations bills expected to clear Congress this week.

U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said that includes $25.5 million for Lake Champlain water quality measures; $6 million in support for Vermont dairy programs; $7.5 million in historic revitalization grants named for the late Vermonter Paul Bruhn; and $30 million to upgrade facilities at the Army Mountain Warfare School in Jericho, Vt.

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program also is funded nationally at $3.7 billion, a $50 million increase over the last fiscal year, Leahy’s office said.

In New Hampshire, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, two Democrats who have reelection battles ahead in 2020, said the U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Hanover is getting nearly $18 million for infrastructure improvements, plus other money for cold-weather research projects in partnership with Dartmouth and the University of New Hampshire.

That includes $6 million for a “heavy load simulator” to research how military vehicles perform on frozen terrain and permafrost and $4 million to modernize an “ice engineering facility” in Hanover.

U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., said measures she worked on will help boost research on Lyme disease from ticks and enable more businesses to join so-called “multiple employer plans” to offer retirement programs for workers.

On the other hand, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England said the spending bills failed to include House-passed language that sought to overturn a Trump administration “gag rule” preventing health care providers who take Title X funds from discussing abortion with their patients.

Briefly noted

■ Former Brownsville resident Meg Hansen, who earned a master’s degree in liberal arts at Dartmouth and now lives in Manchester, Vt., this week said she will run for lieutenant governor as a Republican in Vermont. Hansen was executive director of a small health care think tank, Vermonters for Health Care Freedom.

■ U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., earlier this month released a “High-Speed Internet for All” proposal that would provide $150 billion in infrastructure grants and technical assistance to help communities or states build publicly owned, cooperative or open-access broadband networks. The goal is to require “providers to offer a basic, quality internet plan at an affordable price,” the Sanders campaign said in a news release. Vermonters might recall the slow going with VTel and its stimulus grant when it comes to high-speed internet funding.

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




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