The Valley News has been selected to add two journalists — a photojournalist and a climate and environment reporter — to our newsroom through Report for America, a national service program that boosts local news by harnessing community support.

Please consider donating to this effort.

John Gregg: N.H. Side of the Valley Losing Another State Senator

  • John P. Gregg

Published: 5/4/2016 11:47:10 PM
Modified: 5/4/2016 11:49:20 PM

State Sen. David Pierce, a Lebanon-area Democrat who has played a key role on voting rights legislation during his 10 years in Concord, told colleagues on Wednesday he is moving out of Senate District 5 later this year for family reasons and will step down then.

The 52-year-old Pierce said he was flattered by reaction from fellow Democrats after he told them “that I’m incredibly sad to leave because I absolutely love the work, and I love serving the people and representing their interests down there, but a change in my family circumstances is requiring me to move out of the district.”

A Texas-born attorney, Pierce represented Hanover and Lyme in the New Hampshire House for three terms, then won election to the District 5 seat in 2012.

The district runs from Lyme to Charlestown and includes Canaan, Claremont, Cornish, Enfield, Hanover, Lebanon and Plainfield. Following the 2010 Census, Republicans “gerrymandered” several Senate districts, making some more competitive for the GOP and in turn “making this a very safe Democratic seat,” Pierce said.

Pierce, who moved to Lebanon from Hanover after he entered the Senate, has been active in trying to protect the rights of college students to vote in New Hampshire based on their domicile status, and has also worked on marriage equality, insurance, labor and banking issues.

Pierce and his ex-husband, who has relocated to the Boston area, have two daughters, ages 12 and 7. Pierce said he is moving out of the Senate district because “I believe that our children should have as much access to both parents as possible.”

He plans to move to Nashua in the summer, after the legislative session has ended, but before his term expires in December, and will step down then. His ultimate address depends on where he lands a job, but Pierce said he wants to stay involved in politics in the state, though he doesn’t plan on running for office from Nashua.

Pierce has also been an active campaigner for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, and plans to continue helping on that front, as well.

Former Democratic National Committeeman Peter Burling, himself a former state senator from District 5, said Pierce had done well representing the district.

“David has done a fine job, and all of us understand that when real life and family situations require, you have to go back to private life from public service,” Burling, a Cornish Democrat, said.

Pierce’s departure means all three state Senate seats representing the Upper Valley in Concord will see open contests in November. State Sen. Jeanie Forrester, R-Meredith, whose District 2 seat includes several Haverhill-area towns, is running for governor, and District 8 Newport-area state Sen. Jerry Little, R-Weare, has been confirmed as the state’s new banking commissioner.

Marijuana Vote Reactions

Most Vermont House lawmakers from the Valley voted Tuesday in favor of a measure that would have allowed Vermonters to cultivate two marijuana plants at home.

But at least three lawmakers from the region voted against the measure, which was defeated 77-70, apparently believing the nanny state should take precedence over a little homegrown fun by responsible adults.

State Rep. Kevin Christie, D-Hartford, said he voted against the homegrown measure after consulting with Hartford Police Chief Phil Kasten.

“I voted no. I spent a half hour last night with my chief of police and his direct comment to me was, ‘We are not ready.’ We spoke about the families affected by this and we still have so much to learn,” Christie said Tuesday in explaning his vote.

Also voting no were state Reps. Gabrielle Lucke, D-Hartford, and Job Tate, R-Mendon.

State Rep. Teo Zagar, D-Barnard, voted for the measure, and was aghast at its defeat. “With the results of this vote, the Vermont Legislature has decided to keep one foot firmly planted in the Nixon era,” he said.

Silly Semantics?

With Donald Trump now the presumptive Republican nominee, many Granite State eyes shifted to see to what degree U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., would embrace her party’s standard bearer.

Her answer tried to create wiggle room, but was sure to please few voters, especially independents. “As she’s said from the beginning, Kelly plans to support the nominee,” campaign spokeswoman Liz Johnson said. “As a candidate herself, she hasn’t and isn’t planning to endorse anyone this cycle.”

The campaign of Gov. Maggie Hassan, who is seeking the Democratic nomination, highlighted several press critiques of Ayotte’s stance, including this from NBC’s Luke Russert: “Imagine if a candidate said, ‘I support the Red Sox but don’t endorse them.’ ”

Meanwhile, Vermont Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican running for governor, and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, a centrist Republican, both said on Wednesday they would not vote for Trump. Baker said he wouldn’t be voting for either Clinton or Trump.

Scott, a supporter of Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who quit the race Wednesday, told reporters in Montpelier, “I just can’t vote for Trump.”

John Gregg can be reached at

Valley News

24 Interchange Drive
West Lebanon, NH 03784


© 2020 Valley News
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy