Lebanon Rep. Won’t Seek Re-Election

  • State Rep. Andy White, D-Lebanon campaigns outside Ward 3 in Lebanon, N.H. on Nov. 8, 2016. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Laurel Stavis in an undated photograph. (Courtesy photograph)

Valley News Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Lebanon — After nine years representing Lebanon at the Statehouse, Democratic Rep. Andrew White has announced plans to step down from the New Hampshire House at the close of the legislative session.

The move is expected to leave one of the city’s four seats in Concord up for grabs in November. And while a former Dartmouth College administrator plans to run on the Democratic side, so far no Republicans have come forward to challenge her.

Incumbent representatives George Sykes, Susan Almy and Richard Abel, all Democrats, intend to run for another two-year term in the fall, Sykes said on Wednesday.

The 45-year-old White said the decision to not seek re-election stems from an upcoming career change. He soon will be leaving the Lebanon Fire Department, where he’s served for 24 years, and enrolling in nursing school at NHTI, Concord’s Community College.

“I’ve just decided that I’m at the point in my life where I’m ready for a change,” White said in a phone interview on Wednesday.

As a fire captain, he’s often called to work weekends, holidays and nights. Entering the nursing field likely will allow White more time with family, while also keeping him engaged with medicine and people.

“I think the thing that I’m going to miss most is the people of the House,” he said. “I’m going to miss my interactions with all of the Democrats and, of course, my Republican colleagues in the House, too.”

White is the chamber’s current Democratic floor leader and serves on the House Election Law Committee. He’s also one of the few Granite State legislators to openly call for a broad-based tax system to pay for education and other state services, a traditionally taboo position in state politics.

“I think we have to bring people to the table who are more open-minded about a more fair way of paying for education,” he said when running for re-election in 2016. “Those are the kind of discussions that need to happen.”

White said on Wednesday that he’s proud to have cast votes to legalize same-sex marriage, expand Medicaid services and for a law that makes it illegal for employers to forbid workers from talking about their salaries.

“I think that the best advice that I can possibly give is to be willing to find the middle,” White said. “Don’t be so bogged down in ideology or a position that you’re unwilling to find compromise.”

Laurel Stavis, a former Dartmouth College administrator and member of the Lebanon Planning Board, said on Wednesday that she plans to run for the open seat as a Democrat.

“I’ve been living in Lebanon for almost two decades and over that time, I’ve had the privilege of working with people in politics, in the nonprofit world and business, and I’ve gotten to know this community in a way that just really impresses me,” she said in a phone interview.

Stavis retired in late 2017 from her position as assistant provost for academic initiatives at Dartmouth, where she coordinated overseas research collaboration and projects. Prior to that, she was the college’s first director of public affairs.

Aside from sitting on the Lebanon Planning Board, Stavis also is chairwoman of the Listen Community Services board of trustees.

If elected, she hopes to defend social service programs, affordable housing and the environment.

“I think that New Hampshire has been extremely good to me in a way that is difficult to put into words,” Stavis said. “I very much want to give back to this state that I love so much.”

Tim Camerato can be reached at tcamerato@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.