Leadership Lakes Region takes course in politics

GILFORD — Leadership Lakes Region recently held its annual Political Issues Day for its class of 22 business professionals. The day started at the Gilford Library where Executive Councilor candidates Joe Kenney and Mike Cryans spoke about the issues facing New Hampshire.

From there, the class boarded a bus and headed for the State House in Concord for a full day of political discussions and the opportunity to see the NH Legislature in action. Virginia Drew, Director of the State House Visitor Center, gave an informative tour of the building with an emphasis on its history. She concluded her remarks in the visitors' gallery of the House of Representatives, which was followed by a presentation by Speaker of the House, Terie Norelli followed by welcoming remarks from the Majority Leader of the House, Steve Shurtleff.

From there the class entered the Executive Council Chamber where Governor Maggie Hassan spent time answering the class' questions and posing for a photo with the group. A brief meeting with Lakes Region Senators Jeane Forrester and Andrew Hosmer followed and an invitation by them for small groups of the class to observe the Senate debate about current issues.

After a lunch in the cafeteria, the class returned to the House Gallery where, at this time, the full house was in session and debating pending legislation. Then it was time to return to the Council Chamber where Executive Councilor Chris Pappas of Manchester explained the role of the Council in State politics. Secretary of State Bill Gardner then took over and invited the class to visit his office where photos of many of the Presidential Primary candidates were on view. Secretary Gardner is a treasure trove of NH political history as it applies to the Presidential Primary and had the class entertained with some of the stories of "colorful characters" who have filed to run in the primary through the years.

The final State House session was a Q & A discussion with three of the reporters who cover the State House on a daily basis. Kevin Landrigan of the Nashua Telegraph, Gary Rayno of the Concord Monitor and James Pindell, Political Director for WMUR-TV gave their insights into the functioning of state government, major issues and their forecasts for the 2016 Presidential Primary.