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Tim Kaine in Laconia: Trump lost his backbone

By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — Nearly a hundred loyal Democrats packed the party's local headquarters Thursday to welcome Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton's vice presidential running mate, and his wife, Anne Holton, on their first, but what Kaine assured the crowd would not be their last, visit to New Hampshire as a couple.

Tim Kaine

"I can't resist talking about yesterday," Kaine began, referring to Clinton's speech to the American Legion Convention in Cincinnati and Donald Trump's speech on immigration in Phoenix on Wednesday. Clinton, he said, showed "what it means for America to lead" and that the presidency "is a job for a professional, not a first-timer, an amateur or a dilettante." Clinton, he said, talked about "the right way to stay secure" by maintaining both a strong military and strong alliances.

Trump, he continued, "had a different kind of day." Noting that throughout his campaign Trump has talked of building a wall along the southern border at Mexico's expense, he turned to Trump's brief visit with Enrique Pena Nieto, the president of Mexico. "When they were in a small room, eye-to-eye," Kaine said, "he didn't even bring it up. He lost his nerve, lost his confidence and kind of chickened out." Dismissing Trump's claims to be a "tough negotiator," Kaine he said that he is "talking out of both sides of his mouth" and "losing his backbone at a key moment."

Kaine said that Trump's speech echoed similar speeches delivered the Irish in the 1840s, the Italians in the 1850s, the Jews in 1880s and other immigrants from central and eastern Europe in the 19th century. He said it was divisive then and it is divisive now and recalled the hallmark of there Clinton campaign "Stronger Together!"

"It's humbling to be one this ticket," Kaine said. He noted that five of the first 10 presidents hailed from Virginia, but because of slavery, Jim Crow laws and resistance to integration, "we consigned ourselves to irrelevance" and this year a Virginian is on a presidential ticket for the first time since John Tyler was elected in 1841.

With Martha Jefferson Randolph, the daughter of Thomas Jefferson, Kaine's wife is the only other daughter of a governor of Virginia to also become First Lady of Virginia. Her father, Linwood Holton, served as the first Republican governor since Reconstruction from 1970 to 1974 when she was a teenager, and she became First Lady when Kaine was elected governor in 2005, making her the only person to live in the governor's mansion as both a child and an adult.

But, Holton not only her father's daughter and her husband's wife, but a presence in the public life of Virginia in her own right. A lawyer, she spent 13 years with the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society and seven as a judge on the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court in Richmond. She resigned from the bench when Kaine was elected governor, but in 2010 was named Education Secretary by his successor.

Little wonder Holton remarked that her "biggest gift to Hillary was teaching Tim to be a great supporter of a strong woman." Recalling touring Ohio with Clinton by bus after the Democratic convention she said what impressed the most her ability to "multi-task," to speak about the nuances of foreign affairs or the details of education policy while tending to the needs of her family.

Like his wife, Kaine practiced law in Richmond. In 1994 he was elected to the first of four terms on the City Council, the last two as mayor, became Lieutenant Governor in 2001 and Governor in 2005. Rumored as high on the vice presidential short list in 2008, he instead agreed to chair the Democratic National Committee and in 2012 was elected to the United States Senate.


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Five Republicans vie for state rep. for Tilton-Sanbornton

Editor’s note: This story now has the addition of candidate Robert White, who was inadvertently left out of Friday’s coverage.

By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

Five Republicans, Dennis Fields, the lone incumbent in the field, John Vorel, Tim Lang, Robert White and Richard Brothers — all from Sanbornton — are competing in the primary election for their party’s nomination for the two seats in the New Hampshire House of Representatives representing Sanbornton and Tilton.

Dennis Fields

Fields was first elected to the House in 1982 and but for a four-year hiatus from 2004 to 2008 has served ever since. Seeking his 16th term — the last five representing Sanbornton and Tilton and the first 11 representing Merrimack — he said this week that "If I am elected this will definitely be my last term. I don't want to keep going forever."

Born in Vermont, Fields graduated from Newport High School in Newport, Vermont and served with the United States Navy between 1964 and 1971 and for many years was an active member and officer of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Despite his long tenure in the House, Fields has never risen to a position of leadership within the Republican caucus, in part because he has straddled the division within its ranks, sometimes aligning himself with the conservative faction and more often voting with the established party leadership. In the most recent session he voted with the House Republican Alliance, which scores representatives according to their adherence to the party platform, 57 percent of the time and even less often with the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance. Above all, Fields has relished his role as representative, seldom missing a session at the State House, where he is among the best figures, and often attending meetings and events in the towns he represents.

John Vorel

Born and raised on a farm in Gilmanton, Vorel, of Sanbornton, has spent much of his career in the ski industry, managing ski resorts, including King Ridge Ski Area, Gunstock Recreation Area and, as director of state ski operations, oversaw the state-owned slopes at Canon Mountain and Sunapee. As a consultant, he assisted with the development of what became Meadowbrook Musical Arts Center as well as served as president of the Laconia/Weirs Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Laconia/Gilford Economic Development Council. "I've managed public and private entities and worked with the state legislature and state agencies," Vorel said.

As a legislator, Vorel said he would have three major priorities — generating good jobs, improving public education and ensuring access to health care. He said sustainable jobs that pay a living wage and offer opportunity for advancement are essential to restoring the strength and renewing the growth of the economy. The state, he continued, must assist businesses to train and retain their employees. Vorel said that while good jobs will keep young people from leaving the state, educational opportunities, particularly at the vocational technical centers and community colleges, will prepare them for work.

"There is too much emphasis on four-year college," he said, suggesting government should partner with business to develop internships, apprenticeships and mentoring programs.

In providing access to health care, Vorel emphasized the importance of caring for younger veterans of the conflicts in the Middle East. "They do a terrific job at the New Hampshire Veterans Home in Tilton, " he said, "but too many young veterans are not receiving the care they were promised and require to reassimilate into the community."

"There is too much animosity in our politics," said Vorel. "We're elected to listen to our constituents and serve the public, to find solutions to problems, not debate ideological differences." He said that his professional experience equips him to broker competing interests and find common ground.

Tim Lang

Lang spent 13 years in law enforcement is several states, including New Hampshire, and another 13 years operating his own information technology business. He has been something of a fixture in Sanbornton for some time, serving on the School Board, chairing the Zoning Board of Adjustment and acting as moderator for both the town and school district. But, he said he was prompted to seek a seat in the House by the dissension that has roiled the Belknap County convention for the past several years. "I think the delegation could use some compassion and empathy," he said. "I'm all for good healthy discussion, but I always learn more from those I disagree with than for those I agree with."

As a moderator, Lang said he would like to introduce a bill increasing the number required to petition for secret ballots at Town Meeting from five to 10 or even 20, He said that for a handful of people to slow the proceedings is "devastating to democracy." However, he said that otherwise he has no agenda.

"You walk in with an agenda," he remarked, "and you throw it away."

At the same time, Lang expressed concern that the Legislature has withheld assistance and transferred responsibilities to municipalities. "Balancing the budget on the backs of city and towns doesn't help anybody," he said.

Robert White
White is making his first foray into the political arena. A graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, his service in the Army spanned two decades and included a tour as a field artillery officer in Vietnam and a spell as a research and development manager. During his service he earned a master’s degree in organic chemistry at Penn State University, a subject he taught at West Point for three years. After retiring with the rank of Lt. Colonel White joined the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services where he spent 16 years in the air resources division.
“I don’t have any real agenda,” White said, “or any hot positions.” However, he said that he as a member of Concerned Veterans for America he will seek to address the challenges facing veterans as well as all those struggling with poverty and homelessness. In Sanbornton he has served on both the Conservation Commission and the Solid Waste Committee.
White confessed to running a frugal campaign. He said that when he filed only three candidates had entered the race. “I’ve made all of two signs of black cardboard with my painted in white letters,” he remarked. “I may got to the dollar store and buy another piece of black cardboard.”

Richard Brothers

The fourth candidate, Brothers, of Sanbornton, the former commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Employment Security, could not be reached. A graduate of the State University of New York who served in the United States Marine Corps, Brothers has participated in Republican Party politics for a number of years. He twice ran for the New Hampshire Senate in District 2, losing primary elections to the late Carl Johnson of Meredith in 2002 and 2004. Two years ago he ran for the House in Sanbornton and Tilton , finishing third in the GOP primary behind Fields Brian Gallagher.

The primary election will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 13.

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Gilford Budget Committee members storm out of default budget meeting

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

GILFORD — The two people from the Budget Committee who agreed to meet with two members of the School Board and two members of the general public about the preparation of the school district default budget walked out of their meeting last night.

Budget Committee Chairman Norman Silber left first after asking the school district's lawyer, Gordon Graham, if the administrators sign the default budget preparation form "under the penalties of perjury" and he initially replied no.

"I would have stayed a little longer if their lawyer agreed that the (Department of Revenue Administration) form said 'under penalties of perjury,'" he said later.

"It's like (peeing) on my leg and telling me it's raining," said Silber, who is also an attorney.

Silber added that by actually including members of the Budget Committee into the process of creating the default budget, it had the effect of co-opting the Budget Committee's job of reviewing it before it goes to the people at deliberative session.

"I told the superintendent I would attend a meeting to help better understand the process," he said, adding neither he or Greene knew they had created a committee.

Budget Committee member Sue Greene left shortly after Silber, telling the assembly that she didn't see any need for the Budget Committee's members to be there.

Greene also took note that the School Board hired Graham "at some expense" to come from Derry to the meeting and that the expenditure was "needless."

Meeting Chairman Chris McDonough said they decided to have their attorney there because Silber is an attorney. He said some of their brief conversations hinged on matters of law, so he felt the expense was justified.

"(The preparation of the default budget) can be left in (Assistant Superintendent for Finance) Scott (Isabelle's) capable hands," Greene said as she left.

The Gilford School Board Default Budget Committee was formed by the School Board to ameliorate some of the Budget Committee's and general public's need to understand how the annual default budget is prepared.

By law, the default budget for one year is last year's general budget plus or minus debt service and contractual agreements minus any one-time expenditures as determined by the governing body, which in this case is the School Board.

It is the "one-time expenditures" that riled the Budget Committee last year when $100,000 for the replacement for the "Imagination Station" or the playground at the Gilford Elementary School money wasn't removed from this year's default budget, in effect making the initial default budget higher that the proposed budget.

Budget Committee members considered it a one-time expenditure, meaning it isn't likely to recur in consecutive years, while the School Board considered it part of their ongoing special projects categories that have in the past included items like roofs, carpeting and parking lots repairs that can have a hefty price tag but aren't expensive enough to issue a bond.

Isabelle said Thursday night and has said in the past that he understands some of the misunderstandings and has suggested that the district enact a six-year maintenance plan for these project so taxpayers understand they are part of some of the more expensive maintenance required for school district property.

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