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Forrester draws Free State challenger

GRAFTON — Tim Condon of Grafton has filed to challenge two-term incumbent Jeanie Forrester of Meredith in the Republican primary for the New Hampshire Senate.
A former member of the board of directors of the Free State Project, Condon moved to New Hampshire from Florida, where he still maintains a legal practice. In 2004, he founded the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire and describes himself as "libertarian-conservative," with the emphasis on the former.
Condon served two consecutive tours with the United States Marine Corps in Vietnam and graduated from the University of Florida, where he also earned his law degree. He has been active in politics since the 1960s and in 1972 was an elector for Professor John Hospers, the first presidential candidate of the National Libertarian Party. Condon has been a frequent contributor to GraniteGrok, the website co-founbded by Skip Murphy of Gilford.
Forrester, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, was among several Republican senators who Aaron Day, the executive director of the Republican Liberty Caucus, indicated would be targeted by primary opponents for having supported the use the Medicaid funds to extend health insurance.

Yesterday Carolyn Mello of Holderness, a Democrat, also filed to run for the seat. A retired educator who serves on the local school board, she said "I'm a brand new person in this realm of politics." After serving for four years in the United States Air Force as a Russian linguist, Mello pursued a career in special education working with both children and adults. Three years ago she retired from the Newfound Regional High School. "My entire career has been in the area of special education," she said, "but this was an opportunity to serve the community in another capacity. I'm already learning a lot."

Last Updated on Friday, 13 June 2014 12:48

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Democrat Marriott challenging Comtois for Barnstead seat in House

BARNSTEAD — Democrat Bruce Marriott has renewed his bid for the seat in the New Hampshire House of Representatives representing Barnstead, a seat currently held by Republican Guy Comtois, who has filed for re-election to a third term. In 2012, Marriott ran against Comtois a close race, losing by 1,255 to 1,012.

Marriott, spent 30 years with the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension Service, most as a county agricultural agent, and 12 as the supervisor of agricultural programming throughout the state. Before moving to Barnstead, he served as a selectman for eight years in Gilmanton, where he also was a member of the Planning Board. He describes himself as "socially liberal and fiscally responsible, a centrist, with an honest belief in the role of government."

Comtois is a hydroponic vegetable farmer who tends 93 acres. Elected in 2010 in his first bid for public office, Comtois emerged as one of the most conservative members of the Republican caucus. The House Republican Alliance, which rates members according to how closely their voting record matches the party platform, awarded Comtois a near perfect score of 98 in his first term. His score from The Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire, the self-described "conscience of the Republican Party," was the 23rd highest among the 400 members of the House.

Last Updated on Friday, 13 June 2014 12:46

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Gilford officials believe it's prudent to leave sewer rates right where they are

GILFORD — Selectmen agreed by consensus to keep the town's sewer rates level for this year, even though the town has retired the village district bonded debt.

Finance Director Geoff Ruggles told selectmen that the town is seeing a continual decline in average usage and could reduce the rates by 40 cents for the administrative rate or meter fee and 15 cents for the flow rate.

The administrative rate is $58.38 per year and the flow rate is $5.99 per 1,000 gallons used.

He said he and the Public Works Director recommended keeping the rates the same because the town is going to need some capital in the upcoming years to replace at least three pump stations.

Ruggles said three of the pump stations and much of the piping is 30 yeas old and the older it gets the more likely it is there will be some kind of failure.

Secondly, Ruggles said the replacement and repair to the Winnipesaukee River Basin Project infrastructure will continue to increase over the next few years meaning that if the rates were to drop in 2014, they would likely have to go up significantly in 2015 and 2016 to pay for planned projects.

He said the Sewer Department is working on an inflow and infiltration study.

Selectmen said there is a Sewer Capital Reserve Account with just over $110,000 in it but agreed that building a cushion against future repairs and keeping the rates level would be better that dropping them only to see the spike next year.

"We thought it would be better to level off the rates in hopes that it will be sufficient to cover the capital charges," Ruggles said.

Last Updated on Friday, 13 June 2014 11:33

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Republican & Democratic committees struggled to find candidates to run for all 18 Belknap County House seats

LACONIA — When the filing period closed yesterday seven of the 13 incumbent Republican members of the Belknap County delegation and all five Democratic members had filed for re-election to the New Hampshire House of Representatives.

Altogether, the GOP has fielded candidates in all nine electoral districts in the county, but only one candidate in Belmont (District 6), which elects two members. The Democrats have mustered candidates in eight of the nine districts, but have fallen short of a full slate in four of them.

Under state law, both party committees may nominate candidates to fill the vacancies on the primary ballot on or before Wednesday, June 18.

In Laconia, District 3, where there are four seats on the ballot, incumbent Reps. Don Flanders, Bob Luther and Frank Tilton — all Republicans — are seeking re-election. Rep. David Huot, who is running for a second term, will be joined on the Democratic ticket by Mo Baxley, a former representative and executive director of the Freedom to Marry Coalition, and Tom Dawson, a retired fire science instructor at Lakes Region Community College.

In District 9, where the voters of both Laconia and Belmont elect one member, the incumbent Democrat Rep. Beth Arsenault has filed, along with Republican Robert Fisher. Two years ago Fisher, who works at Same Day Computer, ran as a Democrat. However, he said that his misgivings about the Affordable Care Act prompted him to switch allegiances and join the GOP.

In District 1, consisting of Center Harbor and New Hampton, Rep. Ruth Gulick of New Hampton, the incumbent Democrat, will be challenged by Republican Valerie Fraser, also of New Hampton, where she serves on the Board of Selectmen.

In District 2, the towns of Gilford and Meredith, five Republicans have filed for the four seats. Rep. Herb Vadney of Meredith, the only one of three incumbent Republicans to seek re-election, is joined on the GOP ticket by Michael Hatch and John Hodsdon, owner of Picnic Rock Farm, both of Meredith, and George Hurt, a former representative, and Glen Aldrich, a contractor, both of Gilford. Two Democrats have filed — Rep. Lisa DiMartino of Gilford, who is seeking her second term, and Sandra Mucci of Meredith, who ran unsuccessfully in 2012,

In District 4, the towns Sanbornton and Tilton, three Republicans have filed for the two seats — incumbent Rep. Dennis Fields of Sanbornton, seeking his 15th term in the House, as well as Richard Brothers and Brian Gallagher, both from Sanbornton. Incumbent Democratic Rep. Ian Raymond of Sanbornton has field for re-election and will be joined on the ticket by Jane Alden of Tilton.

In District 5, the towns of Alton and Gilmanton, two Republicans, former Gilmanton fire chief and state representative David Russell and Joel Lambert of Alton have filed for the two spots on the ballot. The only Democrat to file is Deb Chase, who was beaten by Russell for the seat representing Gilmanton in 2010.

In District 6, the town of Belmont elects two representatives. Republican Rep. Michael Sylvia is expected to seek a second term. Democrat George Condodemetraky, who has been a candidate for federal and state office in the past, has entered the race.

In District 7, the town of Barnstead, incumbent Republican Guy Comtois and Democrat Bruce Marriott will vie for the one seat. The same two contested the seat in 2012, when Comtois edged Marriott, 1,255 to 1,003.

In District 8, consisting of Alton, Barnstead and Gilmanton which together return one member, Republican Elaine Swinford, who served two terms in the House and chaired the Criminal justice and Public Safety Committee, is the only candidate to file.

Last Updated on Friday, 13 June 2014 11:05

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