Horn: Top of GOP ticket spells trouble


BELMONT — Leery of the impact of Donald Trump's candidacy on the remainder of the Republican ticket, Jennifer Horn, chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party, told Belknap County Republicans this week that the state party will direct its resources to maintaining its majorities in the New Hampshire Legislature and capturing the governorship.

Referring to the top of the GOP ticket, Horn said "It's going to impact us." She noted that a poll taken to measure the effect of the presidential candidacy of either Trump or Sen. Ted Cruz on races further down the ballot indicated that "These are challenges for us to overcome." In particular, Horn stressed that "We don't win any race anywhere in the state unless independents vote with us."

Horn remarked that the contest for the Republican presidential nomination "has been a destructive process." Replying to a direct question, she acknowledged that the dissension and turmoil in GOP ranks has taken a toll on fundraising. "That has become a hurdle," she said.

Horn assured her listeners that all donations to the New Hampshire GOP will be applied to the governor's race as well as contests for the New Hampshire Senate and House and Representatives. She said that the Republican National Committee will fund the races at the top of the ticket, including Kelly Ayotte's bid to hold her seat in the United States Senate against the challenge of Gov. Maggie Hassan.

"We're in it to win it," Horn said of the races for power in the State House.

Horn has not disguised her misgivings about Trump. When he mulled a run for president in 2011 she wrote prophetically in the New Hampshire Union Leader "Donald Trump is not a credible candidate for president. If the GOP allows him to hijack the primary process then they deserve exactly what they get." Last November, as the New Hampshire primary approached, she mistakenly forecast that "Shallow campaigns that depend on bombast and divisive rhetoric do not succeed in New Hampshire." When Trump spoke of barring Muslims from the country, Horn countered "It is un-Republican. It is unconstitutional. It is un-American." And when he said women who have abortions should be punished, she said that "A nominee who cannot speak to women cannot win."

Horn's remarks prompted calls for her resignation. But, far from resigning, earlier this month tried to strike again. Although Trump's victory in the New Hampshire primary earned him 11 of the 23 seats in the state's delegation to the Republican National Convention, she recommended a slate of delegates for the committees at the convention without a Trump supporter among them. Under pressure from Trump's delegates, she retreated and Corey Lewandowski, the manager of Trump's campaign, was chosen chairman of the delegation.

Senate candidate Giuda tells county GOP he’s ready for ‘big leagues’


BELMONT — I am a conservative. I am a Republican," declared Bob Giuda of Warren, the first candidate to enter the race for the New Hampshire Senate in District 2, the seat opened by Sen. Jeanie Forrester's decision to run for governor.
Speaking to the Belknap County Republican Committee this week, Giuda described the Senate as "the big leagues." He stressed his experience which began with his election to to the Board of Selectmen in Warren in 1998 and to the House of Representatives in 2000. He was a member of the Ways and Means, Labor and Rules committees and in his third term was named deputy majority leader. He said that he authored a constitutional amendment to limit the reach of the power of eminent domain and was in the forefront of efforts to scuttle a personal income or general sales tax to resolve the school funding issue.
A graduate of Pittsfield High School, Giuda attended the United States Naval Academy, graduating and commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1975. He served as a carrier-based fighter pilot and retired with the rank of captain. and served as a naval aviator for a decade. Afterwards, he worked for the FBI investigating drug trafficking, and in 1986 returned to flying as a captain piloting Boeing 777s on international flights for United Airlines.
"I'm not a captain because I can fly," Giuda said, "but because I have the judgment to deal with dangerous situations and ensure safe outcomes." He said the two highest priorities are first that "We're losing the identity of what America is about" and second "We're losing faith in what America is about. The things we believe in," he continued, "are under direct assault — our values, our rights, our property."
Giuda took a couple of oblique swipes at the other Republican candidate in the race, Rep. Brian Gallagher of Sanbornton, who sponsored legislation forbidding women to fully expose their breasts in public places and suggesting that events like Motorcycle Week and NASCAR races attract prostitution. What he called "female exposure," he said, did not require legislation, but was already addressed by local ordinances. As for prostitution, he simply repeated the importance of "judgment."
Giuda said he is opposed to the Northern Pass project unless the entire length of power lines are buried. He explained that the timber industry in the North Country has been overtaken by foreign competition, leaving the scenic beauty of the region its only valuable natural resource.
"I will back Donald Trump, Giuda said, then added that the most important races were those for state offices. "Vote how you like at the top of the ticket," he remarked, "but please do not stay home."
Senate District 2 consists of 27 towns in three counties: Haverhill, Piermont, Orford,Warren, Wentowrth, Dorechester, Ellsworth, Rumney. Groton, Orange, Grafton, Campton, Plymouth, Hebron, Alexandria, Holderness, Ashland, Bridgewater and Bristol in Grafton County; Meredith, Center Harbor, New Hampton, Sanbornton and Tilton in Belknap County; and Hill, Danbury and Wilmot in Merrimack County.

Bob Giuda

Non-union employees of town of Gilford likely to see pay raises


GILFORD — It looks like two of the three selectmen will support some kind of change to the town's non-union pay scale to accommodate those employees who have reached their maximum earning power under the current one.

Selectmen Chan Eddy and Richard "Rags" Grenier said Wednesday that after giving the options of either changing the wage scale or giving longevity bonuses, they are now leaning toward a new pay scale.

"If the board approves it today," said Town Administrator Scott Dunn, "It will cost $6,296 (for the year.)"

Dunn said the non-union pay scale was developed in 2009 and is not indexed to anything like the cost of living. The proposed scale is also not indexed and will still have 13 "steps," but is recalculated to last for 20 years if an employee earns an average of a 2.5 percent merit increase each year.

Eddy and Grenier briefly discussed the possibility that if the town goes with a new scale, as opposed to nothing or longevity pay, then it should be pegged to inflation using a standard measure like the national consumer price index.

The reality today is that four non-union employees have reached the top of their earning potential and next year seven more will reach it as well said Dunn.

"By Dec. 31, 2017, we'll have 17 (employees who can no longer get raises), said Dunn, who noted last week there is some effect on moral when employees realize they'll never get another raise.

He said it would be two to four years before the same employees reached the top of the proposed scale and after that, the town could implement some kind of longevity plan.

Selectman Gus Benavides was unable to be at Wednesday's meeting, but has previously said that he likely would not support any changes to the pay plan. Because of Benavides' unintended absence, Eddy and Grenier decided to wait until he returns for the next meeting before making any decisions or furthering the discussion.