By RICK GREEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
WOLFEBORO — Republican attorney Matthew Plache has won a special election primary and will face Democrat Edith DesMarais in a May 23 race for a vacant seat in the New Hampshire House.
The opening occurred when Rep. Harold Parker (R-Wolfeboro) resigned Jan. 5 to serve as a staff adviser to Gov. Chris Sununu.
On Tuesday, Plache defeated Seamas Oscalaidhe, 334-121, to win the primary. DesMarais was unopposed on the Democratic side.
Plache, 58, represents governmental agencies on issues involving telecommunications law. He maintains a law office in Maryland and has lived in Wolfeboro for seven years.
He said the opioid crisis is a top concern and would like to see enhanced enforcement.
"I don't think it can be solved by local police," he said. "We need some real concerted efforts at the state level, a task force in the Department of Public Safety, dedicated to this to reach out and coordinate efforts.
"This problem really does cross state and international boundaries. We need to focus on stopping the pipeline, getting to the dealers, shutting them down."
He would also like to reduce demand for drugs through better education and improved treatment.
Plache also wants to find a way to stimulate small businesses in New Hampshire, while finding a way to reduce their tax burden.
"We need to make sure we are spending effectively and efficiently," he said.
DesMarais helped establish the private, nonprofit Wolfeboro Area Children's Center and was its executive director for 24 years, presiding over programs for child care, early education, special education and family services.
"As one of 400 representatives, you can't say you're going to change the world when you arrive," she said. "Mine will be one voice in many, but you have to make that voice as strong as you can by building coalitions, listening to constituents and working across the aisle. There's way too much partisanship both nationally and statewide."
DesMarais also wants to find ways to tackle the opioid crisis. She is concerned that it is fueled in part by overprescription of powerful pain-killing drugs.
She said she is most comfortable working behind the scenes, but felt the time had come to take a more active role in the political process.
"I am concerned about some of the things I see happening at the state level with the lack of education funding and voter suppression," said DesMarais, 75. "I thought, 'If I'm ever going to do it, it has to be now."
Democratic House candidate Edith DesMarais of Wolfeboro
Matthew Plache, of Wolfeboro, Republican candidate for the House
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