LACONIA — A local woman who was arrested at the Statehouse after protesting the state budget bill says in a social media posting she would do it again.
“We are the people and we will keep fighting for a moral and fair State for all. For myself, I will continue to do this work and I couldn’t be more proud of what we are accomplishing,” Dana Hackett said in a post she put up on her Facebook page Friday.
Hackett was one of five people who were arrested for refusing to leave the Statehouse at the normal 5 p.m. closing time on Thursday.
Earlier in the day hundreds of pro-choice activists, public education supporters, disability rights groups, and climate change activists were present to protest the social policy issues which Republicans had inserted into the budget.
Hackett said in an interview with The Laconia Daily Sun that she expected she might be arrested when she showed up at the Statehouse.
“I will stay here until the governor either confirms he will veto this budget or I will get arrested. That’s how strongly I feel,” Hackett said, according to InDepthNH.
Hackett, who belongs to Rights and Democracy NH, a progressive group concerned with wage, healthcare, and education issues, said she and her colleagues only got arrested as a last resort. "I feel like we went about this the right way. We requested meetings with our state senators and were in touch with House members."
Asked which provision of the budget she objected to the most, Hackett said, "It's hard to pick just one." However, she first mentioned the inclusion of budget language to prevent the discussion of so-called divisive concepts.
When it comes to issues of systemic bias within society, "if we can't talk about it, it's only going to get worse," she said.
For several hours, Hackett's small group, with a few supporters and observers, sat around the Executive Council table discussing politics, singing and sharing a pizza. State Police Sgt. Michael Cote stopped by at about 2:45 p.m., listened to the singing, and told them they could remain until the building closed at 5 p.m.
Shortly after 5 p.m., Cote and several other officers returned to the Council Chambers with an order to vacate the building. Hackett and the four others who refused were all arrested, booked in the Council Chambers, and escorted outdoors, InDepthNH reported.
— Staff Report