To The Daily Sun,

In early October, and in anticipation of election day on November 6, NHCRN sent surveys to all 2018 N.H. election candidates running for governor, Executive Council, state senator, or state representative.

The survey asked candidates for their positions on local choice, including whether or not they will support the people of N.H.’s call for the N.H. Community Rights Amendment, which last year earned support from one-third of N.H.’s House. Of the candidates who responded to the survey’s question on the amendment, 77 percent said they would support it, 23 percent that they would not.

The N.H. Community Rights Amendment seeks to codify in our N.H. Constitution's Bill of Rights the community right to local decision-making authority regarding social and environmental issues that affect the health, safety, and well-being of individuals, communities, and ecosystems. While this right and authority is already affirmed in Articles 1, 2, 3, 8, 10, and 32 of our N.H. Constitution’s Bill of Rights, it is not yet specifically recognized.

Enumerating this right to local self-government in our Bill of Rights would address an underlying civil rights problem in two main ways. Firstly, it would recognize that local self-determination is an inherent and unalienable right. Secondly, it would nullify the corporate use of state preemption and permitting bodies to override the collective will of a community to adopt local laws that protect people and ecosystems. Importantly, the amendment could not be used to protect local laws that restrict or weaken existing state and federal rights and protections for people.

This amendment will be introduced again this coming legislative season, and as a non-profit, grassroots organization, part of NHCRN’s work will be to educate the people of N.H. and their elected officials about our individual and collective right of local self-governance that this amendment would enumerate in our N.H. Bill of Rights.

The goal of this education is to help secure and protect the inherent and unalienable rights of all inhabitants of New Hampshire to economic, social, and environmental justice — including securing the rights of nature.

For both summarized and full-text survey responses from the candidates, or to learn more about the community rights movement in the Granite State, please visit NHCRN at www.nhcommunityrights.org or email info@nhcommunityrights.org.

Michelle Sanborn

NHCRN President

Alexandria 

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