Former State Rep. and government whistleblower Mark Connolly kicks off his Democratic bid for governor.

Nov 5, 2015 6:12 PM

Landrigan: Mark Connolly of New Castle is 2nd Democrat in for NH governor

MANCHESTER - New Castle Democrat Mark Connolly, a former state lawmaker and government whistleblower, kicks off his campaign for governor today.

Connolly, 60, tells a roomful of supporters that he’ll work to improve public education, help create a climate of innovation for job producers and move the state closer to energy independence from fossil fuels.

"We’re facing critical decisions about our state’s future and we need a pragmatic, progressive and independent leader to help build on the progress achieved by Governors Lynch and Hassan,’’ Connolly said at US First.

"That’s why I am running for governor.’’

Connolly took the pledge to veto a sales or income tax but agreed the state faced a ``revenue problem’’ he believes can be solved by having the state return to its annual economic growth rate rather than through tax increases.

Further, Connolly said he would pursue and see come to reality the return of commuter rail service for residents from Concord through Nashua and on to Boston, Mass.

"I believe we are at our best when we put aside our differences, come together and turn difficult challenges into exciting opportunities,’’ Connolly said.

A former state legislator, Connolly headed up the Office of Securities Regulation for about a decade.

He wrote a tell-all book about state government incompetence he says led to the Financial Resources Mortgage scandal, a Ponzi scheme based in the Lakes Region that robbed investors out of close to $30 million.

"Throughout constant transformations and reinventions, we’ve never lost hold of the fundamental values that we hold dear in the Granite State [-] freedom, liberty and the promise that, if you work hard and play by the rules, you’ll be given the opportunity to succeed,’’ Connolly added.

Among those getting on board Connolly’s candidacy included State Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, Nashua activist Phil Grandmaison, former Manchester City Clerk Leo Bernier, Manchester Realtor Will Kanteres, former House Chief of Staff Donald Manning and Obama presidential campaign Co-Chair Mary Rauh.

Executive Councilors Colin Van Ostern, a Concord Democrat, and Chris Sununu, a Newfields Republican, are already in this race to replace Gov. Maggie Hassan who is running for the US Senate in 2016.

Wilton GOP Rep. Frank Edelblut is seriously exploring a bid along with Senate Finance Chairman Jeannie Forrester, R-Meredith and Portsmouth City Councilor Stefany Shaheen, the elder daughter of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH.

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