Mark Connolly, former securities regulation director, officially announces his Democratic bid for governor next Wednesday.

Oct 30, 2015 7:01 PM

Landrigan: NH Political Report-The most significant reform needed for DCYF will not happen in 2016.

CONCORD - Sure, there will be some important changes but the Division of Children, Youth and Families will not get what they really need from the Legislature in 2016.

You can fault DCYF for falling down on the job with tragic consequences; talk to the loved ones of Brielle Gage and Sadie Willott as the best, recent examples.

But Director Lorraine Bartlett is right; you can’t expect an anti-child abuse agency to stay on top of it all with a response team that works from 9-to-5 pm.

She’s argued for an action team that would work during the overnight and weekend hours.

It only makes sense. Think about how many abuse cases happen after the working day ends.

There’s little chance she gets what she is looking for. Why? The state budget is already done and giving DCYF more staff and personnel time translates to millions of new dollars the Republican-led Legislature is in no mood to give them prior to 2017.

State Sen. David Boutin, R-Hooksett, chairs the Child Fatalities Commission who created the panel after the Gage tragedy and agrees it’s not in the cards.

"That’s a budget issue and it won’t be dealt with next year nor should it," Boutin said.

Attorney General Joe Foster did give the commission a to-do list they can act upon in 2016

As we reported, Foster noted that state law right now doesn’t give law enforcement access to the files on children who are dead after an abuse case had been opened.

Further, Foster and Boutin agreed it makes no sense to continue the mandatory practice right now to destroy or purge all child abuse files after a period of time.


A working group is looking at ending the Sununu Youth Services Center in Manchester either by selling it off or converting it.

Sen. David Boutin, R-Hooksett, said a study group is finalizing the final report which calls for moving the juvenile offenders from the current, state-of-the-art Sununu Center into two buildings to be rehabbed on the North end of the campus.

Why? That’s because the Sununu Center has 144 beds in it and the current census has hovered for a while right around 50.

"There’s just no need for a facility of this size," Boutin said.

The recently-crafted state budget doesn’t include money for the second year of the Sununu Center which is the impetus for selling the building ideally to a consortium of non-profits that could use it for youth-related mental health and substance abuse services.

"The campus could become the ideal, full-service treatment facility of tomorrow," Boutin added.


It’s political, opportunistic and brilliant.

That’s the move of Senator Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, last weekend to jump the shark and endorse the Clean Power Plan.

She became the first Republican member of the Senate in the country to endorse Obama’s executive order actions forcing power plants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 2030.

Ayotte said she’s doing it precisely because New Hampshire is a decade ahead of schedule to comply with the guidelines.

But the pure genius was for Ayotte to come out in favor of this move a day before Gov. Maggie Hassan was prepared to call Ayotte out for failing to commit to do it.

Keep in mind; Obama’s plan has been sitting out there for more than a year and Ayotte waited until this moment to decide to act.

Very smart!

That’s because some of the finest Republicans to ever serve New Hampshire in Washington, the late Senator Warren Rudman, Congressman James Cleveland and Senator/Governor Judd Gregg, all earned the reputation as GOP environmentalists.

Don’t think for a minute Hassan is going to let the issue drop; her campaign remains convinced the environment is an Achilles Heel for Ayotte that they intend to exploit often leaning up to 2016.


Here is one way in the early going that the Republican Ayotte is trying to buck the trend and outdo the Democrat on social media.

Here’s some exclusive numbers we’ve obtained where again it’s early but Ayotte is out in front.

- Facebook: Ayotte has 15,195 followers; Hassan has 11,638.

- Twitter; Hassan has 5,178 followers; Ayotte has 40,600.

- New platforms: Ayotte put a running playlist on Spotify, the list some of her favorite running songs she listens to as she continues a busy schedule of 5K and other races for charity and other causes.


New Castle Democrat Mark Connolly makes official his Democratic campaign for governor next Wednesday morning at First Place in Manchester.

The former state securities regulation director clearly picking the new technology center design of inventor Dean Kamen to underscore his campaign will be about New Hampshire attracting the jobs of tomorrow.

As we first reported, the former state legislator Connolly will take the pledge if elected to veto a sales or income tax.

He becomes the second official Democratic candidate to try and replace outgoing Gov. Maggie Hassan joining Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern, D-Concord.


The New Hampshire Breastfeeding Coalition continues to make strides.

Months ago it looked like the House Commerce and Small Business Committee was going to keep that bill bottled up and suffocated.

Wait a minute. Kate Frederick with the coalition, Kary Jencks with New Hampshire Citizens Alliance and their allies went to work enlisting the backing of the Business & Industry Association for reform legislation that unanimously passed the State Senate last spring.

Last week, the panel endorsed similar changes, 19-1.

The full House expected to follow suit in January.


For Nashua Democrats it’s better late than never but not likely to be completely successful.

Public education supporters shocked when candidate filing period ended for five seats on the Board of Education and all of them were fiscal conservatives.

They include former State Reps. William Mosher, Elizabeth Van Twuyver and Doris Hohensee along with Robert Hallowell and Howard Coffman.

The Nashua Democratic City Committee has put up a write-in slate and organized labor has been helping to put out palm cards to present to voters when they cast ballots on Tuesday.

The Democratic slate: Ray Guarino, Donald Jean, Gwen Mikailov, Allison Nutting and Atlant Schmidt.

"It’s a travesty that the only people now running for the board are people who really don’t seem to like public education," Schmidt said. "Worse yet is that Nashuans were effectively given no say in the matter of who represents them."


As the New Hampshire Political Report first told you, Gov. Maggie Hassan wanted and privately pursued a special session this fall to tackle the heroin epidemic.

Also as we told you, Republican legislative leaders were in agreement that was not a good idea and the solutions can easily be taken up early on in the 2016 session.

Now Hassan could pursue a special session by act of the Executive Council.

"That is an option at my disposal and certainly an option that will remain out there but it’s important there been consensus," Hassan told NH1 News.

Translation: I’m not going to try to force lawmakers back prior to January.

Besides, she couldn’t get one of the three Republican Executive Councilors to agree to go along with her to do it.


Okay, former Nashua Mayor and Alderman-at-Large Jim Donchess remains the favorite on Tuesday to win the corner office and replace outgoing Mayor Donnalee Lozeau.

But first-time candidate and ex-Nashua Chamber of Commerce CEO Chris Williams has cornered the market on cutting-edge campaigning.

Even Donchess had to admit at the first debate they had that his web site couldn’t compete with Williams.

Last week it was the closing, Get Out the Vote video of Williams to ``Downtown’’ that went viral.

Here’s the link: win or lose, very innovative,.


Quote of the Week:

"Each and every day we wait we are losing people to this epidemic. Too many families across our state are grappling with the loss of a family member to drug abuse." - Gov. Maggie Hassan speaks about her call for a special session to act on the heroin epidemic.

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