Jun 28, 2016 6:09 PM
NH1 News Political Director
CONCORD -- Once again, Chris Sununu will be the swing vote.
All eyes are on the Republican Executive Council member from District 3 ahead of Wednesday’s crucial vote over state funding for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.
At stake, a nearly $550,000 contract for PPNNE that was rejected last summer by the council. Sununu, who had previously voted in favor of the funding in 2014 (it was approved 4-0), was the swing vote, joining the two other Republican members of the council, Joe Kenney and David Wheeler, in voting against the contract.
Democratic Councilors Colin Van Ostern and Chris Pappas voted in favor of the contract for the group, which is the largest provider nationwide of women's reproductive health services, including abortions.
Van Ostern and Sununu are now both running for governor. On Friday, minutes after word that the Executive Council would vote on Wednesday, Van Ostern put out a statement urging Sununu to vote in favor of the contract. And Van Ostern and Pappas, both abortion rights supporters and strong backers of Planned Parenthood, set up an on-line petition.
On Monday, reacting to the U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a Texas law that restricted abortion clinics, Van Ostern wrote "on Wednesday, New Hampshire's Executive Council now has the chance to follow the Supreme Court's lead by restoring state funding for birth control, cancer screenings, and annual exams that was shut off last summer by Chris Sununu and two other men despite its broad bipartisan support. It's time to right this wrong and restore these funds."
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Connolly also urged Sununu to vote in favor of the contract.
“When the health of tens of thousands of Granite Staters—and their access to safe, affordable care—is at stake, there’s only one way to vote,” Connolly wrote on Monday. “That's why I urge the Executive Council to approve this critical funding for Planned Parenthood. Earlier today, I sent an open letter to my councilor, Chris Sununu, laying out the case for this contract and noting my expectation that he will do the right thing and vote to support it, along with his fellow councilors
Sununu has not hinted how we’ll vote. But in a statement Monday he said “I’m in the process of reviewing the proposed contract and continuing to talk and listen to people on the matter. As I’ve always done, I will cast my vote on Wednesday with the best interest of my constituents in mind.”
Republican rivals criticize Sununu
Manchester Mayor Ted Gatas, a rival for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, fired away at Sununu in statements on Friday and Monday
“Councilor Chris Sununu has repeatedly voted for state contracts that provided tax dollars to Planned Parenthood. He flip-flopped his position in recent months only after he began to think about running for governor. Now he is refusing to say how he will vote on a similar contract before the Executive Council this week – raising concerns that he is preparing to change his position again,” Gatsas wrote.
“New Hampshire doesn’t need timid politicians who hide from tough questions and refuse to give their positions on important issues. Councilor Sununu has had plenty of time to review this contract and he needs to pledge that he will vote against taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood,” he added.
Tuesday, speaking one-on-one with NH1 News, Gatsas said “I’m not sure what he’s (Sununu) trying to do. I leave that to up to him to explain to the public what he’s attempting to do.”
“I don’t ever believe that funds should be used to pay Planned Parenthood with taxpayers dollars. I never supported that and never would.” Gatsas added “it’s just not the right thing to do.”
State Rep. Frank Edelblut, who’s also running for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, Tuesday charged that "politician Chris Sununu is just like many other politicians in New Hampshire. When it comes to taking a stand, he just can't make up his mind. He voted to hand over taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood, then he votes no, then waffled on doing it again."
"The problem with Chris is that he has to poll test what he wants for breakfast. We need a Governor with a backbone, not someone trying to fulfill a legacy," added Edelblut.
And the other Republican running for the Corner Office, state Sen. Jeanie Forrester, also criticized Sununu, saying “how can Chris Sununu be so confused about whether the taxpayers of New Hampshire should be giving money away to the nation’s largest abortion provider?” Forrester said. “A leader doesn’t leave people questioning his convictions on matters of principle.”
Sununu, who supports abortion rights, explained last August that he changed his vote on funding Planned Parenthood because he was waiting for the results of an investigation into undercover video from conservative activists that alleged the sale of fetal body parts by Planned Parenthood officials.
“Most of us saw those videos on-line and the vast majority, it’s disgusting, it’s disturbing, and it’s an absolute point for us again to take that step back,” Sununu told NH1 News at the time.
The videos caused a firestorm and prompted conservative lawmakers in Congress to try and repeal federal funding for Planned Parenthood. The heavily edited videos were later discredited.
PPNNE said that since the state defunding of the program last summer, there’s been a cut back in services that that the agency’s Manchester, Derry, Exeter, and Keene facilities remain open. The group added that the state funding represented about one-third of the public funds PPNNE uses to subsidize services for people without health insurance.
16 hours 21 minutes agoA Strafford County corrections officer allegedly attempted to bring heroin into the jail before being detained by police. (More)
16 hours 56 minutes agoNicole Guida, owner of Chic & Unique, a boutique shop located in Littleton, is requesting a jury trial against a former customer who caused...
23 hours 22 minutes agoChelsea Blais plead not guilty to abusing children in her care at the Alpha Bits Learning Center, where police say she force fed and...
1 day 8 minutes agoNYPD seized over $4.1 million and over three kilograms (6 pounds) of heroin, unraveling a multi-state drug ring — involving New England. (More)
18 hours 17 minutes agoNew Hampshire is often in the 'weather battle zone' this time of year, which isn't a good thing if you are looking for spring...
23 hours 38 minutes agoNew Hampshire’s top public officials Wednesday marked the death of state Sen. Scott McGilvray. The first term Democratic state senator from Hooksett and president...
Mar 22, 2017 7:33 AMThe National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory from 10 a.m. Wednesday to midnight. (More)
Mar 21, 2017 10:29 PMA report released on Tuesday by the state agency that licenses childcare centers revealed multiple incidents of verbal and physical abuse committed by a...
Mar 21, 2017 6:40 PMA mother and her friend who injected her with heroin while she was in labor in September 2016 will not be facing felony charges...
Mar 21, 2017 4:09 PMA 74-year-old Mass. man living in public housing for the elderly faces drug trafficking charges after police say they found cocaine valued at about...
Mar 21, 2017 12:09 PMDerry Police say a home was shot at and struck at least 6 times early Tuesday morning, but no one was hurt. (More)
Mar 21, 2017 12:26 PMA woman has been charge with assault against three infants at a Manchester day care center. The three victims are all younger than 1-years-old....
Mar 20, 2017 4:05 PMA man who pleaded guilty to supplying a person in Rochester with a deadly dose of drugs will spend between 8- and 16-years in...
Mar 20, 2017 4:01 PMOnlyInYourState.com has provided nine places in the Granite State where you might be able to spot a ghost. (More)
Mar 20, 2017 2:31 PMPolice are searching for a man who allegedly punched and injured another man at a diner in Manchester. (More)
Mar 20, 2017 3:56 PMA 21-year-old man destroyed his family home after trying to exterminate ants with wooden matches, killing their two cats and a dog. (More)
Mar 20, 2017 4:14 PMA state representative cited house rules when she told a New Hampshire man to stop recording a committee meeting - rules that apparently do...
Mar 19, 2017 5:08 PMA new kind of roller coaster experience is set to premiere next month at Six Flags New England. (More)
Mar 20, 2017 9:40 AMAuthorities say Super Bowl LI and Super Bowl XLIX jerseys "found in the possession of a credentialed member of international media." (More)
Mar 18, 2016 10:37 AMA drug sweep on Thursday afternoon and evening netted four arrests, a pound of suspected cocaine and $7,000 in cash. (More)
Mar 19, 2017 11:56 AMDisney's live-action 'Beauty' was a beast at the box office, opening with an estimated $170 million in North American ticket sales and setting a...
Mar 19, 2017 10:06 AMToll booth workers could be a thing of the past under a bill before the New Hampshire House. (More)
Mar 19, 2017 10:48 AMA Windham man sustained life-threatening injuries when his snowmobile collided with a tree. (More)
Mar 19, 2017 11:23 AMA snowmobiler fell through thin ice, causing a difficult rescue by Wakefield Fire and EMS. (More)
Mar 18, 2017 1:33 PMA Boscawen man is accused of driving 104 mph in a 65 mph speed zone around 9:40 a.m. Saturday. (More)
Mar 17, 2017 5:07 PMAn Exeter High School guidance counselor has pleaded not guilty to aggravated sexual assault against an underage female student. (More)
Mar 17, 2017 4:26 PMA Pembroke mother held a gun to her daughter's head and shouted "You (expletive) piece of (expletive)," according to court paperwork. (More)
Mar 18, 2017 8:24 AMUtility crews are still mopping up in New Hampshire after a powerful nor'easter. (More)
Mar 17, 2017 11:30 AMA 62-year-old man passed away after his snowmobile got stuck in while attempting to get up a hill on Trail 21 in Stewartstown. (More)
Mar 17, 2017 1:13 PMThe Nashua Police Department arrested five more people for various drug-related crimes in connection with Operation Granite Hammer Thursday. (More)
Mar 17, 2017 10:37 AMCitizens Bank is experiencing transaction delays affecting customer accounts. The company acknowledged the problem on its social media accounts Friday. (More)
Mar 17, 2017 8:42 AMThe New Hampshire Attorney General identified the man who was found dead in a Farmington home Wednesday. (More)
Mar 17, 2017 7:52 AMA Pembroke mother is facing charges after allegedly pointing a gun at her daughter during an argument. (More)
Mar 17, 2017 8:22 AMPolice responded to the hotel around 11:30 p.m. to find a 43-year-old man that was "actively" bleeding due to severe injuries on his face....
Mar 16, 2017 3:35 PMAn Effingham woman pleaded guilty to selling fentanyl that caused the death of a Wolfeboro man. (More)
Mar 16, 2017 3:09 PMProsecutors recently filed a motion to revoke Earle's bail after learning she is back together with the boyfriend in question. (More)
Mar 16, 2017 9:14 AMHooksett Highway Department calls police after seeing snow was being plowed across the roadway by a private plow. (More)
Mar 16, 2017 4:16 PMThe former owner of a Manchester sports bar pleaded guilty to having and planning to distribute nearly 17 pounds of meth in largest bust...
Mar 16, 2017 7:21 AMPolice responded to a 911 call from a home at 12:06 p.m. Wednesday. Officers at the scene found one man dead, a woman injured....
Mar 15, 2017 12:05 PMA community is showing their support for a Gilford family that lost their daughter during the 2017 blizzard. (More)
Mar 15, 2017 1:23 PMThe roof of the Hampshire Dome has collapsed. Fire crews are on scene. The dome is part of the Hampshire Hills Athletic Club sports...
Mar 15, 2017 12:27 PMPolice found marijuana in a 64-year-old woman's purse after she allegedly refused a welfare check in Plaistow. (More)
Mar 15, 2017 9:43 AMHere are the latest storm reports from National Weather Service storm spotters. The snow totals have been rounded to the nearest half-inch. SOUTHERN NH Stratham – 23.5” Goffstown – 20” Nottingham – 19” Exeter – 18” East Rochester – 18” Weare – 17.5” North Brookline – 17”...
Mar 15, 2017 7:43 AMCatalano's Market and apartments burn in overnight fire. (More)
Mar 14, 2017 4:13 PMA 23-month-old child in need of a heart transplant was escorted by a convoy of plow trucks, state police and National Guardsmen from one...
Mar 14, 2017 8:30 AMThis March Nor'easter has dumped snow across New Hampshire, leaving crashes and lane closures on I-89 and I-93 as it begins to really ramp...
Mar 14, 2017 6:26 PMTens of thousands are without power in New Hampshire on Tuesday evening as the 2017 blizzard continues to hammer the state. (More)
Mar 14, 2017 11:01 AMSnow has moved into the Granite State, but the height of the storm comes Tuesday afternoon into early evening. Blizzard warnings are in effect for southeast New Hampshire, where the combination of heavy snow and strong winds will create whiteout conditions during the height of the nor'easter Tuesday afternoon....
Mar 14, 2017 4:26 PMTens of thousands are without power in New Hampshire Tuesday afternoon as the 2017 blizzard sweeps across the state. (More)
Mar 14, 2017 2:28 PMAs the winds begin to pick up across New Hampshire during the 2017 blizzard, power outages are leaving thousands in the dark. (More)