[Update] House candidate on ‘American principles’

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Update: When this story was originally published, Mr. Fraser’s first response was not displayed on Patch, which made it appear that he had refused to answer the question. In fairness to Mr. Fraser, a candidate for the state House in Strafford District 17, I’ve updated the story to include the complete discussion:

Tom: Are you a member of the Free State Project?

Joe Fraser: No, I am a NH native.

Tom: OK, do you support the Free State Project, NH Liberty and/or a Libertarian takeover of New Hampshire?

Joe Fraser: Tom, what is this fixation? I am running to represent the citizens of my district. My principles are clear and can be found in this announcement as well as my website and my various letters to the editor in Fosters. Responsible budgeting, limited taxes, returning the NH Advantage to businesses, local control of education and parental control of school choice. Those are American principles. If you want to debate any of them have at it.

Tom: A simple question which you apparently have a problem answering with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Your reply is certainly revealing, though. I was raised in a very conservative household but, above all, taught to examine, research and think about everything. My father always said that any salesman (including politicians) who ducks answering simple questions is trying to hide their product’s flaws. Thank you for informing me that you are such a salesman - your ‘principles’ mean nothing without the currency of honesty.


Rep. Peter Hansen: Majority of Americans on welfare, don’t want to work

State House Rep. Peter Hansen claims half of all Americans are on welfare. Raising the minimum wage won’t help them, he says, because they don’t want to work. The Amherst Republican made the controversial comments while reviewing Pres. Obama’s State of the Union address for Patch:

I am also disappointed that he didn’t address … what he would do to get about 50% of our population off welfare. Even with a higher minimum wage if the worker isn’t working because welfare provides as good or better life style and requiring no effort on the part of the recipient they will continue to stay home and a higher minimum wage accomplishes little.

Hansen grossly exaggerated the number of Americans on welfare. A study conducted earlier this month by the Statistic Brain Research Institute determined 12.8 million Americans receive welfare benefits, 4.1% of the U.S. population. That number grows when recipients of food stamps (formally called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance, or SNAP) and Medicaid are added to the mix, but still falls well shy of including one of every two Americans.

Hansen may have been referring to a CNS News report that found 49.2% of Americans received government benefits in the fourth quarter of 2011. That figure, however, included programs that are not means tested, including Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance and veterans benefits. It also counted the number of Americans in households receiving Medicaid rather than individuals receiving the benefit.

Hansen’s comments echo rhetoric from Ronald Reagan, who waged war on “welfare queens” in the 1970s, mythical recipients of public assistance who lived a life of luxury while refusing to work. In fact, Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (TANF) requires welfare recipients to find work within two years or risk losing benefits — though many who work at low wage jobs still qualify for means tested public assistance.


Scott Brown denies discussing presidential bid

Former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown recently denied ever having 2016 presidential aspirations. During a recent foray across the border to Londonderry, he told Patch, “I don’t think I ever said I was thinking about running for president.” Oh, really? Not ever?

Boston Herald, August 18, 2013:

Former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown told the Herald he is looking at a possible 2016 presidential bid today as he hit a well-worn stomping ground for Oval Office hopefuls – the Iowa State Fair.

“I want to get an indication of whether there’s even an interest, in Massachusetts and throughout the country, if there’s room for a bi-partisan problem solver,” said Brown, who has been meeting with top Republicans nationally and last week hosted a Fenway event for Republican National Committee members. Brown indicated he isn’t close to deciding whether he will run. “It’s 2013, I think it’s premature, but I am curious. There’s a lot of good name recognition in the Dakotas and here – that’s pretty good.”


Bowser doo-wops the vote

H/T: Patch


Patch: NH GOP leaders giving up on Romney

A Patch survey of influential New Hampshire politicos finds Democrats are much more bullish on the liklihood of President Obama winning the state in November than Republican leaders are on Mitt Romney. "It’s too late for Mitt," said one Republican.

Less than a third of our influential Republicans said they feel strongly that Romney would win New Hampshire if the presidential election were held today. Thirty-one percent said they strongly agree, 33 percent said they somewhat agree, 14 percent said they somewhat disagree, 7 percent said they strongly disagree, and 14 percent were neutral.

Meanwhile, nearly half (48 percent) of Democrats responding to our survey said they strongly agree that Obama would win New Hampshire if the election were held today. Another 44 percent said they somewhat agree, four percent were neutral, and four percent somewhat agree. None strongly disagree.


Lifelong Republican says ‘no’ to Frank Guinta

Greg Williams, a lifelong Republican, won’t be voting for Frank Guinta this year.

A Bedford resident with two children graduating from high school next year, Williams had been anxious to speak with the Congressman about his college affordability concerns. When he read of an upcoming campaign stop in Merrimack, Williams called ahead to confirm that it was open to the public and drove to the event prepared to ask Guinta his question. It was not to be.

In a letter to the editor of Patch, Williams described his experience:

I was told the event was private, and that the Congressman was “around dangerous chemicals.” … The receptionist told me she’d speak to one of Guinta’s staffers, took my number, and promised to call me back.

Fifteen-minutes later, she called back, apologized profusely, and relayed the staffer’s message to me: all questions for the Congressman should be diverted to the Congressman’s office. … She apologized again and told me I wouldn’t be able to speak with Rep. Guinta today.

I’ve been watching Guinta’s campaign and congressional websites this month for any publicly-advertised town hall meetings, and haven’t found any. But Guinta has apparently had plenty of time for private fundraisers and appearances with big-time Republicans like Kelly Ayotte, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. Even as a conservative, I’m disgusted with Guinta and his lack of backbone, and unwillingness to meet with the people he allegedly represents.

Williams, who said he is “disappointed in our Congressman for refusing to give time to anyone who isn’t giving him money,” plans to vote for Rick Parent in the Republican primary. If Guinta wins the primary as expected, Williams said he will vote for Carol Shea-Porter in November.

"At least she’s willing to meet Granite Staters face to face and answer tough questions," declared Williams, "which can hardly be said for a slug like Guinta."


More on O’Brien’s unconstitutional temper tantrum

In an extraordinary interview with Patch’s Ryan O’Connor, state House Speaker Bill O’Brien explains that he barred Concord Monitor reporters from attending a State House press briefing earlier this month because they are “Democratic propagandists" and are not "legitimate journalists."

"What has become apparent is that they have a political agenda and it maps very neatly with what the Democrat agenda is, to distract people from the issues, to talk process, to talk personality, to implement Saul Alinsky’s Rule No. 5, which is to demonize and marginalize the leadership of the opposition," said O’Brien. …

"Are we going to deal with them as if they’re legitimate journalists? No, they’re propagandists," he continued. …

"If you choose your stories and you choose your reporting against a background of the attempt to carry forward one side or the others messages then you are no longer participating as a normal media and you no longer have the right to expect to be treated that way."

"You know, I love talking to the people of New Hampshire, (but) I’m not talking to Democratic propagandists."

O’Brien might be advised to heed the words of U.S. District Court Judge Samuel King, who in 1974 ruled that a Hawaiian mayor had a Constitutional obligation to open his press conferences to all reporters — even if they are not accurate and objective.

A free press is not necessarily an angelic press. Newspapers take sides, especially in political contests. Newspaper reporters are not always accurate and objective. They are subject to criticism, and the right of a governmental official to criticize is within First Amendment guarantees.

But when criticism transforms into an attempt to use the powers of governmental office to intimidate or to discipline the press or one of its members because of what appears in print, a compelling governmental interest that cannot be served by less restrictive means must be shown for such use to meet Constitutional standards.


NH Republicans say Ayotte bad choice for vice president

Republican leaders who know Sen. Kelly Ayotte the best — those in her home state — say she would not be a good vice presidential selection for Mitt Romney.

Patch asked 101 influential New Hampshire GOP activists who they think Romney should pick his running mate and not one named Ayotte.

Over half of the 46 Republican leaders who responded to the nonscientific survey said they completely or somewhat disagree that Ayotte would be a good choice. 

Several of those responding said Ayotte would be a bad pick due to her lack of national experience, including one wag who went so far as to call her “Dan Quayle revisited.” Ouch.


NH GOP stands by their man (who kept the nuts in line)

A Patch survey of 102 influential New Hampshire Republican activists, party leaders and elected officials finds broad support for House Speaker Bill O’Brien, who has been called one of the most controversial leaders in state history.

Nearly two-thirds of the respondents said they would like to see O’Brien return as House Speaker next year. The Speaker’s greatest achievement? “Keeping the nuts in line,” replied one realist.

Democrats will probably not object to having O’Brien lead the party in November. In the latest WMUR/Granite State Poll, only 15% of New Hampshire adults had a favorable opinion of O’Brien, compared to 27% who expressed an unfavorable opinion of the House Speaker.


Rep. vs. Rep.: “Like Calling Mary Poppins a Hooker”

Patch is running a poll asking, “Does House Speaker William O’Brien deserve another term?” The unscientific poll doesn’t hold much interest for me, but the readers’ comments are quite entertaining.

When the conversation turned to reports of O’Brien bullying lawmakers who disagreed with him, a reader identifying himself as GOP Rep. Will Smith jumped to his defense:

[N]one of the so called “bullying” episodes EVER occurred! Emerson is a liar, the Senate Sargent at Arms is a union hack and was FIRED and he wasn’t even in the room and Tim Copeland is a union hack liar who also wasn’t there and never even had a conversation with the Speaker or majority leader.

That was all too much for Rep. Lee Quandt. “Is Rep. Will Smith unhinged?” asked Quandt.

Calling Emerson and Copeland liars is like calling Mary Poppins a hooker, just doesn’t fit and not credible.


Guinta: Lay Off More Government Workers

At a time when most politicians are focused on creating jobs and avoiding a recession, Rep. Frank Guinta today called for more layoffs in the federal workforce.

U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta, R-Manchester, today called for cutting the number of federal workers to save money.

Government workers “take money out of the private sector,” Guinta said during a forum at the RiverWoods senior citizen community this afternoon. About 50 seniors were in attendance.

Guinta … argued there should be a spending/hiring freeze for all government departments.


Concord’s Redistricting Train Wreck

Tony Schinella provides a fascinating account of an approaching train wreck involving Concord’s redistricting plan.

Two candidates vying for Concord city council ward seats –- Jennifer Kretovic and Kris MacNeil -– are living in areas of the city that will be moved from one ward to another, in the wake of voter approval of the redistricting plan. Kretovic lives in Ward 2 but the plan moves her into Ward 3; MacNeil lives in Ward 3 but the plan moves her into Ward 4.

If approved, the redistricting plan will be implemented on Jan. 1, 2012. New city councilors and the mayor will be sworn in on Jan. 9, 2012. But if the voters approve the redistricting and both candidates win, they will not be seated, according to City Solicitor Jim Kennedy, because they will no longer be residents of the wards they were elected to serve.

City officials admit they have “no idea what to do” to address the issue.

Kretovic stated that at first, it was suggested to her that she run in Ward 3. Later, she was told she could only run in Ward 2, because that is where she lives now. Then, she was told “the unthinkable — that I shouldn’t bother running at all because I would never be able to serve in either Ward.”


Miscellany Blue