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Democrats rally at annual Kennedy-Clinton dinner in Hollis

By KEVIN LANDRIGAN
New Hampshire Union Leader

November 17. 2017 10:34PM
Activists from New Hampshire Young Democrats gather after Friday's annual Kennedy-Clinton dinner at the Alpine Grove in Hollis. Their work contributed to winning eight of 10 special elections during 2017 and several municipal wins including a clean sweep of all citywide seats on the Nashua Board of Aldermen. NHYD Executive Director and State Rep. Amelia Keane was awarded her party's emerging leader award at the event. (Courtesy of the New Hampshire Young Democrats)



HOLLIS — Three members of the state’s congressional delegation and three out-of-state Democratic members of the U.S. House fired up a large crowd of party activists at the annual Kennedy-Clinton dinner at the Alpine Grove Friday night.

The annual dinner served as a celebration of 2016 for New Hampshire having elected the first all-female Democratic congressional delegation in American history.

But speaker after speaker reminded the party faithful the work isn’t done since Republicans hold all the seats of power in Concord — the corner office, the Executive Council and the New Hampshire Legislature.

Democratic Party Chairman Raymond Buckley bound onto the stage with the “Game of Thrones” theme playing and made clear his top political priority.

“We have a message for Christopher Sununu; 2018 is coming,” Buckley said “Yes, we have launched a project keep Sununu accountable.”

Buckley said his party’s successes in 2017 will translate to breakthrough wins in state elections next year.

“This year we won eight out of 10 special elections, five in Republican districts and our first State Senate special election victory since 1984,” Buckley said.

Retiring Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H., vowed to keep working over the last 13 months of her term and deliver a rebuke to President Trump next year.

“We are not done yet. We still have a lot of work to do,” Shea-Porter said. “We are going to have a full reckoning and it’s coming very soon.”

Congresswoman Annie Kuster, D-N.H., admitted it was hard coping at times with all Republican control in Washington since 2016.

“People have asked me how are you holding up and I say a lot better since last Tuesday. Because of you I am hopeful tonight,” Kuster said.

The three-term incumbent revealed how frustrating last week’s tax reform vote was.

“This is nothing more than a tax scam for millionaires, billionaires and corporate special interests and you are paying for it,” she said.

Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., echoed that theme.

“Do you think a tax bill should be used to sabotage our health care system? Me neither, but that is exactly what Republicans want to do,” Hassan said.

Republican State Chairwoman Jeanie Forrester seized on the sex harassment scandal involving Minn. Sen. Al Franken to call upon top Democrats to strip former President Bill Clinton as a namesake of this annual dinner given his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

“Tonight, New Hampshire Democrats will gather to honor President Clinton,” Forrester said. “At a time when Harvey Weinstein and Sen. Al Franken have had credible allegations of sexual assault, and as liberals across the country start to finally denounce Bill Clinton for his past lewd behavior, the New Hampshire Democrats should immediately denounce and remove the name of a sexual predator from their main fundraising dinner.”

Manchester Mayor-elect Joyce Craig received one of the loudest rounds of applause from the audience as the first female mayor in Manchester’s history.

“Your work over the many months really made the difference and I will be forever grateful for your support,” Craig said. “I know that the real work begins now. As mayor, I will focus on improving our schools, making our streets safer, bringing new business to our city and making progress in dealing with the opioid crisis. Manchester’s best days are ahead of us.”

Declared 2020 Democratic presidential candidate John Delaney, a Maryland congressman, gave an optimistic address about the ideals of working Americans and called for an end to partisan bickering on Capitol Hill.

Delaney said 60 percent of Americans live in parts of the country that are not economically thriving.

“We are basically writing off two-thirds of the American children in this country from having that American dream,” Delaney said. “We have become not a country of everyone having an equal shot but a country of birthright, for those who were born in the right parts of the country.”

Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan hasn’t ruled out his own White House bid in 2020.

Ryan said federal systems are failing from health care to education to environmental protection.

“We are stuck in these broken systems that won’t allow people to do something extraordinary. ...” Ryan said. “The Republican Party is doubling down on these failed systems.”

Congresswoman Grace Meng, D-N.Y., said national party leaders understand the 2016 presidential defeat was a bitter pill to swallow.

“We have learned the lesson that swooping into a state a few weeks before an election doesn’t work,” said Meng, a newly-elected vice chair of the Democratic National Committee. “It’s not helpful, it’s not effective and it’s not really respectful.”

State Rep. Amelia Keane, D-Nashua, former Attorney General Joseph Foster of Nashua, Sen. Bette Lasky, D-Nashua, and Shea-Porter were recognized with awards Friday night.

klandrigan@unionleader.com


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