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Kevin Landrigan's Granite Status: Congressional candidate Eddie Edwards goes grassroots

New Hampshire Union Leader

January 24. 2018 11:32PM

Republican congressional candidate Eddie Edwards of Dover continues to build his grassroots organization with 20 more endorsements from a variety of GOP activists.

Edwards certainly has a decent story to tell, given his history of service as a former police chief, state liquor enforcement boss and Navy veteran.

He’s also getting help with his campaign from Michael Biundo of Manchester and his Right On Strategies team, which has more than two decades of campaign consulting. Biundo says you build credibility as a new candidate not by raising money or writing policy papers, but by building a grassroots organization.

Topping the list is Goffstown’s Pam Manney, a former state representative and vice chairman of the Republican state Committee.

“He has devoted his life to making our country a better place for all of our children and grandchildren,” Manney said. “We need more individuals representing us in Washington with the values Eddie holds dear.”

He also won the backing of former state representative Jane Cormier of Hooksett, past president of New Hampshire Right to Life.

“I know Eddie Edwards will fight for the values I hold dear and will always stand strong against career politicians in Washington,” Cormier said.

Manchester Ward 10 School Committeeman Dr. John Avard said Edwards has the whole package.

“I was left truly impressed not only by his positions on policy, but also by his character and background,” Avard said.

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It didn’t get any attention at the time but Gov. Chris Sununu’s administration has named a former hospital executive to run the state’s Medicaid program.

Henry Lipman stepped down from LRGHealthcare last winter after more than 30 years with the Laconia-based hospital.

He’s also served as chairman of the New Hampshire Hospital Association Board of Trustees and as a paid consultant to the group following his departure from LRGH.

Lipman was named interim director in November but his appointment has since been made permanent, according to Jake Leon, a department spokesman.

In 2016, Medicaid Director Katie Dunn stepped down after 10 years to become a senior policy adviser for a national organization.

There’s irony for a longtime hospital executive to be running New Hampshire’s Medicaid program.

The hospitals had an acrimonious lawsuit against the state contending that they were unfairly hit with taxes so that New Hampshire could maximize federal reimbursements in the Medicaid program.

Lipman’s LRGH was a plaintiff in the class action lawsuit against the state’s medical malpractice insurance pool that resulted in a judge awarding tens of millions of dollars in surplus to be returned to medical providers, including LRGH, for having paid excessive premiums.

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In response to problems at the child protective agency, the state workers union is pushing hard for a bipartisan bill (SB 582) that would set caseload standards in the Division of Children, Youth and Families.

State Employees Association President Rich Gulla said limiting the number of cases per DCYF worker will lead to better outcomes.

“The problem of high caseloads for child protective workers has been building for years, and tragically came to a head after the deaths of two children,” Gulla said. “Since that time we’ve started to make progress on several fronts, but high caseloads remain a major issue.”

The measure has the backing of Sens. Sharon Carson, R-Londonderry, and Kevin Avard, R-Nashua, along with Sens. Dan Feltes, D-Concord, and Donna Soucy, D-Manchester.

Its biggest obstacle is the price tag, nearly $5.3 million a year to add 54 child assessment workers, 16 family service staffers and 10 supervisors to the DCYF ranks.

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Conservative Republicans in the legislature are praising Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut for combing through the last state budget and finding that cities and towns were not fully paid state education aid grants.

The Senate Finance Committee this week endorsed a bill (SB 539) to send out those dollars, which total nearly $1.5 million.

Among the biggest grants: Nashua ($110,563), Manchester ($92,036), Derry ($54,432), Concord ($49,422) and Londonderry ($45,910).

“We are grateful that Commissioner Edelblut found this mistake and brought it to our attention,” said Sen. Regina Birdsell, R-Hampstead, who is sponsoring the measure. “This appropriation will help our cities and towns in providing education to our kids, as it was originally intended.”

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Quick takes:

• U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, D-NH, went to the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon to promote a part of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force’s work. She recently announced the group’s agenda; it includes the so-called CRIB Act, which gives more federal grants to treat babies born to substance abuse mothers.

• U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-NH, is hosting a roundtable today at the Seacoast Science Center in Rye on President Trump’s offshore drilling proposal.

• The organizers behind passage of Marsy’s Law, the campaign to place victim rights into the constitution, have secured the support of four leading law enforcement groups — the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police, New Hampshire Troopers Association, New Hampshire Police Association and the New Hampshire Sheriff’s Association. Organizers say it is a testament to the fact that police at all levels are backing the proposed constitutional amendment (CACR 22).

Email news and tips to granitestatus@unionleader.

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