November 26. 2012 10:33PM

Nashua legislator who served time refuses to resign

Union Leader Correspondent

NASHUA - Outgoing House Majority Leader Pete Silva, R-Nashua, is calling on state Democratic leaders to join him in asking the state's first openly transgender state representative to resign in light of recent revelations of a criminal record.

"If I lived in the district I would be extremely disappointed to learn, just days after the election, that my neighborhood was going to be represented by a person that only four years ago was convicted of a felony charge involving conspiracy and fraud and served time in prison," Silva said Monday in a written statement.

Stacie Marie Laughton, 28, says she will not step down. One of three representatives of Nashua's Ward 4, Laughton and two fellow Democrats topped two Republicans for the seats. She's also a selectman for Ward 4.

While she didn't announce her criminal record while campaigning, Laughton said she did not hide the information from constituents when they asked.

"At this point I don't think anybody's going to want to write their rap sheet on the front of their (campaign) literature," she said.

"What I've done in my past doesn't have to define me. I've made mistakes in my past that I'm not proud of, but then again, mistakes are made and I can only move for from here."

Laughton served 4 1/2 months in jail for credit card fraud in 2008, the Laconia Daily Sun reported. The Sun documented a wide array of incidents involving Laughton and her partner and campaign manager, Lisa Laughton, while they were living in Laconia. Those range from a tire-slashing conviction to admitting that she faked illness for an ambulance ride.

Laconia Police Chief Chris Adams said Laughton has kept in touch with him since returning to Nashua.

"That people can be arrested and move on with life and be better people - it happens all the time," Adams said. "Stacie and Lisa tell me they're doing much better down there and I say, 'Great, I'm very happy to hear that.'"

Laughton moved back to Nashua, her native city, in 2008. Her criminal record in Nashua includes four misdemeanor charges for two incidents in 2002 and 2003, filed against Barry Laughton Jr., Laughton's given name. Criminal mischief charges in February 2002 were dismissed by the court. Laughton was found guilty of simple assault in June 2004. According to court documents, the sentence was satisfied by 14 days of time served.

Laughton said she's an example of how the Department of Corrections can help people reform. She said she receives a Social Security disability check and spends most of her time doing volunteer work.

On Monday she was ringing a bell for the Salvation Army.

"Every single day I do something to try to make amends for the wrong that I have caused in the past," she said.