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February 16. 2012 6:59PM

Veteran attorney, Democrat Nyquist eyeing state Senate run

Veteran New Boston attorney and town moderator Lee Nyquist told UnionLeader.com Thursday he intends to run for the District 9 state Senate seat.

A self-described moderate Democrat, Nyquist said he plans to file an exploratory committee within the several weeks with the Secretary of State's Office. He said he has been spurred to run by the “atmosphere” at the State House during the past year and “to restore a long-time New Hampshire tradition” of “collegial representative government.”

Nyquist said that if elected, he intends to be a “citizen legislator, not to achieve power, but to give a voice to the people. I hope my long-standing reputation is as someone who deals in mutual respect.”

Nyquist, 59, is “of counsel” with the Shaheen and Gordon law firm and since 1992 has been elected 10 times as New Boston town moderator. This would be his first run for a higher office.

State Democratic Chairman Raymond Buckley said Nyquist would be “a phenomenal candidate. He is such an impressive person and would make such a difference in the Senate.”

Buckley also noted Nyquist's ties with Republicans “are just as strong as with Democrats.

“He has a built significant relationships during a lifetime of civic service,” Buckley said.

Nyquist, a graduate of Harvard and the law school at American University, is the husband of attorney Leslie Nixon Nyquist and the son-in-law of well-known attorney and former state Senate President David Nixon. Nyquist has thee daughters and a son.

Another son, Clifford Nyquist, died at the age of 15 in a tragic drowning incident at St. Paul's School in Concord in 2004.

Nyquist said he has been politically “inspired” by Gov. John Lynch and U.S. Sen. and former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen and considers himself a Democrat in their mold. He said he is opposed to the imposition of a sales or income tax.

Nyquist said that in the Senate he would focus on bipartisan solutions “rather than become engaged in efforts to achieve a partisan advantage.

“My late son once said to me he thought I was a man of action,” Nyquist said, “and I finally have decided to take some action after the past year and some months of the atmosphere in Concord.”

The District 9 seat had been held for 12 terms from 1985 through 2010 by Sheila Roberge. In 2010, Republican Bedford businessman Ray White was elected to the seat, but he recently announced he will not seek a second term.

District 7 Republican state Sen. Andy Sanborn recently announced that he and his wife, Rep. Laurie Sanborn, will relocate from Henniker to Bedford at the end of the current legislative session and that he intends to run for the District 9 seat.

Nyquist said he has been meeting with contacts “locally and statewide” and has had a “very positive and heart-warming response.”

Nyquist said that the New Hampshire Legislature should be known for “listening to the people rather than following strict ideological agendas that are imposed from above or imported from other parts of the country.”

Nyquist said another key to his decision to run is the reconfiguration of the district under the new redistricting plan. The district, which formerly included only Bedford, New Boston, Mont Vernon and Merrimack, now includes Bedford, New Boston, Lyndeborough, Greenfield, Temple, Peterborough, Hancock , Sharon, Jaffrey, Dublin, Troy, Richmond and Fitzwilliam.

The newly configured district, he said, “gives me strong confidence that this is a very competitive district, particularly for a moderate Democrat and I look forward to presenting myself in that way.”

But he also noted he has strong ties to mostly Republican Bedford, where he and his wife were married and where the service for his late son was held, as well as New Boston, where he was elected 10 times as moderator.

Nyquist is also a past president of the Manchester Bar Association and of the New Hampshire Association for Justice. He is a fellow with the New Hampshire Bar Foundation and a member of the New Hampshire Bar Association.

He chairs the New Hampshire Unemployment Compensation Advisory Council and is a member of the New Hampshire Workers Compensation Advisory Board. He also belongs to the Manchester Rotary Club and is a past director of the Community Church of New Boston and the Daniel Webster Council Boy Scouts of America.

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