O'Brien 'disappointed' by by Lamontagne's positionBy JOHN DiSTASO
Senior Political Reporter
September 07. 2012 8:21PM
CONCORD - House Speaker Bill O'Brien said Friday he was 'disappointed' that Republican candidate for governor Ovide Lamontagne would have vetoed the 'Kimberly Cates Law,' which O'Brien sponsored earlier this year and Gov. John Lynch signed into law.
'I think Kevin Smith has the right position,' said O'Brien, R-Mont Vernon, of Lamontagne's Republican primary opponent.
But O'Brien made it clear in an interview he is not endorsing either candidate before next Tuesday's primary.
'I'm personally friendly with both of those individuals,' he said. 'I would have a responsibility to endorse if one were markedly different in their views than the other, but both are good conservatives and either would make a great governor.'
The Kimberly Cates Law expanded the option of the death penalty to cases of murder during home invasions.
O'Brien sponsored the bill earlier this year in reaction to the brutal 2009 murder of the wife and mother Kimberly Cates during a home invasion that also left her daughter, Jaimie, severely injured.
The death penalty came up in both of the televised Granite State Debates, sponsored by WMUR and the New Hampshire Union Leader, on Wednesday and Thursday nights.
On Wednesday, Democratic candidates for governor Maggie Hassan, Jackie Cilley and Bill Kennedy all said they would have vetoed the Cates bill.
That prompted strong reaction from O'Brien, who said he was 'stunned' by their positions and invited them to 'come to my community, walk with me, talk to our residents and reconsider their misguided position on this important issue.'
On Thursday night, Lamontagne said his opposition to the law was based on his strong pro-life beliefs.
'I'm pro-life from conception to death,' he said.
Smith, who is also pro-life on abortion, said he would have signed the Cates bill into law.
O'Brien on Friday told the Granite Status he had been aware of Lamontagne's position on the issue and so was not shocked, only disappointed, to hear the candidate state it clearly during the debate.
He issued the same invitation to Lamontagne to speak with Mont Vernon residents and said he hopes that 'he, too, will learn that their confidence of being safe in their own home, which had been shattered, was in some small way restored by this law.
'People now know at least that anyone who contemplates engaging in such horrible behavior has to factor in that we as a state reserve the option of the death penalty in cases such as this,' O'Brien said.