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Garry Rayno's State House Dome: NH to host New England governors, Eastern Canadian premiers in Mount Washington

July 12. 2014 9:32PM

FOR THE FIRST in nearly two decades, New Hampshire will host the annual conference of New England governors and Eastern Canadian premiers.

The six governors and five premiers will gather Monday at the Omni Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods to explore how technical innovations, investments and effective processes enhance economic opportunity for the region.

The title of the conference picks up on one of Gov. Maggie Hassan's frequent themes, "Partnering for an Innovative Economy."

"I am pleased to welcome the New England Governors, the Eastern Canadian premiers and hundreds of guests to New Hampshire's North Country for a robust discussion on how we can continue to work together to strengthen the regional economy," Hassan said on Friday.

"Our economies are already strongly linked. Each year, New Hampshire trades millions of dollars of goods and services with our Canadian partners; we share common transportation and energy markets; and we work together to protect public safety. I look forward to a productive conference focused on innovation and strengthening economic opportunity for the people of the entire region."

In years past, conferences have developed programs and initiatives in trade, energy, economic development, environment, oceans, forestry, agriculture, fisheries, transportation, information technology and tourism.

Last year, the regional leaders explored issues dealing with transportation, mutual aid agreements for emergency response, energy efficiency and rail safety in response to the tragedy in Lac Megantic that occurred when a train carrying crude oil was unattended, broke away and derailed. The resulting explosion killed 42 people and destroyed more than 30 buildings.

This year the group will explore revitalizing the region's economy through trade and economic development to create jobs and expand opportunities for New Hampshire and the region's businesses.

Department of Resources and Economic Development Commissioner Jeffrey Rose said there is great value in bringing together these leaders from both sides of the international border.

"Each state and each province shares a connection, by virtue of our geography," Rose said. "Bringing everyone together ensures we can face any issues affecting us, unified as a region."

Rose said that as the host of this year's conference, Hassan is highlighting collaboration on the growing regional economy by way of a plenary session Monday afternoon, Strengthening Partnerships for Regional Economic Development.

Rose is the moderator of this session, which will include two Granite Staters on the panel - Dr. Ross Gittell, chancellor of the New Hampshire Community College System, and Christopher Wrenn, chairman of the New Hampshire Aerospace and Defense Export Consortium.

This month is the 70th anniversary of the historic International Monetary Conference held at Bretton Woods.

The governors' and premiers' meeting is not going unnoticed by activists who want to bring attention to the issues of the Northern Pass transmission project and tar sands oil and its environmental impacts.

The Appalachian Mountain Club sent letters to the New England governors last week asking them to support Hassan and her opposition to the project as proposed.

"We in New England deserve better than Northern Pass, and most especially New Hampshire deserves better," wrote Susan Arnold, AMC Vice President for Conservation. "We will not trade away the majestic beauty of New Hampshire. We will insist on smart, modern, and well-planned energy projects that protect our invaluable natural and scenic resources, not compromise them."

Northern Pass would bring 1,200 megawatts of Hydro Quebec power to New England through a new 187-mile transmission line from the Canadian boarder to Deerfield, where it would feed into the New England power grid.

The proposed transmission line has yet to receive federal or state approval.

Also, the Tar Sands Free Northeast Coalition will host a "No Tar Sands" People's Conference today. The group says the agenda of the governors and premiers ignores the tar sands issue that it maintains is a threat to the region.

The group is concerned about the possibility of reversing the Portland to Montreal Pipeline and using it to bring Canadian tar sands oil to the region.

A rally and press conference is scheduled for at noon across Route 302 from the hotel complex complete with music, speakers, banners and a model 40-foot pipeline.

Ironically, Hassan is set to sign two billson Monday to increase state safeguards against an oil spill. The signing ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. at Randolph's Durand Lake Recreation Area with the sponsors of the two bills, Sen. Jeff Woodburn, D-Dalton, and Rep. Bill Baber, D-Dover.

Senate Bill 325 gives state environmental officials authority to impose oil spill preparedness and response requirements upon pipeline operators more stringent than those under federal law.

House Bill 1224 requires state utility regulators to seek federal certification to take over pipeline inspections including the Portland to Montreal Pipeline which traverses the state's North Country.

Supporters say there will be more frequent inspection with the state doing the work.

Long-time New Hampshire and national political operative Michael Biundo of Manchester has been named chief strategist for Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul's New England RANDPAC operation.

"Mike will be a valuable asset to my team," Paul said. "The Republican party needs to grow and Mike will be a vital part of that effort."

Biundo will also serve as a national senior advisor and coalitions director for the PAC.

Biundo joined Gov. Mitt Romney's campaign as his Deputy National Coalitions Director after Romney won the GOP nomination in 2012. Biundo previously served as Rick Santorum's campaign manger.

Biundo co-founded the national political consulting firm, RightOn Strategies in 2013, with Derek Dufresne, who with Kory Wood, will also work with Paul.

"Rand's unique ability to connect with Americans of all backgrounds, while still fighting for and carrying the conservative banner, is unparalled and that is exactly what our party and country need right now," Biundo said.

Who remembers Larry Pickett? Sen. Lou D'Allesandro, D-Manchester, does when he pushes lawmakers to approve casino gambling, often comparing himself to Pickett, a Keene representative who for years tried to convince his fellow lawmakers New Hampshire needed a lottery.

Fifty years ago, Pickett was finally successful and New Hampshire legislators passed the first state-sponsored lottery in the country.

As part of its half-century celebration the Lottery Commission will hold "Larry Pickett Night" July 25 at the Keene Swamp Bats baseball game. "Between 1952 and 1963, Rep. Pickett was determined to make sure legislation passed making New Hampshire the first state with a legal, state-run lottery," said Charlie McIntyre, executive director of the New Hampshire Lottery Commission. "We are humbled to pay tribute to Rep. Pickett, while continuing the Lottery's 50 years celebration. We know that it was only with Representative Pickett's relentless efforts that we can say today, we invented lucky."

McIntyre will throw out the first pitch and the Keene High School a cappella group, Momentum, will sing the National Anthem prior to the game.

The first 200 attendees 18 years old and older will receive a free scratch ticket.

The Lottery has distributed $3.2 billion in prizes and raised more than $1.6 billion for public education during the past 50 years.

Former U.S. and state Sen. Gordon Humphrey is backing Jane Cormier, R-Hooksett, in the Republican primary for the State Senate District 16 seat now held by incumbent Sen. David Boutin, R-Hooksett.

Humphrey called Cormier, "a hard-working legislator who brings the same level of enthusiasm to Concord that she brings to her operatic career and the stage."

He said she believes in the principles of the Founders and in keeping government thrifty and accountable to the people."

Cormier is a former state representative who resigned her seat earlier this year when she moved to Hooksett.

Boutin was targeted by the Republican Liberty Caucus, whose chairman, Aaron Day, promised primary races for every Republican who backed Medicaid expansion, which Boutin did.

No Democrat filed for the seat, but party officials say they expect to mount a write-in campaign to ensure they have a candidate to oppose either Cormier or Boutin in the general election.

Former gubernatorial and congressional candidate, businessman, and longtime state official John Stephen of Manchester is backing Walt Havenstein for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.

"Walt is the committed fiscal conservative that New Hampshire needs to turn around the state's economy," Stephen said. "His experience leading some of the world's best businesses, including BAE Systems, means that he has the know-how to reduce spending, lower taxes and grow the economy."

Havenstein, who faces conservative activist Andrew Hemingway, said he supported Stephen in his unsuccessful 2010 campaign again former Gov. John Lunch.

The Executive Council begins a series of meeting outside the State House Wednesday the governor and councilors go on the road through their Oct. 1 meeting.

The first stop is Hanover Wednesday when the 10 a.m. meeting begins in the Hanover Inn, but the other sites have yet to finalized.

By Oct. 1, the council will have meet in each of the five council districts.

Road trips are a tradition for the council in order to show the people of the state their state government and the council in action.

The trips used to be more widely spread out from May to October, but have been more compact in recent years.

The road trips also make for good politics, particularly with an election approaching so the local councilor who hosts the event can reward and recognize his or her

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