Dueling Hassan Northern Pass pictures draw attention
CONCORD — Two pictures tweeted out earlier this week, taken a day apart and showing Gov. Maggie Hassan posing with both supporters and opponents of a controversial energy project, have raised questions regarding where she stands on the issue, but a spokesman feels the photos show she is listening to both sides of the debate.
The two photos were taken earlier this week at the 38th annual Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers.
Among topics discussed at the conference was the Northern Pass electric transmission line project. Gov. Hassan has publicly stated her opposition to it as proposed.
On Sunday, the governor posed for photos with protesters from the group “No to Northern Pass,” with supporters tweeting out the picture.
But on Monday, a photo appeared on social media sites showing Gov. Hassan posing with International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union members who support the Northern Pass project, and the jobs they say it would create in the state. The photo came after the IBEW made a $25,000 donation to Hassan’s reelection campaign on June 12.
Jim Danis, a Northern Pass opponent, was upset by the second photo, and tweeted in response that the governor had recently accepted a large donation from the union she posed with.
William Hinkle, press secretary for Hassan, said the photos show the governor is listening to all parties on this issue. “Elected leaders must always respect and listen to people on all sides of an issue because that is when our democracy works best,” wrote Hinkle in an email. “Governor Hassan saw the protesters when driving in on Sunday and stopped to meet with them. And because her schedule did not allow her to go down physically to the location where the proponents were on Monday, she met briefly with a small group of them at the hotel.”
Hinkle wrote that Hassan has not changed her position on the Northern Pass project.
“Governor Hassan remains opposed to the Northern Pass project as currently proposed and believes that the project must fully investigate burying more sections of the lines,” said Hinkle. “She continues to encourage the company to reach out and listen to the concerns of Granite Staters, and if they are going to move forward, propose something that protects our scenic views and beautiful natural resources that are critical to our economy.”
(Editor's note: An earlier version of this story contained incorrect photos.)