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Opposing right-to-work views for GOP primary candidates

New Hampshire Union Leader

August 07. 2017 11:23PM

The primary election today for a vacant House seat representing Auburn, Chester and Sandown was described by one longtime Republican observer as something of a referendum on right-to-work legislation.

Two of three candidates on the GOP ballot, both former state representatives, were on either side of the issue when they served in the House.

Former Rep. James F. Headd of Auburn supports right-to-work legislation. Former Rep. James E. Devine of Sandown opposes it — as does Anthony S. Rossignol, a first-time candidate from Chester.

The GOP primary is the only contest for Rockingham County District 4. The winner faces Democrat Kari Lerner of Chester and Libertarian James D. Jarvis of Sandown, who have no primary opposition for their respective party nominations, in a special election on Sept. 26.

The vacancy occurred with the death in early May of Rep. William Polewarczyk, R-Chester.

“Right to work” will not come up the rest of this legislative session. The House rejected a bill in February, and then voted to “indefinitely postpone” subsequent consideration of any legislation to ban collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join or contribute to a union.

Still, the Republican Party at large remains intent on it, and Gov. Chris Sununu threw his weight behind it. Greg Moore, state director of the conservative Americans for Prosperity-NH, said he expects right-to-work legislation to be a key issue in 2018.

Headd, who serves as chairman of the Auburn Board of Selectmen and owned an insurance agency before retiring, said that it remains of interest for constituents. “It’s manifested itself to a degree,” he said.

Devine, who as a former employee of the U.S. Treasury belonged to a union, said he does not see right-to-work legislation being the boon to businesses that some in his party say it would be. Addressing the high cost of electricity is far more important, he said.

“It’s an anti-union kind of thing,” Devine said of right-to-work.

Rossignol, a union firefighter who works in Derry, said existing labor law does not need to be changed. He decided to run for office to give back to the community.

His interests include education, gun rights and veterans issues. He is a U.S. Army Reserve veteran. In the interview, Rossignol said too much of politics today is driven by partisan, party-line votes.

“We do represent the people,” he said.


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