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Kathy Sullivan: Chris Pappas is the best choice for Democrats in the First

September 03. 2018 9:39PM

WHEN IT BECAME apparent that a number of Democrats would run for the first district congressional nomination, I decided not to endorse anyone until the end of the summer. One reason is that I know several of the candidates, and felt uncomfortable endorsing anyone while the race was developing. Another was that I did not know the rest of the candidates, and wanted to give them each a fair hearing before endorsing.

Now that we are only a week from the primary, and I have had a chance to follow the race and the candidates from an objective distance, I have decided to vote for Executive Councilor Chris Pappas.

This is not a criticism of the other candidates. I just think Chris Pappas stands out as the best candidate in a crowded field, and the most likely to win this important congressional seat in November.

Why does he stand out? I like the fact that he could have left New Hampshire and had a great career someplace else. Instead, after graduating from Harvard, he chose to come back to New Hampshire. Since his return, he has made positive contributions to the state.

He is a small businessman, the co-owner of the Puritan Backroom Restaurant and Conference Center. He works hard; I have seen him sweeping the parking lot at the Backroom. If there is a job that needs to be done, he will do it.

He knows New Hampshire. He was born here, and attended public schools. Since returning, he has been a state representative, the Hillsborough County treasurer, and an executive councilor. At each level, he has won accolades for his constituent services.

He knows the issues that face New Hampshire’s First District, because he has faced them living here all his life, and as an elected official. He fought for expanded Medicaid, and to obtain more funding for the opioid crisis. He has been the key vote for funding for women’s health care.

And, Chris Pappas is smart. I trust his ability to separate out facts from fiction, an important commodity in today’s political and media climate.

Why do I think he is the best Democrat to win in November? In addition to being qualified, he also is the best known, and is highly regarded by everyone who knows him, including the left, the right, and the middle. He can attract those Republicans turned off by the increasingly nasty food fight on the Republican side and independents looking for a counter balance to Donald Trump.

He can unite Democrats after this primary. He already counts Clinton, O’Malley, and Sanders voters among his supporters. Pappas has not attacked any of the other candidates, instead stressing the positive in his campaign. He focuses on the issues, not his opponents, talking about his support for universal health care, increasing the minimum wage, adopting paid family and medical leave, and reforming a broken campaign finance system.

A democracy needs thoughtful, respectful debate, not automatic votes siding with the President, no matter who the President may be. Chris Pappas has proven that he can be thoughtful and respectful, yet still hold firm for his values and beliefs.

He does not carry any baggage that would be fodder for negative attack ads from Republican committees. As an articulate, smart individual who knows our state, he will be able to decisively debate and defeat the Republican nominee.

Nominating a Democratic who is the most likely to defeat the Republican candidate is of the utmost importance. If we are to have a balance in Washington, we need the Democrats to win a majority in one of the two congressional chambers. While each of the other Democratic candidates has strengths, only Pappas has shown all the criteria necessary to win: a New Hampshire based campaign, obtaining grass roots support throughout the district, talking about all the important issues, raising the funds necessary for a congressional race, and running an upbeat, positive race.

Many of the other others running will be great candidates for office in the future. But for this office, in this most important of years, the best candidate for Congress in the First District on the ballot is Chris Pappas.


Manchester’s Kathy Sullivan is the former chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party.

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