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State Senate hopeful intends to keep $200k union job

New Hampshire Union Leader

October 20. 2016 8:47PM

Scott McGilvray 

MANCHESTER — A state Senate candidate has come under criticism for intending, if elected, to keep his $200,000-a-year job as president of the state’s largest teachers union.

But Manchester Democrat Scott McGilvray said he can both represent constituents of Senate District 16, and stay on with the National Education Association of New Hampshire as long as he avoids conflicts of interest.

“If elected, like many volunteer legislators who still work, I will follow all laws and rules related to possible conflicts and discourses,” McGilvray said.

Nonprofit records for NEA-NH confirm for the most recent year available in 2014 that McGilvray earned $161,875 that year in compensation and $43,925 in “other compensation.”

Some of that “other compensation” could refer to wages he earned as a lobbyist for the union.

In 2015, McGilvray was paid $14,250 for lobbying work; he got $7,125 during the first quarter of 2016, but did not file a report with Secretary of State Bill Gardner’s office for the second quarter due in July.

Republican nominee and state Rep. Joseph Duarte of Candia said McGilvray can’t serve two masters.

“Paid lobbyist Scott McGilvray’s desire to serve concurrently as a $200,000 per year salaried NEA-NH president and as state legislator is not only a disturbing display of conflict of interest and complete disregard for the NH State Constitution, but also a serious disservice to the constituents he hopes to represent,” Duarte said.

“Lobbyist/legislator McGilvray would have to recuse himself from all legislation relating to but not limited to education funding. This would leave residents in New Hampshire Senate District 16 unrepresented on very serious issues facing our state, such as the state budget and legislation that would expand educational opportunity for our children.”

Republican State Chairwoman Jennifer Horn of Nashua said if McGilvray wins, he must resign his union post or risk many conflicts from the state budget, retirement, labor law bills and all matters affecting public and private education.

“District 16 deserves a state senator who will put voters ahead of the big labor union that is paying Scott McGilvray’s exorbitant salary. It is unacceptable for a highly-paid, union lobbyist like Scott McGilvray to even consider keeping this position while serving in the Legislature,” Horn said in a statement.

Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley defended McGilvray and said the GOP doesn’t want to talk about Duarte’s conservative past.

“Scott McGilvray is a well-respected community leader, teacher and coach. Republicans will do anything they can to distract from the right-wing record of their out-of-touch candidate Joe Duarte,” Buckley said.

“Duarte is a man who once said a woman shouldn’t serve on a town committee simply because she was a mother, voted repeatedly to defund Planned Parenthood and to have the NH state government take over Medicare. It’s clear that Joe Duarte’s out-of-touch record is a poor fit for the state Senate.”

McGilvray and Duarte are locked in one of the most competitive Senate races in the state in the district that includes the towns of Bow, Candia, Dunbarton, Hooksett and Wards 1, 2 and 12 in Manchester.

Sen. David Boutin, R-Hooksett, decided not to seek reelection.

The state Constitution may prevent McGilvray if he becomes a senator to continue being an NEA lobbyist.

Part 2, Article 7 states that lawmakers can’t “take fees, be of counsel, or act as advocate, in any cause before either branch of the Legislature.”

But McGilvray said because New Hampshire pays the lowest salary for lawmakers in the country — $100 a year except for the House speaker and Senate president who get $125 annually — legislators must be able to pursue private employment.

“New Hampshire has a citizen Legislature and Granite Staters from all different backgrounds volunteer their time, in addition to whatever their job might be, to serve the people of New Hampshire,” McGilvray said.

“It would be an honor to serve the people of my district, I believe my background as teacher and coach will bring an important viewpoint to our citizen Legislature.”

The ethics rules prevent lawmakers from providing any service to a “a lobbyist or any other person with a direct personal interest in any matter or action pending before the General Court.”

In January 2014, the Legislative Ethics Committee voted to dismiss allegations that then-Senate President Peter Bragdon, R-Milford, had used his position to become hired as the $180,000-a-year executive director of the Local Government Center that administers insurance benefits for cities and towns.

Bragdon ultimately stepped down as Senate boss after taking that job and did not seek reelection to his Senate seat later in 2014.

A liberal, special interest group attacked statements Duarte had made as a Candia selectman, according to published reports.

Duarte questioned in 2007 whether a female applicant for a town board position could fill that role given her duties at home.

A campaign spokesman said Duarte was merely questioning whether the applicant with other commitments had enough time to serve the town.

Duarte spokesman Nate Lamb said the minutes show that while he registered some objection to her candidacy, Duarte voted for the female candidate.

Politics Manchester

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