On the heels of her first visit to New Hampshire last weekend, Elizabeth Warren is bringing her 2020 Democratic exploratory committee back to the state for a forum in Claremont Friday night.

The Common Man Restaurant event starts at 6:30 p.m.

Some New Hampshire Democratic operatives have already jumped on the Warren campaign train led by Gabrielle Farrell, who had been communications director for the New Hampshire Democratic Primary during the 2018 cycle.

Warren seems anxious to promote herself as one of the strongest defenders of Medicaid, highlighting it near the close of every address she’s made so far in Iowa and New Hampshire.

It’s a popular program among the liberal base that she’s currently trying to win over for 2020.

But it’s hardly an under-the-radar issue here. New Hampshire has been the scene of a four-year fight over how to expand Medicaid and then how to make that expansion permanent.

Last Saturday, Warren did touch on one issue that’s even more popular among a very devoted segment of that base — making recreational use of marijuana legal nationwide.

“We have a criminal justice system that tears apart communities of color and individuals. Can we just start with marijuana?” Warren said at the Manchester forum.

“Again the best studies suggest that African Americans and whites use marijuana at the same rates, but African Americans are twice as likely to be arrested for (it) than whites. How about we legalize marijuana and get rid of all those cases?”

Sununu’s inaugural $$$

It’s not surprising that Senate Democratic leaders would pounce on the Union Leader’s story about the disclosure of spending on Gov. Chris Sununu’s inaugural.

They’ve proposed a new bill that would cap checks to any inaugural committee at $10,000 and would require more specific detail about expenses.

The Union Leader reported that Sununu had a surplus from the first inaugural and spent much of it on “travel” by the governor, along with payments to his staff and family, including work done by a company owned by the governor’s sister.

The surprising part from a political standpoint was that Senate Majority Leader Dan Feltes of Concord would be the one championing the measure.

The aim of this legislation may be good government reform, but it looks partisan and personal.

After all, the last two Democratic governors accepted several $25,000 checks to their inaugural committees and there was no similar claim that those payments were excessive or improper in any way.

Governors in the past from both parties have also not provided much detail about what they spent their inaugural accounts on in the past. There wasn’t even a law requiring any disclosure at all until 2017.

Visit may get testy

Another potential 2020 Democratic hopeful, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, announced details of his exploratory trip next Tuesday for a round-table talk on climate change at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics.

The talk begins at 8:30 a.m.

During this visit, Inslee will no doubt rebut the criticism of Democratic Party Chairman Raymond Buckley, who said Inslee, as head of the Democratic Governors Association, should have financially supported gubernatorial nominee Molly Kelly in New Hampshire last fall.

During the final weeks of the campaign, Inslee’s counterpart, the Republican Governors Association, spent more than $800,000 on advertising in support of Sununu’s second term.

Inslee came to campaign for Kelly during the 2018 campaign.

Shutdown speeches

In less than two weeks in office, Congressman Chris Pappas, D-NH, has already spoken twice on the floor of the U.S. House and both times the topic has been the federal government shutdown.

“... this shutdown has shown us the worst of Washington — the dysfunction and political gamesmanship that has no regard for people’s lives,” Pappas said Wednesday.

“But it’s also bringing out the very best of people in my state — their sense of decency and patriotism, their willingness to lend a helping hand to neighbors in need. Granite Staters have been banding together to help federal workers, from no-interest loans to food donations.”

Rep. Annie Kuster, D-NH, also made her pitch Wednesday. Like Pappas, she passed along stories about federal workers and contractors in the Granite State facing hardships due to the shutdown.

“Many Republicans and Democrats agree that we need comprehensive immigration reform that includes 21st century border security; however, that cannot be achieved while President Trump holds government employees hostage for his ineffective border wall,” Kuster said.

“It’s time President Trump reopened the government so that we can focus on the hard work expected of us by the American people.”

The state’s congressional delegation released a joint statement decrying the fact that the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence was unable to tap into money it receives from the Department of Justice’s Office of Violence Against Women.

“The federal shutdown is having a devastating impact on victims of domestic and sexual violence and their children across the nation,” said Amanda Grady Sexton, director of public affairs at the NHCADSV. “Crisis centers rely on federal funding to help survivors access emergency housing, to ensure that victims of sexual assault have support when going to the hospital for a rape kit, and to help victims of stalking develop a safety plan for themselves and their children.” (Go to www.unionleader.com for more of this week’s Granite Status column).

Delaney’s full itinerary

U.S. Rep.

John Delaney

, D-Md., has a busy itinerary for his next presidential visit this Friday and Saturday.

It starts with a meet-and-greet event with New Hampshire Young Democrats at the Share Brewing Company in Manchester Friday night.

On Saturday, Delaney will join the Women’s March for reproductive rights at the State House in Concord, head to Hanover for a reception hosted by ex-Republican State Sen. Jim Rubens and end with an Amherst Democrats forum at the Black Forest Café.

Delaney has also accepted an invitation to speak to the Politics and Eggs Forum at the Bedford Village Inn on Feb. 12.

Impeachment tour

Last week, hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer called off plans to seek the Democratic presidential nomination.

Tonight he brings to New Hampshire his continued campaign to build support for the impeachment of President Trump.

Steyer’s recent trips have been focused on what he considers the five rights all Americans should have and this week’s topic is the right to health insurance for all.

The 7 p.m. speech will be at the Ford Sayre Room in the Hanover Inn.

Sherrod Brown on his waySen.

Sherrod Brown

, D-Ohio, is not yet at the 2020 presidential starting gate, but he’ll soon begin a testing of the waters tour that will bring him to New Hampshire next month.

Brown calls it his “dignity of work” tour that will start in his home state in Cleveland on Jan. 30 and then head the next day to Iowa, home of the first caucus.

Visits to New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina will follow according to Brown’s office.

”A woman working at a diner in Sioux City, Iowa, or working as a physical therapist in Concord, New Hampshire, or working in Reno, Nevada, as a construction worker or working in Charleston, South Carolina, as a computer operator in an insurance company, all of us in government need to respect and honor the dignity of work” Brown said.

”We don’t do that. That’s one reason wages lagged behind. We’ve seen corporate profits go up and productivity go up and compensation explode and wages are flat.”

Election reform billsWith the Democrats in charge at Concord, election reform bills are quickly moving through the process.

The New Hampshire Campaign for Voting Rights turned out to support two, one an amendment to the Constitution (CACR 6) that would make this a no-excuse voting state to allow anyone to get an absentee ballot in primary and general elections.

”CACR 6 is a critical step forward in our shared goals of expanding civic participation and modernizing our electoral system while also ensuring its security,” said America Votes New Hampshire State Director Liz Wester. “Making it to the polls during voting hours is not always conducive to the lives of hardworking Granite Staters who have long commutes or families with countless other obligations.”

The group’s other reform cause was for New Hampshire to leave the controversial Crosscheck program that the state participates in with a few dozen states which checks for people who try to vote in multiple states.

This group and others on the left prefer the rival multi-state program known as the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) which is a product of the Pew Charitable Trust and has been embraced by 15 states.

”By leaving Crosscheck and entering into ERIC, New Hampshire voters can be assured that their voter data is secure and our voter rolls are as accurate as possible as we continue to modernize our elections,” Wester said.