THE MAIN architect of the law that repealed New Hampshire’s death penalty will receive a prestigious national honor on Tuesday night.
Seven-term State Rep. Robert “Renny” Cushing, D-Hampton, has been chosen as the winner of the 2019 Abolition Award from the Death Penalty Focus and will get that prize at a ceremony in Los Angeles.
Also taking part in this ceremony is former “MASH” star actor Mike Farrell, who has become a passionate opponent of capital punishment and Anthony Amsterdam, a New York University law school professor who won a seminal Supreme Court decision on the application of the death penalty in 1972.
Cushing has been a regional leader in the campaign to get rid of the death penalty since his father was shot to death in his own house in 1988.
Prior to serving in the Legislature, Cushing was a staffer with the Death Penalty Information Center.
New Hampshire got rid of the death penalty when the Democratically led Legislature last spring overrode Gov. Chris Sununu’s veto of the death-penalty-repeal legislation.
Senate Republicans looking to raise big $$
The top political priority of Sununu is to win reelection to a third term in 2020.
His second most important goal is likely to take back control of the state Senate, especially because the next Legislature will create the redistricting maps that govern elections for the next decade.
The 10 Senate GOP incumbents are making sure they’ve got the resources (read $$) to hold onto their seats.
Last Saturday, outgoing Texas Congressman Will Hurd was the guest of honor for a fundraiser for Sen. Ruth Ward, R-Stoddard, who is seeking a third term. Tickets for the event at a private home in Exeter started at $100, with sponsorships up to $1,000.
This Thursday night, the two top Senate Republicans, Sen. Chuck Morse, R-Salem, and Sen. Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, are co-hosting an event for first-term Sen. David Starr, R-Franconia. Tickets for this North Country reception at the Schilling Beer Co. Tasting Room in Littleton start at $50, with sponsorships as high as $2,500.
Feltes gets prominent former foe on board
Last week former Senate President Sylvia Larsen, D-Concord, endorsed the candidacy for governor of Senate Majority Leader Dan Feltes.
“He understands that the best investment we can make is in our children and the next generation of Granite Staters,” Larsen said.
“I applaud Senator Feltes and the state budget writers for making the greatest investment in our public schools in over two decades and freezing tuition at our state universities — finally putting our schools, property taxpayers, and students on a path to success. With Dan as governor, we’ll have a leader with the vision and values to lead us into the next decade.”
Feltes was only too happy to welcome Larsen to a campaign that’s already attracted the backing of seven of his fellow state senators along with House Speaker Steve Shurtleff, D-Penacook, and a total of 80 House Democrats.
“I’m honored to receive Senator Larsen’s endorsement,” Feltes said. “Her ability to work with members of both parties and treat everyone with respect is truly something we all can aspire to.”
In 2014, Feltes, as a lawyer for New Hampshire Legal Assistance, took on the Concord power elite by running for the seat from which Larsen was retiring.
The local power brokers had made their choice to replace Larsen and it was former Concord School Board Chairman Kass Ardinger, the wife of lawyer-lobbyist Bill Ardinger.
Larsen chose sides, too, and endorsed Ardinger.
But Feltes won that primary going away and went on to win the Senate seat he’s held ever since.
Biggest money-making liquor store in the offing
The State Liquor Commission is embarking on what is likely to become the biggest public private partnership in New Hampshire history with the redevelopment of two liquor stores on both sides of Interstate 95 in Hampton.
The state Council on Resources and Development (CORD) recently gave the OK for the commission to offer for sale the land on which the current liquor stores sit to a developer in hopes of creating a more robust site at both locations with motoring comforts such as gas station pumps and restaurants.
In 2015, the commission embarked on a similar but smaller venture for the two welcome centers off Interstate 93 in Hooksett.
Currently the northbound liquor store on I-95 is the second-biggest money maker at $30 million a year and the southbound venue is number 5 at $24 million.
The biggest seller currently is the store next to the Pheasant Lane Mall in Nashua that does $32 million.
Chairman Joseph Mollica said the plans are to use those sites to draw attention to the sensitive environmental wetlands that exist nearby with at least some exhibits and possibly a walking trail.
“I have no doubt that with the proper planning we could dramatically increase the revenue we generate from both places,” Mollica said.
The Legislature in the past session approved a bill that allows the commission to take the profits from the sale of these properties to retire the bonds that were issued to pay to build the existing stores.
”This is a really exciting opportunity for us to create an even better gateway to New Hampshire for people traveling from Massachusetts and Maine to our state,” Mollica added.