A bipartisan group of lawmakers, medical professionals and business leaders went north of the border last week for a one-day economic summit in Sherbrooke, Quebec.

The New Hampshire Canadian Trade Council sponsored the event with the University of Sherbrooke, the host city’s chamber of commerce, and Harvey International.

Former Quebec Prime Minister Jean Charest was the keynote speaker at Tuesday’s affair.

New Hampshire speakers included Manchester lawyer and former GOP nominee for governor Ovide Lamontagne, Dartmouth College Senior Business Development Manager Barry Schweitzer, ARMI Chief Workforce Officer Mike Decelle, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital Vice President Leigh Burgess, White Mountains Community College President Chuck Lloyd and Senate President Donna Soucy, D-Manchester.

“There was a lot of great information shared about biomed, trade and other economic partnerships,” said State Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, D-Manchester. “I would love for Manchester to develop a sister city relationship with Sherbrooke; there are a lot of parallels between them.”

A Lewandowski fan, but not an associate

This sums up the mangled metaphor that with fans like this pair, who needs enemies?

Ukranian-born Lev Parnas and Belarus-born Igor Fruman were the two associates of Rudy Giuliani accused of illegally sending cash to pro-Trump groups.

They were indicted on campaign finance charges at a Washington airport last week where they had purchased one-way tickets out of the country.

Among donations in the indictment was $325,000 to the pro-Trump PAC called America First Action.

Last Sept. 20, Parnas took to Twitter to retweet praise of potential U.S. Senate candidate and Trump 2016 Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski and encouraged his followers to contribute to a Super PAC created to recruit Lewandowski to run for the Senate seat that New Hampshire Democrat Jeanne Shaheen now holds.

“Corey Lewandowski. Kicking butt and taking names,” the tweet read that Parnas retweeted. “Please go to StandwithCorey.com and show your support for me against this circus.”

According to campaign finance records, Parnas and Fruman gave $5,000 in 2018 to another pro-Trump group, the Great America Committee.

Lewandowski was a paid consultant for both groups, receiving $25,000 from America First Action and $140,000 from Great America, both to Lewandowski’s LLC at that time, Green Monster Consulting.

He had a simple response when asked what kind of relationship he had with Parnas.

“None,” Lewandowski texted back Friday.

A fond farwell

Former State Rep. Julie Brown, 84, of Rochester passed away Oct. 5.

She served in the New Hampshire House for 24 years, spent 15 years on the Community Action Partnership of Strafford County, 12 years on the local school board and 15 with her city planning board.

A moderate Republican, Brown won top honors for her lawmaking from the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, Child and Family Services and the American Cancer Society.

Brown was targeted for defeat in the Tea Party election of 2010. She never looked back and instead devoted even more time to local causes, including serving as a foster mother to more than 30 children who were abused and neglected.

“We weren’t of the same party but she was a dear friend and someone you wanted on your side in the House because she was so respected,” recalled Rep. Peter Schmidt, D-Dover.

Republicans should celebrate Epping win

Liberals were in full-on damage-control mode trying to find a silver lining in Democrat Naomi Andrews’ defeat in a special election House race won by former Rep. Michael Vose.

Final reports later this fall will have the total but Andrews raised at least $22,000 for the $100-a-year seat.

That’s more than twice what Vose had on his side.

Yes, it’s a GOP seat by party registration but also one that went blue when Vose lost his bid for a third term last November.

And Democrats weren’t searching for excuses when they flipped five seats from red to blue during the special election season in 2017-18, including in GOP strongholds like Wolfeboro and Auburn.

The plain and simple truth was Vose, with lots of GOP help, won this on the ground with a massive turnout. The nearly 1,700 who voted last Tuesday was more than half who showed up in town to vote in the midterm election last November.

That’s impressive.

Hassan returns from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India

First-term Sen. Maggie Hassan is expected to speak with reporters this week about her trip with Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., focused on counter-terrorism efforts.

The two visited camps where U.S. and NATO troops were training Afghan commandos and met with other U.S. servicemen, including Army Col. Gabe Barton of Windham.

“Keeping Americans safe is my top priority — and stability as well as ongoing counter-terrorism efforts in Afghanistan are critical to those efforts,” said Senator Hassan.

The pair met with political, embassy and business leaders in Pakistan and India.

GOP primary rematch in 2nd CD

Former State Rep. and military nurse Lynne Blankenbeker jumped into the 2nd Congressional District GOP primary, ensuring there would be a battle for the right to face Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H., who will be seeking a fifth term.

“Ann Kuster has made a career of hiding from her constituents and now admits that she runs and hides from Nancy Pelosi all while cozying up to the radical left in her party,” Blankenbeker said. “I have spent my entire life running toward the fight and will fight every day for the taxpayers of New Hampshire.

A New Hampshire Democratic Party spokeswoman returned fire.

“Blankenbeker is best known for telling married couples to abstain from sex rather than use birth control, insisting that Bin Laden isn’t dead, threatening violence, voting to keep wages low, and losing for Congress twice. Don’t think 3rd time’s a charm, Lynne,” the statement said.

She’ll face fellow ex-Rep. Steve Negron of Nashua, who won this seat’s primary in 2018.

Negron’s email about his foe was entitled, “Fight, is it?”

“I welcome Lynne into the race for Congress again. Anyone has the right to pay $50 and run. Our focus is Ann Kuster.”

Negron picked up the endorsement of Geoff Diehl the GOP nominee for Senate last year against Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts.klandrigan@unionleader.com

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