3 File To Run for Governor, Only Volinsky Agreed to Interview Friday

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Megan Arsenault photo

Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky, D-Concord.

By NANCY WEST, InDepthNH.org

InDepthNH.org asked each of the three candidates who filed for governor Friday, incumbent Republican Chris Sununu, Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky, D-Concord, and state Sen. Dan Feltes, D-Concord, to speak by phone about police accountability in New Hampshire in the wake of all of the Black Lives Matter demonstrations since the death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police.

Only Volinsky agreed to a phone interview Friday.

We believe our readers deserve more than elections based on press conferences, emails, Tweets and press releases and will ask the candidates different questions each Friday as we move closer to the election.

My question Friday emailed to the candidates or his spokesmen: Since you are all filing as candidates today, I am requesting a telephone interview about what you plan to do as far as reforming police accountability in New Hampshire. Please let me know when it will be convenient to speak with me and knowing you are busy, I will keep it to 10 minutes. Thanks, Nancy West

They all sent photos and news releases, which we will run at the end of this story.

Sununu’s spokesman Ben Vihstadt didn’t respond. Sen. Feltes didn’t have time and his spokesman sent the following, email:

”Hey Nancy,  We can find time for you to talk to Dan next week about this. We will be doing a press call today at 2 PM (i sent over the call-in info earlier) but that’s going to be focused on the campaign message. If you want to call in to ask a question about policing that’s fine but we won’t be able to give you 10 minutes today. Let me know if you plan on joining.” 

 Volinsky called and made himself available for a 10-minute interview.

Volinsky referred to a recent op-ed he wrote in the Concord Monitor and said in a telephone interview: “It’s much broader than police accountability. It’s the kind of thing that needs to do deal with systemic racism which Chris Sununu says doesn’t exist in New Hampshire. To me Chris Sununu doesn’t understand his own biases. I recommend implicit bias training for all new recruits and all new correctional officers. It improved my own awareness around things I thought I was pretty good on. It’s important to understand how you perceive things. I recommend Gov. Sununu and his staff undergo implicit bias training.

I recommend implicit bias training and more emphasis on improving and developing mediation skills and working to de-escalate conflict. So, all of that in combination with a reduction in the focus on the militarization of police officers need to happen beginning at the academy and ongoing through an officers career appropriate to his or her position in a police department.”

Volinsky’s press release:

VOLINSKY FILES FOR GOVERNOR, SIGNS NEW PLEDGE FOR NEW HAMPSHIRE

Biking supporters join Volinsky in support of “best climate candidate,” Candidate signs new pledge to lower property taxes

CONCORD, N.H.– Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky filed Friday morning to run for Governor in the September 8th Democratic primary. Volinsky, who has been endorsed by Bernie Sanders, the NH Sierra Club, NH Youth Climate Strike, Sunrise Keene, and the NH Progressive Coalition due to being the sole candidate for Governor firmly in opposition to the proposed Granite Bridge fracked-gas pipeline, biked from his home in East Concord with nearly 20 supporters on a socially distant “bike rally” to emphasize his commitment to stopping climate change. Volinsky has ridden his bike to the State House each time he has filed for public office.

Volinsky has refused to take “The Pledge,” a relic of the 1970s taken by Democrats and Republican elected officials alike that has resulted in crushingly high property taxes burdening New Hampshire working families. On Friday, Volinsky signed a new pledge to lower property taxes, attached here.

“For decades, political leaders have taken a false pledge that ties us to the past, rather than allowing us to look to the future. New Hampshire, more than any other state, depends on the local property tax to raise money, ” said Volinsky, in a speech shared on Facebook Live. “New Hampshire has among the highest property taxes in the nation. Coming out of the recession of 2008, those three years resulted in an increase in property tax of $290 million. The state balanced its budget on the back of property tax payers. In the last three years, the growth and increase of property taxes under Chris Sununu has been even more. Even though we bailed out Wall Street, we ignored working families and instead, balanced our state budget on their backs. So I will not take a failed pledge. My pledge is right here: If I am elected Governor, I will not balance the state’s budget on the backs of property tax payers. Instead, we will reduce the local property tax for the majority of New Hampshire residents. And I am willing to put my signature here. I left another line here on this pledge to lower property tax, and I invite my friend Dan [Feltes] to join us in protecting local property tax payers, and stop balancing the budget based on the local property tax.”

The campaign held a “Virtual Rally” on Volinsky For New Hampshire’s Facebook page. Volinsky was joined by Jerry Curran of the NH Sierra Club.

“Andru Volinsky is the best environmental candidate for any office that we have ever endorsed,” said Jerry Curran, chair of the New Hampshire Sierra Club. “The Sierra Club will work harder than we ever have to ensure that our environmental champion, Andru Volinsky, is the next governor of New Hampshire. He shares the Sierra Club values of fighting to mitigate the climate crisis.”

Gov. Sununu’s press release:

PHOTO RELEASE
Chris Sununu Files for Re-Election
Concord, NH – Today, Governor Chris Sununu issued the following statement after filing for re-election to serve another term as New Hampshire’s Governor:

“Now more than ever, New Hampshire families demand their leaders have the management experience to get the job done without raising taxes,” said Governor Chris Sununu. “Before life as we know it changed, the Granite State had the strongest economy in New England and one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. Bringing New Hampshire back is my top priority.”

Sen. Feltes’s press release:

Senator Feltes Officially Files To Be On The New Hampshire Gubernatorial Ballot
 Concord, NH — The Feltes Campaign is announcing that Senator Feltes, alongside his family, officially filed to be a candidate for governor in-person today at 12:45 PM. 
Ahead of the filing, the campaign released a video highlighting Senator Feltes’s record, his support across the state, and why he is running for governor. Senator Feltes will join supporters for a virtual rally on Facebook at 5 PM. 

Senator Feltes released the following statement; 

“I announced my candidacy nine months ago on the values that were instilled in me by my parents; hard work, honesty, integrity, and always looking out for those too often left out and left behind. These are the values I grew up with, the values I’ve lived throughout my life, and the values I will bring to the Governor’s office if I have the honor and privilege of serving the state of New Hampshire.

I am running for Governor to look out for the working families who are finding it harder and harder to get ahead and stay ahead. This was true before this crisis and it’s true now. Governor Sununu’s agenda has put special interests, campaign contributors, and those at the top, first. Working people here in New Hampshire are getting left behind. So now, as we rebuild, we must do it with them in mind and rebuild for working people. That’s what this campaign is about; taking care of our families, keeping small businesses strong, and affordable healthcare. We have to put the working folks, who are the backbone of this state, first.”

Senator Feltes launched his campaign for Governor on September 3, 2019. Since the launch, the campaign has broken fundraising records, held events across the state, and received significant support from the labor community, grassroots activists, and national issue advocacy organizations. During COVID-19, Senator Feltes released 10 plans and held numerous Facebook live streams and events. 

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About Senator Feltes: Dan worked as a legal aid attorney helping people get back on their feet during and after the Great Recession. Dan worked with New Hampshire Legal Assistance, right out of law school up until serving in the State Senate, where he spent almost a decade representing low-middle income Granite State families, seniors, veterans, and survivors of domestic and sexual violence. For four years, Dan directed the Housing Justice Project at New Hampshire Legal Assistance, managing the staff and the work to advance affordable housing, protect against foreclosure, & fight against housing discrimination. Dan is now in his third term as a State Senator and is the youngest Senate Majority Leader in New Hampshire history. Dan lives in the South End of Concord with his wife Erin and two young daughters Iris and Josie. Dan led the effort to expand access to health care to 50,000 Granite Staters through Medicaid Expansion, protected people with pre-existing conditions as the prime sponsor of SB 4, fought for paid family and medical leave as the prime sponsor of SB 1, helped secure historic investments in public safety, public health, and public school education in the last budget, including finally doing full-day kindergarten. Dan has received numerous legislative awards for his bipartisan work on critical issues.  

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