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Kevin Landrigan's Granite Status: Edwards criticizes Shea-Porter, Sanborn on opioid fight

New Hampshire Union Leader

October 04. 2017 10:12PM

Former liquor law enforcement chief Eddie Edwards, R-Dover, went after both U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-Rochester, and state Sen. Andy Sanborn, R-Bedford, charging them with failing to do enough to ensure New Hampshire gets its share of federal opioid grants.

He criticized Sanborn for voting for a second time to table an Insurance Department request to accept a $1.1 million grant to study how insurers treat peole with mental health or substance abuse problems.

And Edwards said Shea-Porter’s ongoing Trump attacks only make it harder for Gov. Chris Sununu, R-Newfields, to make the case that New Hampshire should get more money to fight the epidemic as one of the states with the highest number of overdoses per capita.

“Sanborn, who has spent nearly a decade long career in Concord, is irresponsibly holding up much-needed federal grant money under the guise of there not being a ‘legislative policy’ in place,” Edwards said.

“In Washington, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, who made it clear from the very first day of the Trump administration that she had little interest in working with the President, has taken partisan politics to a new level. Her consistent personal attacks on President Trump for her own political gain is the style of political gamesmanship that ensures common ground is never found and lines of communication are never opened. Unfortunately, the ones who are hurt as a result of these childish games are the Granite State families who need help the most.” Sanborn said he’ll match his record of performance on fighting the opioid epidemic against that of Edwards any time.

Shea-Porter’s office declined to comment but points out last Friday it was Shea-Porter who wrote U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to complain about New Hampshire’s low-level of anti-opioid money.

“In March, you visited our state to express your commitment to helping us,” Shea-Porter wrote Sessions. “Given the commitment you have expressed, please explain why your Department has rejected these four New Hampshire grant applications and awarded New Hampshire less than 1% of the total amount nationwide.”

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Dr. Stewart Levenson said frustration over waiting for congressional action as a whistleblower regarding conditions at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Manchester moved him to mount a Republican bid for the Second Congressional District.

Levenson, a 60-year-old widower from Hopkinton, said he never imagined running for Congress, but said Rep. Annie Kuster’s inaction forced him and 11 other whistleblowers to go to The Boston Globe with their allegations about conditions at the VA.

“We met with Ann Kuster in June 2016,” Levenson said. “Her first response was the VA in Manchesater was not in her congressional district. She then allowed that her constituents do use it but did not come up with any action plan that dealt with any of our concerns.”

A fiscal conservative, Levenson said he supports abortion rights but opposes public funding of abortion.

Health care reform, border security and national security are all issues Levenson said he will stress during the campaign.

A New York City native, Levenson came to New Hampshire in 1994 to do a fellowship in rheumatology at Dartmouth College. After being out of the state for several years he returned in 2000 to take a VA position in Manchester and became chairman of the Department of Medicine there.

“There are a lot of issues I am very concerned abvout that I feel I can do more than the insiders that are supporting the status quo,” Levenson said.

For more information about Levenson’s candidacy, check out his website at

The only other declared candidate is former Brookline Republican State Rep. Jack Flanagan who ran for but lost the GOP nomination for this seat in 2016 to ex-State Rep. Jim Lawrence of Hudson.

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The race for mayor of Franklin proved once again that while partisan trends and White House politics play a part, strong local candidates can overcome all of that.

Democrats thought the city could be fertile ground especially since they had an attractive candidate in former state representative Leigh Webb.

But the GOP had a former two-time mayor, Tony Giunta, running in the nonpartisan race.

It was a civil race unlike some other municipal fights this fall and Giunta easily prevailed, winning all three wards to replace Ken Merrifield, the new state labor commissioner.

This was also the first time voters got to decide whether to legalize Keno in their city.

New Hampshire Lottery Executive Director Charles McIntyre would be happy with this outcome, voters in Franklin endorsing Keno by a 60.2 percent to 39.8 percent margin as it got a thumbs up in all three wards.

Voters will be asked the same question in municipal elections next month in Manchester, Nashua, Berlin and several other cities.

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The only Democratic presidential candidate for 2020, Maryland Congressman John Delaney makes his second visit to the first primary state and naturally it will include a second stint with Manchester mayoral hopeful Joyce Craig this Sunday. Delaney will also speak a day earlier to the Brookline-Mason Democratic Party at its Annual Pasta Dinner in Brookline.

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We’ve already had six special elections in the New Hampshire House of Representatives this session and there are already seven more vacancies.

A number will not be filled but the most recent ones in the past week were in both parties.

The Lakes Region GOP lost one of its major figures with the sudden passing of nine-term State Rep. Donald Flanders, R-Laconia.

Flanders, 82, was a retired insurance agent and broker and was widely considered a go-to for lawmakers on the powerful House Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee.

Flanders had served on the Laconia City Council for years, rose to mayor pro-tem, chaired the New Hampshire Board of Fire Control and was a past trustee and chairamn of the Lakes Region General Hospital Board of Trustees.

On the Democratic side, Kendall Snow resigned the seat he held since 2014 representing Wards 1-3 in Manchester.

Snow is a retired mental health executive who served on the House Health and Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee.

Both Laconia and Manchester are unlikely to call for a special election much before next spring.

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The Senate Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday approved bipartisan legislation from Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio to employ “white hat” or ethical hackers to identify vulnerabilities in the Department of Homeland Security’s commputer networks.

The Hack DHS Act creates a bug bounty pilot program modeled after similar programs in the Pentagon and with major tech companies.

The panel endorsed three other bills with Hassan’s name on them dealing with border security, children and mobile access.

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Shea-Porter led a bipartisan group of House members urging the Trump administration to release the most amount of money available for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. “Winter is on its way, and thousands of New Hampshire families depend on LIHEAP funding to stay warm,” Shea-Porter said. “The Trump administration needs to make an ironclad commitment to funding this critical program that keeps Granite Staters safe from the cold.” Last year, LIHEAP funds were used to restore power or prevent disconnection in over one million households across the country.

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