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Not-so-Happy Mother's Day card for Sen. Ayotte over gun vote

LONDONDERRY - A virtual Mother's Day card addressed to U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, left many with less than warm, fuzzy feelings after it surfaced on the Londonderry Democratic Committee's Facebook page late last week.

The online post, which showed photographs of the 26 children and adults killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings this past December, wished the Republican senator - who recently voted against expanded federal background checks for gun purchasers - a happy Mother's Day.

Upon its discovery this past weekend, local party officials removed the controversial "card" from their Facebook page.

Londonderry Democratic Committee Chairman Tammy Siekmann said outspoken Londonderry resident Jerry Conner posted the card on several Facebook pages - including the Londonderry Democrats' page.

"As soon as this was brought to my attention I had it removed off our site," Siekmann said on Monday.
She further noted that to the best of her knowledge, the card was circulated only as a Facebook posting and wasn't actually mailed to the senator.

Contacted Monday evening, Conner acknowledged he'd posted the card on Facebook, which he obtained from an activist site in Newtown, Conn.

Conner stood by the card's sentiment.

"I'd like to say I was the original creator (of the card) but I'm not that creative," he said. "People are getting in an uproar over this, but I also think a lot of people are upset about (Ayotte's) actions. In my opinion, the senator made a mistake here."

Londonderry resident Glenn Douglas was one of several constituents to post some thoughts of his own on the party's Facebook page.

"You should apologize," he wrote. "How many Admins (sic) have access to posting photos on this site?"

In a written statement issued Monday afternoon, State Republican party chairwoman Jennifer Horn urged the state's Democratic leaders "to have the courage to stand up and denounce the disgusting political tactics used by their party's activists."

Horn called the card "despicable and inappropriate."

Others were of a different opinion.

"They can run all the misleading ads they want, but bottom line is Kelly voted against NH values..again," state Democratic party Chairman Ray Buckley tweeted on Monday.

A call made to Ayotte's office on Monday seeking comment wasn't immediately returned. Ayotte has said she voted against the Manchin-Toomey bill because it would restrict the rights of law-abiding gun owners but not deal with preventing a "deranged individual or criminal from obtaining and misusing firearms to commit violence."

Ayotee said she favors improving existing background check systems that keep guns from people who should not have them, and she has called for greater focus on the mentally ill.

Last week's Londonderry Facebook incident wasn't the first time the senator's stance against gun control has been publicly challenged.

The liberal organization Granite State Progress delivered some similar "Mother's Day cards" to Ayotte's Nashua office on Friday, according to its executive director Zandra Rice Hawkins.

Contacted Monday evening, Hawkins said the Granite State Progress wasn't involved in the image posted on Facebook, but stressed that "we're not opposed to it either."

She noted that yet another group, Sandy Hook Promise, has posted a Mother's Day card online, asking people to sign "in solidarity with families experiencing their first Mother's Day after the loss of a child."

"The similarly styled card to Sen. Ayotte simple reminds a U.S. senator who is blocking gun violence prevention measures to acknowledge the pain those families are going through this week," Hawkins said.

aguilmet@newstote.com


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