Jeanne Shaheen is running for reelection to the U.S. Senate representing New Hampshire. She has been a Democrat in the Senate since 2009 and is now seeking her third term.
Before Shaheen’s Senate career, she served as Governor of New Hampshire for three two-year terms, from 1996-2002, and before that served two terms in the New Hampshire State Senate.
Shaheen said that the issues facing the country are “unimagined challenges” and that “the stakes have never been higher” than right now.
The biggest issue that Shaheen is hoping to address in another term in the Senate is climate change, especially because of its effects on New Hampshire. Shaheen said that “we need to act now,” and said a priority should be “investing in clean energy technologies” to create jobs in New Hampshire.
Shaheen said that her proudest professional accomplishment has been “protecting women’s reproductive rights” throughout her years of public service. She cited repealing an abortion felony law as governor and writing the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights in the Senate, among others. Shaheen said, “Republicans are determined to strip away women’s reproductive rights, and I will fight them every step of the way.”
Additionally, Shaheen’s platform includes protecting affordable health care access for New Hampshire residents and relieving student loan debt.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted Shaheen’s campaign, and “forced us to rethink how we engage with voters.” However, Shaheen said, “What hasn’t changed is the importance of hearing directly from people,” especially those who she said were most affected by the pandemic.
“That’s who I’m fighting for in the Senate,” Shaheen said, “and combatting this pandemic has been my top priority throughout this campaign.”
“There is a clear contrast in this race,” Shaheen said. “Electing Democrats is about electing people who will trust science, protect people’s health care, and… create fundamental change.”
Shaheen is opposed in this election by Republican Corky Messner.
Bryant “Corky” Messner is the Republican nominee for New Hampshire’s U.S. Senate seat, currently held by incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen who is seeking reelection. Messner is a veteran, businessman and lawyer who resides in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire where he served on the Lake Wentworth Foundation’s board of directors.
Messner is a lifelong conservative and proud Granite Stater, according to his campaign website. His priorities are to “Improve Free Market Healthcare,” “Stand Up to Democrats’ Socialist Agenda,” “Make Middle Class Tax Cuts Permanent,” “Maintain Strong National Security Border & Security,” “Reduce Government Spending and the Debt,” “Pro-Second Amendment,” and “Pro Life.”
If elected, Messner would work with Gov. Sununu to speed up the state’s economic recovery. “That means I will not only support targeted federal aid for those sectors hardest hit by pandemic closures, but I also recognize we need to safely re-open the state — we need to get back to work, help businesses adapt to the ‘new normal,’ and help those who have lost their livelihoods and need job opportunities and retraining,” in an email with The New Hampshire.
Messner’s proudest accomplishments are attending West Point, serving in the military, putting himself through law school and building his business.
“I achieved the American Dream, and I continue to help others do the same, mentoring entrepreneurs and others who want to reach their professional and personal goals. As U.S. Senator, I will work to help others achieve their own version of the American Dream,” he said.
Messner believes that young people beginning their careers would benefit from a “strong economy, less government and a focus on individual freedom.” He emphasized the importance of strengthening the economy.
Due to COVID-19, Messner’s campaign has been largely virtual, but they have utilized social media to reach out to young voters. “Our message has always been one of optimism and the power of the individual. As the father of three young people, I know we must provide the next generation with the promise of a bright future, of an economy that offers good jobs and good pay,” he said.
U.S. Representative (NH-01)
Rep. Chris Pappas, incumbent Democrat of New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District is up for reelection against Republican candidate Matt Mowers.
According to Pappas’ campaign website, his platform focuses on confronting the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, improving affordable health care and standing up for reproductive rights. Pappas has worked to protect students’ right to vote
, and raise the federal minimum wage. He is also pushing for equity and accountability in the criminal justice system and protecting the environment.
Pappas, who was born and raised in Manchester, N.H., has been adamant about the importance of youth voters, stating in an email interview with The New Hampshire, “I’m running for re-election to do all I can to ensure New Hampshire weathers these crises and thrives in the future, and I know that we can’t accomplish that without the help of young people.”
In his time as a state representative, Pappas felt the most rewarding and valuable work that he has done was “representing the people of the First District is all about helping people, especially during tough times.” This includes cosponsoring the Equality Act, passing legislation for free COVID-19 testing and treatment, and helping constituents access unemployment benefits.
As for the biggest local issue that Pappas wanted to address, he said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown us into both a public health crisis and an economic crisis, and shown us the importance of ensuring that everyone has access to affordable health care, and that we’re helping young people who want to stay in New Hampshire by investing in affordable housing and working to bring down the cost of college.”
With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the country, many campaigns have had to shift gears and find the safest way to get the word out about voting. For the Pappas campaign, they have adjusted by hosting Zoom “house parties” and peer-to-peer texting voters.
Pappas encouraged youth voters to make sure their voice is heard and that “real change will only happen if we all work as hard as we can to make sure folks get out to vote.”
Matt Mowers is the Republican candidate running for election to the U.S. House of Representatives for New Hampshire’s first congressional district. He previously worked as a field coordinator and battleground state director on President Trump’s transition team before becoming a senior White House adviser in the State Department, according to Mowers’ website.
Mowers’ main concern is protecting the “New Hampshire advantage” for future generations. He believes that “politicians in Washington are pushing tax increases that would make life more difficult for working families, business owners, and young people who want to be able to afford to live in the state.” Mowers is also opposed to implementing any new income or sales taxes in the state.
While Mowers was at the State Department, he oversaw the United States global HIV/AIDS program, PEPFAR, which provides live saving treatment for those infected with the disease. He was able to work with Congress to complete a bipartisan reauthorization bill for the program.
His reason for running for Congress is to bring a new generation of leadership to Washington. Mowers believes that too many current politicians have been in office for too long, and he wants to “cut through the noise and get Washington working again,” all while pledging to keep taxes low and deliver relief for small businesses and working families. Mowers hopes that his campaign promises will drive UNH students to vote for him.
The Mowers campaign put their in-person events on hold for several months due to the pandemic but are back on the trail now. The campaign has also focused on young voter outreach, establishing a Students for Mowers coalition which includes student interns and volunteers running campaign events.
Zachary Dumont is the Libertarian candidate running for the U.S. House of Representatives for New Hampshire’s first congressional district. Dumont earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of New Hampshire (UNH) in 2017 and has served as a Town Councilor on the Budget Committee in Newmarket, N.H. for the past three years.
Dumont considers housing and the cost of living to be the most pressing local issues for N.H.’s first congressional district and hopes to address these if he gets into office.
“A tight housing market leads to an uptick in the local cost of living, an uptick in [that] causes increasing housing prices, and so on,” Dumont said. “I’d hope to leverage the influence of the federal government to reduce inflation and better invest in local programs with federal tax dollars.”
His campaign, like many others, had to adapt and began using social media and video interviews and virtual events as ways to keep active with potential voters.
“I think we’ve done and admirable job in reaching voters and answering the tough questions we’d expect in a non-pandemic campaign,” he said.
Dumont says he is running because, as a young American, he “often feels left out and forgotten” by the federal government, and he wants to make a change to the current political system which he feels “does not make any true progress” and only leaves problems for the next generation.
Some of Dumont’s accomplishments include: “improving N.H.’s green spaces, national forest, state parks, and related [areas].” From his junior year in high school through his junior year at UNH, Dumont “spent many weeks rehabilitating and serving environmental causes.”
“Every year we allow [to] pass without a real solution to problems like these further places us at a disadvantage. It’s my hope that if supported by the UNH student body and elected to represent [NH’s first congressional district], the student body could trust in me that when debating hot button and difficult questions, they know I have their viewpoints in mind,” said Dumont about youth voters.
N.H. State Senator (NH-21)
Rebecca Perkins-Kwoka is the Democratic nominee for New Hampshire’s 21st senate district. She has previously served on Portsmouth’s city council and this is her first race for a state-level office.
Perkins-Kwoka, a Cornell law school graduate, has been a green energy lawyer for over 10 years. Her most important issue areas are affordable housing and promoting green energy in New Hampshire.
“New Hampshire is far behind the rest of New England in renewable energy,” Perkins-Kwoka said. “In Concord, I will fight to bring more renewable energy to the Granite State, upgrade our grid, and build a sustainable future for all of us.”
While not a key point of her campaign, she has also highlighted that she would be the first openly LGBTQ woman elected to the New Hampshire state senate.
“I believe that I had demonstrated leadership on some of the key issues facing our state, and in particular issues that affect young people. As a green energy lawyer and affordable housing advocate, as well as someone still paying off student loans who grew up working in a small business, I will fight for a sustainable, greener future where everyone can afford to live here in New Hampshire,” Perkins-Kwoka said.
Perkins-Kwoka is endorsed by 603 Forward and New Hampshire Youth Movement, two organizations that focus on issues that young people care about in New Hampshire.
Sue Polidura is the Republican nominee for New Hampshire’s 21st senate district. This is Polidura’s first run for elected office.
Polidura, born and raised in Puerto Rico, is a United States Air Force veteran and has lived in Portsmouth for more than 40 years serving at the Pease Air Force Base. Now retired, Polidura is looking to serve her community as state senator.
One of her proudest accomplishments within her community is helping to preserve the North cemetery in Portsmouth, where she gives free tours. She also worked on a project that allowed Portsmouth residents to park in the downtown city garage for only $3 during winter storm emergencies.
Polidura’s most important issue areas are supporting small businesses through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as well as maintaining low business taxes so that small businesses can thrive. This is especially important, she says, as the winter is threatening to shut down restaurants if COVID-19 restrictions are reinstated.
She also uses her focus on small businesses as a pitch to college students.
“So, when you graduate from UNH, you want a job. And the best way to guarantee that you’re going to get a job is to make a favorable environment,” Polidura said. “About 90% of the jobs are created by small businesses, and they have really been put at risk because of COVID.”
Polidura also highlighted the difficulties of campaigning during the pandemic and putting a new focus on social media as a way to connect to younger people.
“I think that our job is just a tool on the way of finding your calling. Because you ever happy is when you’re doing what you’re called to do. And by no and all saying goes, do what you love. And you’ll never have to work a day in your life,” Polidura said.
N.H. State Representative (Strafford 6)
Tim Horrigan is running for reelection for the New Hampshire House of Representatives, where he currently sits as a Democrat from the Stafford 6 district. Horrigan has held this position since 2010. He has also served as the representative from Strafford 7 in 2008 until his resignation in 2010.
Horrigan is a native of Durham. His father, James Horrigan, worked for 30 years as an Accounting and Finance Professor at the University of New Hampshire (UNH). Horrigan’s father would also serve as a New Hampshire state representative during the 1980s. Meanwhile, Horrigan’s mother and one of his sisters are both alumni and former staffers at UNH.
His intimate connection with UNH has followed Horrigan into his political career where he has made “supporting UNH (and higher education in general) one of [his] top priorities.” Indeed, Horrigan explained that one of his favorite things he has accomplished as a state representative was the installation of new lights at Wildcat Stadium, back when it was still referred to as Cowell Stadium. Horrigan led the effort to secure $1,000,000 in funding for the lights from the state capital budget.
As representative, Horrigan hopes to continue fighting for voting rights, particularly student voting rights.
“If you are a U.S. citizen aged 18 years or over, you have the right to vote in the community where you live. Students who live on campus, or in off-campus housing in the Town of Durham, are residents of Durham,” said Horrigan.
Horrigan also criticized his Republican colleagues for “attacking” student voting and cited on his opponent’s assertions that “the only option [for students] should be to vote where [their] parents live.” Horrigan has also sponsored several pro-voting bills that have been vetoed by Governor Sununu.
Meanwhile, Horrigan’s “door-knocking” campaigning style has been severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Until a few weeks ago, the Democratic Party has done virtually no in-person events, explained Horrigan. However, Horrigan is still optimistic about youth voter turnout despite the lack of public engagement.
“As for young and first-term voters, the unprecedented events of the past few years, especially those of this year, have energized the new generation of voters far more powerfully than anything I could do or say,” said Horrigan. “There are many reasons to feel hopeless and cynical, but the generation which is coming of age today is an idealistic and optimistic one.”
Janet Wall is running for reelection for the New Hampshire House of Representatives, where she currently sits as a Democrat from the Stafford 6 district. She has held this position since 1986.
Wall cites her status as an UNH alumnus and long track record as a legislator as proof of her commitment to voters and UNH students. Wall has also visited all four colleges in the University System of New Hampshire, which includes the University of New Hampshire (UNH), Plymouth State University, Keene State College, and Granite State College, during her time on the House Education Committee and the University System Study Committee. This experience gave Wall a unique insight into the needs of university communities.
“I met with administrators and faculty and insisted on meeting with students. I have listened to and worked together with students regarding financial aid, access to affordable healthcare upon graduation, jobs, and housing. I have a strong record supporting faculty on issues regarding quality of life, healthcare, capital budgets, and more,” said Wall.
During her time as representative, Wall has worked on many “meaningful” issues. She highlighted her work with the Strafford Regional Planning Commission to reinstate passenger rail service with the Downeaster, which Wall described as an “economic boon” to UNH and surrounding communities. Wall has also relied on UNH research to protect New Hampshire’s Seven Rivers, Great Bay and the estuary, groundwater and to restore gravel pits for aquifer recharge.
Wall also described the works she has done for students, such as encouraging collaboration between businesses and UNH to provide internships and research beneficial both to the economy and students. She explained the pride she felt in working to keep students on their parents’ health insurance until age 26.
Wall hopes to continue her work as a representative through focusing on the economy, improving UNH funding, and bringing jobs to New Hampshire. She plans to encourage UNH graduates and other skilled workers to remain in the state by developing educational opportunities that will prepare them for “changing technology and societal needs,” as well as providing “accessible and affordable education, healthcare and housing.”
Wall has tried to stay connected with voters despite the lack of in-person events due to the coronavirus pandemic, including distributing written campaign literature and hosting Zoom meetings. Wall encourages voters to contact her through Facebook, her email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and even the phonebook. She also describes herself as a proponent of student voting, and has cosponsored and supported legislation for easier access voter registration. This had also included coordinating rides to the polls.
Marjorie Smith is running for reelection to the New Hampshire House of Representatives, where she currently sits as a Democrat from the Strafford 6 district. She held this position from 1996 to 2010 and again from 2012 to present.
Smith has years of experience in many areas from public health to accessible education. She has chaired the House Finance and Fiscal Committees and is currently chairing the House Judiciary Committee. She served on the Public Higher Education Advisory Committee in the past and currently serves on the board of the University System of New Hampshire, where she spent her past summer working with staff, faculty, administration and students to make it possible for University of New Hampshire (UNH) to reopen.
Before her election she was the national executive director of Women’s Action for New Directions, which helped encourage female involvement in politics, and was the first chair of the board of the New Hampshire Women’s Policy Institute. She worked in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations and chaired the Maryland Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. She also worked on the President’s Appalachian Regional Commission, and was assistant to the first chair of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. As a chair of the board of the Maryland Committee for Day Care, advocated for availability of and standards for quality child care. She was also the first chair of the Durham Public Library, where she helped plan the separation from UNH. She also currently serves as the treasurer of the Durham Historical Association.
Smith is passionate about civil liberties, including reproductive rights, and affordable public education from preschool to university. “New Hampshire is an aging state, and we must find a way to keep our young people in the state, provide them with seamless opportunities for affordable, quality education, and then encourage employment and affordable housing opportunities to help students establish themselves in New Hampshire,” she told The New Hampshire in an email. She said one of her biggest accomplishments is being the prime sponsor of a bill that would create an independent redistricting commission that would draw district lines based on the results of the 2020 census. It has been vetoed by the governor twice, but she says she will continue to try with this bipartisan effort. She also said she has participated in many UNH programs on diversity and inclusion.
Smith will be on the ballot Nov. 3. Durham residents are encouraged to vote absentee or in person at Oyster River High School.
First elected to the NH House of Representatives in 1998, Judith Spang sits as a Democrat of the Strafford 6 district. She is currently running for her 11th term in the House. She says she is recognized as the House’s “premier environmental advocate” with respect to land and water resources, and has sponsored many bills that support protecting the environment.
She is currently a member of the Resources, Recreation and Development Committee, and the Lamprey River Advisory Committee, through which she got Congress to designate the Lamprey River a National Wild and Scenic River. In Durham, she serves on the Planning Board, is a member of both the Conservation Commission and the Land Protection Task Force, and is the founder and president of the Friends of the Durham Public Library. She says that the biggest local issue she would like to address is “thoughtful and effective growth for the Town of Durham and its surrounds.” She is currently working to establish the N.H. Rivers Management and Protection Program. She is also a board member of the Great Bay Rowing Club and a trustee of the Great Bay Trust.
Aside from politics, her past professional experience is in city regional planning, market research and corporate strategic planning. She worked as the regional planner of the Lakes Region Planning Commission and the City of New York.
Executive Councilor (NH-02)
Jim Beard is the Republican nominee for New Hampshire Executive Council District 2.
He was “born and raised” in the state, and emphasized his “New Hampshire values” such as respecting elders, listening to teachers, working hard, saving money and helping neighbors.
Beard was a pilot and worked in aviation sales and marketing in locations such as London, Paris and the Middle East. Part of his job included reviewing contracts, which he believes would be beneficial on the Executive Council.
Eventually, Beard moved back to Lempster, New Hampshire. “After that worldwide experience. I finally reached a point where I really just wanted to get back to the small community,” he said.
Beard served as Chair of the Library Trustees in Lempster and assisted in a complete renovation of the building.
Beard is also a conservationist, and was chair of the Lempster Conservation Commission. He noted a proud accomplishment while on the commission, which was getting a significant portion of land put into conservation – meaning it will never be developed. The commission worked with the forest society and town council on this project. “It helps in not just our area but this whole strip of land going up to the White Mountains, all the way down through into Massachusetts for clean water for clean air, and the opportunity for the wildlife to move throughout this this area conserve land. It gives them a natural habitat,” he said.
If elected, Beard is interested in working on the issue of transportation – not only highways but also high-speed internet, which he believes is related given the proliferation of online learning and online healthcare.
Given restrictions due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), Beard has not been able to meet in person with voters as much as he’d like, and has utilized Zoom meetings.
“I hope to bring my diverse background and experience to Concord in order to get things done for the people of District 2. New Hampshire is a great state, but let’s work together to make it even better,” he wrote on his campaign website.
Cinde Warmington, Democratic candidate for New Hampshire Executive Council for District 2 and self-proclaimed lifelong health care advocate, expressed her concern at the health care rights of Americans during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in an interview with The New Hampshire.
As a health care attorney and the chair of Health Law practice at Shaheen & Gordon for the last 20 years, she believes her 42 total years of experience in the healthcare field could transform the N.H. Executive Council. “At a time when we have no one on the Executive Council with a healthcare background, it is the biggest share of our state budget. And we are in the middle of a pandemic. So I think that having this experience on the Executive Council in this particular time will be very helpful to the people of New Hampshire, including students who I know are concerned about health care.”
In addition to her position at Shaheen & Gordon, Warmington has eight years of experience working on the board of the Lakes Region Mental Health Center in which she was the chair and is now working on the board of Riverbend Community Mental Health in Concord.
Her favorite professional accomplishment was when she “helped expand access to substance use disorder treatment services in New Hampshire.”
“The use of alternative treatments for substance use disorder were limited by statute in New Hampshire,” she continued, “And I was instrumental in getting that statute repealed and expanded the options of treatment for people in New Hampshire. The other thing is I have worked for years to expand access to telehealth services, and have been successful, I’ve been successful in that, mostly in the areas of mental health.”
These telehealth services, according to Warmington, have proven to be especially beneficial during the COVID-19 pandemic. If Warmington is to be elected to the N.H. Executive Council, her main goal is to “work to expand access and lower costs for New Hampshire families,” according to her website.
Strafford County Sheriff
Mark Brave is the Democratic nominee for Strafford County Sheriff. Brave, currently a lieutenant in the Sheriff’s Office, has worked in law enforcement for many years, including as Chief of Campus Safety for Great Bay Community College.
Brave cited overseeing the Standards and Training unit at the sheriff’s office, which encompasses the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. This allowed them to continue embodying best practices, he said.
As Sheriff, Brave hopes to address the disconnect between law enforcement, social services and the community and continue a dialogue about ways to improve these relations.
“I believe voters, particularly UNH students, should vote for me because I will continue to stay transparent in my interaction with the community. I will also use my position as Sheriff to connect with as many campus groups as possible to get their input on issues relating to campus life, social injustice and inclusiveness. Everyone should have a voice in their community and direct input into law enforcement matters from UNH students will prove to be a vital tool moving forward,” Brave said.
In light of the coronavirus (COVID-19), Brave’s campaign has done lots of “out of the box thinking when it came to campaigning and reaching voters,” he said, as well as motivating young voters on social media. The New Hampshire Democrats have helped amplify Brave’s message as well, he said.
Paul Callaghan, currently a lieutenant and prosecutor at the Strafford County Sheriff Office (SCSO) and a member of the Strafford County Superior Court drug Court Team, is the Republican nominee for Strafford County Sheriff.
A UNH alumnus, Callaghan has been involved with the university for many years, including guest speaking to organizations such as Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program (SHARPP), educating students on law enforcement, hosting interns, and more.
“An informed electorate is so important… I have always had an appreciation for involving the University student body in current law enforcement endeavors, not only to inform on important legal topics, but also with an eye on attracting UNH students into the law enforcement profession,” he said.
Throughout his career in law enforcement, several achievements Callaghan is particularly proud of include diverse hiring practices, implementing mental health court, and bringing a diversion program to the Rochester district court for people charged with misdemeanor drug or alcohol possession.
As Sheriff, Callaghan would like to input periodic de-escalation technique training throughout the county. “We want to avoid using force when the mission can be safely accomplished without it. De-escalation training can save lives under the right circumstances,” he said.
Callaghan would lead an effort similar to the Governor’s Commission on Law Enforcement Accountability, Community and Transparency by incorporating the EPIC/Active Bystandership Law Enforcement training developed by the New Orleans Police Department.
During the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Callagan has maintained face-to-face campaigning while wearing a mask and social distancing. Callaghan has had to mostly rely on social media to reach UNH voters. “It is an amazing tool, but I really prefer the face-to-face interaction and give and take of spontaneous discussions,” he said. He has also participated in online events, walked through towns to interact with businesses and voters, and more.
Darryl Perry, the Libertarian candidate for Governor, previously served as Chair of the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire from 2016 to 2018 and came fourth place for the party’s presidential nomination in 2016.
“The reason that college students should vote for libertarians is we’re actually going to do a lot of the things that you want done and the old parties aren’t going to do that,” he said. “I know that the right to vote is very important to college students specifically because one of the groups that currently are the minority in the house in the Senate, but they control the corner office, they want to restrict college students’ right to vote in New Hampshire,” he continued.
Perry is running on a platform of a criminal justice reform, lower taxation, and ballot access reform and voting rights, according to his campaign website. The website also states that he supports “reducing the size, scope and power of government on all levels, on all issues,” which are views that are in line with the Libertarian party.
Perry is also a registered lobbyist, and cited testifying to repeal the death penalty in New Hampshire as one of his favorite professional accomplishments. He noted how close the vote was – it was vetoed by the Governor and the veto was repealed by the Senate.
In terms of local issues, as governor Perry would work on the issue of affordable housing. He acknowledged that this is not something that the governor has total control over. “We need to at the state level prevent the towns from restricting the types of residential buildings that can be built in residential areas,” he said.
Campaigning has largely gone remote in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Perry said. “Back in late February, and early March, I ordered a bunch of bumper stickers and T shirts and all kinds of other wonderful things to pass out at various fairs and festivals that a couple weeks later all wound up being canceled,” he said. Much of his campaigning has been online, including weekly town halls with guests such as members of Black Lives Matter Manchester. He values organic conversations with voters about politics and policy, as opposed to “he very well planned out photo op sort of thing that traditional politicians do.”
Perry emphasizes the fact that voters want additional choices for candidates besides the traditional Democratic and Republican parties.
Country Attorney, Register of Deeds
Democrat Tom Velardi is running unopposed in the Strafford County Attorney race. Velardi was appointed as deputy county attorney in 2003, and has been county attorney since 2008. Velardi has been part of the drug court team working to divert drug offenses, and the healthcare team that focuses on dealing rationally with mental health issues in the criminal justice system.
One issue Velardi would continue to address in his next term is how to effectively deal with mental illness and drug addiction inside and outside of the criminal justice system. He explained how these issues are often tied to homelessness, adding that the Seacoast area has had a housing shortage for a number of years. He emphasized using problem-solving techniques other than jail time and incarceration when possible and believes many issues that could be resolved by other agencies.
Velardi works to serve both the offender and victim populations. “I’m always looking for new ways to try to make sure that we have all sorts of avenues open to us as police and prosecutors to really try to treat people as well as we can, while still holding them accountable for their criminal actions,” he said.
Velardi is particularly proud of his work in instituting programs that approach crime and punishment in a rational way. “The thing I’m most proud about making programs that work in actually changing people’s behaviors, so that they as offenders can lead better lives, and that we’re not creating more… And so if that’s the thing I’d be most proud of because that’s brought the most positive change to Strafford county and certainly to Durham.”
In terms of his work and outreach during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Velardi said court looks completely different. So much is done virtually, but he still tries to bring his over 20 years of experience to each case, he said. “Try to understand what the real issues are that could be behind what the criminal action is working closely with the police to do. We have great law enforcement agencies here in Strafford County,” he said.
A UNH alumnus, Velardi said, “I like to carry forward what I learned at UNH which is to serve your community. Try to treat people the way you would want to be treated.”
Catherine Berube is running for reelection as the Register of Deeds for Strafford County. She currently holds this position and has held it for three two-year terms. It is a constitutional position, as opposed to a legislative position.
The register of deeds is the official keeper of property records for the county, whose duties include recording and preserving property records as well as collecting fees on behalf of the county. According to Berube, over $12 million were collected for the state of New Hampshire through the Strafford County Registry of Deeds last year.
Prior to her time as register of deeds, Berube was a practicing attorney. She and her husband, F.X. Bruton, have a law firm in Dover that focuses on real estate law. She stepped back from practicing law to “concentrate all of my efforts” on the registry of deeds.
Berube said that her legal background has “helped me understand the issues that arise” in the Registry of Deeds. Additionally, she said that she has been “active in legislative issues” on behalf of the New Hampshire Registry of Deeds Association and has testified at hearings in matters dealing with real estate.
In addition to performing her duties as register of deeds, Berube teaches as an adjunct professor at the University of New Hampshire.
While serving as register of deeds, Berube is proud of her accomplishments of leading the office through a transition to an updated search engine for their software, as well as educating the public on the systems of the registry of deeds.
Berube is running unopposed. She will be on both sides of the ballot as the candidate for the Democratic and Republican parties on Nov. 3, as during the primary election, Strafford County voters provided enough votes for this on both tickets. Berube said that she is “honored” by this.