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Special election for state rep.'s seat

October 22, 2009
NEWPORT — A special election to fill the seat in the New Hampshire House of Representatives vacated last week by Anthony Maiola, R-Newport, was authorized Wednesday by the New Hampshire Executive Council at its monthly meeting in Walpole.

Maiola, a first-term legislator, resigned his seat in Sullivan—District 2 because of health reasons.

If there is no primary, the general election will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 8. If there is a primary, it will be held Dec. 8 and the general election will be scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 12. The filing period for candidates with town clerks in any of the five towns opens Monday, Oct. 26 and closes on Monday, Nov. 2.

Sullivan—District 2 includes the towns of Newport, Croydon, Springfield, Goshen and Washington.

State law, in the second year of the biennium, allows no election after March 15.

Selectmen in Croydon agreed to support the special election at their meeting Tuesday might.

Rep. Beverly Rodeschin, R-Newport, offered the motion to hold a special election at Monday's meeting of the Newport Board of Selectmen. After several minutes of discussion, the Newport board unanimously approved the motion on a 5-0 vote.

By law, only one town in the district had to call for the special election and that would lock in the entire five towns. However, Rodeschin suggested in her motion that the election be held only if the other four towns agreed.

That motion was amended as some members of the Newport board were concerned the request for a special election might end up going out the window if one of the other four towns failed to agree. The motion to take out the wording "contingent upon" unanimous support by all five communities was amended on a 3-1-1 vote. Selectman Gary Nichols voted against the amendment and Betty Maiola, wife of Anthony Maiola, abstained.

"I don't want the other communities to think of Newport as a bully town," Rodeschin told fellow board members as the reason for the wording of her original amendment.

I don't really care if the other towns don't agree, said Virginia Irwin, chairman of the Newport Board of Selectmen. She cited the need to fill the position.

Rodeschin said she still intends to visit the other four district towns to personally appeal for their approval.

"The cost is an expense we have to accept in order to have full representation," said Selectman Jeff Kessler. Newport Finance Director Paul Brown estimated Newport's cost for a special election would run about $1,000.

Nichols cast the lone vote against Rodeschin's original motion. "Why would we be any happier doing this to any other community when we're upset when expenses are forced upon us?" he asked. Nichols was making reference to pass-down financial obligations from the state to the town level.

At one point, Town Manager Dan O'Neill joined in on the discussion. "It is important to have a person down there who can be persuasive. If you have a background in a particular area, they will listen to you," he said.

Sullivan-District 11 has three representatives in the House of Representatives. With the resignation by Maiola, only Rodeschin and Tom Howard, R-Croydon, were left.

At the end of Monday night's discussion, Rodeschin said it was also equally important for District 11 to have a full slate of elected officials when it comes to work by the Sullivan County Delegation that includes 13 representatives when it is at 100 percent.

Matin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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