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Republicans take county and state seats


November 10, 2010
LAKES REGION — Republicans dominated Election Day as voters cast their ballots widely in favor of the more conservative party, and local candidates were no exception.

In the race for County Commission John Thomas defeated Democratic candidate Andrew Livernois to represent the towns of Barnstead, Belmont, Gilmanton, Tilton and Sanbornton.

Thomas said he was grateful to receive the support of voters and that it showed that they didn't forget his past service in the legislature and other local positions he has held over the years. He vowed to work just as hard as a county commissioner.

"I really want to thank Andrew, too, for keeping this a clean and thoughtful competition," Thomas said.

The newly elected commissioner said he has wasted no time in contacting county officials to discuss matters even though he will not be officially sworn in until January. Thomas has already met with County Administrator Debra Shackett and Dan Ward from the Belknap County Jail and plans to have a discussion with Sherriff Craig Wiggin in the near future.

Joining him on the commission this year will be fellow Republican Steve Nedeau of Meredith. Nedeau received 6,398 votes, a landslide over the 2,547 votes received by Democrat Steve Copithorne of Alton. Both Thomas and Nedeau served terms in the House of Representatives and Thomas said he thinks their experience in Concord will be a benefit to the county.

"That will make a big difference when dealing with the County Convention. Steve and I have had the experience of the 'twirling hat' in the legislature when we were going between the state and the county interests on different issues. A lot of time County Commissioners don't understand that but I think (our experience) will be a help in relationships between the two," Thomas said.

Thomas said continuing the commissioners' Listening Tours is "a given" as far as he is concerned as he feels it is vital to hear the concerns of residents in a county with such varying demographics.

"You can't paint every town with the same brush," he said. "Regionalization may or may not be good, depending on what service you're talking about. I would want to really tear it apart and look at each situation before making a decision on regional services."

At the state level incumbent Republican Dennis Fields will be returning to the legislature in Concord, representing Sanbornton and Tilton in the House of Representatives.

Fields said he was pleased with voter turnout and glad he would be returning to Concord to continue his mission of serving veterans, protecting the Second amendment and finding solutions to education and low-income housing issues across the state.

"Number One is the budget though. We have to get taxes and spending down before we can address these other issues," Fields said.

He said he feels there are too many bills before the House and would be in support of repealing some of these bills, such as those dealing with the JUA malpractice insurance encumbrance and repetitive bills that might need to be repealed.

Joining Fields this term will be Bill Tobin, a familiar face who bowed out of the legislature two years ago but decided to return to Concord.

"I want to thank everybody so much for coming out and showing they care," Tobin said.

He admitted a lot of good people, such as Democratic incumbent Liz Merry, were taken out of office in a "sweep" of the Republican party but said he hoped she and others like her who worked hard for the state would continue serving the public.

"Liz is very knowledgeable and just got caught up in that sweep that was happening across the state," he said.

Tobin ran for the Legislature on his belief that state government is too big and vowed to do what he could to decrease spending and lower the budget. One method he proposes is to cut spending by attrition, where existing employees fill in vacancies within their departments, thereby reducing spending through insurance and retirement costs. He also hopes to lower health care costs for citizens by going across state lines to bring competition back to the field and get "some kind of affordable healthcare back to New Hampshire."

In House District 5, which includes Belmont and Gilford, the lone Democrat, incumbent Bill Johnson, was not voted in for another term, leaving the district represented entirely by Republicans.

In local Senate races, the seats went to Republicans as well.

After a spirited and sometimes heated campaign, Jeanie Forrester of Meredith was elected to the State Senate in District 2, which includes Sanbornton, defeating Democrat incumbent Deb Reynolds of Plymouth.

Reynolds defeated the late Carl Johnson of Meredith in 2006 amidst a wave of Democrats. Four years later another Meredith resident has taken that seat, reflecting the new turnaround of Republicans.

In State Senate District 4, Republican Jim Forsythe handily defeated Democrat Andrew Hosmer. The seat is currently held by Democrat Kathy Sgambati, who decided not to run for another term.

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