In the News

Norelli vs. Campbell an important question for N.H. Democrats

November 15, 2012

If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results, will New Hampshire Democrats be insane if they re-elect Terie Norelli as speaker

of the House when they caucus Saturday?

We pose this as a question rather than a statement because Norelli makes a good case for her candidacy.

On the one hand, as speaker, Norelli did a poor job on the budget. She waited too long to get the process started in earnest, which caused the Democrats to rush through poorly communicated changes to the state's LLC tax, to enact taxes on campgrounds and to engage in fiscal sleight-of-hand that contributed to the Republican landslide victory in 2010.

She made things worse by taking such a high-profile leadership position on the fringe social issue of transgender bathrooms, which went nowhere.

As Rep. Lee Quandt, R-Exeter, put it, Norelli's actions contributed to Republican "loony tunes" getting control of the House for the past two years.

Democrats are defensive when we talk about budget shell games, but what else do you call it when the state sells itself its own roadways and counts that as revenue or funds services by going into debt to pay expenses that have always been part of the operating budget?

On the other hand, Norelli served two terms as speaker and just completed a term as minority leader under the tyranny of Republican House Speaker Bill O'Brien. She has deep leadership experience and has withstood a trial by fire. She knows what it feels like to be mistreated by the majority party and vows, if elected speaker, she will treat Republicans the way she would have wanted O'Brien to treat Democratic leaders.

Norelli rightfully points out that she was speaker during the worst economic downturn most of us have experienced in our lifetimes, and that New Hampshire fared far better and recovered much faster than the rest of the states in the nation, and she feels House representatives she led deserve some credit for that.

Norelli says she increased transparency during her terms as speaker and made sure all representatives had the information they needed to make informed votes. She says she met weekly with the majority and minority leaders in the House to discuss upcoming challenges.

She is proud to have played a leadership role in the passage of same-sex marriage, "because it has had such a tremendous personal impact on people who now have the freedom to marry whom they choose."

That said, we have to think it would be tempting for Democratic members to make a fresh start with Norelli's rival, Rep. David Campbell of Nashua.

Campbell will tell the Democratic caucus that he is more moderate than Norelli, and many people we've spoken to agree. Many Republicans also tell us that they would feel more comfortable in a House run by Campbell rather than Norelli. But Republicans lost, so they don't get a say unless Democrats fail to unite behind a single candidate, and both Norelli and Campbell have said they will submit to the will of the Democratic caucus.

"It is imperative that we restore political sanity and a moderate, common-sense state government during the next biennium," Campbell wrote in a letter announcing his candidacy for speaker in June.

"I want to lead a House that honors civility, common courtesy and fairness between its members, on and off the floor. I am running for a new legislative future, with new energy and a new messenger."

Will Democrats make a fresh start with Campbell, or trust that Norelli will keep her vow to work in a bipartisan manner and put jobs and the economy ahead of social issues? It's the first big decision the new Democratic majority will make, and their decision will foreshadow the direction the House will go in the next two years.

Bipartisanship key to Telegraph endorsements

Telegraph Editorial - Nashua Telegraph, October 28, 2012

Excerpt: "…this year we injected one other critical factor into the equation: Do we believe this person can work with members of the opposing party toward bipartisan solutions to the nation’s problems, or is this person an inflexible ideologue unwilling to compromise for the common good?
People such as Rep. David Campbell, D-Nashua, an announced candidate for Democratic leader next year, who has built a solid reputation of being able to work  with the other side during his 12 years in Concord.
Or Rep. Mary Gorman, D-Nashua, a member of the House Education Committee who, like Campbell, has a history of working with Republicans during her seven terms in office.
View full editorial here.

Consider what bills actually passed

GOP legislation skews extreme
State House Memo - Concord Monitor - October 6, 2012 

By Rep. David B. Campbell / For the Monitor

The New Hampshire House Republican super-majority passed the following legislation in 2011-12. It is ideologically extreme and not in keeping with the values held by the majority of New Hampshire's citizens. Consider:


• Lowered the high-school dropout age from 18 to 16.

• Reduced state funding of the university system by 44 percent and the community colleges by 16 percent.

• Suspended the state's scholarship fund, resulting in higher student costs, which means fewer students being able to afford college and less courses for others.

• Established a study committee to allow the diversion of public money to fund students attending private and religious schools.

Women's health

• Ended funding of Planned Parenthood, thereby eliminating access to preventive health care, such as birth control, disease and cancer screening for thousands of women.

• Denied fair access to birth control and comprehensive health protections, based on the employer's religious beliefs, thereby enabling discrimination against women in their health insurance coverage.

• Forced medical providers to distribute intimidating and inaccurate information to women, and to delay their constitutionally guaranteed right of choice.

Worker's rights

• Undermined the ability of workers to unionize by passing right-to-work legislation (which allows employees who work in a unionized workplace to not pay their share of the costs that unions incur in negotiating and enforcing collective bargaining agreements). This, despite the fact that New Hampshire consistently has a lower unemployment rate than 20 of the 22 right-to-work states; past Republican legislatures rejecting right-to-work for decades; and only 11 percent of New Hampshire workers being union members.

• Eliminated collective bargaining for state employees, making them "at will" employees without any rights.

• Repealed New Hampshire's state minimum wage law.

• Weakened the rights of workers and undermined their right to unionize.

• Took away union workers' lunch break.

Human services

• Eliminated, suspended or drastically reduced state programs affecting children with emotional and mental health issues; the Healthy Kids insurance program; assistance for domestic violence victims; women's health care and family planning services; services for mentally ill and developmentally disabled individuals; Head Start and child care; nursing homes and Alzheimer's care; vocational and job training for the unemployed.

These program cuts have directly and indirectly affected thousands of New Hampshire residents and downshifted the associated financial and social costs back onto local communities, nursing homes, property taxpayers and social service and charitable agencies.

Public safety

• Allowed guns in the State House.

• Allowed guns on state university and community college campuses and in public parks, beaches and athletic stadiums.

• Allowed anyone 18 and older to carry and conceal a firearm without a permit or criminal background check.

• Allowed anyone 18 and older to be able to stand his or her ground and use deadly force anywhere and anytime they felt threatened.

Note: All of these House bills were opposed by law enforcement.

Resolutions to Congress

• Supporting withdrawal from the United Nations.

• Affirming states' power and separation from the United States government. If this was passed 150 years ago, New Hampshire would have been a Confederate State.

This list of extreme Republican-backed legislation is by no means complete, and fortunately, not all of these bills and resolutions were enacted. The summary is meant to provide voters with information on some of the most controversial and publicized legislation that actually passed the New Hampshire House in the past biennium, without Democratic support.

The Nov. 6th election will allow New Hampshire voters a chance to decide if this is the kind of legislation they endorse and the kind of future they want for New Hampshire.

(Rep. David B. Campbell is a Democrat from Nashua and a candidate for speaker of the House.) 

Click here to download this list as a PDF...

O'Brien Hides Bill Postings

Speaker tells House staff to withhold until election
Concord Monitor - September 26, 2012

Excerpt: By the end of today, as in years past, sitting House members will file some of the legislation they plan to fight for if re-elected. The difference this year is that House Speaker Bill O'Brien has ordered the proposed bills be kept secret until after the November election.
Rep. David Campbell, a Nashua Democrat planning to challenge O'Brien for House speaker if re-elected, called the change political.

"By posting these after the election makes it political by definition," Campbell said. "Given the political agenda some Republicans put forth last time, I wonder if this is a way to keep those extreme bills from becoming a political controversy before the election."

Campbell said there was also a practical reason for making the bill requests public. When lawmakers could see what their House colleagues were filing, they could avoid filing a duplicate request, he said.

Under O'Brien's policy change, the bill requests are kept confidential even to other lawmakers, Campbell said.
Read the full article on 

Caroline Kennedy Campaigns for Obama

WMUR-TV - June 28, 2012

In this television coverage of Carolyn Kennedy campaigning for Barack Obama in New Hampshire, WMUR-TV interviews David Campbell, who was a classmate of Kennedy at Harvard College. Click the image at left to view the full news video.
Excerpt: For Nashua state Rep. David Campbell, the event was something of a reunion. He and Kennedy were classmates at Harvard. “We were in Winthrop House together. We graduated together. In fact, it was a family joke that when my parents did the slides of my graduation, there's a picture of me, a picture of Caroline, a picture of Jackie, a picture of me. It was like two-thirds pictures of the Kennedys, and a third of me,” Campbell said.
View full coverage here: WMUR-TV 

Business Leaders, Legislators Tout Casino Bill

Nashua Patch - March 26, 2012

State Rep. David Campbell, D-Nashua, speaks in favor of a casino gambling bill on March 26. 

Excerpt: “On the other side of the political aisle, Campbell agreed with Stepanek and said the decision by the state of Massachusetts to move forward on casinos and Maine thinking about it too, changed the state of the question. He said New Hampshire is expected to lose about $100 million in revenue each biennium when those casinos get built.”

“Doing nothing in New Hampshire is no longer an option,” he said. “Doing nothing also means it has a very significant impact on New Hampshire’s state budget and our economy.”

State House Dome: Wording worthy of Shakespeare

Sunday Union Leader, Apr. 17, 2011

Excerpt: Republicans are fond of saying that the word "fee'' is another word for "tax." How about "tuition?'' The House voted to allow for an increase in the fee -- oops, tuition -- that the state charges out-of-state residents for motorcycle training programs.

The debate was brief Wednesday. House Transportation Committee Rep. Sherman Packard, R-Londonderry, was the only speaker on the wording change he favored.
But Packard got notice when he, refreshingly, told it like it is. He said the new word gives Republicans cover. "The amendment does one simple thing: It changes the word from 'fee' to 'tuition,' so we can say we didn't raise any new fees this year,'' Packard said.
Rep. David Campbell, D-Nashua, couldn't resist poking fun.

"With apologies to William Shakespeare, would you not agree, 'What's in a name?' That which we call a fee by any other name would cost just as much,'' he said.

"Ultimately, isn't the question before us to fee or not to fee?'' 
 The vote was 258-90 to pass the bill.

House budget cuts would affect all of NH

Nashua Telegraph - Sunday, April 10, 2011

Guest Commentary - Rep. David Campbell

Live Free or Die

The WOW Report, March 23, 2012
Excerpt: My big brother, the Honorable David Campbell, D-Nashua (the man in the blue suit, leaning against the back wall), was part of the coalition that defeated the bill to overturn same-sex unions in the state of New Hampshire. The vote was a resounding 116-211 in favor of gay marriage… which is especially noteworthy in this Republican-controlled legislature. As Alexis Mateo would say, “BAM!” I was born and raised in New Hampshire and am thrilled that, once again, Yankee common sense has overruled prejudice, ignorance, and hate.

Through tragedies, missteps, senator grew into one of the most respected legislators

By KEVIN LANDRIGAN | Staff Writer, Nashua Telegraph

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Excerpt: State Rep. David Campbell, D-Nashua, will remember his pride as a fellow resident of Harvard's Winthrop House where Kennedy and his brothers lived on campus.
"Every time I would see him, I would say Dave Campbell, Winthrop House. I was in the same class as Caroline and she was in Winthrop House as well. I hoped that would help him remember me," Campbell said.

Campbell organized 1,500 college students in the Boston area to work for Kennedy during the 1980 presidential campaign and recalls standing on stage alone with the senator at the Newport Opera House, the town Campbell once represented in the state House of Representatives.

Kennedy was more than an hour late and abruptly announced he would wade into the crowd to thank those who waited so long. The Secret Service descended on Kennedy and pushed Campbell aside.

"I could hear someone screaming in the Secret Service agent's ear, no one is cleared," Campbell began.

"Then Senator Kennedy said 'I need this guy, he knows everybody's name in town.' "

An awestruck Campbell's mother ran up to Kennedy and proudly proclaimed her son was behind him.

"He looked back, smiled at my mom and said, 'Yes, and he goes to Winthrop House.' "

Additional News Clips, Op-Eds and Editorials

Op-Ed published in Concord Monitor
Consider what bills actually passed - GOP legislation skews extreme
October 6, 2012

FOX 25 /
Divorce cases at center of NH legal debate
September 30, 2012

Wrote the Executive Summary for the
Commission on Sustainable Revenue Sources for Funding Improvements to State and Municipal Highways and Bridges
November 1, 2010 and reprinted in the January, 2011 edition of NH Highways Magazine.

Foster's Daily Democrat
Bigger bridge needed for bigger ships: House takes action on trying to widen Sarah Long Bridge for future shipping traffic

March 6, 2012 

Concord Monitor
Signs would warn border crossers
January 25, 2012

NH Public Radio - Guest on The Exchange
Education Funding Amendment Redux
November 04, 2011

NH Public Radio
Nashua Rep Criticizes Eminent Domain Bill
May 19, 2011

NH Public Radio
Finance Committee Passes Budget
March 24, 2011

Pharmacy News EU
Health tax plan faulted
March 14, 2011

Op-Ed that appeared Nashua Telegraph and Concord Monitor
House Democrats need to reconnect with voters
November 7, 2010

Op-Ed that appeared in several daily newspapers
The Deconstruction of a Citizen Legislature
December 2010

Portsmouth Herald, Letter to the Editor
Regarding the Hatch Shell at Hampton Beach
September 2009

Op-Ed published in Nashua Telegraph and 4 other newspapers
Raise gas tax now or pay much more later
Sunday, May 17, 2009

Op-Ed on the NH House version of HB 25 the State’s Capital Budget (2009)
Printed in several Daily Newspapers statewide
The House’s Capital Budget provides Economic Stimulus throughout NH
By David B. Campbell (D-Nashua), Vice-Chairman, Public Works and Highway Committee

Nashua Telegraph
House: Text or drive, but don’t do both
Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Nashua Telegraph
Four Year Terms for Governor
Sunday, March 06, 2005

Keene Sentinel, Editorial
Four Year Terms
Sunday, March 06, 2005