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Special election in Concord’s Ward 9 pits Army vet against former campaign consultant

  • LEFT: Michael Feeley (left), the Republican candidate for state representative in Concord’s Ward 9, stands with Gov. Chris Sununu. Feeley will face off against Democrat Kris Schultz (above right) in a special election on Tuesday. Courtesy

  • Kris Schultz



Monitor staff
Sunday, July 16, 2017

A Republican Army veteran will take on a former Democratic political consultant and current communications worker in a special election Tuesday to represent Concord’s Ward 9 in the House of Representatives.

Michael Feeley, 45, the Republican, and Kris Schultz, 47, the Democrat, would each be serving their first terms in the State House if elected to replace Democrat Andrew deTreville, who resigned in February.

Feeley, an Iraq War veteran, retired from the Army in 2015 after more than 20 years and now works in building maintenance for the New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Council.

He said as a state legislator he hopes to help veterans integrate more smoothly into civilian life after their service ends. He said he found that his experience utilizing services for veterans when he lived in Massachusetts was easier than in New Hampshire.

“When I moved up here and I went to the unemployment office here in Concord, at the time I was told that unless I had a disability rating and unless I was one of these individuals that was in pretty dire straits to the point where I could very well end up homeless and on the street, then I wouldn’t be able to see a veteran’s counselor that would help me get a job,” he said.

He added: “Things up here are different than what I was used to in Massachusetts. In Massachusetts, you go to that same type of scenario, and it didn’t matter if you had a disability or not.”

Feeley said he hopes to ensure New Hampshire veterans know about and can make use of the programs that are offered to them, noting that this could help make the state more attractive to young veterans.

Schultz, who won the Democratic primary at the end of May, worked in politics for nearly two decades until 2012. She’s now the director of communications for two statewide religious organizations.

She said her experience being hospitalized without insurance and labeled with a pre-existing condition – eventually declaring bankruptcy under the weight of her medical bills – is driving her platform.

“I know firsthand how awful it was,” she told the Monitor in May. “In 2005, more women declared bankruptcy than graduated college, predominantly because of health care bills.”

She said her top priority will be to ensure that New Hampshire’s expanded Medicaid is reauthorized ahead of its Dec. 31, 2018, sunset date.

Feeley, who said he always tries to consider all viewpoints and doesn’t become entrenched in “line-in-the-sand” politics, said from what he’s seen the state’s Medicaid expansion has been “somewhat of a success.”

“I think there’s a chance I would probably vote for the expansion,” he said. “However, I think other things would have to come into play. We’d have to obviously learn about how much money we may be getting from the federal government, and if it’s not enough money and we aren’t able to come up with the revenue, we may be put into a position where we either have to eliminate the program or reduce it until we can get that funding.”

Outside of health care, Feeley identified veterans issues and infrastructure as his top priorities. Schultz said she’d work to establish a $15 minimum wage and protect wages and benefits for public employees.

Their district, Merrimack County District 18, covers the area to the north of Loudon Road between Ormond Street and Sheep Davis Road.

Feeley reported to the secretary of state’s office Wednesday that he’s received $440.85 in campaign donations from three contributors and spent the same on postcards and mailing services. The New Hampshire Republican State Committee reported that it spent $694 on Feeley’s behalf on mailers and calls.

Schultz’s most recent filing from June 8 showed that she received $5,930 from 79 contributors. She’d spent $4,266.60 at that time, mostly on printed materials.

The election will be held Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Havenwood retirement home campus, 33 Christian Ave.

 

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that Schultz no longer works as a political consultant. She said she hasn’t been paid for political work since 2012.

(Nick Reid can be reached at 369-3325, nreid@cmonitor.com or on Twitter at
@NickBReid.)