Concord representative charged with assault on political foe

  • Katherine Rogers —Courtesy

Monitor staff
Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Democratic state representative from Concord is being accused by a political foe of assault.

State police charged Katherine Rogers, 62, on Aug. 7 with misdemeanor simple assault. The charge stems from an incident that took place last November, during a state Senate race recount at the state records building on South Fruit Street.

Susan Olsen, a gun-rights activist, was volunteering as a Republican observer to watch the recount between incumbent Democrat Andrew Hosmer and Republican Harold French. Olsen claims that when she asked counters to move ballots closer so she could better see them, Rogers, who was volunteering as a Democratic observer, engaged physically.

“She turns to me and grabs me with one hand and starts to lean in to me like she was going to hug me and basically says, ‘You know, well whatever makes you happy.’ Then she clocked me on the side of the head,” Olsen said in an audio interview with the conservative blog Granite Grok. “After telling her that I would have her arrested if she touched me again, she leans in to me and says, ‘Hit me, go ahead, hit me, I know you want to. No, what you want to do – you want to shoot me.’ ”

Rogers, who has frequently sponsored gun-control legislation, referred questions to her attorney, Bill Christie, who called the matter a partisan ploy.

“This is an unfortunate complaint made to the State for political purposes. We look forward to resolving this matter as quickly as possible,” he wrote in an email.

For her part, Olsen believes Rogers was ultimately trying to provoke an altercation in order to disrupt the recount, she told Granite Grok.

“If this is how Democrats operate, and if they do this sort of thing routinely, maybe they frighten volunteers and maybe that’s how they operate, if that’s the case ... I also believe that some type of federal charges need to be brought for what appeared to be willful interruption of an election,” she said.

According to Olsen, the incident was witnessed by Republican Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, who died this March, and “a young man from the Secretary of State’s IT department.” She said she told French – who ultimately won the recount – about the altercation that day, along with an attorney for the Republican party.

Olsen said she also later recounted the incident to House Speaker Shawn Jasper and told him she intended to file charges but would wait until the legislative session was over “out of respect for the House.”

“It would have been nothing but politics – Rogers v. Olsen,” Olsen said.

A former Concord city councilor and Merrimack County attorney, Rogers sits on the House Finance Committee and represents Concord wards 8, 9 and 10.

She is scheduled to appear in Concord’s district court on Sept. 29.

New Hampshire Democratic Party spokesman Wyatt Ronan said the party would refrain from comment until they had received more information from Rogers’s attorney.

(Lola Duffort can be reached at 369-3321 or lduffort@cmonitor.com.)