Potential shipyard cuts a hot topic in N.H. politics

For the Monitor
Published: 3/21/2019 6:32:01 PM

The strong possibility that the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard could lose $200 million in construction funding to already allocated projects is smack in the middle of New Hampshire’s political spotlight.

The latest leader to weigh in is Gov. Chris Sununu, who criticized Congress – and not the president – for not doing their job when it comes to securing funding.

The potential loss of funding stems from GOP President Donald Trump’s controversial declaration on Feb. 15 of a national emergency along the U.S. border with Mexico, which would allow him to divert military funding to extend the current border wall. The move is supported by many Republicans, but has been heavily criticized by Democrats.

The Pentagon’s list of facilities that could be impacted by the move – if it goes forward – includes projects aimed at making the shipyard more efficient in refueling and overhauling nuclear-powered submarines.

“While we were happy to see that neither National Guard nor Military Reserve programs within New Hampshire would be affected, it was unfortunate to learn the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard may still see a reduction in their projects,” Sununu, a two-term Republican governor, said Thursday.

“At the end of the day, Congress should have done their job and secured the funding so that these projects should have never been in jeopardy,” Sununu added.

The statement was a jab at New Hampshire’s all-Democratic congressional delegation. It’s no surprise in this divisive political climate that Sununu is often at odds with Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan and Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas.

Shaheen – who sits on the Senate Armed Services and Appropriations committees – has let the charge against the reallocation of funding and last week petitioned top Navy officials on behalf of the shipyard.

Protecting the facility and the jobs that come with it has always been a top concern for members of Congress from New Hampshire and Maine.

New Hampshire’s delegation is also uniformly opposed to the president’s push to extend the wall along the Southern border, which appears to have elicited Sununu’s criticism.

Sununu said he will continue to advocate on the shipyard’s behalf.

The governor’s comments sparked pushback from the New Hampshire Democratic Party, which accused the governor of doing “absolutely nothing to protect the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard while our federal delegation has been and continues working to save the shipyard’s funding from Trump’s sham emergency declaration.”

O’Rourke’s quick stop in Concord

Newly announced Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke made stops in all 10 of New Hampshire’s counties this week, during a jam-packed 48-hour swing through the state that for a century has held the first primary in the race for the White House.

While O’Rourke held large events at Keene State College, Plymouth State University and the University of New Hampshire at Durham, and spoke to overflow crowds at restaurants in Claremont, Portsmouth and Manchester, his stop in Concord was much more modest.

The former three-term congressman from El Paso, Texas, quietly lunched on Thursday with about a dozen leading Granite State female Democratic politicians and activists at Live Juice on South Main Street in downtown Concord.

O’Rourke spoke for about five minutes and then took questions for nearly an hour at the closed-press event.

O’Rourke was asked by the women why he should earn their support when several qualified females are already running for the Democratic presidential nomination.

He was also asked whether he would name a female running mate if he wins the nomination, but skirted the answer without committing, attendees said.

The event was organized by Granite State-based Democratic operative Karen Hicks.

“It was a good discussion between Beto and some women who are very interested in the process and wanted to express their views on some the top issues in the 2020 campaign,” said Democratic National Committee member and former state Democratic Party chairwoman Kathy Sullivan, who attended the luncheon.

Booker sets up shop

Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker signed a lease for his New Hampshire campaign headquarters.

And the building he’s chosen has a lot of political pedigree.

The office, at 225 Eddy Road in Manchester, is visible from I-293 and was the headquarters for Maggie Hassan’s successful 2012 campaign for governor. In the 2016 New Hampshire primary, the building served as headquarters for then-Ohio governor John Kasich’s campaign for the GOP presidential nomination. And last year, then-executive councilor Chris Pappas set up shop in the building as he successfully ran for Congress in the state’s First District.

Pappas heading to AIPAC

Speaking of Pappas, this weekend the congressman will remain in the nation’s Capital to address the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a powerful lobbying group that advocates pro-Israel policies.

While Pappas will be addressing the crowd, a number of Democratic presidential candidates are skipping the conference. This comes after progressive groups urged the White House hopefuls to shun the organization to protest what they charged as “anti-Muslim and anti-Arab rhetoric.”

Pappas, by the way, will open  his second office in the district next month, to go along with the current facility in Dover. The office will be located on Elm Street in Manchester, near the original location of his family’s century owned restaurant The Puritan.




Concord Monitor Office

1 Monitor Drive
Concord,NH 03301
603-224-5301

 

© 2019 Concord Monitor
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy