Mixed Results For Member Candidates For House

Tuesday night contained plenty of big results that will affect members of the SEA/SEIU 1984, from the corner office of our Capitol to the Oval Office in the White House. But few were more directly affected than the numerous member candidates running for House seats Tuesday.

State Rep.-Elect Alan Turcotte, of Allenstown, poses for a photo in front of Air Force One. Turcotte had the opportunity to greet President Obama when he arrived for a rally in late October. The retired DOT worker won his first election Tuesday to a seat in the state's General Court.

Winners included Alan Turcotte, D-Allenstown, Delmar Burridge, D-Keene, Sylvia Gale, D-Nashua, Jane Hunt, D-Concord, Rick Watrous, D-Concord, Christy Bartlett, D-Concord, Dianne Schuett, D-Pembroke, Timothy Copeland, R-Stratham, and Pamela Hubbard, D-Rochester.

Turcotte, a retiree who worked for the Department of Transportation for 30 years, said things just fell into place for this, his first political campaign.

“I always wanted to do it. It was just the right opportunity – the seat was available,” Turcotte said. “I kind of signed up at the last hour.”

Turcotte said he already knew many residents through working at the town’s transfer station, which he started at after retiring. He met more residents while canvassing the town — he guessed he covered around 90 percent of it, and worked with several groups, including the Democratic Party and the SEA, on mailings.

He was appreciative of all the assistance he received on his campaign, including from one of his town’s newest voters: his 18-year-old grandson. The pair were at the Puritan Backroom on Tuesday night and got to meet governor-elect Maggie Hassan, among others.

“He’s all excited about politics now,” Turcotte said of his grandson.

Turcotte, who also volunteered for other candidates and was able to greet President Obama on the tarmac as he arrived for a visit last month, said the campaign was overwhelmingly positive for him.

“It just was a fun experience,” Turcotte said. “I would hope everybody running would have the same experience.”

Christy Bartlett, whose husband Peter is the president of Chapter 1, was another first-time candidate for the House. After retiring, she said found herself with free time during the business day.

“Now I was able to get to the steps of the Statehouse and be there holding signs when issues came up, and be able to actively support issues that concern me,” she said.

When she found out that longtime Rep. Bob Williams wasn’t running again, she started thinking seriously about running for public office for the first time.

With lots of help from her husband (“I couldn’t have done it without Peter,” she said), she started reaching out to friends for support. She attended a training session and then started pounding the pavement, knocking on doors of Democrats and undeclared voters to introduce herself.

As August turned to September, they started ramping up their efforts.

“A little before Labor Day, we really started to get serious about going out for three hours on Saturdays and Sundays,” she said. “It’s a real time commitment, and physically, it’s tough.”

She said the intensity peaked with get out the vote efforts the weekend before the election, efforts that ultimately paid off with her victory on Tuesday.

There’s not much time for new lawmakers to catch their breath, with orientation coming up soon followed by swearing in December. Bartlett was looking forward to making her contribution and bringing a more civil tone back to the General Court.

“I think that’s what’s missing,” she said. “We’ve become so polarized that we’re not trying to concentrate on what we have in common. Let’s work on what we have in common and get that done, then move on. Let’s see what we can do together first and make progress.”

Several other member candidates running Tuesday fell short of election, including Lee and Matt Quandt, of Exeter, John Tholl Jr., of Weare, Frank Emiro, of Londonderry, Arnold Rocklin-Weare, of Weare, Catherine Hackett, of Manchester, Fred Carlson, of Epsom, Jeremy Dupuis, of Bedford, and Candace Cole-McCrea, of Milton.

We applaud all of the members who responded to the call to serve when they knew there was so much at stake. We admire them for their selflessness and commitment to our NH communities and the working middle class. Thank you to you all!

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