Positive Energy in the Granite State - College Convention 2020!
Welcoming students and guests to College Convention 2020’
It’s coming around the corner…and it’s super exciting! The New Hampshire Presidential Primary will be taking place once again – this time on Tuesday, February, 11th - when the eyes of the nation will be focused on what happens right here in New Hampshire.
In prepping for this event, so many great activities – with candidates ‘crisscrossing’ the state, and the national media not far behind. However, in the midst of all this excitement, I’d like to offer a special ‘hats off’ to New England College. Sponsoring for the fifth time, the ‘College Convention.’ A gathering of nearly 500 college students from New Hampshire and around the nation engaging in a 4-day workshop to learn about the Primary, meet candidates and participate in discussion forums.
This past Sunday, Karen and I hosted the Welcoming Reception – where we helped ‘kick off’ the event. What a tremendous gathering. An opportunity to see first-hand the enthusiasm of the next generation of Granite Stater’s and their fellow students from around the country getting involved in our political system.
And heartfelt congratulations to Dr. Wayne Lesperance, Vice-President of Academic Affairs at New England College. Such terrific leadership in pulling the whole event together once again!
Small Towns – Where Everyday Citizens Measure and Educate Presidential Candidates
A popular stop for political candidates on all levels, President, Governor, and more, is the picturesque Newport Opera House centrally located on the Main Street in Newport, NH. Like similar locations in other towns across the state, these are ‘must stop’ venues for each and every candidate. Most every town has one – be it a town hall, a diner or sometimes a country store. These stops and the local citizens who attend – are a real tradition of the New Hampshire Primary.
Already during this campaign cycle, the Newport Opera House has hosted ‘Town Halls’ and other events for Democratic presidential candidates the likes of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. This weekend seats will be full as well as Mayor Pete Buttigieg visits the Sunshine Town.
The Newport Opera House, like so many other traditional locations in small towns throughout New Hampshire, has brought people together for decades. From community performances to the high school prom to actually housing the voting booths, the Opera House is truly the center of Town happenings. When candidates visit the Opera House it really shows that in New Hampshire - everything starts local… small towns are the lifeblood of the Granite State – but also form the true backbone of America. And, no matter how divisive politics can get, places like the Newport Opera House serve a critical purpose in bringing us all together, uniting us for the greater good.
Veterans Count – Impacting the Lives of Veterans in Remarkable Ways
With Renee Plummer, discussing the role and impact of Veterans Count
Veterans Count is an incredible organization – helping improve the lives of veterans in New Hampshire and beyond. In collaboration with Easter Seals, Veterans Count is focused on meeting the ‘unmet needs’ of veterans, service members and their families. All of those critical needs that sometimes ‘fall between the cracks’ – but can make the critical difference between success and failure for veterans and their families – getting back on their feet, or dealing with critical life issues. It’s free. It’s confidential and it’s remarkably flexible.
Thanks to phenomenal people like Renee Plummer, Veteran's Count is able to continue its success year after year. It was my honor to sit down with her this past week and talk about the work that she, along with other supporters of Veteran's Count, are doing in our community. If you know of any veteran that is in need of help, please direct them to www.vetscount.org so they can receive the resources they deserve.
Importantly, the Veterans Count team has extensive experience navigating ‘the system’ on behalf of veterans. They serve as advocates – and can really make things happen. Whether it be major issues such as employment counseling, emergency financial assistance, substance abuse or mental health issues. Or what may seem like smaller – but very important needs like help paying a critical bill, or as simple as getting heating oil or a car repair. The program is designed to help give veterans that critical piece of assistance that can make all the difference in the world.
Profile of the Week: Dr. Wayne Lesperance
Dr. Wayne Lesperance is a man of many talents with a real passion for educating the next generation. He is the Vice President of Academic Affairs at New England College, where he is also a Professor of Political Science. Wayne has been responsible for expanding NEC’s political footprint in a variety of ways, and most notably by opening up his students to New Hampshire’s ‘First in the Nation Primary.’
By exposing students from across the political spectrum to new ideas and candidates he not only expands their world view but also helps facilitate positive dialogue in an arena where division and dissension often rule the day. Perhaps the pinnacle of this is the ‘College Convention’ that NEC organizes and hosts every four years and where Wayne has been a guiding force. As noted above, the College Convention brings in students from across the country and gives them firsthand access to candidates in a way that many would never have, absent this great program.
Wayne’s work does end there, however. He also serves on the Board of Liberty House, a nonprofit organization focused on helping homeless veterans in New Hampshire. Liberty House is unique in that it does not take state or federal funds, thereby enjoying great flexibility in how best to help veterans.
It's an honor to know Wayne, and we are so grateful for the positive impact that he has had on the New England College campus, impacting the lives of numerous students, as well as his numerous contributions to the greater New Hampshire community and national political discourse.
Quotes of the Week: Town Hall Meetings
“Most of my town hall meetings had always been love fests, and some of my guys used to complain: 'I'd like for somebody to yell at you a bit.”
“So, for me the town hall meetings are really an opportunity to engage in two-way dialogue with people, and they've been very helpful.”
“We are all representatives of the American people. We all do town hall meetings. We all talk to our constituents. And I've got to tell you, the American people are engaged.”
“Few Americans have ever met their Congresspeople. They don't see them at the grocery store; they don't meet them at the bowling alley. They're more likely to see their representatives in photographs from the Daily Grill in Washington, D.C., than at a local town hall.”