NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Over 4,000 attend NH Democratic Party State Convention

By Richard Padova and Andrew Morse

Special to The Observer

Two Northern Essex professors, Andrew Morse and Richard Padova, were among more than 4,000 delegates and guests, respectively, on Saturday, Sept. 19 when New Hampshire Democrats held their annual state convention at the Verizon Arena in Manchester.  These gatherings provide a forum for the party’s candidates for Congressional and state office.  This year’s convention, however, was highlighted by the appearance of five of the six leading Democratic contenders for New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary, tentatively scheduled for Feb. 9, 2016.

Professor Morse was most impressed by the speeches given by Hillary Clinton and her main rival at the moment, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.  “Hillary gave a terrific speech,” commented Morse.  “She really sounded the note that so many of the convention members wanted to hear.  She blasted the Republican opposition, and praised the accomplishments of the Obama administration.”

Morse was equally impressed by the thunderous ovation given to Senator Sanders.  “Bernie hit hard at the inequalities of wealth in America.  The crowd loved his message: ‘The billionaires can’t have it all their own way.’  The theme of economic redistribution is a Democratic favorite.”

Professor Padova, an unenrolled voter in Massachusetts and author of the 2007 book, First In The Nation: One Insider’s View of the New Hampshire Presidential Primary, was impressed by the common themes outlined by most of the candidates.  “Only one of these six candidates is going to be the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, and it’s expected that the other five will endorse him or her.  Therefore, it’s good that they’re all sounding the same themes and espousing the same or similar positions on major issues.”

The themes most often heard from the candidates speaking at the convention included free college tuition at public colleges and universities, raising the minimum wage to a “living wage” at $15 an hour, equal pay and equal rights for all, affordable child care so that everyone can work, limiting CEO pay and taking big money out of politics.

Besides Clinton and Sanders, the other Democratic presidential candidates who spoke included former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, former Rhode Island Senator and Governor Lincoln Chafee and Harvard Law School Professor Larry Lessig.  Absent was former Virginia Senator Jim Webb.

Besides the presidential candidates, other speakers included Governor Maggie Hassan and Senator Jeanne Shaheen of N.H. and a host of Democratic candidates for other offices.

“I urge NECC students and faculty to attend these conventions,” said Morse.  “They can provide us with a real political education.”

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