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Shawn Jasper
Thursday, March 15, 2012

Jasper: Union backlash, low turnout did me in

HUDSON – Low voter turnout, enemies he’s made over decades in politics and a backlash by union supporters were the factors Shawn Jasper believes contributed to his loss Tuesday.

“The unions had every reason to oppose me,” Jasper said Wednesday, reflecting on why he lost by 73 votes to Nancy Brucker, a former teacher and relative newcomer to politics.

Jasper has served on the board 16 years off and on since 1984. He also has served off and on as a state legislator since 1985, representing Hudson and earning a place as part of the Republican leadership in state House of Representatives.

His votes in Concord to curb labor unions hurt him in the town election, Jasper said.

Meanwhile, Brucker had the support of unions and ran a campaign managed by School Board member Amy Sousa, Jasper noted.

“I wish Nancy Brucker well,” Jasper said.

However, he noted that she goes into the job with virtually no municipal experience, having only served on the Conservation Commission.

Jasper noted this was the only election he’d lost since his failed bid for re-election to the town Budget Committee in 1992.

Brucker said Tuesday night that she was surprised Jasper lost, because of his huge following in town.

“Maybe Hudson residents wanted a woman’s voice on the board,” Brucker said after the tallies were announced.” I plan to work hard on the board and to serve the residents of Hudson. I want to hear from them – I want to hear their concerns.”

His opponent’s union support alone doesn’t account for the results, Jasper said. In the same town election, voters torpedoed union contracts for police, fire and town supervisors and the town’s support staff.

Also hurting his chances for re-election were the political enemies he amassed over decades from “speaking his mind,” Jasper said.

There are people in town that “I’ve made mad by something I said and done over the past 30 years,” Jasper said.

Jasper acknowledged that Ben Nadeau, the top vote-getter among the six candidates vying for the two open selectmen seats, is a better politician.

“Ben is a better politician in that he doesn’t say much,” Jasper said.

Jasper said low voter turnout sealed his fate. Only 2,340 voters cast ballots in the town election, which accounts for 17 percent of the town’s roughly 13,900 registered voters.

Jasper figured he would be fine if 3,000 or more people voted. He added that it’s a shame so few people bothered to vote in an election so important to their family’s finances.

Despite his loss, Jasper is hardly through with politics. He’s looking forward to seeking another two-year term in the Statehouse this fall.

Jasper said he won’t run for selectmen in the next election unless a current board member steps down.

Patrick Meighan can be reached at 594-6518 or pmeighan@nashuatelegraph.com.