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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Republican House leader from Nashua calls for resignation of felon lawmaker

CONCORD – The top House Republican called upon a new Nashua Democratic legislator to resign immediately for failing to inform voters she was a convicted felon in Laconia.

The Laconia Daily Sun and The Telegraph reported last week that state Rep.-elect Stacie Laughton served four months in jail in 2008 on conspiracy to commit credit card fraud. ...

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CONCORD – The top House Republican called upon a new Nashua Democratic legislator to resign immediately for failing to inform voters she was a convicted felon in Laconia.

The Laconia Daily Sun and The Telegraph reported last week that state Rep.-elect Stacie Laughton served four months in jail in 2008 on conspiracy to commit credit card fraud.

“While I believe in a person’s ability to be rehabilitated and become a productive member of the community, I also believe it is a candidate’s duty to fully disclose their personal history to allow the voters an opportunity to make an informed decision,” House Majority Leader Peter Silva, R-Nashua, said in a statement.

“Ms. Laughton failed to give the voters of her district that very basic amount of trust and respect. Lawmakers should hold themselves to a higher standard and Ms. Laughton has already failed the voters of her district by not being forthright with them.

Laughton won one of three House seats in Ward 4 to become the state’s first transgender legislator elected in New Hampshire history.

Until December 2010, Laughton was Barry Charles Jr. and got into several problems with police in Laconia, where she lived after moving from Nashua in 2003.

Laughton also ran four times unsuccessfully for public office, including a defeat for a Laconia seat in the NH House in 2010.

Silva was one of 20 GOP legislators in Nashua swept out of office in a local landslide that helped turn the NH House majority over to the Democratic Party.

Silva said it wasn’t Laughton’s legal transgressions but failure to “come clean with the voters” that was the fatal flaw in her election.

“Ms. Laughton should step down immediately in order to allow for an election process where voters are given the opportunity to evaluate candidates through an open and transparent process; something they were denied on Nov. 6.”

Silva called upon Gov.-elect Maggie Hassan, incoming House Speaker Terie Norelli, D-Portsmouth, and Democratic Party Chairman Raymond Buckley to join him in demanding Laughton leave office.

Laughton said she didn’t want to focus on her past but on the future and declined comment when asked about it.

Laughton was sentenced to 7 1⁄ 2 to 15 years for conspiracy to commit credit card fraud – all suspended pending 10 years of good behavior, and 3 1⁄ 2 to seven years for the falsifying physical evidence – again suspended to 10 years good behavior. The two suspended sentences were concurrent.

She was sentenced to serve 12 months with four months suspended in the Belknap County Department of Corrections for conspiracy to commit fraudulent use of a credit card. According to Department of Corrections media spokesman Jeff Lyons, Laughton served 41⁄2 months in jail and was released Nov. 21, 2008.

Kevin Landrigan can reached at 321-7040 or klandrigan@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Landrigan on Twitter (@Klandrigan).