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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Nashua...From the Inside: Still no ruling on filling Laughton’s vacant’s seat

As of Friday evening, the attorney general’s office still had not made a determination as to whether former state Rep.-elect Stacie Laughton – New Hampshire’s first elected transgender lawmaker – had violated a state law by running for office this year.

Laughton, a Ward 4 Democrat, officially gave up her House seat Thursday during the taping of “Gidge’s World,” an Access Nashua television show hosted by Ward 6 Democrat and State Rep. Ken Gidge. ...

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As of Friday evening, the attorney general’s office still had not made a determination as to whether former state Rep.-elect Stacie Laughton – New Hampshire’s first elected transgender lawmaker – had violated a state law by running for office this year.

Laughton, a Ward 4 Democrat, officially gave up her House seat Thursday during the taping of “Gidge’s World,” an Access Nashua television show hosted by Ward 6 Democrat and State Rep. Ken Gidge.

“I am deeply saddened that it had to come to this,” Laughton said Thursday, “but as I said earlier, this resignation is in the best interest of myself, my party, the citizens of my district, and I’d even go as far as to say the state of New Hampshire as a whole. My wish is that we can just move on from here.”

Laughton had secured the post Nov. 6, easily beating out two Republicans for the job. Her resignation came Thursday after news surfaced over the weekend that Laughton had been convicted of several felonies under the name Barry Charles Laughton Jr. in Laconia in 2008.

“We have not issued anything today, although I just learned that she has again formally resigned,” senior Assistant Attorney General Michael Brown said Friday. “I’m not sure whether it’s a moot point or not.”

State law prohibits convicted felons from running for or holding office until their final discharge from prison. But legal professionals and political leaders across the state aren’t clear on the definition of “final discharge.”

In 2008, Laughton was sentenced to 7½ to 15 years for conspiracy to commit credit card fraud – all suspended pending 10 years of good behavior – and 3½ to seven years for falsifying physical evidence – again suspended to 10 years for good behavior.

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. The remainder of her sentence remains suspended until 2019.

“It’s still within the range of possibilities that an opinion or some kind of communication will be written, but in this stage of the game, it’s on hold,” Brown added.

Newly elected state legislators will be sworn in Wednesday. It will be up to the city Board of Aldermen to decide whether to hold a special election to fill Laughton’s seat, which represents District 31 in Concord.

iUGO Festivus

It’s beginning to look a lot like Festivus, according to iUGO, the city’s young professionals networking group.

Its third annual “Festivus For the Rest of us” holiday party is slated Wednesday from 6-9 p.m. at the Holiday Inn’s Bounty Room.

The event, modeled after the popular sitcom “Seinfeld,” will include the same activities its cast of characters celebrated, such as an “airing of grievances” – in which attendees will share things that disappointed them over the year – “feats of strength” and the “Festivus pole” among other iconic features. Attendees are encouraged to wear ugly sweaters.

To register as an attendee, visit iUGO’s Facebook page and click on its event
brite.com link.

Blue ribbon volunteers

NH Partners in Education recognized Nashua as a Blue Ribbon school district at the annual statewide recognition breakfast in Manchester on Tuesday. Each of the city’s 17 schools earned a Blue Ribbon for well-
managed volunteer programs during the 2011-12 school year. More than 4,000 parents, students and community members volunteered districtwide for more than 127,000 hours last year.

Give the gift of blood

The American Red Cross will host at least eight blood drives in Nashua throughout this holiday season. They are:

Dec. 6: 2-7 p.m., Nashua Elks Lodge, 120 Daniel Webster Highway.

Dec. 8: 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Best Fitness, 55 Northeastern Blvd.

Dec. 12: 3:15-7:30 p.m., St. Christopher Church, 62 Manchester St.

Dec. 20: 2-7 p.m., Nashua Elks Lodge, 120 Daniel Webster Highway.

Dec. 21: 1-6 p.m., Courtyard by Marriott, 2200 Southwood Drive.

Dec. 24: 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 110 Concord St.

Dec. 26: Noon-5 p.m. St. Philip Greek Orthodox Church, 500 W. Hollis St.

Dec. 27: 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Nashua Elks Lodge, 120 Daniel Webster Highway.

Nashua … From the Inside was compiled by staff writers Maryalice Gill and Erin Place.