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July 3, 2014

N.H. officials concerned about campaigning

Some municipalities turn candidates away

It’s campaign time in Southern New Hampshire and some towns are cracking down to make sure stumping for office doesn’t get out of control.

Two situations this week in Salem and Derry sent a message to candidates that the communities won’t allow them to campaign on town property, even though one is an elected member of Congress.

Congresswoman Anne Kuster, D-N.H., was scheduled to appear at the Salem fire station Tuesday to announce her new bill, the Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act, but the press conference was called off the day before.

In Derry, Rockingham County attorney candidate Patricia Conway was informed at a Town Council meeting Tuesday that she could not distribute fliers or campaign because it was in violation of the town’s electioneering policy. She obliged and left the meeting.

While some towns prohibit campaigning on municipal property, communities such as Londonderry allow candidates to introduce themselves and speak at Town Council meetings.

Kuster’s appearance was canceled because some selectmen believed the press conference was a campaign event and should not be allowed, Town Manager Keith Hickey said. Kuster is now expected to hold the press conference in another town, but Hickey didn’t know which community.

“It was moved because two selectmen pressured me and said it was political,” Hickey said.

Kuster was to unveil a bill designed to help states implement programs that reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. The legislation comes on the heels of three carbon monoxide deaths in Plaistow earlier this year.

Fire chiefs from Plaistow, Salem, Windham, Pelham and Atkinson were to attend, along with state Fire Marshal William Degnan. Kuster’s staff told the media the press conference was canceled, but did not say why. Spokeswoman Rosie Hilmer could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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