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May 14, 2013

Online Mother's Day card to Ayotte spurs criticism

Londonderry Democrat says it was individual action

LONDONDERRY — A Mother’s Day card addressed to U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., that a Londonderry Democratic Committee member posted on the group’s Facebook page, is creating a political firestorm.

It’s captured the attention of both Democrats and Republicans.

The card, posted by former committee treasurer Jerry Conner, features photographs of the Newtown, Conn., shooting victims and the words: “Senator Ayotte, Happy Mother’s Day.”

Conner said yesterday he posted the card over the weekend in response to Ayotte’s vote last month against President Barack Obama’s gun reform plan.

Obama’s plan called for requiring criminal and mental health background checks for anyone purchasing guns over the Internet or at gun shows. Ayotte responded to her critics by saying expanded background checks infringed on the rights of prospective guns owners.

The Londonderry committee removed the posting. Conner said although he didn’t intend to create a controversy, he stands by his criticism of Ayotte’s decision. He said Ayotte should apologize to her constituents.

“I’m not going to apologize for it until she does,” Conner said.

He said the card was taken from a website created in memory of the 26 people, including 20 students, killed Dec. 14 by gunman Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The card drew numerous responses on Twitter, with most people asking that it be taken down because it was inappropriate.

Some commented on the Democrats’ Facebook page as well, prompting committee Chairman Tammy Siekmann to remove the card after several hours because she said it did not reflect the views of the group.

“Some people just thought it was in poor taste and we just want to make sure everyone knows it was Jerry’s personal opinion and not the committee’s,” Siekmann said yesterday.

Conner said he will not post on the committee website and gave up his administrative privilege to do so.

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