That Dan Feltes has been a lawyer and legislator with little executive or managerial experience is relevant to his candidacy for Governor of New Hampshire. But there are other considerations regarding higher office aspirations—like character.
Character determines what one does when nobody is watching or how one treats others.
Consider the Feltes campaign’s reaction in 2016 when Republican Jeff Newman volunteered at the last minute to run for Feltes’ Senate District 15 seat—when no one else would try. Newman was brave to give voters a choice in that most Democratic of districts. But instead of welcoming a sacrificial lamb to the fray, the Feltes campaign blasted Newman in an email, calling his candidacy a product of party bosses—an “11th-hour backroom, backdoor effort.” Apparently Feltes didn’t want voters to have any other choice.
Feltes’ extreme partisanship is well-known at the State House. I experienced it directly as a State Representative.
In January of 2017, as a member of the House Education Committee, I tried to take my seat in a very crowded hearing room. Senator Feltes moved into the area directly behind my chair. Squeezed for space, I tried to remove and position my backpack. In the process of so doing, a holstered handgun which I always legally carried momentarily dislodged. I immediately secured it.
Only Feltes witnessed this, as he was hovering in my space. But apparently sensing an opportunity, the senator immediately alerted Union Leader reporter Dave Solomon as to the mishap. Solomon approached and asked me what happened. I naively and honestly responded that my piece had momentarily dislodged slightly but that everything was fine.
Apparently sensing a salacious story, Solomon quickly reported that a handgun was unsecured during an Education Committee hearing. Concord Monitor and wire service items immediately followed, and this became a national story—leaving me to correct many half-truths while media vultures swooped in.
I informed the House Speaker as to what had happened and how nobody but Feltes saw anything but that he’d alerted a reporter, and now rumors were rampant.
Boston television reporters descended upon my Milford home. Anti-Second Amendment people exploited the situation. I received Butterfinger candy bars in the mail. I received death threats. The Democrats put out mailers that I was a threat to children. Hurtful comments abounded.
Solomon later left the Union Leader, which “walked back” some of his reporting.
Thank you, Senator Feltes. Voters might wonder if you remember any of this differently.
Democrats portray themselves as being particularly supportive of women. Feltes’ actions contrast greatly with such rhetoric.
So, should character matter when it comes to running for political office?
This woman says, “Yes!”
Carolyn Halstead was a two-term State Representative from Milford.