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Speaking My Mind: Should New Hampshire keep the first-in-the-nation primary?

Despite that slam at New Hampshire voters, our primary works. The idea is that voters can go to a primary “event” and meet someone like Dick Gephardt or Joe Lieberman drinking a Coke in someone’s backyard along with a grand total of six other voters and ask a question about health care or Iraq and get a response that is not entirely scripted or weenied into a meaningless TV sound bite. But who else cares? That opportunity means something to me, and it means a great deal to many other voters in this state. But, in fact, it must seem merely quaint to outsiders, a relic of a political process that started dying the day political consultants realized they could swing more votes via the mass media than by shaking cold New Hampshire hands or kissing our colicky babies.

Like the unrelenting floodwaters that pounded us last spring and summer, the pinky ring crowd, the media moguls and political consultants will not go quietly into that good night. It is inevitable that the dam will finally give way and New Hampshire’s political clout will be washed into the muddy mainstream and lost forever.

Randall Lapierre — New Hampshire should keep the First in the Nation Primary for reasons both sensible and sentimental. The most important aspect that New Hampshire offers to Presidential Candidates is accessibility. One could travel from Manchester’s airport to Mt. Washington and on to Seabrook all on a day’s drive. The size of the state, in conjunction with the cost of television and radio media, makes New Hampshire the ideal starting block for lesser funded candidates, allowing for a fairer and more open process. New Hampshire voters have a history of independent ideals with concepts that span the political gamut. They take that responsibility seriously; they listen to ideas and vote their conscience. They are not swayed by the presence or reliance on large corporate interest. Any candidate that speaks with energy and honesty can find an audience in New Hampshire. The state has held the first primary since 1916, it has executed that responsibility well and should continue to host until it no longer offers equalizing accessibility to potential presidential candidates.

Arlene Banks — America is about tradition; the values we treasure from our ancestors. New Hampshire should always remain the first-in-the-nation place for the primary.

Susan Peters — As a former NH resident, I can’t begin to explain how fortunate the people of NH are. After living in NH for the first 30 years of my life I moved to New York state. I live where the candidates never come, or if they do it’s to attend $1,000-a-plate fund raising dinners. During the last Presidential season in NH, my high-school-aged daughter enjoyed going to political rallies where the candidates were completely accessible. She can’t wait to able to cast her vote in 2008. We will be in NH again in the summer and will take every opportunity to see any and all the candidates. YES, NH should keep the first in the nation Primary. And anyone one from other states who really wants to get a good look at the field of candidates should make it a pilgrimage, and reserve early!

MareAnne Jarvela — Yes! Keep NH the first in the nation to have a primary. We love the attention from the media. We love to meet and greet the candidates. And, we take pride in being a warm and welcoming state for all who have big dreams.

Suzanne Butler — The issue of whether NH is diverse enough to be the first in the nation primary is foolish. Voters make decisions based on the information they have stored in their brain about the candidate, not the color of their skin. NH is a smaller state and so residents are able to spend a lot of time picking the brains of potential candidates thereby becoming better informed about who to vote for.

Karen Rhodes — Why change what has been going on for so long? Living in Massachusetts, we look forward to hearing the results from there first. A New England Tradition. Having lived here many years, coming from Illinois, this has been something have always looked forward to. Keep it up.

Updated Thursday, November 15th, 2007

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