Message from Nan Stearns – Oct. 17

Dear WMD – Women Making a Difference,

It has been too long since you’ve heard from your Fearless Founder! In August/September Pete and I drove across these United States and back, then spent a glorious week with dear friends in Wellfleet on Cape Cod. When we returned home we were stunned to learn that Cynthia Dokmo had been defeated in the primary; we had always supported Cynthia as well as Peter Bergin. We began to gather sources from The Citizen, The Cabinet, and word-of-mouth filling us in on the venom that had been spewing through our community. Then we read the destructive letter about our own Shannon Chandley, published in both The Cabinet and The Citizen this past week. We don’t doubt that there will be more poison poured into circulation before November 2nd bad-mouthing other candidates in our district.

Just before we left for California, and my brother’s 50th wedding anniversary celebration in Eureka, California, our book group had done Hamlet – – at my suggestion. I was the facilitator, worried that the reaction from our group would be negative. Much to my delight, we had a good discussion, and I was encouraged to reread more Shakespeare. So it was a thrill to attend the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s production of Hamlet while on the west coast. It was an amazing version, with the Ghost of Hamlet telling Prince Hamlet about his being poisoned “in the porches of my ear” using American Sign Language. The Ghost was mute. It was great fun then to read The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, also mute, with Hamlet-linked characters and poison galore, in the bottle and in the verbiage. There was innuendo; there was the blatant lie. It reminded me of the suggestion that Obama was not really born in Hawaii. You have certainly heard the lie that he is Muslim And Cynthia, what of her? Shannon voted to allow men in a women’s bathroom. Horrors! Poison, Venom, Fear, Lies, Hate, Misinformation! I’d give anything for TRUTH, CIVILITY and KINDNESS! Pete adds, “Good government should never be ugly.”

Earlier this year we attended a town meeting of Carol Shea Porter’s. In attendance were “tea party” members whose soul purpose was to disrupt. It was the first time we had seen this toxic form of incivility. A very similar air blew into the School Board Meeting we attended when adults called for the resignation of the superintendent and school board members. It makes me wonder what people are eating or drinking or smoking. From our perspective there is too much poison in the air; we are going to concentrate on antitoxins.

An aside: My father was the village pharmacist in a little town in central Oregon. In the spring there was the potential for snake bites, so Dad sold snake-bite kits. I wonder if those kits might be just the thing for Amherst. Antitoxins? Let’s order some.

SO I have made an executive decision to ignore all of the toxicity and to formally announce our strong, positive and personal support for a few candidates. We have never done this before; we doubt you will be surprised or mind.

Starting from the top, we support Peggo Hodes’ husband Paul. They are a great team worthy of our support. If Carol Shea Porter is in your district, that is a no-brainer. We are making calls for Annie Kuster and know she will make a positive difference in the US Congress. Debora Pignatelli attended our founding meeting in February of 2005; she must be reelected to the Executive Council. Deb and Mike are also a great team. Our two local ladies, Shannon Chandley from Amherst and Ruth Heden from Milford are simply the best. They need and deserve our support. And we intend to write in Cynthia Dokmo. Cynthia has always had the interest of our community at heart, and we shall happily add her name to our ballot. We must be certain to spell her name correctly, to also fill in the circle by her written-in name and to vote for not more than eight candidates total. We know we’ve not touched all races, but this is our super-seven list.

One of our favorite songs has always been “Accentuate the Positive”. Do that! And as Flower said to Bambi, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all!” Trite you say? You betcha! But it has always been good advice.

I hope to refine this messy epistle and send it to both the Amherst and Milford papers. If you have any suggestions, please send me an email or give me a call this weekend. We are at home. Our email is and our phone is 673-3730.

Many thanks for making the time to read something sent from the heart.


P.S. Betty Hall, who is running for state representative in Hollis, Mason and Brookline, is on the ballot as an independent moderate. How fabulous it would be to find Shannon, Ruth, Betty and Cynthia together in Concord, working for the people for whom they care. We hope to make that possible. What great ladies they are – – wonderful women making a difference.

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WMD Hosts Ann McLane Kuster – Sunday, July 27, 2010

On Sunday, July 25th, our guest will be Ann McLane Kuster, one of the two women running for the seat Paul Hodes will vacate in the U.S. House of Representatives. You may remember we hosted Katrina Swett, the other lady running for this seat, last year. We look forward to seeing you from 5 to 7 pm at the The Fells Clubhouse. Please RSVP to Nan Stearns at (603) 673-3730 or email her at

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WMD Brunch with Peggo Hodes – Sunday, June 27, 2010

Reminder about the Sunday, June 27 WMD Brunch with Peggo Hodes (wife of current Congressman Paul Hodes) —- it will be at the Club House of The Fells in Amherst at 11:00 a.m. —— members and their husbands – – or best friends, or significant others are invited. Please think of something to bring in the brunch category and plan to attend. You’ll love Peggo —- she’s truly charming. Hopefully, she’ll let us know how we can help support her husband’s run for the US Senate.

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“Who Is Barack Obama?” Presentation by Richard Wolffe

When:  Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 7 pm

Where:  St. Anselm’s College, Manchester, NH; New Hampshire Institute of Politics Auditorium

Richard Wolffe traveled for 18 months with Obama for Newsweek and wrote a best seller about it entitled Renagade.

Judd Gregg’s Replacement Has Democrats Worried

Democrats in Washington are concerned that should Sen. Judd Gregg be chosen as Commerce Secretary, New Hampshire’s Democratic governor, John Lynch, will pass on the opportunity to appoint a Democrat in his place.

“This is the real deal, he is definitely in play,” one high-ranking Senate Democrat told the Huffington Post. “But there is some hesitation about what Lynch will do with the replacement.”

If the governor were to choose a Republican, the Senator added, “that would make a lot of Democrats mad.”

But such is a scenario that seems to be developing. Appearing on CBS Face the Nation, Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell offered the blanket prediction that Lynch would not use the opportunity of a vacancy to change the partisan composition in D.C.

“Sen. Gregg has assured me that if he accepts, it would not alter the makeup of the Senate in terms of the majority and minority,” said the Kentuckian. “In other words, whoever is appointed to replace him would caucus with Senate Republicans, so I think it would have no impact on the balance of power in the Senate.” Sen. Jon Kyl, appearing on Fox News Sunday, said much the same thing.

Serving in his third, two-year term, Lynch has carved out a niche for himself as a post-partisan figure in a decidedly non-partisan state. So it is not beyond the realm of possibility that he would use the vacancy appointment to bolster his own image and credentials. (Lynch has ruled out running for the Senate in 2010, but that was before the Gregg speculation began.)

The move would be a slight to the state’s two Democrats in the House of Representatives, Paul Hodes and Carol Shea Porter. But if Lynch were to replace Gregg with another Republican, it will likely be of the moderate variety. One name being reported, by the Boston Globe and others, is Bonnie Newman, the former University of New Hampshire president who was Gregg’s chief of staff.

Lost in the speculation over Gregg’s replacement is a debate over whether Gregg is even suited for the Commerce post. The Democrat who spoke with the Huffington Post was sour on the idea, noting that the New Hampshire Republican was a fiscal conservative, would likely oppose the president’s stimulus package, and has cast a “fair amount of gotcha votes” while in office.

“On the other hand you have got to admire Obama’s discipline to message,” the official added. “He seems committed to continuing this bipartisan message no matter how much pushback he gets from House or Senate Republicans.”

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article said that Lynch had ruled out running for reelection in 2010. He had ruled out running for the Senate in 2010 — but that was before Gregg’s name was floated as a potential commerce secretary.

(February 1, 2009 02:04 PM –