Q&A with New Hampshire Democrats

NHDP Chair Ray Buckley and Representative Chris Pappas sit down with students on Feb. 9, 2020 to discuss the importance of the N.H. primaries and the role that youth involvement plays in politics. Photo by Anoushka Dalmia / BU News Service

By Rachael Kelley
BU News Service

Manchester, N.H. — Amid a hectic weekend, New Hampshire Democratic Party leaders took time to hold a press conference exclusively for student journalists who made the trip to the state prior to Tuesday’s primary.

Chairman Raymond Buckley and Congressman Chris Pappas, the leaders of the state party, opted for informal interviews, absent even of a podium. 

“Full disclosure, I was the editor of my high school newspaper,” Buckley quipped in his opening remarks. 

Here’s a roundup of a few questions and answers from the session.

Q: How has the large number of candidates running for nomination affected party operations and sentiment?

A: “This is a historic number of people,” Buckley said. “There’s probably been over 40 people who have called me and said they were thinking about running.”

Considering the large volume of candidates, there is an effort being made to ensure that each candidate has an equal amount of time in the spotlight to showcase their priorities if elected into office. 

“It’s a challenge for the party to make sure everyone is being respected and treated fairly [and] has equal opportunity,” Buckley said. 

Regardless of the competitive candidate selection process, Buckley said he believed that the exciting prospect of defeating Donald Trump will keep the party united. 

“I think that means hopefully it’s going to be easier to bring everyone back together in the end, once we decide on who the candidate will be,” Buckley said. 

Q: What are some of the things that the party is going to continue to do throughout November to engage and attract young voters? 

A: “We’ve seen some voter suppression legislation passed in New Hampshire in a really cynical attempt for politicians to try to pick their voters,” Pappas said. 

He voiced concern that students thought they weren’t welcome to participate. 

Pappas is confident that campaigning on college campuses is reinforcing the message that everyone has a right to vote. 

One example is the New Hampshire Young Democrats, an organization dedicated to training and recruiting young leaders to become elected officials in New Hampshire. 

“The quality of that organization has become legendary,” said Buckley. 

Q: What is some advice you have for young voters on what they should be doing to stay informed on the candidates?

A: Pappas advised young voters not to rely on just one social media post to form their opinions. 

Buckley stressed the importance of verifying information before accepting it as truth. 

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