Leah Plunkett

Leah Plunkett

Law professor Leah Plunkett formally declared her 2020 campaign to fill the Executive Council seat set to be vacated by Andru Volinsky.

Plunkett, a 40-year-old Democrat and Concord resident, said she began looking into running once Volinsky jumped into the governor’s race on the Democratic side, leaving the seat open for the November 2020 statewide elections.

Democrat Jay Surdukowski — like Volinsky a Concord lawyer — entered the race last week after floating a potential run in September.

A Granite Stater since 2007, Plunkett grew up in Ann Arbor, Mich., and began teaching at the University of New Hampshire’s Franklin Pierce Law School in 2013, becoming an associate dean two years ago.

She is also the author of the book “Sharenthood: Why We Should Think Before We Talk About Our Kids Online,” published by MIT press and reviewed by publications such as The New Yorker, The Economist, Psychology Today, Wired and The Boston Globe.

Plunkett is vying to win the council’s second district, which wiggles its way from the Seacoast across the state into a large part of the Monadnock Region. Area towns in the district include Acworth, Alstead, Charlestown, Chesterfield, Dublin, Gilsum, Hancock, Harrisville, Langdon, Marlborough, Marlow, Nelson, Roxbury, Stoddard, Surry, Walpole, Westmoreland and Winchester, as well as the city of Keene.

Plunkett said she plans on meeting voters in the Monadnock Region starting in late November.

In an interview Monday, she touted her experience in legal assistance for at-risk youth and in advocating for reproductive rights.

After getting her bachelor’s and law degrees from Harvard University, Plunkett began her career focusing on family law.

Building on that expertise, she said the state departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Children Youth & Families (DCYF) would be top priorities in a job she described as “board of trustee work for the state.”

When she starts hitting the trail later this month, Plunkett said she will be looking to hear from voters in the Monadnock Region about their top priorities.

How HHS and DCYF help with the fallout from the opioid crisis —such as with “grandfamilies,” where parents are out of the picture because of issues related to addiction — is already a major concern of hers, Plunkett said.

“I do think that, across the region, including in your neck of the woods, we’re seeing families that are struggling with the devastating effects of the opioid crisis, and that has resulted in many many kids really struggling with having unstable home lives,” she said.

Jake Lahut can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1435, or jlahut@keenesentinel.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JakeLahut.