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Republicans challenge two longtime state reps in Peterborough

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Hillsborough 24

Christopher Maidment and Ivy Vann.

Two challengers are facing two incumbents during Tuesday’s general election for Peterborough’s seats in the N.H. House.

Peter R. Leishman and Ivy C. Vann — the Democratic incumbents — have held these seats in Hillsborough County District 24 together for years. Vann, 64, is finishing her third term in the N.H. House, and Leishman is finishing his 10th.

Republican candidate Christopher Maidment, 31, is a self-employed contractor and carpenter. This is his first time running for public office.

The other Republican nominee, David Pilcher, did not respond to a request for comment.

The top two vote-getters on Tuesday, regardless of party, will take the two two-year seats.

Here’s a look at the field:

Ivy Vann

Vann, a retired educator who sits on Peterborough’s planning board, said she’s seeking another term in Concord because there are “issues best dealt with at the state level.”

She said raising the state’s minimum wage is one of her priorities, as wealth disparities between residents are caused by “too few people making too much money.”

“I know people are worried about it ... but if your small business model makes it so that employees need public assistance to support themselves, your business model needs to be re-evaluated,” Vann said.

She added that as chairwoman of the planning board, she is passionate about affordable housing.

In that role, she said, she often hears people say that new housing developments are too expensive for those who need them. But she said “more housing is more housing.”

“If you have more, two school teachers who were living in a kind of crappy apartment can maybe now afford this new place,” she explained, “and then their crappy apartment is available for people working in the restaurant industry. Increasing the supply really does affect what is available all the way down the line.”

She has said previously that she’s also interested in working on statewide housing initiatives with the N.H. Housing Finance Authority and the Congress for New Urbanism — a national organization that aims to create walkable neighborhoods with a wide range of housing and job types.

“[We] need to address the issues preventing housing construction by addressing exclusionary zoning practices statewide,” she told The Sentinel in an email ahead of the September primary.

Vann — who has lived in Peterborough for 15 years — has also said she would work to implement a statewide funding source for education that is not tied to local property values.

Christopher Maidment

Maidment said in an email he is running to preserve the “New Hampshire advantage” for future generations.

“Like many, I moved to New Hampshire because of [its] Live Free or Die attitude, low taxes, and deep appreciation for personal liberty,” he said. “Granite Staters appreciate that we are rugged individuals that want to live as free from Government interference as possible.”

The Massachusetts native, who has lived in Peterborough since 2017, said addressing the state’s “massive” budget deficit due to the government closing businesses temporarily amid the COVID-19 pandemic is one of his main priorities.

This should be done, he said, not by raising taxes or placing other regulations on businesses, but by letting businesses “flourish as they did” before the public health crisis.

He also said he would “never” support a broad-based income or sales tax. He added that the Legislature should look through every mandate “forced upon our local schools” and repeal most of them.

“If the voters of ConVal, for instance, want to fund certain projects or curricula, it should be left up to them, not Concord,” Maidment said.

He also acknowledged that property taxes are too high, but said that since property tax rates are driven by local decisions, there is little for the state to do.

In contrast to Vann, Maidment said he is opposed to raising the minimum wage because “very few workers in New Hampshire” actually receive it.

Peter Leishman

Leishman — who did not respond to The Sentinel’s requests for comment — is a member of Peterborough’s zoning board and previously served on Milford’s selectboard, according to his page on the N.H. House of Representatives website.

Olivia Belanger can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1439, or Follow her on Twitter @OBelangerKS.

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