NEWS: Gilmour to run for state Senate seat

Friday, March 4, 2016
Gilmour to run for state Senate seat
Staff Writer
NASHUA – Former state Sen. Peggy Gilmour informally announced Thursday that she will run for her old seat in the Legislature this fall.

Gilmour, a Hollis Democrat, has twice served in the chamber before she lost in 2014 to Republican Kevin Avard, who defeated her in a midterm election where the GOP dominated races in the state.

The Senate District 12 includes Wards 1, 2 and 5 in Nashua, as well as Brookline, Greenville, Hollis, Mason, New Ipswich and Rindge.

“I did represent that district in the past, and I worked very hard to try and understand the issues particularly that related to state government that impacted those communities,” Gilmour said.

“I feel strongly that we need good, sensible voices in our government, and I think sometimes that’s missing,” she added. “I think we all have a responsibility for good and representative government.”

A registered nurse, Gilmour previously served as vice chairwoman of both the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and Transportation Committee. She also spent time on the Ways and Means Committee, touting her leadership in reforming New Hampshire’s health care system, establishing a small business tax credit and advocating for new domestic violence laws.

“I noticed that someone with my background was not any longer in the senate. I was really the one who carried the health care background pretty exclusively, and that’s gone,” she said. “And there certainly are a lot of important issues around health care that continue to come before the Legislature.”

Gilmour was elected in 2008, ousted in 2010 by Republican Sen. Jim Luther, but defeated him in a 2012 rematch. In a closely watched race in a Republican-leaning district, Avard upset the Democrat by a 10,839 to 10,517 margin, according to the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s office.

While Gilmour handily won in her hometown of Hollis and all three Nashua wards, Avard doubled her votes in New Ipswich and Rindge. She attributed the 2014 loss in part to the district’s redistricting that added more conservative towns.

Avard, a former city councilor in Franklin in 2000, first entered the Legislature in 2010 and ran for the state senate four years later. He serves on the Senate Education Committee and the Health and Human Services Committee this legislative session.

“I’m already campaigning. We’ve been off and running and talking to people; I’m very enthused about this race,” Avard said, citing a bipartisan record that included his bill to suspend the state’s death penalty.

“I think I’ve lived up to all my promises that I campaigned on – giving people a voice … giving people at least options on Common Core,” he said. “I’m very eager to continue serving in this office.”

Said Gilmour: “I think we are very, very different in our outlook on things and how we view the role of communities in education and health care.”