NORTH COUNTRY — Rep. Edith Tucker, D-Randolph, has announced her candidacy for the District 1 state senate seat.

Tucker, 84, is in her third term representing the Coos 5 district (Carroll, Jefferson, Randolph and Whitefield), and serves on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.

The longtime local journalist is running to provide strong, experienced and effective representation for Coos County and upper Grafton County.

“We need someone who has the capacity to be an advocate for the North Country,” she said.

Tucker is the first Democrat to enter the Senate 1 race.

Republicans state Rep. Troy Merner, of Lancaster, and Select Board member Carrie Gendreau, of Littleton, have already declared.

They seek to replace first-term Sen. Erin Hennessey, R-Littleton, who is stepping down to spend time with family and won’t seek re-election.

Despite their party differences, Tucker admired Hennessey, and looks to continue Hennessey’s hard-working, bipartisan approach.

“I thought [Hennessey] did an outstanding job. I never would have run against her,” Tucker said, dismissing party affiliations in her assessment of Hennessey’s work. “The person is more important than the party in most cases.”

That mindset will be tested in Concord, where party divisions have widened in recent years.

Republicans currently control the state Senate by a 14-10 margin and Tucker looks to help her party regain the upper chamber.

She would be the second Democrat to hold the seat in the past 25 years and the first since Jeff Woodburn (2012 to 2018).

Tucker holds Democratic views, but would encourage across-the-aisle cooperation if elected to the Senate.

“We have to be very careful of [growing partisanship]. It makes it very difficult to get things done,” she said, noting that during her time in the House “so many issues that should be non-partisan have turned out to be polarizing. There’s ugliness on both sides of the aisle. People are saying ugly things about each other instead of respecting different perspectives based on geography and demographic differences.”

Tucker branded herself as a fiscally responsible legislator with a proven track record.

Her campaign announcement said, “When Tucker ran for re-election 2 years ago, she “took the pledge” not to vote for either an income or sales tax. She is an effective North Country advocate with the ability to testify, clearly and persuasively, at Committee hearings and in party caucuses.”

She pointed to her work on two bills as proof that she is capable and qualified.

One was a landfill siting bill (HB 1454) which recently passed the House and Senate. Tucker helped craft an amendment that won the bill bi-partisan approval. The amendment establishes a science-based approach to state permitting, and would increase setbacks for a proposed Casella Waste Systems landfill by Forest Lake in Dalton.

“[I] worked with many others on both sides of the aisle to reach success that’s nearly at hand,” Tucker said.

Another, the so-called “Balsams Bill” signed into law in 2019, will help fund the redevelopment of The Balsams Resort in Dixville. Tucker co-sponsored the bill, which allows developers to seek funding needed for the project.

It has the potential to create “hundreds of much-needed jobs in Dixville at a world-famous — but still-shuttered — resort whose owners are now close to securing a financing package,” Tucker said.

Prior to entering politics, Tucker was an award-winning journalist.

She worked 20 years as a full-time reporter for The Coos County Democrat in Lancaster, retiring in Feb. 2016, and currently freelances for The Berlin Sun and occasionally for the weekly agricultural newspaper, Country Folks.

“Much of my reporting has been on natural resources and tourism,” Tucker said. “This opportunity to get out into fields, forests and factories, some later torn down, has given me an in-depth understanding of the economic core of northern New Hampshire — its challenges, struggles, and resilient, independent-minded residents.”

During her years as a full-time reporter, Tucker won a number of awards, including Scripps-Howard New Media Fellow, 2002, at Columbia School of Journalism, N. Y.; 2001 Fred E. Beane Memorial Award for fair reporting on farm & forestry issues; 2000 Acadian Fellow an 8-day Institute of Journalism & Natural Resources; and 1998 N.H. Timberland Owners Association’s Outstanding Media Coverage. Tucker also was in the Leadership New Hampshire Class of 1999 and later serving on its state board of directors.

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