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Barbara Keshen and the Monitor Push back on Veto

This week, the Concord Monitor published a hard-hitting editorial, “A Penalty of Death is Not Justice,” which in part says, “We believe that even in the most horrific cases it is wrong for the state to engage in pre-meditated murder, which is what capital punishment amounts to. No matter how deep the pain of loss, capital punishment does not make anything better, or anything right. It will never bring a single soul back.” The editorial makes a good case for why the legislature should vote to override the governor’s veto. Read the full editorial here.

Yesterday, the Monitor published Barbara Keshen’s response to the governor’s veto, after the Union Leader refused to publish it. In the opinion piece, titled “Death Penalty Arguments Used by Sununu in Veto Don’t Hold Up,” the Coalition’s chairperson challenged Gov. Sununu’s three main arguments for the death penalty: that it delivers justice for crime victims; that it protects law enforcement officers; and that it is used only for “the most heinous murders.” Read Barbara’s full piece here. (Let’s drive a ton of traffic to that page!)

We’re asking all Coalition members to follow suit and write letters to the editor of your local newspaper, and/or the state newspaper, the Union Leader. Feel free to use our form on this page.  Please take a few minutes to pen your thoughts to let your fellow citizens know that the time for abolition is now. Thank you!

If the above links to articles are no longer active, you can download these letters (PDFs) below:


Gov. Sununu vetoes SB 593

In a ceremony in his capitol office, Gov. Sununu today stamped a veto on SB 593, a bill to repeal the death penalty. The governor was flanked by over a dozen police officers  as well as murder victim family members, including Laura Briggs, the wife of slain Manchester officer Michael Briggs.

These are groups which Sununu had, since the introduction of the bill earlier this year, claimed he was supporting by his promise to oppose its passage. However,  numerous death penalty repeal advocates — representing NH law enforcement and corrections veterans as well as murder victim family members — were refused personal meetings with Sununu despite ongoing requests over the past several months.

Members of the Coalition were actively barred entry from the ceremony.  Two of our advocates, Rep. Richard O’Leary, former Deputy Chief with Manchester Police Department, and Laura Bonk, with our murder victim family member community, were present today. Both of these individuals spoke at our press conferences last month (see earlier posts).

The NH Press who were on hand at the ceremony today took note of our exclusion. WMUR and the Nashua Telegraph in particular took the time to speak with us.

Gov. Sununu’s statement that accompanied the veto this morning can be found here: Sununu SB593 Veto Statement.

Press coverege:

  • WMUR’s coverage can be seen here. (Video only here.)
  • The Union Leader’s coverage is here.
  • The Nashua Telegraph’s coverage is here.
  • AP’s coverage is here.
Next Steps

We will need two more votes in the NH Senate, and also 2/3 of the House (of those present and voting) in order to override the governor’s veto. The legislature is expected to be called back into session to weigh in on gubernatorial vetoes sometime after the state primaries in September.

We will be holding some public events later this summer and early fall in anticipation of the override vote.

More details coming soon!