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Voters Had Right to Know About State Rep's Criminal Past

Columnist says Stacie Laughton's decision to resign "shows a respect for the voters that was lacking during her campaign."

I have always believed that politics should be viewed as a type of community service, a path by which to help make the world in which we and future generations live a better place. I believe deeply that politicians should be true public servants, but too often our elected representatives disappoint us, putting power above the people and placing their own self-interests ahead of their elected duties.

It is a non-partisan fact that politicians will sometimes do stupid, or worse, criminal, things and must be held accountable for those actions. When Rep. Todd Akin, R-MO, made a stupid statement about “legitimate rape,” I called him stupid and said he should resign. He didn’t, but his comments were public and the voters in his district were able to have their say on Election Day, and Akin is no longer a representative in the United States Congress.

Here in Nashua’s Ward 4, a Democratic stronghold in the heart of the city, voters chose a slate of Democrats to represent them in Concord, including Selectman Stacie Laughton. A few days ago, as reported on Patch, we learned that Representative-Elect Laughton has a criminal history, including a felony conviction for credit card fraud. After a review of state statutes, and I imagine, more than a little pressure from her party, Laughton has agreed to resign and a special election will take place to choose her replacement.

The difference between Akin and Laughton and is that the voters in Missouri knew what their choice was. Akin’s comments were widely covered by the press, and when Election Day rolled around voters were able to make an informed choice. In the case of Laughton, her criminal past was not uncovered during the election, in part because she was living under a different name at the time, and voters cast their ballots without the full knowledge they deserved.

In the end, it was determined that Laughton was legally unqualified to serve, as two of her sentences have not yet been completed, but the bigger issue for voters should be the fact that she willfully hid what can only be described as a significant and important piece of her history while campaigning, and as such, she was inherently dishonest with them.

At the very least, as citizens and voters, we deserve honesty from those who ask for the extraordinary privilege of our vote.

We do not have a right to know everything about our candidates – their personal lives, their finances, their children – being a candidate or an elected official does not mean that you give up all rights to privacy. A criminal record that includes a felony conviction, however, should be part of the conversation if you are running for office.

Resigning without the public specter of an investigation was the right thing to do. It shows a respect for the voters that was lacking during her campaign.

Selectman Lisa Laughton November 30, 2012 at 05:39 AM
Bottom line is the voters did know and if they needed more then ask more and yes one of her supporters and voters had her record in their hands SO NOW IT IS DONE AND OVER WITH GET OVER IT ALREADY.
Seamus Carty November 30, 2012 at 01:32 PM
How do you know what the voters knew? It does not appear that this was common knowledge. Have him run again and let's see if the vote total changes...
s. savoy November 30, 2012 at 01:51 PM
2 Laughtons, same facts. The other should also resign.
One Man Wolf Pack November 30, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Hard to get facts from from FRAUDS about FRAUDS, wouldn't ya say?
Selectman Lisa Laughton November 30, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Why don't you all want this to end IT IS OVER COMMENT ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE.
ForThePeople November 30, 2012 at 03:19 PM
I just wanted to extend my sympathies to you both. It looks like, from the outside anyways, crime was committed but the debt to society has been paid. As far as I'm concerned, it's over, and any attempts made to give back or serve the public should be commended. For many reasons, there are people who will never give you a chance, but there are also a lot of other people like myself who will. Try not to focus too much on the naysayers and the negatives, and instead keep pushing forwards. It's respectable. And especially don't focus on every little thing the internet has to say. Good luck to you both, keep going forwards.
One Man Wolf Pack November 30, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Resign from selectman ward 4 yet? You should, I am looking at a petition to ask the AG and City attorney to do something about your "service".
One Man Wolf Pack November 30, 2012 at 03:22 PM
I will be happy to give em both a chance when they follow the letter of the law and finish the sentence first! How can someone be in a position to govern when they themselves are in violation of the law? Give me a break.
One Man Wolf Pack November 30, 2012 at 03:38 PM
The state or your court sentence? Does the court who issued you your sentence feel your done with it? Resign from ward 4 selectman yet?
ForThePeople November 30, 2012 at 03:47 PM
I'm not convinced they are in violation of the law as it relates to the election. I don't think that case has been made. What I'm seeing so far is some folks feel they were misleading about the history here. That being said, what I see *you* doing would be classified as Internet bullying. Nothing but snide remarks, attacks, and personal swipes. If you really feel this is purely about the letter of the law, make your case, use facts and references, but steady your hand with the insults and typing in UPPERCASE LETTERS to disparage them.
Mike November 30, 2012 at 03:51 PM
I think the crime also needs to be considered - would you trust a former pedophile to watch your kids - dept repaid or not? Should we allow a person found guilty and having admitted to commiting fraud to watch over our public funds? I think not.
One Man Wolf Pack November 30, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Here ya go FTP start reading here http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/LIX/607-A/607-A-2.htm Part a makes speciffic refference to the term of incarceration as for elligibility to vote while part B clearly says "Become a candidate for or hold public office". Reading the whoel statue is pretty clear when read "A person sentenced for a felony, from the time of his sentence until his final discharge, may not: Become a candidate for or hold public office"
One Man Wolf Pack November 30, 2012 at 04:23 PM
It gets even clearer when tatlking about sentence completion as it relates to annulment. Start here http://law.justia.com/codes/new-hampshire/2010/titlelxii/chapter651/section651-5/ Section III talks about "has completed all the terms and conditions of the sentence and has thereafter been convicted of no other crime". There is law to this effect in other areas of our statutes. Clearly other legislation already defined the completion of a sentence but it is not spelled out in ellection law. This also clearly establishes thta NHDOC does not have the authority to render a completed sentence. Think of it this way, some sentences are left to the DMV to administer and not the NHDOC; think oui here. Fact they are done with NHDOC, but not the other terms and conditions of thier sentence, speciffically restitution and good behavior. If they feel they are they should petition the court that sentenced them to vacate those terms. Until that time they are not elligble to hold office as they are not done with thier sentence. Seems pretty clear to me. And you calling me an internet bully is a bit of the pot calling the kettle black; nice one though.
One Man Wolf Pack November 30, 2012 at 04:41 PM
That is for the individual voter to decide in the polling both which is entirely different than being legally eligible to run as spelled out in NH election law. What I am curious to know is how did this get by the registration process? Is the process faulty or are those overseeing the process negligent or complicit in this event?
ForThePeople November 30, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Does probation count, Charlie? And that was a much better post, thank you.
One Man Wolf Pack November 30, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Probabtion is a function of NHDOC unless for some reason someone was sentenced to probation but not remanded to NHDOC for that probation. A court can be ambigious by saying for a probationary period when in effect not actually remanding the offender to NHDOC for traditional probation. Which is the real crux of the matter a court has the absolute right to hand down whatever sentence they want, which may or may not have components administered by NHDOC and in fact may or may not even be enforcable or legal. The way such things are handled is to ask the court to reconsider or vacate and or patition a higher court to overrule the lower one on some grounds to make such a case. The way this was handled by Stacie was to change her name and use the rediculous policy of don't ask don't tell.
One Man Wolf Pack November 30, 2012 at 05:11 PM
It is my understanding that she and her ex-wife were write ins for Ward 4 in nashua, which conviently allowed them to circumvent the candidate registration process. But with this election Stacie certainly had to register; how was this not discovered during that process? (Faulty process? negligent staff? or complicit staff?) Either way noww that this all comes to light they meaning Stacie and her ex wife should both resign from being ward 4 selectman also as it is my understanding that they were co-sentenced in the credit card fraud which has the outstanding/incomplete sentence terms. They know it too, which is why they want it all swept under the rug and not talked about anymore. The deeper you dig on this the worse it gets.................
One Man Wolf Pack November 30, 2012 at 05:30 PM
In fact I think the only reason the AG did not charge Stacie initially is that the AG actually believes that Stacie did not know the law. Furthermore the fact that the registration process did not catch this is a bit of an administrative black eye that would most certainly come out at trial over the matter. Much easier to just have her resign. But like I said it gets even stickier for both the AG and city atourney if they remain selectman and a petition for the citizenry forces thier hand to address the issue. Bottom line, they shouold both resign all public offices they hold, and now.
Selectman Lisa Laughton November 30, 2012 at 05:47 PM
As the law is written Charlie we have satisfied the court so get the facts straight
Proud Conservative November 30, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Stop trying to shut people up. Who died and appointed you as the omnipotent forum police? If you don't like the comments, don't read them. Just go away.
Proud Conservative November 30, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Please do...move on. We won't stop you.....or miss you.
One Man Wolf Pack November 30, 2012 at 06:01 PM
So you are DONE with all terms of your sentence? Please understand that DONE and compliant with are not one and the same. No Restitution outstanding? No Term of good behavior to follow? Care to provide a court and docket number for me so I can verify your statement? (pardon me if I do not accept your word for it given the nature of the crime you must understand that)
One Man Wolf Pack November 30, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Care to post a copy of your sentence for us all to see? Please put forward the facts. That would have been better had you all done that right up front.....you would not have wasted tax payer money.
Mike November 30, 2012 at 06:48 PM
I think the other factor here beyond the technicalities is the history - if someone has one 'slip' or brush with the law - even involving some really bad judgement you could say 'oh well they were young and foolish and hopefully they learned' BUT that isn't the case here at all. We're talking about a pattern of behavior involving criminal activity, deception, and from this thread complete arrogance. You and your former partner seem to be demanding foregiveness. My advice - leave political life, do some volunteer work, serve out and complete you sentence, become gainfully employed, then come back with some greater level of humility and openness and see if the public can forgive some of your missteps.
Proud Conservative December 01, 2012 at 01:23 AM
You see, Lisa, the big problem here is that you had to face the court to begin with. I don't want you or anyone else with a criminal background making laws for me to live by. I'm better than you - and most people are. I obey the laws that were put into effect to provide for a safe and orderly society. You didn't.
Dan December 01, 2012 at 04:04 AM
Could someone please tell me what on earth is a Selectman in Nashua? It's funny that after looking at the Nashua City Charter, there is absolutely NO mention of what that role is, and that it is some powerful force in City Hall that a person would use it as a title prior to their last names?
ed stebbins December 01, 2012 at 04:07 AM
its the people at the polls who help with the election,
Dan December 01, 2012 at 04:18 AM
Lisa: I would like to state a few things. A.) If that is so true, how is it, that I never saw Stacie volunteering her time with Obama for America, at their campaign office in Nashua? Even more questioning that during that time, I never saw any literature on her as a candidate, and the only sign I saw, was the one she was holding around the corner from where I live (and I live in Ward 3??) B) You state that the voters did know and if the needed more then ask more? Really? So that is why it took a newspaper report out of Belknap County to bring this to all our attention..........supposedly because you were telling people in Ward 4, of Nashua, in Hillsborough County about her past? C.) You say for me to get over it. Yet, through the amount of work of many other volunteers, you somehow claim people knew about your past and we could ask that, and yet nobody knew, and yet this smacks in the face of all Democrats who won, over this issue, and I'm not supposed to "just get over it??" Sorry, but your disregard for other people is downright disgraceful, and irregardless of her being Transgendered, while I busted my butt to help Democrats (with a foot that I injured), and I feel really lousy that you and your partner would disgrace the work of many, through what amounts to deception. Too bad if it keeps haunting you...because that's not my problem........its YOUR PROBLEM.
Dan December 01, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Ed: Thank you. You have basically validated my thoughts, that the Laughton's are grossly overstating their importance as Selectmen. They are nothing more than an Election Clerk is in a town.
Dan December 01, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Considering that their past includes fraud, I have to agree, that these people should be no where near ANY polling places in New Hampshire.

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