My December Lists: Gratitude & Favorites

Why not “My Christmas Lists”? Because it’s Advent, silly.

Four retiring (for now) elected officials from New Hampshire who deserve a lot more credit than they’ll ever seek:

  • Executive Councilor Dan St. Hilaire (R-Concord), whose votes on Title X contracts put him into a spotlight he never sought but refused to dodge. 
  • Senator Fenton Groen (R-Rochester), who stepped down to concentrate on his family-run business. A more compassionate man would be tough to find.
  • Rep. Sue DeLemus (R- Rochester), who lost her re-election bid. Her own experience as a post-abortive woman informed every vote she cast on the life issues. She brooked no nonsense when anyone in the room started up about “choice” when what was meant was “abortion.”
  • Rep. Kathy Lauer-Rago (R-Franklin), who chose not to run again, preferring to put future efforts into school choice initiatives. Among other things, she co-sponsored informed consent legislation as well as a resolution commending pregnancy care centers.

Two candidates I hope I’ll hear from again: Debi Warner and Michael Tierney, just because they both have good humor and tenacity to spare.  Dr. Warner, a psychologist from Littleton, ran unsuccessfully for the state senate in district 1. She’s a gem and a credit to her district. Tierney, a pro-life attorney, ran for Executive Council in a district that was drawn to make roadkill out of any Republican nominee, as I described here .  He got 42% of the vote as a first-time candidate.

Candidates I hope I never hear from again: Nope. Not going there. This is about gratitude.

One newly-elected state representative I’ll be watching: Jane Cormier. This lady is fasten-your-seat-belt material. Watch & be amazed at her July 17 speech at the Values Bus tour in Concord.

New Hampshire’s most underrated pro-life activists of 2012: The students of the College of Saint Mary Magdalen in Warner. They made my day anytime they came to Concord with their public, polite, unapologetic witness for life. I tip my hat to College president Dr. George Harne.

Events that encouraged me this year:

  • All three religious freedom rallies held in Concord.
  • The first meeting with other charter school parents after the state Board of Ed started playing games with funding this fall. Kate Baker‘s determination is an amazing phenomenon. Read about her work with NEO New Hampshire .

Three books I loved this year:

  • Peace, They Say by Jay Nordlinger,  about the Nobel Peace Prize and its winners – some deserving, some outrageous, some nearly forgotten. Smooth writing, enlightening reading.
  • Unplanned by Abby Johnson, which has pride of place as the first book I bought for my Kindle. Johnson walked away from the abortion industry, after spending years defending it. Some of her most incisive comments are about the pro-lifers she encountered along the way, not all of whom did their cause credit.
  • 50 Hikes North of the White Mountains by Kim Nilsen, about which I’ve already raved in my Granite State Walker blog.

Three sites I bookmarked this year:

  • Conscience Cause (www.consciencecause.com) was created by defenders of religious liberty moved to action by the HHS mandate. The site is simple and straightforward, and it explains the mandate while providing links to more information.
  • Patheos (www.patheos.com) claims to be “hosting the conversation on faith.”  It’s a sprawling, rowdy web site with something to engage and enrage everyone. There are diamonds in the dust, though, and about once a week I find something particularly thought-provoking.
  • National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com) is my favorite site for news and commentary, because that’s where I can get Jay Nordlinger & Jonah Goldberg & Kathryn Lopez all in one place.

Three things I can celebrate now that the 2012 campaign is over:

  • Family dinners. I now could honestly sit at my dinner table with a bowl of corn flakes and love it as long as it’s with my family.
  • Reading the paper. I mean real made-from-trees paper. I get plenty of my news online, but with the campaign’s time crunches, that was my only way to stay current. The Saturday after the election, I sat at my kitchen table with the Union Leader and the weekend Wall Street Journal and spent an unhurried hour reading them. What a splendid luxury.
  • Going to Mass at my home parish, since I’m no longer in a different town every weekend.
  • And all of the above must be qualified with “…until next time.”

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