Sununu faces different political landscape in 2nd term

LEBANON, N.H. (WCAX) Like Vermont, New Hampshire emerged from Election Day with a Republican governor and a Legislature controlled by Democrats.

Gov. Chris Sununu was re-elected to a second term, defeating Democrat Molly Kelly. But he'll face a different political landscape in Concord for the next two years. He will have to work across the aisle to get things done.

Sununu addressed an enthusiastic crowd during his victory speech Tuesday night at GOP headquarters. He used the opportunity to extend a hand across the aisle.

"Anybody who thinks they can move the ball forward, get results for the people of New Hampshire, come on into the office. We are open arms to everybody," Sununu said.

During Sununu's first term, Republicans controlled the House and Senate in Concord. But after Tuesday's election, that control switched to the Democrats. Sen. Martha Hennessey, a Democrat from Hanover, was re-elected to her second term.

"I believe that if he keeps to his word of working together with the Democrats, that we really do want to work together," Hennessey said.

But Hennessey says that wasn't always the case in the last session. And as she prepares to focus on issues like redistricting, repealing the death penalty and protecting voting rights of college students, she hopes Sununu puts his words into action.

"We were pretty much out of the conversation unless we worked hard to be in the conversation. Even then it felt antagonistic," Hennessey said.

Other lawmakers strike a different tone. Lebanon Democrat George Sykes will be part of the majority in the House and says, even in the minority, the governor's office has been approachable.

"A couple of the occasions when I have I felt welcomed and listened to," Sykes said.

And Sykes says Democratic leadership is ready to get things done.

"They are used to trying to find that consensus. I fully expect that we will continue to do that," Sykes said.

Sununu will have to find common ground, something he says he's ready to do.

"Not just for New Hampshire but hopefully the example we are setting for the rest of the country," he said.

It's been a decade since Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate in Concord. But at that time, a fellow Democrat, then-Gov. John Lynch was in the corner office.