Why presidential hopefuls brave the ice and snow

Its first-in-the-nation presidential primary has the Live-Free-or-Die state in the headlines these days. We want to meet and evaluate them all. It ain’t always easy.

The state’s presidential primary originated in Town Meeting Day, which is traditionally conducted on the second Tuesday in March each year. Since everybody had already come out for this unique form of grassroots democracy, it made sense to add one more item to the warrant, as the agenda is called, rather than make yet another trip to the town hall. (Besides, being winter, we’d have to heat it.) As other states have tried to jump into the spotlight, the presidential part has moved forward on the calendar. Theirs, though, don’t have organic roots like ours.

Contrary to what some candidates label their appearances, a real Town Meeting is not a political lecture or Q&A opportunity but rather a community session for debating and then voting on local government decisions for the year. Everyone can speak up and be heard. The town and school budgets are major considerations.

Now for some other perspectives on the Granite State:

  1. New Hampshire is bigger than it looks on the map. Rotate it 90 degrees and you’ll see it’s larger than Massachusetts, New Jersey, Hawaii, Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island. It’s slightly smaller than Vermont. When water is included, Massachusetts and Hawaii jump ahead.
  2. Small-business owners comprise 96 percent of the employers in the state.
  3. An estimated 87,000 residents, mostly in the southern tier, commute to jobs in Massachusetts.
  4. It’s the only state where seatbelts are not required and one of only a handful where motorcycle helmets are not mandatory.
  5. The state has no income or sales tax. Property taxes make up much of the difference.
  6. The state ranks dead last in its support of secondary education.
  7. New Hampshire has the longest running state lottery in the continental U.S. Originally, the numbers were not drawn at random but based on results from the Rockingham racetrack.
  8. Dover, settled in 1623, is the nation’s seventh-oldest permanent community.
  9. The first potato crop in America was planted in 1719 by Scots-Irish immigrants in Nutfield (now part of Manchester).
  10. Although the state has only 18 miles of ocean frontage, the 6,000-acre Great Bay 10 miles inland is one of the largest estuaries along the Atlantic coast. It’s crucial for sustaining fish populations in the ocean.


Ever been to the Granite State? What can you add to the list?

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