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Sanborn’s email was a sad display

The following is an open letter to State Sen. Andy Sanborn:

As a resident of Temple, I am writing today in hopes that you do, in fact, listen to your constituents in District 9, as you so vehemently claim. I should disclose that I am an unapologetic supporter of unconditional legalization of cannabis, but that is not what compelled me to reach out to you. You have made it quite clear that your mind is made up on this issue. Instead, I am writing today to make it clear to you that the intimidation of a voting constituent by an elected official cannot and will not be tolerated — not in the 9th District, not in the state of New Hampshire, and not in any free society.

Last week, it came to light that you received an e-mail from a constituent who shall be referred to as Michael Maly. In light of the fact that legislation legalizing and regulating cannabis will come before the New Hampshire Senate, Mr. Maly, who is currently attending college, presented a concise and well-considered argument as to why you, as his elected representative, should vote in favor of the pending bill. In your response to Mr. Maly, you stated, “I’m thinking if I call the [organization you received a scholarship from] and ask their opinion on legalization, they may have a different opinion (not to mention may be asking you for their scholarship money back…).” You can spin this statement any way you like, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is, unequivocally, a veiled threat. Furthermore, as Mr. Maly did not disclose in his e-mail that he had received a scholarship, it is clear that you went out of your way to investigate a letter-writer’s background for the purposes of locating a weak spot to exploit.

In the same response, you also stated, “I’m guessing you don’t know much about me, my values, and what I’ve been working on[…].” Considering the fact that your record as a legislator and New Hampshire businessperson is public and freely available, I found this statement to be a bit erratic and defensive. Please do not make the same “guess” about me. Rest assured, I have thoroughly reviewed your record. With all due respect, sir, that record reveals you to be a shameless opportunist, a hypocrite, and a peddler of mind-altering substances.

I couldn’t help but notice a 2008 account in the Concord Monitor, in which it is revealed that the 2005 bankruptcy of your bike and ski shops left creditors unable to collect the vast majority of the $214,000 you owed them. Fortunately for you, this was not legally a personal bankruptcy, so it was possible for you to open your bar, The Draft, the very next year, and spend “$100,000 [on] televisions alone.” In a 2010 piece in the Monitor, you are described as calling for a government that “stays out of private enterprise” and your campaign website boasts of your opposition to regulations. Perhaps you are unaware that bankruptcy law is a form of government regulation of private enterprise, or perhaps you simply don’t care because bankruptcy regulation is something that has been of great benefit to you financially.

As one might expect, you have opposed expanding state Medicaid to enable some of the state’s poorest and most vulnerable residents access to health care, and have irresponsibly compared the Affordable Care Act to a plane crash that killed two people. But I also noticed a screed against the Employee Free Choice Act archived on your website in which you cite the ancient Greek and Roman roots of democracy itself and fret that the pro-worker legislation leaves employees “open to intimidation and undue pressure.” I find it interesting that you cry, “Democracy!” when it comes to fighting labor mobilization and worry about intimidation and coercion only where unions are concerned, but don’t seem to apply these same standards when it comes to relations with your own constituents in your capacity as an elected official.

You conclude your response to Mr. Maly by stating that the e-mail “…makes you look like nothing more than a college freshman who just wants to get high at any cost.” No, Senator. A person who just wants to get high at any cost is not going to take the time to write a concerned and informed e-mail to his legislative representative — he or she is going to go and buy a bag, pack a bowl, get high, and laugh about you — something that is as easily done on a New Hampshire college campus as it is anywhere in 2014 America. It takes a concerned and engaged citizen to reach out to his state senator. Additionally, as the proprietor of an establishment that profits from the sale of alcohol, you make your living enabling citizens of New Hampshire to engage in the consumption of a mind-altering drug. In other words, Senator, getting “high” is just fine when it lines your pockets.

Issuing a veiled threat to essentially ruin the educational and career prospects of a young constituent represents conduct unbecoming your office. You, sir, are an embarrassment not merely to the 9th District, not merely to the New Hampshire General Court, but to an entire state whose proud and uncompromising motto declares, “Live free or die.”

Accordingly, I am calling for your immediate resignation from the New Hampshire Senate. I am also asking that you resign your position on the UNH School of Law Dean's Advisory Board and the President's Advisory Board of New England College. I make this demand not in a desire to be punitive but because your conduct demonstrates that you cannot act in any of these respective capacities with integrity and without corruption.

I know well that you will not resign, but I will remind you that you won your seat in 2012 by a mere 213 votes. In this year’s election, we your constituents will ensure that the same mistake is not made again. Your customers at The Draft need your full attention — the citizens of New Hampshire do not.

In the event that you wish to respond to this letter by making threats against me, you will have to do so in the public eye.

Jay Monaco lives in Temple.

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