NH governor taking heat over Turkey trip
(June 3, 2014) - New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan is taking some heat over her scheduled trade mission to Turkey later this month.
Hassan, who recently implemented a spending freeze, is taking heat from GOP gubernatorial candidate Andrew Hemingway and others in the Republican Party for what they say is a double standard. Part of the spending freeze includes restrictions on out-of-state travel.
William Hinkle, the governor's spokesman, said the trip wasn't cancelled because it had already been paid for prior to the spending freeze.
"Since the freeze, agencies have not been asked to cancel anything that was previously paid for if the state could not recoup the money, as that would be fiscally irresponsible," he said.
Hemingway launched an online petition Tuesday asking people to urge Hassan not to make the trip.
"If our revenue projections are coming in under expectations and we are running in the red, why would the Governor take a trip to Turkey, of all places?" Hemingway said. "Particularly after telling everyone else that they can't travel out of state? The hypocrisy and irresponsibility of such a trip is dumb-founding and very upsetting to the public..."
The Republican State Committee and the conservative group Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire also issued statements Tuesday calling Hassan a hypocrite.
"Governor Hassan continues to demonstrate that she is incapable of managing the New Hampshire state budget, and it is clear that she will continue to spend Granite State tax dollars as she pleases, despite the desperate need to get our financial house in order," NHGOP Chairman Jennifer Horn said.
"Regardless of how she or her departments try and justify it, the fact that she can't even abide by her own travel freeze proves we don't just have budgetary problems in Concord, we have a crisis of honesty and leadership," said Matthew Murphy, executive director at Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire.
Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire said it has filed a Right-to-Know request with Hassan's office seeking more information on her June 20-27 Turkey trip.