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Pantelakos Blasted for 'Stand Your Ground' Statement

Andrew Hemingway, candidate for NH GOP chairman, calls for the removal Portsmouth State Rep. Laura Pantelakos as chair of the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee.

A candidate for State Republican Committee chairman is calling for the removal of Rep. Laura Pantelakos as chair of the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee after he said she berated voters during a hearing on the "Stand Your Ground" bill on Tuesday.

Andrew Hemingway, one of three candidates for NHGOP chairman, issued a statement on Wednesday night saying that Pantelakos, D-Portsmouth, told some voters, "Show some respect for the members of this committee. We are forced to sit here and suffer through this…I am not going to tolerate this!”

Hemingway criticized Pantelakos for speaking this way to New Hampshire voters who had traveled from as far away as Coos County to address House Bill 135, a measure that seeks to rescind a person's right to use deadly force to protect themselves in a public place if they feel threatened.

“I was at the hearing and hundreds of citizens sacrificed time from their jobs and families to attend this hearing and were disrespected by the comments of the chairwoman. I am calling for her immediate removal as Chair of the committee. If the burden of listening to voters is too great for the chairwoman, than it is incumbent upon Speaker (Terie) Norelli to remove her as chair and replace her with one that respects the voice of the people," said Hemingway in a prepared statement.

On Thursday morning, Hemingway said Pantelakos demonstrated a lack of tolerance for voters who are opposed to the legislation and said her attitude reflects the new New Hampshire House Democratic Party leadership headed by Speaker Norelli, D-Portsmouth.

“She was clearly agitated and she sort of had an outburst,” Hemingway said of Pantelakos. “It was just very disrespectful to the citizens who came to that meeting.”

When contacted on Thursday afternoon at the Legislative Office Building, Pantelakos said Hemingway's assertion that she had a lack of tolerance for some of the voters who testified "was a bare faced lie.

“I asked them to have some respect for the people who were testifying before the committee," Pantelakos said. "I had a very hostile crowd."

Pantelakos said she made the statement that Hemingway referenced when some voters in Representatives Hall applauded when other voters who were opposed to House Bill 135 spoke, which she said is not permitted during committee hearings.

“People that are that angry with rights certainly couldn’t see any good in me,” Pantelakos said. “I could have closed that hearing at any time and told them to come back next week, but I didn’t do that.”

She said the committee had 68 speakers and the hearing lasted for 5-1/2 hours.

“Anybody who comes to a committee hearing is allowed to speak whether you agree with what they have to say or not,” she said. “I did the best I could.

“Every card that we had in front of us we called the name off and they were allowed to come to the microphone and speak their piece,” she added. “I think that we tried very hard to accommodate everybody.”

Pantelakos said the committee will hold an executive session in the next week or so to vote on the legislation and she has no idea how the panel's 11 Democrats and nine Republicans will vote.

Christine Giuda January 25, 2013 at 10:28 PM
"we are forced to sit here and suffer through this"? Maybe the job isn't for her then as she is liable to have to sit through many hearings on issues she is not interested in or has already made up her mind on. Doesn't sound to me like this is not leadership.
R. Stewart January 25, 2013 at 10:41 PM
The fact the Chair sees the residents of NH as "hostile" speaks quite clearly of her bias. Anyone that objects to the infringement of our Constitutional Rights, is viewed as intolerant and hostile by those in the Democrat party.
Mike Lorrey January 26, 2013 at 01:59 AM
To quote Congressman Steve King of Iowa: "The 2nd amendment isn't about the right to shoot deer, its about the right to shoot tyrants!" One can only surmise he was talking about people like Pantelakos.
Lorna Andoscia January 26, 2013 at 12:25 PM
She publicly embarrassed be by implying that I had requested special treatment. I had arrived an hour early in order to get my card in as soon as possible as I had to work that evening. When I noticed that the cards were being removed from the table and shuffled around, I asked if the speakers would be called on a first come/first called basis. She took my name and said she would so what she could. After she interrupted my testimony by stating, "Your not going to read that whole thing are you?" and suggesting that I simply turn in my paper statement, I politely stated my reasons for wanting to continue and stated that I preferred to continue. When I was done, she made a comment that inferred that I had asked for special treatment that she had complied with. I DID NOT ask for special treatment, but rather, simply asked for the speakers to be called in the order that they had arrived. My testimony, along with every other testimony given to that point, had been totally respectful; and no-one deserved the disrespect that she displayed.
Sam Brooklyn January 29, 2013 at 01:52 AM
Gee anyone see a conflict that she is the mother of the divorced wife of slain greenland police chief Michael Maloney and that she and her daughter have been relentless in abusing his widow??

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