Chris Sununu Article

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Chris Sununu
Christopher T Sununu.jpg
82nd Governor of New Hampshire
Assumed office
January 5, 2017
Preceded by Chuck Morse (acting)
Member of the New Hampshire Executive Council from the 3rd district
In office
January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2017
Preceded byBeverly Hollingworth
Succeeded by Russell Prescott
Personal details
Born (1974-11-05) November 5, 1974 (age 44)
Salem, New Hampshire, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s)Valerie Sununu
Relatives John H. Sununu (father)
John E. Sununu (brother)
Residence Bridges House
Education Massachusetts Institute of Technology ( BS)
Website Campaign website
Government website

Christopher T. Sununu ( /səˈnn/; born November 5, 1974) is an American Republican politician, businessman, and engineer serving as the 82nd and current Governor of New Hampshire since January 2017. Sununu was previously a member of the New Hampshire Executive Council, an office he held from 2011 to 2017.

Sununu was born in Salem, New Hampshire. He also serves as chief executive officer of the Waterville Valley Ski Resort in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire. He earned a bachelor's degree in civil and environmental engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Sununu is a son of former New Hampshire Governor and White House Chief of Staff John H. Sununu and younger brother of former U.S. Representative and Senator John E. Sununu.

Early life and education


Sununu, one of eight siblings, was raised in Salem, New Hampshire. He is the son of Nancy (Hayes) and former Governor of New Hampshire and White House Chief of Staff John H. Sununu. His father's ancestors were Lebanese and Palestinian and came to the United States around the start of the 20th century. They belonged to the Greek Orthodox Church [1] Chris Sununu was sworn in with a Greek Orthodox New Testament belonging to his family. [2] His father was born in Havana, Cuba; however, most of the last two generations of Sununus were born in the United States. [3] His mother's ancestors include immigrants from Ireland, as well as Scotland and England. [3]


Early career


From 1998 to 2006, Sununu worked as an environmental engineer designing systems and solutions for cleaning up waste sites. He specialized in soil and groundwater remediation, wastewater treatment plants, and landfill designs.


• In 2010, Sununu led a group of investors in the buyout of Waterville Valley Resort where he works as Chief Executive Officer. Waterville Valley employs over 700 people in the North Country. Sununu is currently leading an aggressive expansion effort of the ski resort in cooperation with the United States Forest Service. The resort offers downhill skiing, Nordic skiing, golf, tennis, mountain biking, a year-round ice arena and conference center services.

• From 2006 to 2010, Sununu was an owner and director of Sununu Enterprises, a family business and strategic consulting group located in Exeter, NH. He focused much of his time on local, national and international real estate development, venture technologies and business acquisitions.

New Hampshire Executive Council

10-Year Highway Plan

On December 16, 2015, the Governor's Advisory Commission on the Intermodal Transportation (GACIT) presented the 10-Year Plan for 2017-2026 to the Governor of State New Hampshire. [4] Executive Counselor Sununu, as a voting member of GACIT, helped develop the blueprint which "aggressively addressed financial constraint, assuming federal funding of about $160 million per year." [5]

Ward Bird

In 2010, Sununu joined the other four Executive Council members in voting unanimously to release Ward Bird from his mandatory three to six-year prison sentence for threatening another person with a gun. The council voted to grant a full pardon to the Moultonborough farmer, who was convicted of brandishing a gun at a woman who trespassed on his posted property in 2008. But Lynch, who has never granted a pardon during his tenure in the Corner Office, vetoed the measure, saying the judicial system had given Bird's case a thorough review and he would not undermine that. The council then immediately voted to commute his sentence, and Lynch let that vote stand. [6]

Home Help NH

Sununu at a 2016 gubernatorial candidate forum steered by former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. and former Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman.

In 2011, The New Hampshire Executive Council worked with the New Hampshire Attorney General and Banking Department to approve and create Home Help NH. The group assists citizens placed in financial distress and, in some cases, taken advantage of by big banks during the sub-prime mortgage crisis.

Managed Medicaid

In 2011, Sununu led a series of public hearings to review proposals for Managed Medicaid, a program to help New Hampshire Medicaid recipients to coordinate their health care. [7] It also helps Medicaid recipients with chronic diseases like diabetes, asthma, obesity, and mental illness. Through this program, Medicaid recipients have wellness and prevention programs as a part of their Medicaid benefit.

In 2014, a 300-page, $292 million amendment to the state's Medicaid program came before the Executive Council only two hours before the scheduled vote. Republicans Joseph Kenney and Sununu urged the governor and other Democrats present not to vote for a contract that had not yet been read, but lost the vote 3-2, along party lines. [8]

Governor of New Hampshire



In the general election, Sununu defeated Democratic nominee Colin Van Ostern 48.8% to 46.6%.


Sununu was sworn in as Governor for a two-year term on January 5, 2017.

In November 2017, Sununu said that he opposed efforts to make voter requirements stricter by barring New Hampshire residents who were "domiciled" from voting. [9] However, in July 2018, Sununu reversed his position and signed a bill barring New Hampshire residents who were "domiciled" from voting. [10] Establishing a "residency" rather than a "domicile" can be costly and time-consuming, and is likely to deter students, a Democratic-leaning constituency, from voting. [11]

In June 2018, Sununu vetoed a measure to repeal the death penalty. [12] [13] [14]


Sununu is a moderate Republican. [15] He is fiscally conservative and socially liberal. [16] He is in favor of tax cuts, but takes liberal positions on some social issues. On The Issues, a non-profit and non-partisan organization which tracks politicians' positions, considers Sununu to be a "Moderate Libertarian Conservative." [17]

Economic and fiscal positions

Sununu being interviewed on the Rich Girard radio program, February 2016

Sununu nominated 27 New Hampshire 'opportunity zones' to receive federal tax breaks for low income areas. [18] He supported tax cuts for businesses and a reduction in property taxes. [19] Regarding health care policy, Sununu signed a bill making it easier for medical facilities to be licensed to treat veterans. [20] Sununu also opposed the Senate's Republican health care plan in 2017. [21]


In late June 2018, Sununu vetoed New Hampshire Senate Bill 446, which would have increased the size limit for net metered projects from 1 megawatt (MW) to 5 MW. The veto was supported by advocates for ratepayers and customers. The legislation had been introduced by state Sen. Kevin Avard (R-Nashua). Currently, 1 MW is the upper limit for net metering in New Hampshire. Beneficiaries under this cap are mostly homeowners and small businesses. However, according to Marc Brown, president of the New England Ratepayers Association, if the 1 MW limit was raised to 5 MW, " larger businesses or small municipalities could potentially be making money, a subsidy that would cost the ratepayers in the end." [22]

In a statement about his veto of Senate Bill 446 (and a separate bill, Senate Bill 365), Sununu said the bills would collectively cost New Hampshire electric ratepayers (consumers) around $100 million over three years. "While I agree that expanding net metering could be a benefit to our state, Senate Bill 446 would cost ratepayers at least $5 to $10 million annually and is a handout to large-scale energy developers," Sununu said. "These immense projects should use incentives already available and compete on their own merits." [22]

Social positions

On abortion, Sununu says that he is pro-choice, but opposes taxpayer funding for abortions and supports the ban on partial-birth abortion. [23] In 2015, as a member of the New Hampshire Executive Council he voted to defund Planned Parenthood. [24] Sununu had supported other contracts with Planned Parenthood. [25] He later reversed his position and voted to restore the funding. [26] In 2018, he said "I'm pro-choice. I support Roe v. Wade." [27]

Regarding immigration, Sununu said he would refuse to send the National Guard to the border to enforce Trump's 'zero-tolerance' policy that has resulted in family separations. [28]

Sununu is seen as supportive of LGBT rights; he said that he does not get involved with the state's GOP platform issues and he was a speaker at an event for the Log Cabin Republicans, a GOP political action committee that supports same-sex marriage and other gay rights. [29] In 2018, Sununu signed into law two bills intended to protect the rights of the LGBT community. He signed a bill prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity as well as a bill to ban ' conversion' therapy from being used on minors. [30]

He is opposed to legalizing marijuana. [31]

Personal life

In 1998, Chris Sununu completed a five-month through-hike of the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia.

Sununu is an active skier and rugby player and, in 1998, completed a five-month through-hike of the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia. He lives with wife, Valerie, and their three children, Calvin, Edie, and Leo, in Newfields, New Hampshire. [32]

Electoral history

Executive Council 1st Term

In 2010, Chris Sununu (R) defeated incumbent Beverly Hollingworth (D) 53,053 to 41,875 [33] or 55.9% to 44.1%.

Executive Council 2nd Term

In 2012, Chris Sununu (R) defeated Bill Duncan (D) 75,856 to 55,432 [33] or 55.2% to 40.3%, with 4.5% going to Libertarian candidate Michael Baldassarre.

Executive Council 3rd Term

In 2014, Chris Sununu (R) defeated Robin McLane (D) 61,601 to 38,420 [34] or 61.6% to 38.4%.

New Hampshire's gubernatorial election, 2016 [35]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Chris Sununu 354,040 48.84%
Democratic Colin Van Ostern 337,589 46.57%
Libertarian Max Abramson 31,243 4.29%
Total votes 724,863 100.00%
Republican gain from Democratic


  1. ^ S., John. "John H. Sununu is a Cuban-born American politician of Palestinian descent, the father of John E. Sununu". John Learn. Retrieved 2018-07-27.
  2. ^ DiStaso, John (2017-01-06). "Chris Sununu inaugurated as New Hampshire's 82nd governor". WMUR. Retrieved 2018-07-27.
  3. ^ a b Times, Special To The New York (1988-11-21). "Behind the Sununu Surname". The New York Times. ISSN  0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-03-18.
  4. ^ "Draft 10-Year Plan Letter" (PDF). Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  5. ^ "Ten Year Plan addresses highest priorities / January 4, 2016". Retrieved 2016-03-17.
  6. ^ "Lynch, Council Free Ward Bird". Retrieved 2016-03-17.
  7. ^ "NH Medicaid Care Management Program | New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services". Retrieved 2016-03-17.
  8. ^ "Executive Council approves Medicaid expansion contract | New Hampshire". Retrieved 2016-03-17.
  9. ^ DiStaso, John (2017-12-13). "Sununu opposition to new GOP voting bill unchanged after meeting with sponsor". WMUR. Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  10. ^ DiStaso, John (2018-07-13). "Amid criticism, praise, Sununu signs voter residency requirement bill into law". WMUR. Retrieved 2018-07-14.
  11. ^ "N.H. makes it tougher for students to vote. Democrats call it 'devious' suppression". NBC News. Retrieved 2018-07-23.
  12. ^ Carosa, Kristen (June 22, 2018). "Sununu veto keeps state's death penalty law intact".
  13. ^ "Sununu Vetoes Death Penalty Repeal Bill".
  14. ^ "Gov. Sununu vetoes death penalty repeal - News, Sports, Jobs - The Nashua Telegraph".
  15. ^ Sexton, Adam (2017-12-31). "Looking back at Gov. Sununu's first year in office". WMUR. Retrieved 2018-07-26.
  16. ^ "Popular Republicans: The New England Enigma | National Review". National Review. 2018-06-27. Retrieved 2018-07-26.
  17. ^ "Chris Sununu on the Issues". Retrieved 2018-12-18.
  18. ^ Garrova, Robert. "Sununu Nominates 27 N.H. 'Opportunity Zones' for Federal Tax Incentives". Retrieved 2018-07-26.
  19. ^ "Property tax is biggest burden for NH businesses - New Hampshire Business Review - November 10 2017". Retrieved 2018-07-26.
  20. ^ Cherry, Mike (2018-06-11). "Governor signs bill aimed at expanding health care options for veterans". WMUR. Retrieved 2018-07-26.
  21. ^ "Senate health care plan 'not viable' for New Hampshire, says Gov. Sununu". PBS NewsHour. Retrieved 2018-07-26.
  22. ^ a b Brandt, Jaclyn (2018-06-20). "N.H. governor vetoes energy bill citing high cost to electric ratepayers". Daily Energy Insider. Retrieved 2018-07-04.
  23. ^ "Where 2016 candidates for governor stand on issues". WMUR. 2016-08-12. Retrieved 2018-07-26.
  24. ^ "New Hampshire defunds Planned Parenthood facilities". The Washington Times. Retrieved 2018-07-26.
  25. ^ Rogers, Josh. "Kelly Says Threats To Abortion, Gay Rights Key Issues In Campaign Against Gov. Sununu". Retrieved 2018-07-26.
  26. ^ Levitz, Jennifer (2016-11-06). "Abortion Becomes Central Issue in New England Governors' Races". Wall Street Journal. ISSN  0099-9660. Retrieved 2018-07-27.
  27. ^ Steinhauser, Paul (October 3, 2018). "Democratic challengerKelly questions if Sununu is really pro-choice if he supports Kavanaugh".
  28. ^ DiStaso, John (2018-06-20). "Sununu would refuse to deploy NH National Guard to border 'to separate families'". WMUR. Retrieved 2018-07-26.
  29. ^ DiStaso, John (2018-05-17). "NH Primary Source: Sununu says he 'doesn't get involved' in NHGOP platform issues". WMUR. Retrieved 2018-07-26.
  30. ^ "N.H. governor signs two pro-LGBT bills". Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights. 2018-06-08. Retrieved 2018-07-26.
  31. ^ DeWitt, Ethan (December 17, 2018). "'The next major battle': Sununu charges against marijuana legalization".
  32. ^ Steinhauser, Paul (November 6, 2018). "Gov. Sununu optimistic after voting in Newfields". Retrieved December 1, 2018.
  33. ^ a b "Executive Council - NHSOS". Retrieved 2016-03-17.
  34. ^ "Executive Council - 2012 General Election - NHSOS". Retrieved 2016-03-17.
  35. ^ "2016 General Election Information and Results". Secretary of State, New Hampshire. Retrieved November 27, 2016.

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
Walt Havenstein
Republican nominee for Governor of New Hampshire
2016, 2018
Most recent
Political offices
Preceded by
Chuck Morse
Governor of New Hampshire
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Mike Pence
as Vice President
Order of Precedence of the United States
Within New Hampshire
Succeeded by
Mayor of city
in which event is held
Succeeded by
Otherwise Nancy Pelosi
as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Henry McMaster
as Governor of South Carolina
Order of Precedence of the United States
Outside New Hampshire
Succeeded by
Ralph Northam
as Governor of Virginia