Steve Vaillancourt (born December 1, 1951) is a former a United States politician and Republican member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives. He represented Hillsborough County District 15, the city of Manchester Ward 8. He served from 1996-2002 and 2006-2014. He served as a member of the Democratic Party, the Libertarian Party, and later the Republican Party.
Early life, education, and early political career
Vaillancourt was born and raised in the Champlain Valley region of Vermont. He attended Vergennes Union High School in Vergennes, Vermont. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Plymouth State University with a B.A. in History in 1974. Prior to election to the House, he served as Manchester alderman for Ward 8.
New Hampshire House of Representatives
He first ran for the New Hampshire House of Representatives in 1994 as a Democrat, but lost getting just 15% of the vote. He ran again in 1996 and won the seat with 19% of the vote, sharing the district with Democrat Raymond Buckley and Republican Francis Riley. In 1998, he won re-election with 20% of the vote. In 2000, he won re-election as a Libertarian Party member with 18% of the vote.
After redistricting, he decided not to run in 2002. He ran as a Republican in 2006, winning with 19% of the vote and sharing the seat with Democrats Michael Farley and Maureen Nagle. He won re-election in 2008 (19%), 2010 (25%), and 2012 (25%).
Following Vaillancourt's opposition to a resolution introduced in the 2014 legislative session sponsored by the grassroots political action committee Wolf PAC, which would call for an Article V Convention to propose a constitutional amendment to get money out of politics and overturn the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, Wolf PAC mobilized to campaign against Vaillancourt in his reelection efforts to the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Vaillancourt was ultimately defeated in his reelection bid, losing to Republican Mark McLean by 89 votes.
While he only ran as a libertarian once, his political views are very much in line with their philosophy. He strongly opposes Obamacare and tried to block the expansion of medicaid in his state. He strongly opposes the death penalty in New Hampshire and supports abolishing it. When defending the bill that would abolish it, he said "We make mistakes. Police prosecutors make mistakes. In the name of Carlos DeLuna, please pass this bill."
He also supports marijuana legalization. In January 2014, he was the chief sponsor of House Bill 492, which would legalize marijuana for recreational purposes in New Hampshire. It followed the Colorado model, allowing possession of one ounce and six plants by adults over 21. He estimated it could bring the state $25 million to $30 million a year in revenue. It passed the House by a 170-162 vote, the first time a legislative body in the United States approved a full marijuana legalization bill. In addition, it passed despite a veto threat by Democratic Governor Maggie Hassan. A majority of Democrats voted in favor, 106-83, while a slight majority of Republicans voted against it, 64-79. However, Vaillancourt admitted that it was unlikely to pass the New Hampshire Senate saying "there is virtually no chance this bill will even get to the governor's desk." While some people hope that Hassan will change her mind like how Governor John Lynch evolved on same-sex marriage in New Hampshire, Vaillancourt had doubts saying "Governor Lynch was worn down by some of his personal friends. I'm not going to lie to you, I don't think we're going to wear this governor down on this issue."
Child pornography controversy
Vaillancourt and former Democratic House member Raymond Buckley had been friends since 1983, and housemates until 1999, when Vaillancourt evicted Buckley for unknown reasons. The relationship has been strained since then. In January 2007, Vaillancourt leveled accusations that Buckley possessed child pornography, causing Buckley to temporarily suspend his campaign for the chairmanship of the New Hampshire Democratic Party. Vaillancourt later admitted he had no proof to back up his allegations. Buckley went on to become chair of the Democratic Party in March.
Nazi salute controversy
On May 15, 2012, Vaillancourt was temporarily suspended from the House floor after stating "Sieg Heil" in the direction of the Speaker, Bill O'Brien. The action came after Vaillancourt objected to limitations on debate over a voter ID bill, only to be ruled out of order by the Speaker. An apology committee of three (Rep. Shawn Jasper, R-Hudson, Rep. David Hess, R-Hooksett, and Rep. David B. Campbell, D-Nashua) was formed in order to compel Vaillancourt to form an acceptable apology to the House; Vaillancourt offered two unaccepted apologies, one offering never to mention any German words on the floor, until his third apology was finally accepted by the House. Vaillancourt was the first member of the New Hampshire House to be ejected from the chamber in over two decades.
In a 2014 blog post, Vaillancourt described New Hampshire Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster as "ugly as sin", comparing her unfavorably to a drag queen. In his blog, he went on to praise the looks of Republican challenger Marilinda Garcia, who described his views as "sexist" the next day.
- Criminal Justice and Public Safety
- Finance-Division I
- Special Committee On Redistricting
Vaillancourt lives in Manchester, New Hampshire. In 1992 and 1993, he lived in post-communist Berlin, Germany to study German reunification. He frequently visits Canada to observe politics of Montreal. He is openly gay.
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