Stacie Laughton

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Stacie Laughton (born c. 1984)[1][2] is an American politician who was elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives in the 2012 elections.[3] As a member of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, she would represent the Nashua-area Ward 4 alongside David Cote and Mary Gorman. She was also a selectman in Ward 4 in Nashua.[4] (Selectmen in New Hampshire city wards are solely responsible for organizing, counting, and calling elections.)[5]

Laughton was the first openly transgender elected official in New Hampshire, and is believed to be the first openly transgender person elected to a state legislature anywhere in the United States.[6] Her only known predecessor, Althea Garrison, came out as transgender only after she had already been elected, and was defeated in all of her subsequent runs for office after coming out.

After the election, media outlets reported that in 2008 Laughton had been sentenced to 7 1/2 to 15 years in prison for conspiracy to commit credit card fraud and 3 1/2 to seven years for falsifying physical evidence. The sentences ran concurrently and were later reduced to one year in the Belknap County Department of Corrections. She served four months before being released under the condition of 10 years of "good behavior."

Laughton did not disclose the conviction during her campaign, nor was she legally required to under the law. In New Hampshire, convicted felons are ineligible to hold public office until their "final discharge" from prison. Republicans claimed that the good behavior condition meant that Laughton had not received a "final release"; however, prison officials consider the "final discharge" to be when the inmate exits incarceration. On November 27, 2012, Laughton issued a statement: "After a lot of thought and after talking with the state party chair and my democratic caucus director, I’ve decided to resign my position of state representative-elect."[7]

In December 2012, Laughton announced that she would run in the election to fill the seat she resigned from.[8] However, later that month state attorney general Michael Delaney issued an opinion stating that since Laughton's sentence had been suspended on condition of "good behavior," she had not received a "final discharge" because she was still under the sentencing court's control until 2019. On January 2, 2013, Laughton abandoned her candidacy. While she would have faced a hearing before the state ballot law commission the next day, Delaney's opinion alone convinced her that she had no chance of staying on the ballot.[9] The opinion lead to her selectman's post being nullified.[10]

Laughton turned herself in to police on March 12, 2015 after a warrant for her arrest was issued stemming from a bomb threat phoned in to Southern New Hampshire Medical Center on February 27.[10]