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The Dartmouth
February 29, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Nicolás Macri ’24, emeritus professor Tom Cormen announce campaigns for NH House seats

Macri is a Democratic candidate running for one of four seats in Grafton County's 12th district, while emeritus computer science professor Tom Cormen is a Democratic candidate in the 15th district.

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As the 2022 midterm elections approach — and amid New Hampshire’s decision to redraw their two congressional districts — races in the New Hampshire House of Representatives are close to campus, with a Dartmouth student and former professor announcing campaigns in two different districts.

Nicolás Macri ’24 is running to serve as a state representative of Grafton County’s 12th district. In addition, emeritus computer science professor Tom Cormen is vying for a seat in Ward Three of Grafton County’s 15th district. 

The 12th District: Nicolás Macri ’24

Macri, a government and history major who grew up in College Station, Texas, is running for one of four seats in Grafton County’s 12th district, which encompasses Hanover and Lyme. He will run alongside five Democrats — four of which are seeking reelection: Mary Hakken-Phillips, Sharon Nordgren, government professor Russell Muirhead and James Murphy. Former College Democrats president Miles Brown ’23 announced his campaign in May. No Republicans have announced plans to run. 

Macri said he has been interested in politics since arriving at Dartmouth, where he has voiced opposition to voter suppression and gerrymandering, participated in labor union advocacy on campus and helped spearhead the cross-community coalition for housing reform last May. Macri said he also gained political experience by serving as campaign manager for Student Assembly president David Millman ’23’s selectboard campaign in 2021. 

“Ever since coming to Dartmouth, I have gotten involved in the local communities’ politics,” he said. “Being involved in that, not just on the local level but also on the state level, has just shown me how important it is to have representation in government, but especially from people connected to communities that are not represented.”

As a state representative, Macri said he would continue working to address the housing crisis, protect voting and reproductive rights, halt climate change by “supporting towns in their conversions to green energy” and raise the College’s $11.50 minimum wage — which he said is “nowhere near the nationally suggested minimum of 15.”

“We need to restore New Hampshire's status as an actually pro-choice state,” Macri continued. “The governor claims to be pro-choice and turns around and signs these bills restricting abortion access. [That is] really not something that should be tolerated.”  

Macri also said that, as a Hispanic student and member of the LGBTQ+ community, he can help bring diversity to the state legislature — which he said previously has “not looked like the population here in Hanover and Lyme.” He added that representation has become particularly important given the current Republican majority in the House.

“We're fortunate that in the previous legislature, the Democrats were able to pass some pretty strong LGBT protections –– A lot of this stuff is at stake now with Republicans passing all these restrictions on what teachers can discuss,” he said. “There is this image that New Hampshire is not a diverse place, but that’s really not true. There are so many immigrant and non-white communities here whose history also deserves to be told.”

Many students expressed a desire to see student representation in politics, while those who have worked with Macri commended his commitment to amplifying student voices. Jordan Narrol ’25, who has worked with Macri on grassroots organizing, said that Macri has found “creative” ways to connect with students — such as suggesting tabling on Webster Avenue at night. Millman added that Macri has “a lot of experience making concrete change happen.”

“I know him really well, and I think he would be amazing in the state house,” Millman said. “We need people who are willing to really fight for students in the community. I’m obviously very happy to see just students and young people getting involved in state and local politics because there’s such an age divide.”

Some students said student representation is especially important given Dartmouth’s remote geography.

“I think especially here at Dartmouth, we are not as politically engaged as other colleges are [of our] caliber,” David Lim ’24 said. “It’s hard to be politically involved [in the middle of New Hampshire]. But as long as we have student leaders who are passionate about issues and are fighting to represent students and the younger generation in general, I think we will all be okay.” 

Sophie Saraisky ’25 agreed that, given the College’s somewhat “apolitical” atmosphere, candidates will likely need to put extra effort into engagement to get Dartmouth students to vote.

“I think that there is a very vocal and politically active section of Dartmouth students,” Saraisky said. “I also think that potentially, because Dartmouth is such a bubble, there is a large portion of students who are fairly apolitical, at least while they are at school. I think this would probably take really strong campaign platforms and really try to engage the entire Dartmouth community to get them to vote, but I think it totally could happen.”

Macri said he will continue to engage with both students and the broader Grafton County community throughout the summer and fall, using both social media and in-person conversations to connect with voters. 

The 15th District: Tom Cormen

Cormen, who has lived in the Upper Valley for 30 years, is running uncontested for the only seat in Ward Three of Grafton County’s 15th district, though he said an independent candidate is trying to gather enough signatures to join the ballot. He added that a Republican candidate could join the race if any individual receives 15 write-in signatures during the Republican primary.

Cormen said he was initially considered running due to a change in voting regulations: Whereas Lebanon previously elected four state representatives at large, this year, each of the city’s three wards, as well as the floterial district, will be granted its own representative. Cormen said all incumbents live in either Ward One or Two, which opened an opportunity to run for Ward Three, his own neighborhood.

Cormen said that political office was “not part of [his] original retirement plan.” However, he said he ultimately decided to “fight the good fight” and try to preserve a Democratic seat in the legislature.

“There are some very important issues, and in particular, what we are seeing with this current U.S. Supreme Court is that a lot more issues are coming down to the states,” he said. “We need state legislatures that are going to be doing the right thing and act sanely.”

Specifically, Cormen said one of his key goals in office would be to protect reproductive rights. While Cormen said he believes abortion is “100% a medical decision and the government should have absolutely no say in it,” he also said the issue is personal for him — his wife, who passed away in 2015, suffered an ectopic pregnancy in 1993 and consequently had surgery at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

“In Missouri, the current state law says that no abortion, even for an ectopic pregnancy,” Cormen said. “These idiots who pass this law don’t seem to know or care that an ectopic pregnancy kills the woman, and the baby is not going to make it either … If these jerks had their way, my wife would have died at the age of 36 in 1993.”

Cormen said he also aims to protect voting rights in New Hampshire, particularly for college students, medical residents, military nurses and others who are not permanent residents. 

Cormen added he cares about sustainable and clean energy, pointing to an impending increase in electrical rates that could be prevented by more locally-produced renewable energy sources. If elected, Cormen said he hopes to be on the Science, Technology and Energy committee, adding that he would stand out as a candidate and representative due to his scientific and technological background, campus connections and 30-year tenure in the Upper Valley.

In the leadup to the elections, Cormen said his campaigning will be “pretty lowkey,” including a table near the Lebanon farmer’s market with other Lebanon Democrats, door-to-door canvassing, a potential letter to the Valley News and a potential post on the Lebanon listserv.

According to Ballotpedia, the primary election will take place on Sept. 13, the first Tuesday of the fall term. The general election will take place on Nov. 8.