Ex-Con Elected to NH House Changes Mind, Won't Resign

By:  Jack Kenny
11/29/2012
       
Ex-Con Elected to NH House Changes Mind, Won't Resign

Stacie Marie Laughton's election on Nov. 6 drew national and even international headlines, as she became the first openly transgender person to be elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Then came the news, first reported by the Laconia Daily Sun over the past weekend, that Laughton is a convicted felon, having served time in the Belknap country House of Corrections. In the controversy that followed, the newly elected state representative announced on Tuesday she was resigning the seat. On Wednesday, she said she had reconsidered and would continue with plans to be part of the new House of Representatives in January.

Stacie Marie Laughton's election on Nov. 6 drew national and even international headlines, as she became the first openly transgender person to be elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Then came the news, first reported by the Laconia Daily Sun over the past weekend, that Laughton is a convicted felon, having served time in the Belknap country House of Corrections. In the controversy that followed, the newly elected state representative announced on Tuesday she was resigning the seat. On Wednesday, she said she had reconsidered and would continue with plans to be part of the new House of Representatives in January.

Laughton, when she was Barry Charles, Jr., was convicted in 2008 of credit card fraud, conspiracy to commit credit card fraud, and falsifying physical evidence. He served four and a half months in the county jail and completed two years of probation in 2010, according to the Daily Sun. His release was conditioned on ten years of good behavior. As Barry Charles, Jr., Laughton was also convicted in 2006 of tire slashing and ordered to pay a $647 restitution. She is still paying restitution for the credit card fraud, having thus far paid $176 of the $1,992.

Laughton, a Democrat, was one of three candidates elected as state representatives from Nashua's Ward 4. By Tuesday, Republican State Chairman Wayne McDonald was calling for her resignation, and Raymond Buckley, McDonald's Democratic counterpart, had called Laughton to urge her to consider her options. The question of whether she is legally eligible to serve has been referred to the state attorney general's office and House minority leader Gene Chandler, a Republican, said the House has the power to expel a member.

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