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Massive Democrats vote against prioritizing veterans over illegals sends ripples in NH Gov. race

Massachusetts Democrats called the legislation that gives homeless veterans priority over illegal aliens a “political ploy” and voted it down on Friday.

Now New Hampshire Republicans are pointing to that vote — backed by Gov. Maura Healey (D-Mass.) — calling it a sign of what will happen if Democrats win the governor’s race in November.

It’s especially relevant to Democrat Joyce Craig. The former mayor of Manchester scored Healey’s approval shortly after entering the gubernatorial primary.

However, a extensive list her campaign website for the Democrats who endorsed Craig currently does not mention Healey.

Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington and former Newmarket City Councilman Jon Kiper are also seeking the Democratic nomination for governor.

The Massachusetts legislation in question was an amendment introduced by Republican House Minority Leader Brad Jones (R-North Reading) from a budget bill. The Bay State’s ‘sanctuary’ approach to illegal immigration is expected to cost taxpayers $1 billion annually as migrants flock there to take advantage of the the Commonwealth Right to Shelter Act guarantee free housing to homeless families and pregnant women.

Healey has been a defender of the state’s implementation of it Right to Shelter Act from the 1980s to address the housing of illegal aliens flooding the state. Healey even tried to downplay the safety concerns after a Haitian migrant was accused of raping a minor in one of the state’s makeshift hotel shelters in March, telling a Boston reporter: “Things will happen from time to time.”

Jones’ amendment would have “prioritized eligibility for the (right to shelter) program for honorably discharged homeless veterans.”

He told NHJournal that he was “extremely disappointed” that Democrats in Massachusetts were “unwilling to support his amendment.”

Instead, Bay State Democrats rejected Jones’ proposal as one “political trick.”

Jones disagreed.

“This was certainly not a ‘political ploy’ by the Republican Caucus in the House of Representatives, but rather an acknowledgment of the debt we all owe to our nation’s veterans and which is consistent with the many other veteran preferences reflected in our current laws exist,” he said. “At a time when our emergency accommodation system is beyond capacity and the waiting list for services is growing, we need to set clear priorities to better manage demand and eliminate the waiting list.”

Jones called it a “moral obligation” to ensure “the well-being of homeless veterans.”

Only two Democrats voted for the amendment, which failed in the Massachusetts House by a vote of 27 to 129.

Massachusetts Democrats have said they plan to release a proposal this month to address homelessness for veterans. But Jones told NHJournal there are no guarantees from legislative leaders on the other side of the aisle.

“My hope is that the members who voted against this amendment will be more receptive to the idea once the upcoming veterans bill referenced during the budget debate in the House of Representatives is passed,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bay State Democrats’ vote to reject Jones’ proposal caught the attention of not only New Hampshire’s Republican gubernatorial candidates, but also radio host and veterans advocate Jack Health, who called the Commonwealth’s priorities “upside down.”

“This is incredible,” Health said during his speech Monday morning Good Morning New Hampshire program. “That’s how screwed up the priorities are in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts.”

When asked whether they would have supported the amendment or the position of Democrats in Massachusetts, Craig and Warmington declined to comment.

Asked whether she was concerned that Craig, Healey’s choice for governor, would push for similar housing policy priorities if elected, Warmington again declined to comment.

At a recent town hall-style event in Exeter, both Craig and Warmington — and even the politically unknown Kiper — made the lack of housing in New Hampshire a top priority in their presentations.

Republican candidates did not hesitate to draw parallels between Massachusetts Democrats, like Healey, and her New Hampshire counterparts.

“Massachusetts Democrats are giving illegal immigrants access to shelter before our homeless veterans,” former U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire told NHJournal. “If that isn’t a wake-up call about what Joyce Craig stands for, I don’t know what is.

“As a military spouse and mother, I will always put our veterans and their families first and will never allow New Hampshire to become a haven for illegal immigrants.”

Former Senate President Chuck Morse told NHJournal that the vote against prioritizing American veterans is “a shameful display of neglect” by Massachusetts Democrats.

“Their disregard for those who have served our country exposes the overarching warped priorities of the Democratic leadership — priorities that Joyce Craig or Cinde Warmington would undoubtedly love to bring to New Hampshire.

“Unlike Massachusetts, New Hampshire is thriving under Republican leadership and stands as a beacon of prosperity, freedom and responsible government. As governor, I will ensure that New Hampshire remains on solid fiscal footing, allowing us to address issues like veteran homelessness with the compassion and effectiveness they deserve.