“Issues in my community made me feel like I, and people like me, were becoming second-class citizens,” said Rep. Allison Nutting ’11, citing voter ID laws targeting college students and minorities as an example. “You really do have to be the change you want to see in the world,” she continued, describing her decision to run for her state legislature in 2014. “I came in fourth place for three spots, and lost by 26 votes. I ran again in 2016 and was the top vote-getter with 1788 votes!”
Rep. Nutting now represents New Hampshire’s Hillsborough County, District 34 (Nashua’s Ward 7) and serves on the Legislative Administration Committee. “I was only 25 when I was elected,” she said. “I am really excited to stand up for New Hampshire families and young adults.”
“There are 400 of us,” she continued. “We make $100 a year. We meet once a week, January through June to pass laws, and depending on the committee, you can be up there once in a while for meetings or every day.”
“For a political nerd like me, all of the behind-the-scenes stuff is great,” said Rep. Nutting of the highlights of her first year in office. “I love when I have constituents in the gallery and I can text them the small details, it’s a ton of fun.” She was also honored to speak at the Women’s March in Concord, New Hampshire, and added that while it didn’t pass, she was proud to vote for a bill that would have added gender identity to the non-discrimination clause.
Rep. Nutting also described sitting on – and publicly disagreeing with – the committee that voted to recommend no disciplinary action against former New Hampshire Rep. Robert Fisher for misogynistic comments on social media. “I sat through two days of testimony about how what he said was free speech, while a female representative was targeted for swearing online,” she said. Girl Scouts from a local high school attended the executive session at which Rep. Nutting asked her colleagues to consider the message the legislature was sending to women by tolerating Rep. Fisher’s behavior. “On my committee, we have the leaders from both parties, the deputy speaker and majority and minority whips, and me. It was scary to disagree with the majority of my committee, but I was happy someone was there to represent the young women of New Hampshire.” (Rep. Fisher later resigned.)
As the second year of her two-year term approaches, Rep. Nutting is anticipating the reintroduction of the bill to add gender identity to the non-discrimination clause, and also hopes to sponsor some bills.
Will she run again? “I want to run forever,” she said. “I hope to go farther in politics. New Hampshire is a state where you just get involved.”
Path to Political Office: “I was involved in student government at Sage. I was the historian and secretary, and I’m now the class president. Being involved helped me with candidate recruitment and learning how to explain how I want to improve things, specifically. Being at a small school taught me to always work well with people. My high school was so large that I rarely had classes with the same people after a semester. Having to work with the same people regularly was different, but also helped me make lifelong friends.”
Early Career: Rep. Nutting graduated from Russell Sage College at age 19 after completing her bachelor’s degree in political science in three years, then moved to Missouri for the 2012 election season to work on Claire McCaskill’s successful campaign for the U.S. Senate and former President Barack Obama’s re-election. She volunteered for a few more candidates and on the board of the Nashua, New Hampshire, Democratic City Committee when she returned to her hometown.
When She’s Not in the State Capital: New Hampshire’s “citizen legislature” is made up primarily of people with another full-time job. Rep. Nutting runs Phoenix Manufacturing, her family business in Nashua. “We are a three-person machine shop, and I answer phones, quote parts – we make everything custom – and handle all shipping and receiving and accounting. I often make deliveries on my way in and out of the State House.”
First in the Nation: In 2016, New Hampshire became the first state in the nation to elect an all-female delegation to Washington.