R.I.P. Governor – Walter Peterson (1922-2011)

I just saw the notices of the death of former New Hampshire Governor Walter Peterson and  can’t help but feel a bit sad.   Not only have we lost a genuine public servant we also have lost a gracious human being.  No recollection of him occurs without a smile emerging on my face.

“The Governor” remains as one of my favorite politicians that I have photographed in my career.  On two occasions shooting for the CCSNH system in the last couple of years allowed me to spend some time getting to know this fine gentleman.  There was nothing exceptional about the photographic experience but personal experience was truly rich.

The last time I photographed him and despite being in a roomful of noteworthy and distinguished people clamoring for his ear, Mr. Peterson chose to spend a few moments chatting with me.  We quickly established our common roots in Nashua, our mutual love for politics and lament for the lack of civil discourse in the current political climate.  The fact that this man took the time and was genuinely interested in our exchange truly mattered to me.

As a kid in NH, Walter Peterson became one of the first politicians that captured my nascent curiosity about politics and public policy.  He is an iconic example of the moderate Republican, most concerned with good governance rather than dogma.  His refusal to take the “the pledge” and keep taxes an option in state policy more than likely cost him his third term.  His successor, Mel Thompson, embraced the rigid promise and New Hampshire has been saddled with that irrationality ever since.

The political spectrum is a little narrower and the world is little less kind today without Walter Peterson – R.I.P.

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