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Episode 119: Historic Firsts In Politics; Investigating Racism In One Of The Whitest States In The Nation

Democrat Janet Mills, winner of Maine's gubernatorial contest, addresses supporters early Wednesday morning in Portland. Photo by Rebecca Conley for Maine Public

This week on NEXT: we discuss election results from around the region. Plus, we explore incarceration rates of African-Americans in Vermont. Finally, we learn about the history of pirates in colonial New England. And we hear the story behind an unusual Craigslist ad. It’s NEXT.

New England’s Midterm Election Results

Governor Chris Sununu gives his victory speech in Manchester. Photo by Sam Evans-Brown for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu gives his victory speech in Manchester. Photo by Sam Evans-Brown for NHPR

Governor-elect Ned Lamont and Lieutenant Governor-elect Susan Bysiewicz celebrate their victory following Election Day on Nov. 7, 2018. Photo by Frankie Graziano for Connecticut Public Radio

Governor-elect Ned Lamont and Lieutenant Governor-elect Susan Bysiewicz celebrate their victory following Election Day on Nov. 7, 2018. Photo by Frankie Graziano for Connecticut Public Radio

On Midterm Election Day in New England, all six states held elections for governor.

Incumbent Democrat Gina Raimondo held onto her position in Rhode Island. And two open seats were filled by Democrats: Ned Lamont in Connecticut and Janet Mills in Maine.

And the three Republican incumbents in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Vermont, Chris Sununu, Charlie Baker, and Phil Scott, were all re-elected. You can find election results from key races around the region here.

We called up James Pindell, a political reporter for the Boston Globe, to discuss the headlines from around the region.

If you want to hear more about election results from around the region, listen to a recent episode of Vermont Edition, where host Jane Lindholm interviewed John Dankosky about regional election results.

More Regional Election News: 

Republican Gov. Phil Scott won a second term as Vermont's governor. Photo by Oliver Parini for VPR

Republican Gov. Phil Scott won a second term as Vermont’s governor. Photo by Oliver Parini for VPR

As we’ve discussed in the past, Maine used ranked-choice voting for its congressional races on November 6, but local and gubernatorial races were decided through regular methods. Now, the ranked-choice system is being invoked in the race for Maine’s Second District, where neither candidate got the majority of the vote in the first round of counting. Read more here.

A few weeks ago we discussed ballot questions from around the region. (You can listen to that segment here). That controversial nurse staffing ballot measure in Massachusetts was shot down. Maine’s question about creating a universal home health care program was also rejected. However, the ballot measure about the sale of public land in Connecticut passed, as did both ballot questions in New Hampshire.

Historic Election Victories Across New England

Democrat Jahana Hayes addresses her supporters in Waterbury after declaring victory in her U.S. House race against Republican Manny Santos. Hayes becomes the first black woman elected to Congress in Connecticut. Photo by Ryan Caron King for Connecticut Public Radio

Democrat Jahana Hayes addresses her supporters in Waterbury after declaring victory in her U.S. House race against Republican Manny Santos. Hayes becomes the first black woman elected to Congress in Connecticut. Photo by Ryan Caron King for Connecticut Public Radio

Ayanna Pressley talks with reporters outside the Adams Street Library in Dorchester. Photo by Robin Lubbock for WBUR

Ayanna Pressley talks with reporters outside the Adams Street Library in Dorchester. Photo by Robin Lubbock for WBUR

Election day also produced some historic results, including the victories of Ayanna Pressley and Jahana Hayes, who are now the first black women to represent our region in Congress. In addition, Janet Mills became the first woman to be elected Governor in Maine, and Chris Pappas became New Hampshire’s first openly gay member of Congress.  

Khalilah Brown-Dean joined us to talk about what these historic election victories mean. She’s an Associate Professor of Political Science at Quinnipiac University.

Exploring the Rate of African-American Incarceration in Vermont

Old priston with it's bars locked up. Photo by Txking for IStock

Old prison with its bars locked up. Photo by Txking for IStock

Vermont has one of the lowest incarceration rates in the country, but one of the highest rates of African-American incarceration. According to data from the research and advocacy group The Sentencing Project, the black-white disparity in Vermont’s incarceration rate is higher than in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut.

So why is that? That’s what listener Rosie Chase asked Brave Little State, Vermont Public Radio’s people-powered podcast. Here’s an excerpt of their most recent episode that answers this question, reported by VPR’s Angela Evancie and John Dillon.

Listen to the full episode here.

New England’s Role in the “Golden Age” of Pirates

Detail of Cyprian Southack’s map of Massachusetts, circa 1734. A thick arrow (not original to the map) points to where Southack wrote “The Pirate Ship Whidah Lost.” Below that to the right is more text in which Southack informs the reader that he buried 102 men from the wreck who had drowned. Courtesy of Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division

Detail of Cyprian Southack’s map of Massachusetts, circa 1734. A thick arrow (not original to the map) points to where Southack wrote “The Pirate Ship Whidah Lost.” Below that to the right is more text in which Southack informs the reader that he buried 102 men from the wreck who had drowned. Courtesy of Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division

When you think of pirates you probably think of skull and crossbones, wooden legs, parrots, eye patches, and marauders swashbuckling their way through the Caribbean.

But the New England colonies actually played an important role in the “Golden Age” of piracy, a period that spanned the late 1600s through the early 1700s. That’s the subject of Eric Jay Dolin’s new book, Black Flags, Blue Waters: The Epic History of America’s Most Notorious Pirates.

John Danksoky interviews Dolin and they talk about the often overlooked history of pirates from our region’s past.

Craigslist Poster Wants To Swap Land in Fiji for a House in New Hampshire

Tod Geer's land on Fiji. Photo courtesy of Tod Geer

Tod Geer’s land on Fiji. Photo courtesy of Tod Geer

Like many of the oddball things you can find in the online marketplace Craigslist, there’s often a great story behind it.

Currently, there’s a guy looking to swap beachfront property in Fiji for land in northern New Hampshire. NHPR’s Todd Bookman reached out to the guy making the offer to learn more about this seemingly lopsided arrangement.

Photo at the top of the page: Democrat Janet Mills, the winner of Maine’s gubernatorial contest, addresses supporters early Wednesday morning in Portland. Photo by Rebecca Conley for Maine Public

About NEXT

NEXT is produced at Connecticut Public Radio
Host: John Dankosky
Producer: Lily Tyson
Digital Producer: Carlos Mejia
Senior Director: Catie Talarski
Contributors to this episode: Angela Evancie, John Dillon, Todd Bookman
Music: Todd Merrell, “New England” by Goodnight Blue Moon, “Future People” by The Alabama Shakes, “Death with Dignity” by Sufjan Stevens

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