- Raymond Buckley
name = Raymond Buckley
office = Chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party
March 25, 2007
predecessor =Kathy Sullivan
state_house2 = New Hampshire
district2 = 44th Hillsborough
predecessor2 = Nancy Bridgewater
successor2 = Betsi DeVries
term_start2 = 1986
term_end2 = 2004
date of birth = 1959
Manchester, New Hampshire
Raymond Buckley (1959– ) is a member of the Democratic Party and a politician from the state of
New Hampshire. A former state legislator, he currently serves as chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party.
He is a member of the New Hampshire delegation to the
Democratic National Committee, [ [http://www.democrats.org/a/2005/06/new_hampshire_d.php New Hampshire Democratic National Committee Members] ] and is currently the chairman of the eastern region of the Democratic National Committee. [http://www.federalnewsradio.com/index.php?nid=80&sid=1081654 Love, Norma, "N.H. Democrat resumes bid for top job", AP, March 7, 2007] ] He has also been director of the NH Democratic Senate Caucus, [ [http://cache.zoominfo.com/cachedpage/?archive_id=0&page_id=1213789107&page_url=%2f%2fwww.nhinsider.squarespace.com%2fwhos-hot-whos-not&page_last_updated=8%2f15%2f2005+6%3a25%3a42+PM&firstName=Ray&lastName=Buckley ZoomInfo cache of an expired page from New Hampshire Insider] ] and from 1998 to 2007 served as the City Democratic Chair for Manchester. [ [http://www.nh-democrats.org/about/townchairs.asp NHDP Town Chairs] ] . As of March 25, 2007he is the state chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party. [http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=Democrats+pick+Buckley+as+chairman&articleId=8ff58322-1219-40da-917d-3da7ec4831ce Wickham, Shawne K., "Democrats pick Buckley as chairman", Manchester Union Leader, Mar. 25, 2007] ]
Buckley served 8 terms (1986-2004) as a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives where he represented southern Manchester, and served as Party Whip in that body. [ [http://www.democracyfornewhampshire.com/user/view/359 Democracy for New Hampshire] ] He was a delegate to the
Democratic National Conventionfrom New Hampshire in 1988, 1996, 2000 and 2004. [ [http://politicalgraveyard.com/bio/buckley.html Political Graveyard index to politicians] ] He served as the vice chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party from 1999 to March 2007, when he was elected as chair. [ [http://www.nh-democrats.org/about/statecmte.asp NHDP State Committee members] ]
Buckley's first involvement in Democratic Party politics was at age eight, when he campaigned for a gubernatorial candidate by making homemade signs. As a twelve year old in 1972, he was volunteering for the Ed Muskie primary presidential campaign. By the age of fourteen, he was an acting town party chairman for the town of
Canterbury, New Hampshire. As a young man, he was taken under the wing of state party boss Chris Spirou, who mentored him. In high school, he worked on the campaign of future President Jimmy Carter. He was elected to the New Hampshire Democratic State Committee at the age of 18, and was elected treasurer of that body by the age of 21.
His first election to state office was in 1986, where he was elected to the General Court to represent Manchester's 8th ward. As a state legislator, he served 18 years, many as the Party Whip. He successfully sponsored over 150 bills into law, including a 1999 repeal of the state's ban on adoption by homosexual couples, [ [http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_0068.htm "New Hampshire allows gay and lesbian adoptions and foster parenting, Religious Tolerance.org, 1999] ] a repeal of state taxes on hospitals, and anti-bullying legislation. In 1998, he gained some notoriety when he led a delegation of N.H. House Democrats to walk out on a speech given by
Newt Gingrich. [http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1998/05/07/gingrich.nh/ King, John "New Hampshire Dems Walk Out Of Gingrich Speech To Legislature" CNN.com May 7, 1998] ] [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/clinton/stories/gingrich050898.htm Balz, Dan "Gingrich Remarks Trigger a Walkout" Washingtonpost.com, May 8, 1998] ] That same year, he also won the Lawrence O'Brien Award, an award given by the Democratic National Committee to its top party members. In 2004, he gained additional national prominence when his party's phone lines were jammed by a Republican Party consulting firm. [ [http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/07/01/politics/main627138.shtml "GOP Consultant Admits Dirty Trick" CBS News July 1, 2004] ]
While a legislator, he has also frequently worked on presidential campaigns for prominent Democratic candidates. He campaigned for
Michael Dukakisin 1988, and notably in 2003-2004, he was a member of Senator Joseph Lieberman's campaign staff. His own personal vehicle, a Chrysler PT Cruiserdecorated as the "JoeMobile", served as a prominent symbol for that campaign. [http://www.concordmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070128/REPOSITORY/701280338&SearchID=73287242614937 Moskowitz, Eric "Buckley's devotion to Dems began early" Concord Monitor, January 28, 2007] ]
He is credited with leading his party to prominence in New Hampshire, a former Republican stronghold, [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/campaigns/wh2000/stories/hampshire032199.htm Neal, Terry M. and Ceci Connolly "Prosperity Alters Politics in New Hampshire", Washingtonpost.com, March 21, 1999] ] although he has also been chastised for controversial fundraising efforts that have led to that rise. [ [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14975987/ Distaso, John "GOP leader chastises candidates on fundraising", Manchester Union Leader, Sept. 24, 2006] ] Despite being leading the party to prominence, he has also been known to be at the center of several bitter intra-party feuds, including a 1981 attempt to impeach then Party Chair
Richard Boyerand a divisive campaign for the top party spot in 1988 against Joe Grandmaison, which Buckley would lose.
Buckley left the New Hampshire House of Representatives in 2004 to run for the
Executive Council of New Hampshireagainst incumbent Ray Wieczorek. A bitter campaign ensued, fueled by a long political history. The Republican Wieczorek had been the mayor of Manchester and Buckley had been an Alderman, and the two had fought frequently. Buckley lost the election, but was immediately hired as the Executive Director of the Senate Democratic Caucus. Under his campaign leadership, the Democratic Party gained control of the New Hampshire Senate, a situation that had only occurred for one and a half terms since the nineteenth century.
He is a prominent member of the state Gay Marriage Commission, attempting to reach a bi-partisan agreement on a hot-button issue. [ [http://www.nhpr.org/node/9983 Audio link for NPR interview "Gay Marriage Commission Reaches Conclusion...But Not Consensus"] ] [ [http://nhhousegop.com/Reports/legislative_reports.htm Commission Report on Same Sex Marriage] ]
tate Democratic Party chair
Buckley was the frontrunner to become the chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party in 2007. He temporarily ended his bid for chairman in January of that year, following allegations of possessing child pornography leveled by Buckley's former housemate, Rep.
Steve Vaillancourt. [ [http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=Buckley+quits+race+for+state+Dem+chair&articleId=24ab4962-1f16-453b-8fe3-1d0a03085723 "Buckley quits race for state Dem chair", Manchester Union Leader, Jan. 5, 2007] ] Vaillancourt and Buckley had been friends since 1983, and housemates until 1999, when Vaillancourt evicted Buckley for unknown reasons. The relationship has been strained since then. Vaillancourt later admitted he had no proof to back up his allegations. [http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=Ray+Buckley+faces+new+investigation&articleId=f75fab50-d3de-4c9a-b83f-6958b58c851a Disasto, John, "Ray Buckley faces new investigation", Manchester Union Leader, Jan. 19, 2007] ]
On January 19, 2007, the
Manchester Union Leaderreported that the New Hampshire Democratic Party has hired an attorney to investigate a separate set of allegations against Buckley. The investigation was prompted by a letter that accuses Buckley of sexually harassing young male party staffers. [http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=Ray+Buckley+faces+new+investigation&articleId=f75fab50-d3de-4c9a-b83f-6958b58c851a Disasto, John, "Ray Buckley faces new investigation", Manchester Union Leader, Jan. 19, 2007] ]
On March 1, 2007, the Attorney General announced that criminal charges would not be filed against Buckley, and he was cleared of all charges of impropriety. The New Hampshire Attorney General considered filing charges against Vaillancourt, but determined instead to let the matter drop for lack of evidence. Buckley promptly resumed his campaign to chair the New Hampshire Democratic Party. Shortly after this, a video surfaced on
YouTube, which showed a much younger Buckley using inappopriate language. This video led U.S. House of Representativesmember Paul Hodesto withdraw his support of Buckley. [ [http://www.concordmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070317/REPOSITORY/703170377 Moskowitz, Eric, "Hodes drops Buckley: Online video prompts withdrawal of support" Concord Monitor, Mar 17, 2007] ] Despite this, he easily won election as a write-in candidate, winning 109 out of 142 total votes.
Raymond Buckley was born in
Keene, New Hampshirein 1959, and is the eldest of nine siblings and half-siblings. He parents moved frequently to find work, and Raymond had attended a different school for each grade through the ninth. His parents divorced in 1972. By high school, his family had settled in Canterbury, where at the young age of 14, he served as the town's Democratic Party Chair (due to his young age, his mother held the post officially). He planned to go to college upon graduating high school, but lacking the finances, he accepted a job offer to work for then State Democratic Chair Joanne Symons. He has been a professional politician ever since.
Buckley is openly
gayand has faced opposition to his sexuality since his first election to the State House in 1986. Before that election, he helped found the New Hampshire Citizens Alliance for Gay and Lesbian Rights. Of his own sexuality, Buckley has said "You cannot make me straight, so get over it."
* [http://www.thislife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?episode=330 My Reputation] An episode of the radio program
This American Lifefeaturing Raymond Buckley facing controversial accusations
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