Responding to attack by an elected official

Following the Portsmouth Water and Fire District election last week in which Mr. Phil Driscoll ran unopposed, the newly re-elected Clerk took the time to attack me in letters to the editor of the Newport Daily News and Portsmouth Times.

Calling me an "antagonist," Mr. Driscoll criticized me for supporting a write-in candidate. You can read his letter in the paper or online version, and my response, included below, appeared in yesterday's Daily News, and should be in next week's Portsmouth Times.

To the editor:

When an elected official attacks a private citizen for being involved in civic life, it should not pass unremarked. So when the newly re-elected Portsmouth Water and Fire District Clerk, Phil Driscoll, denounces me in a letter to the editor published on 6/28, I feel compelled to respond.

Mr. Driscoll calls me an “antagonist” and alleges that a “surreptitious write-in campaign” was mounted against him. What did I do to merit his ire? I ran into someone outside the polling place who said they were doing a write in campaign and I posted that on Facebook. (And on — thanks, Mr. Driscoll, for mentioning the name of my news blog!)

In my opinion, the public is always best served by contested elections. Especially for a quasi-municipal entity with taxing authority. Apparently, Mr. Driscoll disagrees.

As to Mr. Driscoll’s assertion that I question his environmental credentials, I’ll quote the self-description from his letter: “I am a committed advocate of the environment but that does not mean that I wallow in the DEM, DOH and EPA trough of fallacy, fable and fantasy.”

Personally, I respect the validity of peer-reviewed science. You should draw your own conclusions about whether Mr. Driscoll does based on his words.

John G. McDaid