New Hampshire

Arrested New Hampshire Senator Steps Down From Leadership Role, But Not Seat

A New Hampshire Democratic state senator charged with domestic violence and other crimes is stepping down from his leadership role as minority leader, but isn't resigning his seat.

Jeff Woodburn, of Whitefield, was arrested Thursday and faces nine charges, including simple assault, domestic violence, criminal mischief and trespassing. He is accused of striking and biting his partner and kicking in the door of her home.

In a statement Monday, Woodburn said he is stepping aside as minority leader to devote his attention to clearing his name and representing his constituents. He says supporting his children also will be his priority.

He is running unopposed in the Sept. 11 primary. His name will remain on the ballot even if he resigns. David Starr of Franconia is the only Republican candidate.

Since his arrest, Woodburn has been facing bipartisan calls for his resignation.

Outside of his Whitefield home on Friday afternoon, he told NBC10 Boston's Katherine Underwood how he plans to deal with the charges against him.

"This is going to be in court and I am looking forward to telling my side of the story. Until then, I can't comment," said Woodburn.

He said he plans to fight the accusations against him. When asked about the calls for his resignation, he said he hasn't decided.

Colleagues who know Woodburn say the accusations are out of character.

"I think I was shocked and devastated by the news," House Minority Leader Steve Shurtleff said. "Completely unexpected."

Shurtleff joined Gov. Chris Sununu and lawmakers from both parties calling for Woodburn to resign immediately.

"This is a very serious matter," Shurtleff said.

Most Granite Staters NBC10 Boston spoke with agreed that Woodburn should step down.

"It's completely unacceptable," said Ben Garfield of Bow.

Others said the three-term senator deserves his day in court.

"Until he's proved guilty, I think he should keep doing his job," said Jerry Chauvette of Concord.

Woodburn is out of jail on bail until his Aug. 20 arraignment.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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