Rep’s TV show a bipartisan affair By Casey McDermott
Monitor staff Sunday, October 5, 2014
(Published in print: Sunday, October 5, 2014) It can be easy to forget, sometimes, that your political adversaries are people, too.
Ken Gidge was certainly feeling that way a few years ago. Frustrated with the state of political discourse in New Hampshire in mid-2012, the Democratic state representative decided to switch up the format of his existing slot on Access Nashua, a public television station.
He’d call the segment The Art of Politics, and the idea would be to bring together viewpoints from both sides of the aisle to demonstrate that it was still possible to have a political discussion with your opponents that didn’t end in bitterness. If they didn’t agree, Gidge thought, they might at least walk away with a better appreciation of where that person was coming from.
The show debuted in June 2012, with Gidge joined by then-Rep. David Robbins, a Republican. On Friday, Gidge celebrated the 100th episode with two Republican guests who’ve since become regulars on the weekly show: Reps. Al Baldasaro and Bill O’Brien, the former New Hampshire speaker of the House.
“We actually brought the ratings up,” Baldasaro quipped in the studio after the latest taping.
The show is now streamed on a handful of other public access channels across the state, and an archive of all past episodes can be viewed online at accessnashua.org.
Sure, the conversations along the way haven’t been entirely civil – “There have been some real bloodbaths,” Gidge recalled – and sometimes it takes several attempts before one panelist is able to finish his or her point before someone else interjects.
“I think those days are over,” Gidge said. (Casey McDermott can be reached at 369-3306 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @caseymcdermott.)