A lawmaker from New Hampshire wants to respond to allegations of Russian hacking by going after an iconic Russian product: vodka.
Senator Jeff Woodburn is a two-term Democrat in the New Hampshire Senate and the outgoing Senate Minority Leader.
“Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our democracy, both here in the Granite State and our great country as a whole,” said Woodburn, emphasizing that a response to allegations of Russian election interference, conclusions which Woodburn referred to as “uncontested,” should prompt a response not just from the federal government but from state and local governments as well.
“Given this confirmed interference in our elections, New Hampshire shouldn’t just continue a ‘business as usual’ relationship with Russia,” said Woodburn. His proposed legislation “allows us to look at how our state can best respond to this unprecedented attack on our democracy and how any response will affect our state,” he said.
Woodburn’s bill would establish a bipartisan commission to look into the most effective vodka embargo, decide if the state should halt Russian-made liquor purchases by the New Hampshire Liquor Commission, and if the state’s retirement system funds have investments in Russian-based assets from which it should divest.
“Foreign interference in our elections not only undermines our Constitutional democracy, but our independence and sovereignty,” said Woodburn. “This is not a partisan issue. That’s why I have invited all Senators and the bipartisan leadership of the NH House to co-sponsor this legislation. When our freedoms are threatened, Granite Staters expect us to respond and I am proud to bring forward legislation to do so.”
Alcohol consumption in New Hampshire was twice the national average in 2014, and hard liquor was more popular than elsewhere in New England, which generally prefers liquor more than the rest of the country (the numbers may be inflated somewhat due to cross-border sales, likely given the size of New Hampshire).