Alstead, Stoddard residents vie for GOP nomination in Cheshire House District 9

·3 min read

Sep. 10—Rich Nalevanko of Alstead and Robert D'Arcy of Stoddard are squaring off to be the Republican nominee for Cheshire County House District 9, which voters will decide at the polls during Tuesday's state primary.

District 9 covers Alstead, Stoddard, Gilsum and Marlow.

Nalevanko, 75, is a retired international business executive in the oil industry. He served on Alstead's planning board for nine years and is president of the Fall Mountain Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarship aid to Fall Mountain Regional High School graduates.

He said he's a strong supporter of transparency in public education, and claimed that some schools in New Hampshire are teaching Critical Race Theory, which he is opposed to.

Earlier this year, he petitioned for a warrant article in the Fall Mountain Regional School District that would have required all materials in public schools be made available in public libraries in the district's member towns. Voters amended the article to merely highlight the importance of transparency in education, eliminating Nalevanko's proposed requirement.

According to the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Critical Race Theory is an academic and legal framework denoting systemic racism as part of American society, perpetuated by laws, policies and institutions that uphold and reproduce racial inequalities.

"Schools should be teaching the basics like ABCs, not CRTs or the birds and the bees," he said in a phone interview Friday. "I respect teachers but a piece of paper doesn't earn you respect ... Parents are educators too."

On top of his want for increased transparency in public education, Nalevanko, a member of the National Rifle Association, said he's also a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, smaller government and lower taxes.

He's no stranger to running for state representative. He ran unsuccessfully in 2020 and 2018 for Cheshire House District 2, which at the time included Alstead.

The same is true for his opponent in Tuesday's primary, D'Arcy, who ran unsuccessfully against longtime Democratic incumbent Rep. Dan Eaton for the Legislature in 2016, 2018 and 2020.

D'Arcy is a custodian for Symonds Elementary School in Keene and, as of 2020, was self-employed as an artist and author. He was not immediately reachable Friday to answer questions about his platform for the upcoming election.

In an interview with The Sentinel in 2020, D'Arcy, then 50, said he would prioritize government transparency and keeping taxes and regulation low if elected. He added that he is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, and wants to impose term limits on elected officials.

At the time, D'Arcy also said that as a proponent of school choice, he would support vouchers to allow families to put public funds toward tuition at private schools.

In June 2021, state legislators passed an education savings account program called N.H. Education Freedom Accounts, allowing parents to apply for grants to spend on their children's education, including private schooling.

"I think that parents should have the opportunity to send their children to whichever school they think will help their student achieve the best way that they can," D'Arcy said. "... If it's a private school that they want to go to, that they think their child will do better at, I think that they should be allowed to have their taxpayer money going to help pay their tuition through the use of vouchers and things of that nature."

Rep. Eaton is running unopposed in the Democratic primary for Cheshire House District 9. The general election is Nov. 8.

Hunter Oberst can be reached at 355-8585, or hoberst@keenesentinel.com.