New Hampshire state senator floats Russian vodka ban at state liquor stores

Jeff Woodburn, a Democratic New Hampshire state senator from Whitefield.
Jeff Woodburn, a Democratic New Hampshire state senator from Whitefield. –Twitter

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Jeff Woodburn, the leading Democrat in the New Hampshire Senate, is taking a shot of, ahem, at Russian vodka.

Citing a U.S intelligence report declassified Friday asserting with “high confidence” that Russia worked to swing the 2016 election in Donald Trump’s favor, Woodburn introduced legislation Monday proposing ways the Granite State could respond.

“Given this confirmed interference in our elections, New Hampshire shouldn’t just continue a ‘business as usual’ relationship with Russia,” the Whitefield senator said in a press release.

Woodburn’s bill would create a bipartisan commission to “evaluate and recommend” potential responses the state could take.

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To start things off, Woodburn floated a few ideas of his own. First and foremost, he said, the commission would consider halting purchases of Russian-made liquor by the New Hampshire Liquor Commission. Such a move would rid vodkas such as Russian Standard, among other Russian-made brands, from the shelves of the state’s notoriously inexpensive liquor stores.

Popular brands such as Smirnoff and Absolut—made in the United Kingdom and Sweden, respecitvely—as well as the American-made Tito’s, would escape Woodburn’s proposal.

The senator said the commission would also consider divesting the state’s retirement system from Russian-based assets.

Despite being among the most vocal Democratic legislators on the state level, Woodburn said his bill was not a partisan issue.

“Foreign interference in our elections not only undermines our Constitutional democracy, but our independence and sovereignty,” Woodburn said. “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.”

The New Hampshire Senate and House are both controlled by Republican majorities. The state’s newly-elected governor, Chris Sununu, is also a Republican. Republican President-elect Donald Trump has cast doubt on the intelligence community’s findings of Russian interference in the election, which he won.

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At the national level, President Barack Obama’s administration has expelled 35 suspected Russian spies from the country and imposed a new slate of sanctions on the country in response to the alleged influence campaign.

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