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Chris Sununu - Governor of New Hampshire. Photo: WMUR

Early Life and Family

Chris Sununu is a younger brother of John E. Sununu, a former U.S. Senator and U.S. Representative.

Sununu, one of eight siblings, was born and raised in Salem, New Hampshire. He is the son of Nancy (Hayes) and former Governor of New Hampshire and White House Chief of Staff John H. Sununu. His father's paternal ancestors came to the United States from the Middle East around the start of the 20th century, while his paternal grandmother was born in El Salvador to a family of Palestinian Greek Orthodox Christians that had settled in Central America at the turn of the century. His father's paternal ancestry is Lebanese and Palestinian from the Greek Orthodox community in Jerusalem.

Despite the family's emigration from Jerusalem, some members of the family were from Beirut, in what is today Lebanon. His father, John, was born in Havana, Cuba. His paternal grandfather, also named John, was born in the United States, and most of the last two generations of Sununu's were also born in the United States. His mother's ancestors include immigrants from Ireland, as well as Scotland and England. When he took office as governor, Sununu was sworn in with a Greek Orthodox New Testament belonging to his family.

Early Career


From 1998 to 2006, Sununu worked as an environmental engineer designing systems and solutions for cleaning up waste sites. He specialized in soil and groundwater remediation, wastewater treatment plants, and landfill designs.


In 2010, Sununu led a group of investors in the buyout of Waterville Valley Resort where he worked as Chief Executive Officer, employing over 700 people in the White Mountains region. Sununu led an aggressive expansion effort of the ski resort in cooperation with the United States Forest Service. The resort offers skiing, golf, tennis, mountain biking, and an ice arena.

From 2006 to 2010, Sununu was an owner and director of Sununu Enterprises, a family business and strategic consulting group in Exeter, New Hampshire. It focuses on local, national and international real estate development, venture technologies and business acquisitions.

Politics Career

Sununu was a member of the New Hampshire Executive Council from 2011 to 2017.


In the general election, Sununu defeated Democratic nominee Colin Van Ostern, 48.8% to 46.6%.


In the general election, Sununu was re-elected, defeating Democratic nominee Molly Kelly, 52.8% to 45.7%.

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Republican N.H. Gov. Chris Sununu Wins 2nd Term. Photo: WBUR

Sununu was endorsed by the New Hampshire Troopers Association, New Hampshire Police Association, Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire, National Federation of Independent Businesses, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 104. In his bid for re-election, he was also endorsed by numerous New Hampshire news outlets, including The Portsmouth Herald, The Union Leader, The Eagle-Tribune, Nashua Telegraph, Foster's Daily Democrat, Exeter News-Letter, Seacoast Online, and the Hampton Union.


On May 14, 2019, Sununu announced that he would seek a third term as governor, rather than challenging incumbent Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen in the 2020 election.

After securing the Republican's party nomination he went on to defeat Democratic Majority Leader of the New Hampshire Senate, Dan Feltes in the general election with 65.2% to 33.4%

Political positions

Sununu is considered by some to be a moderate Republican. He has vetoed 57 bills, including 40 bipartisan bills in 2019. One bill vetoed by Sununu would have raised solar net metering caps. He is in favor of tax cuts but takes liberal positions on some social issues. On The Issues, a non-profit and non-partisan organization that tracks politicians' positions, considers Sununu to be a "Moderate Libertarian Conservative."

Social positions

On abortion, Sununu says that he is not opposed to abortion rights, but does not support taxpayer funding for abortions and supports the ban on partial-birth abortion. In 2015, as a member of the New Hampshire Executive Council, he voted to defund Planned Parenthood. He later reversed his position and voted to restore the funding. In 2018, he said "I'm pro-choice. I support Roe v. Wade." Sununu had supported other contracts with Planned Parenthood.

He vetoed a bill that would ban the public from carrying firearms on school playgrounds.

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Chris Sununu with his family. Photo: Twitter

Regarding immigration, Sununu said he would refuse to send the National Guard to the border to enforce Trump's 'zero-tolerance' policy in regard to undocumented immigrants. However, during a 2016 gubernatorial debate, Sununu stated he opposed the settling of 10,000 Syrian refugees in the United States.

Sununu is seen as supportive of LGBT rights; he said that he does not get involved with the state's GOP platform issues and he was a speaker at an event for the Log Cabin Republicans, a GOP political action committee that supports same-sex marriage and other gay rights. In 2018, Sununu signed into law two bills intended to protect the rights of the LGBT community. He signed a bill prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity as well as a bill to ban 'conversion' therapy from being used on minors. In 2019, he allowed a bill to become law without his signature that created a non-binary gender option for drivers' licenses.

Sununu is opposed to legalizing marijuana. In December 2018 he stated he would “absolutely” veto legislation “regardless of what the language looks like.” Speaking about the environment, in 2020 Sununu joined Democrats in supporting permanent funding for conservation efforts in the US, and particularly in New Hampshire.

Personal Life

Sununu is an active skier and rugby player and, in 1998, completed a five-month through-hike of the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia. He lives with his wife, Valerie, and their three children, Calvin, Edie, and Leo, in Newfields, New Hampshire.

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