Biography


I am a product of many cultures including Hungarian, American and German and a dual citizen of both the United States and Hungary. My family escaped from Hungary in 1956 during the Hungarian Revolution against Russian domination of that country. We were fortunate as immigrants to be accepted as refugees into the United States. With his electrical engineering training my father found a job with Western Electric (then part of the Bell System of ATT ) and a new home in Allentown, PA. My brother and I entered a new school and a new culture with the encouragement of our family to become Americans. In 1963 the whole family became naturalized citizens. After graduating from elementary school, I attended the local high school for 2 years, until the death of father resulted in my family moving to Germany, to start another new life with a different language and culture.

Picture of Peter Somssich
I graduated from a German high school in 1970 and went on to the University of Heidelberg to study physics. There I received two degrees in physics: MS Physics and a Ph.D. Physics.

Heidelberg was also where I met my wife, Kathleen, from California, who was finishing her German studies at that same university. We were married in Heidelberg and both of our children were born in that city. After a number of years of employment at various institutions, I was offered a job in New Hampshire working for a large European technology company.

Due to the restructuring of that company I transferred to Sylvania Lighting. I was employed at Sylvania for 32 years as an analytical scientist, and while there I also earned an MBA in Management from Lesley College. Finally, in 2017 I retired so that I could accept my new responsibilities as a State Representative. Our family lived for 17 years in Amherst NH where we were involved in various civic and political activities. Then in 2001 we moved to Portsmouth where both my wife and I have been very active in our community. For 4 years I served as the Chair of the Portsmouth Democrats, as well as working as a poll-worker at the Ward 3 and 4 voting locations. I served as the chair of the Memorial Bridge Illumination Committee, as co-chair of both the Portsmouth Peace Treaty and the Welcome Home/End of Iraq War parades. I was also involved in fund-raising efforts for the new Portsmouth Public Library and the African Burying Grounds project. Currently I am a board member of SIPP (Save Our Indoor Portsmouth Pool).

I was elected as the Ward 3 State Representative in 2016, after the unexpected death of my friend State Representative Debbie DiFranco. In the General Court, I currently serve on the Science Technology & Energy Committee, which deals with new technology, utility issues, renewable energy and energy efficiency.