CONCORD – Two former veteran State House staffers are returning to work in top staff posts for newly-elected Speaker of the House Shawn Jasper.
Terry Pfaff of Hooksett confirmed this afternoon he will be Jasper’s chief of staff and he also confirmed that Jim Rivers will be the communications director in the speaker’s office.
Pfaff served as chief of staff from 2001 through 2004 when Gene Chandler was speaker, and also served as a legislator in the House for many years alongside Jasper. Pfaff is a 29-year veteran of the Manchester Fire Department, retiring in 2011.
Rivers served as communications director and in other senior staff capacities in the House Republican office for many years and previously was communications director for former Gov. Steve Merrill. He is a well-known broadcaster of sports event.
Jasper told the New Hampshire Journal in an interview that his long association with Pfaff and Rivers “was very important. I need to have people I know and can trust. I have known them for decades and I trust both of them completely.”
Jasper said his next priority is to round out his staff, his leadership team (see related story here) and committee chairs. He said he intends to announce leadership and chairs next Wednesday.
Jasper was not the choice of the majority of the Republican caucus for speaker, and worked for Chandler, who fell just short of Rep. Bill O’Brien in a 116-112 vote. Jasper then challenged O’Brien and pulled off the upset on Wednesday with a coalition of roughly 35 to 40 anti-O’Brien Republicans and presumably virtually all of the Democrats who voted.
But Pfaff said Jasper is a longtime diehard Republican.
“Speaker Jasper has served in the trenches of the Republican Party for more than 30 years and he has held leadership roles under several former Republican speakers,” said Pfaff. “I have personally witnessed his ability to build consensus on many issues and know that he has the utmost respect for his fellow members, the New Hampshire House as an institution, and its traditions. I look forward to working with him to provide a respectful and supportive administration over the next two years.
According to the speaker’s office, the chief of staff oversees 114 House and joint employees with a budget of $34 million for the current biennium.