No Democrats on Jasper’s leadership team: No problem, says Shurtleff

CONCORD – Although New Hampshire House Democrats accounted for about 80 percent of the 195 lawmakers who voted Republican Shawn Jasper in as Speaker of the House on Dec. 3, the minority party was not rewarded with any members being named to leadership posts in the list announced by Jasper’s office today.


But, House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff told the New Hampshire Journal, that’s not a problem.


“Not a bit,” he said. “I believe we had 159 Democrats vote for Speaker Jasper, and nothing was asked for and nothing was offered. There was no quid pro quo.


“The Democratic caucus realized that politically the best thing for us going into the 2016 election would have been to have had Representative O’Brien as speaker, but the caucus did what they felt was best for the people of New Hampshire.”


Jasper defeated former Speaker Bill O’Brien, R-Mont Vernon, on a third ballot vote of 195-178. Now, O’Brien’s supporters plan to meet to elect their own Republican leader, ignoring Jasper’s choice.


Jasper said that as far as Republicans are concerned, however, he kept his promise to be “all inclusive” with a “diverse and talented cross section of our party.” He included a few O’Brien backers in key positions – such as Rep. Lynne Ober, R-Hudson, as vice chairman of the House Finance Committee, Rep. Rick Ladd, R-Haverhill, chairing the House Education Committee, and Rep. John Hunt, R-Rindge, as chair of the Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee.


Jasper has called for a GOP caucus on Dec. 17 to “develop our agenda from the ground up through an exchange of ideas from within our caucus. We have been given the opportunity to lead and I look forward to getting to work on the issues that really matter to the people we all were sent to Concord to represent.” How O’Brien’s supporters will respond to the call remains to be seen. They are planning their own meeting, separately.


Meanwhile, on Jasper’s list is 15-term Rep. Neal Kurk, R-Weare, returning to the chair the all-important House Finance Committee, while Ober, in addition to being committee vice chair, will chair the committee’s Division 1. Rep. David Danielson, R-Bedford, is the vice-chair for Division 1.


The Finance Division 2 chair will be Rep. Karen Umberger, R-Kearsarge with Rep. Laurie Sanborn, R-Bedford, as vice chair. Division 3 will be chaired by Rep. Richard Barry, R-Merrimack, with 16-term Rep. Betsy McKinney, R-Londonderry, as vice chair.


Another key committee, Ways and Means, will be chaired by Rep. Norm Major, R-Kingston, who formerly chaired the panel. Rep. Patrick Abrami, R-Stratham, will be the vice chair.


Thirteen-term Rep. Sherm Packard, R-Londonderry, was named Speaker Pro Tem and Rep. Richard Hinch was named Majority Whip with Rep. Kathleen Hoelzel, R-Raymond, as his Deputy Majority Whip. Last week, Jasper named Rep. Gene Chandler as Deputy Speaker and Rep. Jack Flanagan, R-Brookline, as Majority Leader.


Chairs and Vice Chairs of other committees, appointed by Jasper, are:


_ Children and Family Law: Carolyn Gargasz, R-Hollis, Chair; Debra I. DeSimone, R-Atkinson, Vice Chair


_ Commerce and Consumer Affairs: John B. Hunt, R-Rindge, Chair; Laura Jones, R-Rochester, Vice Chair


_ Criminal Justice and Public Safety: John E. Tholl, Jr., R-Whitefield, Chair; David A. Welch, R-Kingston, Vice Chair


_ Education: Rick Ladd, R-Haverhil,) Chair; John Balcom, R-Merrimack, Vice Chair


_ Election Law: Kathleen M. Hoelzel, R-Raymond, Chair; James P. Gray, R-Rochester, Vice Chair


_ Environment and Agriculture: Robert Haefner, R-Hudson, Chair; John T. O’Connor, R-Derry, Vice Chair


_ Executive Departments & Administration: Andrew Christie, R-Hampton Falls, Chair; John Sytek, R-Salem, Vice Chair


_ Fish and Game and Marine Resources: David Kidder, R-New London, Chair; Jim Webb, R-Derry, Vice Chair


_ Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs: Frank R. Kotowski, R-Hooksett, Chair; Donald LeBrun, R-Nashua, Vice Chair


_ Judiciary: Robert Rowe, R-Amherst, Chair; Joe Hagan, R-Chester, Vice Chair


_ Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services: Will Infantine, R-Manchester, Chair; Tammy Simmons, R-Manchester, Vice Chair


_ Legislative Administration: Richard Hinch, R-Merrimack, Chair; Jack Flanagan, R-Brookline, Vice Chair


_ Municipal and County Government: James Belanger, R-Hollis, Chair; Frank Sterling, R-Jaffrey, Vice Chair


_ Public Works and Highways: Gene Chandler, R-Bartlett, Chair; Mark McConkey, R-Freedom, Vice Chair


_ Resources, Recreation and Development: Chris Christensen, R-Merrimack, Chair; Beverly A. Ferrante, R-Derry, Vice Chair


_ Rules: Shawn Jasper, R-Hudson, Chair; Gene G. Chandler, R-Bartlett, Vice Chair


_ Science, Technology and Energy: Robert Introne, R-Londonderry, Chair; Herb Richardson, R-Lancaster, Vice Chair


_ State-Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs: Russell T. Ober, R-Hudson, Chair; Phillip Straight, R-Merrimack, Vice Chair


_ Transportation: Steven D. Smith, R-Charleston, Chair; Thomas Walsh (r-Manchester) Vice Chair


Author: John DiStaso

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