Incoming New Hampshire House Speaker Bill O’Brien told the New Hampshire Journal on Monday that Rep. Gene Chandler has again accepted his invitation to serve as Speaker Pro Tem in the upcoming term.
O’Brien defeated Chandler in a narrow 116-112 vote of the incoming Republican majority caucus on Nov. 18 and immediately announced that he would ask Chandler to be part of his leadership team.
O’Brien said today that Chandler has accepted the post and the House Republican Office then issued a press release.
It will be a return engagement for Chandler, himself a former House speaker, as Speaker Pro Tem. O’Brien named him to the same post after defeating him in the caucus for the first time in 2010.
O’Brien said the position will not be ceremonial in nature.
“He is a great team member, and as I did the last time, I will rely on him for his experience and his good instincts and he is of course close to many in the caucus. It is all very helpful.
“I’m very pleased that he is going to join the team,” O’Brien said. “It is a clear indication that we are going to come together and have a unified caucus and based on that, we will reach out to the Governor and the Democrats to work to solve our state’s problems.”
O’Brien is expected to announce other top members of his leadership team after he is officially elected Speaker on Wednesday, when all House members will meet for Organization Day and are expected to elect O’Brien Speaker over Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff. He is expected to initially name a House Majority Leader, Deputy Speaker and chairs of key committees, such as Finance and the Ways and Means panel.
O’Brien also confirmed in an interview – as the New Hampshire Journal first reported on Nov. 22 – that he met informally with Gov. Maggie Hassan shortly after being elected by the caucus.
Although the two have been critical of each other in the past, O’Brien said “we had a great meeting. We agreed that both of us have the ability to get under each other’s skin, but that is not going to be the case going forward and we would rather figure out solutions.”
Regarding the Chandler announcement, O’Brien said in a statement:
“In his 17 terms serving the citizens of New Hampshire, Gene has consistently demonstrated his commitment to the state and has been a leader at every level of the House. There is no one more knowledgeable than Gene on the institution and tradition of this body. Moreover, he has been a reliable voice for limited, effective government in keeping with the values Granite Staters hold dear. I’m thrilled he’s joined our leadership team and look forward to him playing an important role in moving our state forward over the next session.”
“I look forward to working with Speaker O’Brien over the next two years and hope all Republican House members will join us in our efforts to restore New Hampshire’s economy. He shares my concerns about making sure that New Hampshire delivers fiscally accountable government that lives within its means to the public. That begins with responsible revenue estimates and holding the Governor and state agencies to task for staying within their budgets. Together, we can make sure that our state’s fiscal house is in order and we take the steps to get New Hampshire’s economy back on track and growing again.”