Breaking news: Speaker of the New Hampshire House Shawn Jasper of Hudson is all but certain to be returned to the post for the 2017-18 term, as House Republicans caucusing this afternoon to choose a Speaker cast 109 votes for Jasper to 104 for Rep. Laurie Sanborn of Bedford. [Note: Jasper was elected to the Speakership by the full House on the first ballot on December 7.]
The full House will vote on a Speaker on Organization Day, December 7. Traditionally, the majority party’s choice in caucus prevails that day.That doesn’t always happen, though. After Republicans were sharply divided in caucus two years ago, Jasper won the Speakership on Organization Day with help from Democrats.
The New Hampshire House will vote next week on HB 370, repeal of the education tax credit. The House Ways and Means committee voted 10-7 to pass the repeal. The minority report by Rep. Laurie Sanborn (R-Bedford) is worth quoting in full.
“This bill repeals a recently passed scholarship program for lower income families which enables them choice when their child would perform better in a learning environment different from the one they are obligated to attend due to their zip code. The education tax credit bill was well vetted in extensive subcommittee meetings to ensure its constitutionality and effectiveness in helping those that need it, while maintaining our commitment to excellence in the public school system. Caps were placed on the total financial impact on public schools to 1/3 of one percent of the total education budget. The law was also carefully constructed to hold a school district harmless financially if more students leave than would be typical with regular relocation and attrition. The credit has only been in effect for one month. Just the mere mention of a potential repeal has caused potential business participants to be reluctant to contribute to the scholarship program. The minority believes it is imperative that we give this scholarship program – and the children it is aimed at helping – a chance to succeed and keep our promise to the hundreds of families who have already applied for this assistance.”
Today, I’m a guest at “This One’s For the Girls”, a 2012 Women’s Summit organized by former New Hampshire state representative and GOP national committeewoman I am in debt to Phyllis for welcoming me as representative of Cornerstone Action, even though I’m not a Republican. Call me a lapsed Republican.
After prayer and pledge, program begins with a greeting from NHGOP chairman Wayne MacDonald followed by an RNC video on the history of American women’s suffrage. Let it not be forgotten that women’s history is not the exclusive province of the Democratic party.
I can’t thank Phyllis enough. Her service to NH through the years has been remarkable, and her friendship and mentoring to me means a great deal. This event is happening thanks to her.
Rep. Pam Tucker, Deputy Speaker of the NH House, on women in the legislature: interesting that until 1998, GOP women outnumbered Democratic women in the NH House. Thanks to the 2010 GOP landslide, there are now 58 GOP women in the House and three in the Senate. “Can you imagine if we had a Republican majority of women in the House?” Says “there is a massive support system in the House & Senate” for women.
As for “women’s issues”, “we are making a difference to the future of the state.” She goes on to list those issues: education; strong economy; strong families; public safety; environment; embracing new technology; health care.
(My comment: I give Rep. Tucker full marks for staying on message. Abortion and the life issues are being supported but not stressed by House leadership. Of course, we all know that Republican does not necessarily mean pro-life or conservative. One must vet one’s candidates. I could add this to every post today, but I won’t.)
“You will be a role model, whether you like it or not” if you’re elected. True enough. In my opinion, that’s why it’s so heartbreaking when an elected Republican woman votes against things like parental notification and informed consent. On the other hand, it’s good to see so many pro-life GOP reps here today. May their tribe increase.
Next speaker: Susie Hudson, Vermont’s GOP National Committeewoman, on the Republican National Committee: she rightly starts with thanks & recognition to Phyllis Woods, who has just stepped down as NH’s committeewoman. She notes that RNC has a rule that chair and co-chair must be of opposite genders. (Affirmative action? You decide.) She gets applause when she says she’d like to get rid of that gender rule completely (Good!), but an attempt to change that rule has thus far not gained sufficient support. Hudson goes on to encourage involvement in party leadership on the state level, and RNC is developing training programs to make that easier.
Next up: panel with Sen. Nancy Stiles, Rep. Laurie Sanborn, and Rep. Lynne Blankenbeker, discussing how they decided to run and what it’s like being in office.
NS: three terms in House before being elected to Senate in 2010. Her work with her professional association brought her to Concord to testify as a member of the public, and she found herself facing committees “full of men” who were not particularly responsive. Result: running for office. She serves on the Senate Education committee. In the Senate, “you look at all the stakeholders in the room, and ask ‘can you all live with the language in this bill?’ If so, we tend to support it.” Unlike the House, the Senate does not have time to “get down into the weeds” on bills. She plans to run for re-election.
LS: Never considered herself politically active until about four years ago. The LLC tax passed a few years ago (“an income tax on small businesses”) galvanized her and her husband (now-Sen. Andy Sanborn) into running. She challenged an 18-year incumbent, and “never thought in a million years I could win” in a college town, “but I did it.” Useful piece of advice she got: “be an expert on something,” which in her case is business. She looked around for a coalition of like-minded legislators, and when she couldn’t find one, she started one. Praises House Republican Alliance for its support. “Women have a special bond … we can do great things together.” Will run again, but she’s moving from Henniker to Bedford and so will have a new district in which to campaign.
LB: A nurse and naval officer by profession (recently returned from Afghanistan); went to law school “to build credibility” as she advocated for veterans. Working for former Congressman & NH Supreme Court Justice Chuck Douglas in his law/lobbying practice exposed her to day-to-day legislative work. Watching a parental notification vote from the gallery one day when the Democrats were in control, she was livid to see so many seats empty on the House floor. “I wanted to be part of the solution… I had no idea how hard this (campaigning) would be.” She gets applause when she says how parental notification was eventually passed. She recommends the Vesta Roy program for GOP NH women, which she thinks would have helped her as a candidate. Won her House seat in a special election by 17 votes, and then won a regular election by 40 votes – no mean feat in Concord! Does not plan to seek re-election; she has been recalled to Afghanistan. “Step up,” she concludes. She also gives a shout-out to homeschoolers for the effective way they tend to communicate with legislators – no canned emails.
In the Q&A, Rep. Laurie Pettengill asks “do you think about the GOP platform when you vote?” Stiles: yes, “but I also think about the people I represent. ” Sanborn: “absolutely, and I also look at my palm card” to be reminded of her promises. Blankenbeker: “The first thing I look at is constitutionality … [then] does this align with our party values … [then] liberty … and constituency.”
Morning break means going to the literature table in the lobby. I note that the NH House Republican Victory PAC has a flyer for a candidate training class in Concord June 16, 9 a.m.-noon.Next speaker: Christine Peters, NH Federation of Republican Women, talks about her 13-year involvement in the NHFRW and how the group fosters political involvement. The money they raise goes in large part to GOP women running for office. (By the way NHFRW has one of the more useful handouts in the lobby: “Running for NH House 101.”) Christine promotes the Lilac Luncheon, coming up May 21 in Nashua, with Anita Moncrief (of exposing-ACORN fame) speaking on “Integrity of the Ballot Box” (voter ID).Jen Wrobleski on the role of a delegate and state committee member: I, your faithful blogger, leave the details to those who want to contact the state GOP. (Sorry, Ms. Wrobleski.) I will add that running for delegate gives you a seat at the party convention this fall, allowing one to vote on the party platform. I was a delegate several times in my far-distant Republican past. Filing period and election are the same as for state reps.
As Wrobleski is peppered with questions about the somewhat convoluted state committee process, I look around the room and note that there’s a broad age range represented in this room. That goes for presenters as well as attendees. That’s good to see. I wonder if there’s good geographic distribution as well. I’m pleased to see one rep from Littleton, and I hope she brought some friends with her.
And now for first-term Rep. Regina Birdsell, who’s not only a terrific state rep but someone I respect very much for her work on Sen. Santorum’s recent presidential campaign. (And she’s running for re-election – good news!) She’s here today to speak about NH’s unique Vesta Roy Excellence in Public Service Program, which has become one of the most respected political training programs in the state. She graduated from the program in ’09.
Last one. I’ll skip remarks on the upcoming luncheon speaker, Nashua mayor Donnalee Lozeau, whose topic is “How to find balance and do it all.” Puh-leeze. There’s balance, and there’s doing it all, and there’s a difference, and I say that with due respect to the accomplished Mayor Lozeau. I once heard a quote attributed to actress Katharine Hepburn, who was asked whether a woman could have it all. “Yes,” she replied, “but not all at once.” To me, a married woman with five grown kids and a job and therefore some experience in this area, that has the ring of truth.
Phyllis Woods mentions plans for 2012 “victory offices” statewide – satellite offices of the GOP, which proved so effective in 2010 – which of course are dependent on financial support for the GOP. Volunteers will be needed in these offices as well. When I worked for John Stephen in 2010 on his gubernatorial campaign, those offices and the people in them were tremendously helpful. Even as an independent, I knew a good thing when I saw one. Of course, these offices will help any GOP man or woman, including the ones who will earn the title of RINO and the ones who will vote against every imaginable piece of pro-life legislation. That’s where pro-life PACs & activist groups come in. I’m glad to be with Cornerstone.
Alicia Preston, communications whiz & consultant: “I talk to people about how to talk to people.” Oh, and “how to not get in trouble with the media … Be cautious, but never fear them…Be concise and be accurate.” Reasonable advice. I like the way she handles Q&A. She talks a mile a minute and manages to be clear at the same time.
All this good nuts-and-bolts information is probably being spread by both parties in forum after forum. I’m not sure where the seeds will take root. It’s interesting to see the turnout here today & to hear the applause for things like parental notification. The filing period in a few weeks will tell me if all this training is a step in the right direction.