Rep Steve Vaillancourt


Don't Do It Gene--Not These Three, Please!

As I was pondering whether to post this rather provocative piece, I looked down in my driveway and discovered an orange and white "Gene" button.  It must have fallen from the pile of stuff I was bringing into the House after dark the other night.
Let's consider it an omen and let's place valor over discretion here.
As much as I admire Gene Chandler and was happy to vote for him for Republican leader Thursday night, I fear that he is going to bring back three of the people I like say I loathe the three would not be going too...far into his leadership team.
Please, Mister Minority Leader, I beg of you.  Do not UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES surround yourself with the likes of Shawn Jasper of Hudson, David Hess of Hooksett, and Sherm Packard of Londonderry.  The three were not among those nominating or seconding Chandler's nomination the other night...they were all in the background... so apparently he realizes how unpopular they are with many House Republicans!
Let's start with Packard, perhaps the least objectionable of the three.  As minority leader two terms ago, he was an absolute disaster for minority House Republicans.  He is also a bully in the tradition of Billy The Bully and is no true conservative.  As Transportation Chair, he built a career out of defending laws which he would then proceed to break on a regular basis (the speed limit for example).  During a debate on the every other year car inspection bill, he came close to assaulting me on the House floor, sticking his finger so close to my eye that I considered filing assault charges.  The people of Londonderry re-elected this bully, but nowhere near at the top of the ticket.  He should have no place in leadership, yet I fear he will.
Then there's Hess who loves to be placed on numerous committees and then not bother to show up.  He'll waltz in the room and expect the rest of the committee to get him up to speed on the issue he's missed.  This happened when he was with me on Local and Regulated Revenues and Redistricting.  He also cannot be trusted.  I've listened to him for years on the House floor, and there is absolutely no one I trust less.  To say he will lie at the drop of a gavel may be an overstatement, so let's put it this way.  In his speeches, dozens of times, he has stretched the truth to such a degree it is not recognizable.  He's also an old school bully who won't tolerate anyone who disagrees with his perverted view of the world.  He should have no place in leadership, yet I fear he will.
Then there's His Vileness Himself who plays as fast and loose with the facts and Packard but without the convictions.  Unlike Hess who actually believes in certain causes, Jasper will say or do anything that he thinks will advance his cause or tear down someone else.  Note how he slurred Matt Quandt a drunk, a matter that was picked up by the opposition to help defeat the Exeter Republican this election.  Note how it was Jasper leading the charge to have Rep Chandler not merely censured but actually thrown out of the House those many years ago.  When the going got tough with Democrats taking over the Hillsborough County delegation, Jasper simply quit his position on the Executive Committee.  Mister Minority Leader, I know that placing His Vileness in a position of leadership would show that you don't hold grudges.  But Shawn Jasper should have no place in leadership; I fear he will.
Lest I be accused of simply being negative, here are three suggestions of people who possess the three most important qualities in public life--intelligence, honesty, and willingness to work hard.
Mister Minority Leader, you obviously realize what a tremendous asset Laurie Sanborn is; she gave the best speech seconding your nomination the other night and seems to know what it will take to get the Grand Ol Party out of the wilderness.
Although he was too close to Billy The Bully, Dan McGuire is intelligent, honest, and hard working.  As one of the leaders of the House Republican Alliance the past two years, he is the perfect link to the conservative or so-called Tea Party wing of the party.
I would also recommend two of my favorite Republicans....favorite elected officials in fact...Neal Kurk and John Hunt.   Although I gather than Neal would prefer more a policy position (finance of course), I think it's time to elevate the Honorable Representative from Rindge above Commerce into the front line of leadership.
I fear that it'll be Jasper, Hess, and Packard when it should be Sanborn, McGuire, and Hunt as the three leaders next in line to Gene Chandler.
I know, nobody asked me, but there was that orange and white button staring at me from the pavement as I got to my car this morning.

Arlinghaus Flunks Basic Arithmetic

Great Numbers Cruncher?  No, not at all!
Charlie Arlinghaus, the Josiah Bartlett numbers cruncher and Union Leader columnist, lost all credibility in my humble opinion last Friday night.
In an attempt to avoid Great the Stammerer and other Fox apologists for the GOP, I'm seeking new sources of news and have begun to watch the WBIN 10 o'clock news (that's Channel 50, the one owned by former Senatorial candidate Bill Binnie, everyone's Facebook friend).
The news isn't half bad, too much coverage of Massachusetts for my taste, but they do also cover New Hampshire.
Three days after the election, there was Arlinghaus The Wise pontificating on the numbers from the election.  He actually said that Republicans lost about a quarter of their seats in both the New Hampshire House and Senate.
"Hmmm..." I said to myself, reaching for a calculator (although I had pretty much figured the number out in my head already), "That doesn't seem could a so-called number crunching expert be so wrong."
In fact, Republicans lost 40 percent, not 25 percent, in the New Hampshire House, going from 298 in the 2010 election to 179 this year (it was 178 when Arlinghaus pontificated, but one seat was gained in a recount).
Join me in doing the math now.  Since it was 178 at the time; let's use that number.  298 minus 178 equals 120.  Thus, we have a loss of 120 and need only figure out what percentage 120 is of 298 to get the proper answer.  No, it's not 25 percent.  In fact, it's 40.268 percent, but let's round up to 40.2 percent.  Arlinghaus, who is often brought in to tout his numbers to House and Senate panels, was off by more than 15 perecent.  40 percent is actually closer to "a half their seats" than "a quarter of their seats".
But that was only part of his problem.  He used the one quarter number in an attempt to equate House and Senate losses, as if to imply that the Republican loss in the Senate was just as bad.
So let's do the math for that body as well.  Republicans lost six of 19 Senate seats.  That was when I checked the calculator (and always will be) 31.6 percent.0.2 is much greater than 31.6, so to equate Senate and House losses is simply absurd, irresponbily so.  In fact, only one Rebpblican incumbent Senator lost (Luther of Nashua) while the number of House losers was...did I read somewhere...north of 75.
Not only was Arlinghaus wrong in his numbers (I guess we can accept that even from a numbers crunching whiz) but he was totally wrong in the suggestion that voters were upset equally with Republicans in the House and Senate.
Wake up Charlie, it's later than you think.  You don't need a calculator to understand why the Grand Ol Party was so devastated in the NH House...two words...well, perhaps three...will suffice.  BILLY THE BULLY.
Many in the media (including Nashua Telegraph editorial writers this week) are getting what I was saying all summer.  Bill O'Brien would take the GOP down to a terrible defeat.  To say that it was just as bad in the Senate as the House is simply wrong!
Arlinghaus should know better!
Oh by the way, I've told you before that once I lose respect for someone, I no longer listen when he or she speaks.  Thus it came as good news that the remote control was right at hand when WBIN attempted to serve up another dose of Arlinghaus at Ten last night.

Welcome Back Four Democratic Women...Farewell Two Manchester Friends

Two years ago when I was making predictions for the New Hampshire House, I noted five of my favorite Democrats, all women just by chance, who I didn't think would be back.
They were not.
When I was looking through the races this year, I noted that four of them had a good chance of winning, if perhaps to quote the "great" Vermont comic Francis Colburn "just barely".  (The fifth, Liz Merry of Belknap County, did not run; she was involved in the Jackie Cilley campaign).
They all won, and count me as one Republican who'll be overjoyed to see them all back.  We don't always agree but they brought and will bring far more honor to the House than many of the losing Republicans who I agreed with more often (sad, but true).
Welcome back Carol Friedrich of Grafton 16 (she's from the small town of Wentworth which I covered back in my newspaper days with the Plymouth Record...I'll never forget Wentworth's five-hour annual school meetings!).
Welcome come Katherine Mulholland from Grafton 17.  She and I served together on both Ways and Means and Local and Regulated Revenues, and it'll be good to see her although, sad to say, she beat one of my very favorite Republicans (Paul Simard of Bristol...hey, good people lose when a fascist takes over as leader of your party...may it never happen again, GOP).
Carol and Katherine were part of the the huge GOP takeover in Grafton County, made possible in large part by the disgraced loser Paul "I Sold Out On Redistricting" Mirski.
Welcome back also to two Hillsborough County Democrats, Melanie Levesque of Brookline and Shannon Chandley of Amherst.  Shannon actually came in first in a highly Republican town and ousted Ways and Means Chair Steve "I Wanted To Be On The County Executive Committee but Then  Never Showed Up!" Stepanek.
Welcome back.
Democrats went from only one Representative in all the Hillsborough County towns to 17 and they went from virtual nonexistence in the county to a 56-66 lead (they lead 24-3 in Nashua, 25-7 in Manchester; Republicans lead 46-17 in the towns).
Among good people who lost in Manchester  were my dear friend and passenger Republican Irene Messier (oh well...there goes the LOB parking space) and long-time Democrat Ben Baroody.  Together, they had close to a half century of service in the New Hampshire House.  Sad, but true.  Their departure leads the Ward 8 Rep entering his ninth term as dean of the city's delegation.
Who on the planet could that be???
I'll also miss Manchester Republicans Tammy Simmons and Win Hutchinson.  I will not miss two of the Manchester redistricting snakes who lost...they fully deserved to lose...yes they would be Carlos Gonzalez and Ross Terrio.  Only one of the seven snakes remain...and don't expect me to ever write or utter his name.  He remains a non-person in my book and always will.  Once you give your word of honor and back out, you're dead as far as I'm concerned.

A Link To Life...And War As A Science

I still haven't listened to Sara Koenig's piece on New Hampshire on the NRP show This American Life, but someone has sent me a link to it, so here it is for all to check out at your leisure.
Interestingly, I've received numerous comments on the feature, all favorable.  And it's been mentioned in other media.  Here's what Hippo Press publisher Jody Reese had to say this week in an editorial entitled "Don't Drink The Kool-Aid",
"Not only was O'Brien dumped as Speaker but he didn't even come in first in his own district.  His neighbors preferred someone else.  But that's what happens when parties and politicians who win big think they have a mandate.  O'Brien and many in the House with him overstepped, going after social issues and even trying to get TSA officials classified as sex offenders for doing their jobs (ah yes, I remember it comment).  O'Brien's tenure was so strange and out of place in New Hampshire that if it didn't actually happen, few would believe it could be possible.  The National Public Radio show "This American Life" even did a segment on O"Brien pointing out how he seemed mad with power.  He actually banned Concord Monitor reporters from his conferences because he didn't like a cartoon the paper published.  The reality is that New Hampshire voters never wanted an O'Brien-type running the state house; they didn't want Washington style nastiness."
What more could I add to that...except Amen...or perhaps "Sieg Heil".
Oh by the way, here's an example of how the general public gets things messed up.  At a recount this week, I ran into someone I had worked with in Derry 20 years ago.  She's remains a friend and like most of my friends is far more liberal than I am.  She told me she loved it when I said "Mein Fuhrer" to the Speaker.
Of course, I never said any such thing.  Just an innocuous little phrase like "Hail Victory" Mr. Speaker, but today we say, "Hail defeat, Billy the Bully."  What's the German word for defeat?
Here's the link to Sarah's NPR piece.  One of the things that got left on the cutting room floor was, "What musical does the NH House remind you of?"
I think I had a great answer.  I went back to my college days when Ben Vereen (and Irene Granny Ryan) were starring in Pippin, a show about a soldier in Charlemagne's army.  "War Is a Science" was my favorite song.  I even wrote a parody of it back in 1999 when I was on Neal Kurk's finance committee.  "War is a science with rules to be applied which good soldiers appreciate, recall, and recapitulate...before they go to decimate the other side."
But I digress...

Sarah's piece starts at about 26 minutes in and runs the rest of the show.
As a bonus, here's the link to "War Is A Science" as well.  It's great stuff.
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Chandler Wins Republican Leader Position













As predicted on this blog a few days ago, Gene Chandler, former Speaker of the New Hampshire House, won the race for minority (that is to say for Republican) leader Thursday evening.

The vote of 91-79 was also in the margin predicted here.

Strangely, Robert Rowe, outgoing Judiciary Committee Chair, seconded the nomination for Chandler after he had appeared in a posting from Ken Weyler (outgoing Finance Chair) announcing that he, Rowe, was on board for Pam Tucker, outgoing Speaker Bill O'Brien's deputy the past two years.

As they left Reps Hall, many Republicans (yours truly included of course) were heard to say that the vote represents a repudiation of O'Brien's leadership style which many in the print and electronic media are now blaming for the GOP loss of 120 seats in the House.  (For example, I heard Grant Bosse expound on that very topic on the WGIR morning show yesterday).

Weyler, in nominating Tucker, tried to portray Chandler as someone who is not conversant with modern technology.  "It's not just phone call and letters any more," he stated.  He also stressed that seniority is not enough.

The majority of Republicans obviously disagreed.  I thought the best speech was from Bedford Rep Laurie Sanborn who had been rumored to be interested in the job herself.  She said that contrary to rumors, it's not a question of who is more moderate of more conservative, but rather of who is best qualified to bring members of the party together.  Speaking of Republican losses, she stressed that the party cannot act as if nothing happened or the same thing will happen again in 2014.

In his remarks, Chandler stressed how Republicans could be proud that they balanced the budget, provided accurate revenue estimates, and proposed no new taxes during their tenure the past two years.

Lynn Ober, of Hudson, also seconded the Chandler nomination.

Tucker chose newly elected Representative Jane Cormier, of Alton, as one of her seconders.  Another was more of a surprise.  As he seconded Tucker, Dan Tamburello, of Londonderry, boasted of his 15 years as a Marine, but failed to mention his less than 50 percent attendance on House roll call votes this past year, a strange choice indeed for the speech.

Traditionally, the minority leader appoints members to various committees, and the Speaker accepts them although the Speaker always has final say, something Terri Norelli exercised when she took over in 2006.

Normally the Speaker (Democrats Norelli, of Portsmouth, and David Campbell, of Nashua, will face off Saturday--most expect Norelli will prevail) tells the minority leaders how many seats they will have on each committee, and the minority leader fills the spots.

It is widely expected that no matter who is chosen Speaker, Bill O'Brien's committee of redress of grievances will be long gone. 

To relieve the undue burden on the Municipal and County Government Committee, Speaker Norelli four years ago created the Local and Regulated Revenues Committee which O'Brien abandoned.

The Democratic Speaker's first challenge may be a mathematical one.  With the loss of a seat in Newmarket due to a recount yesterday, Democrats hold a 221-179 lead.  Work out the math, and you discover that 20-member committees should be 11-9, but the 26-member Finance Committee should be 14-12 (221 divided by 400 times 26 is 14.364; round down to 14; 179 divided by 400 times 26 equals 11.635; round up to 12).

Should the Democratic Speaker attempt to give Democrats 15 seats to only 11 for Republicans on Finance, the well may well be poisoned before the first vote is cast!  Just a heads up; some people, dedicated to fairness from both parties, are already running the numbers!

The victory by Chandler over Tucker can be considered a win for anti-gambling forces.  He has long opposed expanded gambling while Tucker's go to man, Weyler, has been its biggest advocate (outside of Senator Lou D'Allesandro of course).

Norelli has always been anti-gambling; Campbell pro gambling.  Even though Governor-Elect Maggie Hassan has expressed support for expanded gambling in the state, here's another prediction....expect it to fail once again in the House.

During the Republican voting, Concord Monitor reporter Ann Marie Timmins was seated just outside within earshot of what was said.  It'll be interesting to see how she reports on it.  Media was not allowed inside the closed caucus, but during a two hour q. and a. prior to the caucus, more than one current Rep (albeit not re-elected and thus not eligible to vote) such as David Bates, the lightning rod from Windham, was very much in evidence.

Also during the open q. and a. session, Rep George Lambert, of Litchfield (and sad to say, Wards 8--my ward--and 9 in Manchester) attempted to delve into leader Chandler's past (the corn roast).  Several Republicans left the room when Lambert went into his antics.  "How did that guy ever get re-elected?" one was heard to say. 

I second that question. 

Lamber is a disgrace to the party and the House!