At the end of the last legislative session when Governor Lynch vetoed the gaming legislation and announced that he was using an executive order to name a gaming study commission. I was really hopeful that the appointees and this very idea would lead to a different and objective direction for the whole discussion of gaming and casinos in New Hampshire. Today, in a press release Governor Lynch named the members of the Commission:
(Source: Press Release, Gov. Lynch Office.)
The members of the commission are:
Andrew Lietz, Chair
Sen. Bob Odell, Lempster
Rep. Jim Craig, Manchester
Mayor Tom Ferrini, Portsmouth
Former state Rep. Ned Densmore, Franconia
Former state Sen. Joseph Foster, Nashua
Former state Rep. David Babson, Ossipee
Police Chief David Bailey, Bedford
Mark MacKenzie, Manchester, president of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO
Bonnie Newman, Portsmouth, former Interim President of the University of New Hampshire and executive dean of the Kennedy School of Government
Michelline Dufort, Concord, vice president of the Office of Advancement for New England College and former executive director of the New Hampshire Lodging and Restaurant Association
Maggie Pritchard, Laconia, executive director of Genesis Behavioral Health in Laconia
Mary Heath, Manchester, dean of the School of Education at Southern New Hampshire University and former state deputy commissioner of Education.
Karen Pollard, Rochester, economic development director for the City of Rochester
Wonder where this Commission is headed?
Not a deep analysis here. But here is my analysis. Discussion follows questions.
Question #1. What one trait does every single member of this Commission share? At one point or another the vast majority these individuals has stated opposition to expanded gambling in New Hampshire. Whether this is in voting records, public testimony, letters to the editor, etc. This includes employment by organizations that are on record as being opposed to expanded casino gaming in New Hampshire. I could only think of one individual that supports expanded gaming, the AFL-CIO president.
To me the scale is not only tipped. Its fallen over and there is sand all over the floor.
Question #2. How many of these individuals have either been employed by a casino or spent any time in a casino as to understand how they operate? How many of these individuals have been to other parts of the the U.S. where there has been recent expanded gaming to see how it works there? These would be interesting answers. Its like an interview I saw one time of a ditzy female PhD trying to give advise to new parents on how to be a good parent. One of the new parents, after listening to a lengthy diatribe filled with words like exactly and absolutely calmly said to the PhD "Do you have any children of your own?" And you'll never guess what the answer was.
The music is playing, strike up the band and let the band play on.
Question #3. If the Commission issues its report does this affect the upcoming legislative session? I can't imagine this commission saying anything other than casino gaming will impact the "way of life in New Hampshire." So this means no casinos which is what Governor Lynch said in the first place.
So why is this commission even needed?
I think Governor Lynch could have done a much better job in finding members for this commission.