One of the first things a freshman legislator has to do after being elected in November is to decide what committee he/she wants to serve on. Of course every legislator wants to be assigned to Finance which along with the coveteted parking spaces in the LOB parking garage is surrounded by the essential cooking ingredient in politics: power.
No freshman legislator ever gets assigned to finance it just doesn’t happen. I’ve seen powerful legislators enter the house with substantial resources including financial contributions to the leadership but the best these new legislators do are often committees like: Public Works, Science, Technology & Energy and Commerce. Of course they do get the nice parking like the bagged meters adjacent to the State House, and though the aisle seats are quickly taken in the chambers they do get some of these as well.
During my first term I served on the Transportation Committee, at the time and still today my interests were in the policy role transportation has on economic development and why New Hampshire has an especially reactive position on dealing with transportation projects; these involving nearby states which are most noticeable in areas like railroad and intermodal development ideas. Ideas that lead to jobs and taxbase. Unfortunately, for me the Transportation Committee is really the wrong committee for my interests but I decided to remain on the committee; I thought the legislative experience gained here would at least be helpful for an inexperienced freshman legislator, which I clearly was. The Transportation Committee was primarily responsible for issues ancillary to transportation examples: license plates, jet skis on lakes, seat belts on school busses and the list continues on. It would not take long for the Legislative Service Requests (LSRs) to come piling on in the first month we received about 85 in total all which had to be scheduled for hearing once Legislative Services had finished its drafting.
It was about this time that I would start meeting some of the individuals and lobbyists that would be spending a great deal of time at the committee and the work sessions. One of the first of these individuals was an Attorney by the name of Robert Dunn his position was that of Assistant Commissioner of the NH Department of Safety. In my four years in the NH House I would meet all kinds of people; but I can think of a very few that repeatedly demonstrated the leadership and qualifications of Assistant Commissioner Dunn and this was from a variety of challenging circumstances.
New Hampshire was fortunate to have him.
To Be Continued…
Next Blog: Leadership is defined and shown. It’s all in the testimony. But the politics has to enter and when it does…. Enter Attorney John Stephen as the new Assistant Commissioner. Broadway comes to the LOB, or is this the way to be ambitious and successful? I’m going to let you answer this question on your own.