January 31, 2023
I ended last month by sharing my committee assignment, which is Education. Learning about related processes was my focus in January. To guide this, the NH Department of Education (NH DOE) provided an immersive orientation held at Granite State College. The experience served as an introduction to the multi-faceted topics the committee will make decisions on. Building/renovation aid, federal relief grants, adequacy determination, and special education funding were some of the topics covered. The NH DOE staff were highly knowledgeable and provided valuable resources to the committee.
Following orientation, the Education Committee’s efforts shifted to Public Hearings. In January, the House Education Committee heard forty-eight out of the ninety-one total bills assigned to Education. No other committee has as many bills. Of the forty-eight, the committee voted on nine during executive sessions: five were Ought to Pass (OTP), three were Inexpedient to Legislate (ITL), and one was retained.
Due to statute RSA 91-A, all meetings of public bodies must be open to the public. Therefore, every bill is heard in front of at least one committee and anyone is welcome to attend or testify. A complete list of scheduled hearings is published weekly by the House Clerk’s office and made available on the NH General Court website. I appreciate the efforts of all who have taken part so far and hope to see even more citizen participation in the future.
Sessions can also be viewed by the public. At the Convening Day session, the House voted on rules for the term. Among the rules were proposals relating to firearms and proxy voting. The Republican majority ruled the day with steadfast defense of gun rights and opposition to voting via a substitute. On the following day, the House met in joint-session with the Senate. Hence, members of both legislative bodies were present for Governor Christopher Sununu’s fourth-term inauguration. Following his oath of office, Sununu swore in the Executive Council, which is unique to the Granite State. Notably, all five Councilors were incumbents.
Throughout January, I learned and legislated simultaneously. Advocating for the people of Salem and the betterment of New Hampshire will continue to be my course of action.
December 31, 2022
December was filled with incredible experiences. To open the month, The State House hosted a New Legislator Orientation. In addition to being greeted by experienced legislators, I mingled with newcomers. Districts range from The Canadian border to the Massachusetts border, so the legislature reflects unique New Hampshire varieties. Also, the Orientation provided an opportunity to learn about the different campaign strategies and structural differences to elections across the state.
The most exciting part of December was Organization Day. In accordance with tradition, I, as the youngest representative, began the procession with The Pledge of Allegiance. Later the Governor and Executive Council swore in all legislators. We took our oaths of office and got straight to business. The day’s events included voting for House Speaker, House Clerk, State Treasurer, and Secretary of State. The nominating procedures for each position were underway when, to the shock of many of my colleagues, I was called to speak at the well. The chamber fell silent as I delivered a speech to second the nomination of David Scanlan for Secretary of State. His election was particularly remarkable because he garnered bipartisan support to win by a sizeable margin. I remain confident in his and the other state leaders’ abilities as we embark on a term with many more lengthy sessions to come.
To round out the month, House Committee and seating assignments were released. I will be serving on the Education Committee. My principal aims will be in regard to Education Freedom Accounts (EFA), civics courses, and Career and Technical Education (CTE). I am eager to learn from experienced legislators as December turns into January to begin the new year—a year of possibilities.