Legislative Update, Swanzey By, Barry Faulkner

From My Perspective, December 14, 2017.

Since my last report, the New Hampshire House has met to elect a new Speaker to replace Shawn Jasper, who left to take the job of state Commissioner of Agriculture. We elected Gene Chandler, Representative from Bartlett and a former Speaker of the House, as our new Speaker. Representative Chandler was nominated by his fellow Republicans in a closed caucus, and by agreement, none of the Representatives seeking the Republican nomination challenged Rep. Chandler when the vote came to the floor for a vote by the full House membership. There were a few “protest” votes on the first ballot, but Rep. Chandler received a majority of votes on the second ballot.

Representative Chandler (now Speaker Chandler) was the chair of the committee that I sit on, Public Works and Highways. I have found Speaker Chandler easy to work with, fair and willing to listen, and our committee has a strong record of working together in a bipartisan manner. I am hopeful that this spirit continues with his work as Speaker.

As you may know, Jim McConnell, the other Representative from the Cheshire 12 District, ran for Speaker, and was nominated by the Libertarian Caucus. He was criticized by some other Republicans for refusing to accept the conditions imposed on candidates by the Republican Caucus, and for pursuing this office against such long odds. Jim and I differ on a number of policy issues, but I want to applaud him for one principle that he stood for: that is, that critical decisions should be made by the entire House with full opportunity for debate, and not decided by one group in secret or closed meetings. There are a few issues where Jim and I find common ground: environmental protection, reducing the influence of big money on our elections, and transparency in the legislative process. And we share a concern for how state actions or inaction affect the people of our district, even if we have different ideas on the best way to address these concerns.

The legislative session starts again in early January, and we expect an early vote on a proposal to provide vouchers of almost $4,000 per child to families to send their children to private or parochial schools, or to homeschool them. This proposal would divert funding that could be used for our public schools, and I will not be supporting this bill. Our public schools are vital to providing our kids with the skills they need to compete in today’s economy and to become productive citizens.

A major task of the Public Works and Highways Committee this session

will be updates and revisions to the roads and highway program. forward to a busy and productive session.

Barry Faulkner
State Representative
Cheshire 12 (Swanzey/Richmond) Home: 352-2729 fbfaulkner@outlook.com

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