The late House Speaker Tip O’Neill is credited with the phrase and logic that: “All politics is local.”
I am proud to work in a bipartisan manner with local North Country Reps. Sue Ford of Easton; Elaine French, Erin Hennessey and Linda Massimilla of Littleton; Troy Merner of Lancaster; Denny Ruprecht of Landaff; and Jerry Stringham of Lincoln.
We are past our ninth week of the COVID-19 emergency, and the number of new cases each day has soared in just this last week. We are fortunate here in Grafton County that the epidemic is less intense, but we must remain vigilant.
We are so proud of the local residents and organizations who have stepped up to the challenge — the healthcare workers and the first responders, the select boards, White Mountain Community College, the local chambers of commerce — and all the mask makers.
Throughout the crisis, we have spent much of our time helping our constituents find the best route through a confusing bureaucracy. We are directing them to the right resources and agencies to get their needs resolved.
Our work in the House of Representatives was interrupted after our 20-hour marathon House session on March 11–12, when we stayed until 4 a.m. to finish voting on bills sponsored by House members before the deadline. But the hiatus was brief, thanks to Zoom.
Committee work resumed on April 30 with the first virtual meeting of the Finance Committee. All committee meetings are open to the public because of our state’s Right to Know law, and will be posted — with instructions on how to listen in — in the House and Senate calendars at www.gencourt.state.nh.us. Calendars are usually posted on Thursdays or Fridays.
As for meeting in the State House, we would not be able to do that until it is safe.
The N.H. Constitution requires a two-third quorum to be physically in attendance to be able to vote. House leadership from both parties agreed to extend deadlines.
Now they are collaborating on a plan to assemble at a large facility where 400 legislators, plus staff, can maintain social distancing. Our June 11th session at UNH’s Whittemore Center will give us the opportunity to attend to the issues we were elected to work on — healthcare, education, energy diversity, mental health, reducing property taxes and protecting our right to vote (in person or by mail).
Meanwhile, we are here to help.
If you encounter problems or issues, we will do what we can to help you navigate the system. You can email any of us. Go to: http://gencourt.state.nh.us/house/default.aspx and click on “House Roster” to find us — or email me personally, if urgent, at [email protected]
If Gov. Chris Sununu requires us to wear a mask (for a short time), if he gives us better access to free testing and if he works with small businesses and communities — then reopening the economy will work better, go faster and we’ll all get through this a little easier.
Stay safe. Stay strong. Help others.