Members of the Seacoast branch of the NAACP are planning to vote on whether they will ask for Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky’s resignation during their meeting in Portsmouth this Monday.
President Rogers Johnson told NHJournal on Tuesday that Volinsky will be asked to attend the meeting so he can explain his treatment of two Black nominees to state positions who he called unqualified.
“This is an opportunity for him to explain himself to the branch and they can make their choice on what they want me to do,” Johnson said.
Johnson said a group of members “too numerous to name” have approached him to see if he could issue a formal statement on behalf of the organization of over 100 people.
Johnson said the Seacoast NAACP is not a political organization, and a vast majority of his members are white. He does expect them to vote in favor of asking for Volinsky’s resignation regardless of whether the politician shows up.
Volinsky, executive councilor of District 2, is running for governor. He had to apologize earlier this month for using the term “tokenism” to describe Gov. Chris Sununu’s nomination of Ryan Terrell, a black businessman from Nashua, to the state Board of Education. He also called Terrell’s nomination “demeaning.”
Last week, former Republican U.S. congressional candidate Eddie Edwards said he was withdrawing his nomination to head the Office of Professional Licensure and Certification because Volinsky, along with executive councilors Debora Pignatelli and Michael Cryans, denied him a public hearing for more than 100 days.
“I’m not sure if there has ever been a better example of structural political racism. The is textbook discrimination; delaying, redefining, denying, moving the goal post or using a different set of standards,” Edwards wrote in a letter to Sununu on June 23.
“I know you are also aware that I am the most experienced person ever nominated by you or Governor Hassan for this position. However, I am the only one who has faced such bias and tactical denial by the Executive Council,” Edwards wrote.
Members of the Granite State’s Black Lives Matter movement have referred to Volinsky’s treatment of the nominees as “racist.”
Black people have been told they are unqualified for positions for decades, even if they are not, Johnson said. However, the timing of Volinsky’s statements shocks Johnson, who has experience himself in politics.
Johnson said Volinksy could have supported both men and been deemed a hero on both sides of the aisle. Instead, he chose to make Sununu’s nominations racially divisive.
“He not only shot himself in the foot, he blew both legs off,” Johnson said.
The public meeting will be held at One New Hampshire Avenue in Portsmouth at 6:30 p.m.
Volinsky did not return a request for comment on Tuesday.