By Rep. Gregg Hough
News flash – or possibly a statement of the obvious: to date, the NH House democrats have shown little interest in performing their elected duties. Instead, their goal has been to ensure the current House session operates with the most difficulty as possible. Add in the fact that they have apparently declared political war on Republicans for the next two years, just as Democrats did at the national level for the last four years.
It all started on Organization Day, well, actually prior. NH House democrat leadership began to complain to the newly-elected Republican majority leadership about the confined quarters of UNH indoor arena, and how holding a House session there would make it impossible to remain safe from Covid 19. Ironically, and hypocritically, months before, with the virus already surging, the then democrat majority looking to pass their legislation was just fine with the identical venue. That would be the gathering where house democrats would rail against the “mask-less republicans” until pictures surfaced with the democrat majority leader Doug Ley a mere couple feet away talking with a fellow Democrat, both without facemasks. Do as I say, not as I do hypocrites.
In an effort to accommodate the pseudo-concerns raised by the House minority democrats, then-Speaker Hinch decided to hold the event outdoors on the field in front of the arena with everyone spaced a minimum of six feet apart along with the opportunity to wear a mask. But no, this would not do for the science-denying democrat obstructionists. So, on the very first day of their term, 160 democrats, egged-on by their leadership, boycotted organization day. Their desire for political theatre trumped the “settled science” of Covid 19 avoidance. All but a few Republicans showed up to sit outdoors in 40-degree weather for hours. Over 80% of the democrats failed their first duty after being elected.
Next, on our first House session day, Wednesday, January 6th, acting Speaker Sherm Packard attempted to satisfy the Democrats’ nonsensical concerns once again and arranged a drive-in-style meeting in a UNH parking lot. The logistics were immense, but they were overcome by the hard work of many with not an iota of help from the democrats. Under the plan, all the democrats could sit safely in their own car with the ability to even vote or speak to the issues from in their car. How could they possibly oppose this setup, right? Well, no, the narrative became “we are going to sue the Republicans because this setup upsets this, offends that, and disenfranchises whomever.” Even with these excessive safeguards, 25% of democrats failed to show. More political theatre.
The latest reports coming from the house democrat leadership to their members is “do not set foot into the statehouse” for committee hearings or other business. Just how much longer are they going to continue playing these political games? At the end of February, the House of Representatives will hold two full days of deliberations on current legislation. Will the democrats refuse to show up or threaten to sue, again?
At some point in the not-so-distant future when the conditions warrant, the NH House will be back in full session utilizing the same procedures that were in place prior to Covid. When that time comes, will the democrats still be obstructing our legislative process by boycotting House Sessions for further political theatre? From our Republican point of view, we can only hope so. It will make passing solid Republican legislation very easy.
Gregg Hough is a Republican state representative from Laconia and serves on the Labor, Industrial, and Rehabilitative Services Committee.