I ran for and was elected to the NH House of Representatives (twice) as a Republican. I am not a Republican In Name Only. I support the platform of the New Hampshire Republican Party and I vote in accordance with its principles.
If I could no longer support its platform, I would change my party affiliation, but under no circumstances would I lie to the voters in my district and in my party by claiming to be a Republican if I were not.
The Republican Party today has a very slim majority in the NH House. Thus. the composition of each standing committee of the House is populated with members of each political party in proportion to the overall party representation in the House at large. This results in each committee generally having a very slight majority of Republican members, so the loss of even a single vote by a committee member going over to the “other side” could spell the end for legislation sponsored by the majority party.
During the week of February 15, four bills relating to protection of life and abortion issues came before the House Judiciary Committee, to which I was assigned by the Speaker of the House.
I did not ask to be assigned to that committee, but the Speaker ultimately has the unfettered power to make committee assignments and designations of chairs of committees. The Judiciary Committee has 21 members- 10 Democrats and 11 Republicans. And it is chaired by Representative Edward “Ned” (rhymes with the color red) Gordon from Bristol.
The outcome of the votes on all four of those bills was that they were voted Inexpedient to Legislate (“ITL”) by a vote of 11 to 10, with all Democrats voting in favor of the ITL motion, joined by the Committee Chair, with all 10 other Republicans on the committee voting against the ITL motion. An earlier motion of Ought to Pass was defeated by the same 11 to 10 vote.
Normally, an ITL recommendation by a standing committee spells the end of proposed legislation, but fortunately the full House ultimately overturned that ITL recommendation on two of those bills and passed them.
Having been so disappointed and upset at the actions of the Committee Chair, on February 21 I emailed the Speaker of the House & the Majority Leader of the House, asking that the Committee Chair be removed as chair and as a member of the committee so he could be replaced with a real Republican who would vote in keeping with the principles of the party platform. Since I was under no illusions that they might agree with my request, I asked if they would not do so, that they remove me from that committee and either assign me to a different committee or to no committee at all (there are a few Reps who do not have committee assignments at their request). This is my email so you can see for yourselves what I said:
Dear Mr. Speaker & Mr. House Majority Leader:
In the past week, it has become clear that the chair of the Judiciary Committee no longer has my confidence in his ability to lead the committee effectively. Although I am sure that other Republicans on the committee may share my views, I do not pretend to speak for them.
While all other Republican members of the Judiciary Committee voted to pass the following bills last week, the Chair voted with the 10 Democrats on the committee to kill them by votes of 11 to 10 in each case:
- HB 233- relative to the right of any infant born alive to medically appropriate and reasonable care and treatment
- HB 430- repealing the prohibition on entering or remaining on a public way or sidewalk adjacent to a reproductive health care facility
- HB 434- prohibiting the use of public funds for abortions
- HB 625- relative to the protection of fetal life
Each of his votes on these bills was contrary to the NHGOP Platform.
This probably should not be surprising inasmuch as Rep. Gordon is apparently well known for his political views that fly in the face of many of the principles in the platform of the NHGOP.
I have heard from a number of constituents and other interested voters in our state questioning the outcome of those bills when our Judiciary Committee supposedly has Republicans in the majority, albeit by a single vote.
With such a slim majority in the House and in Judiciary, does it really make sense to have as its Chair an individual who does not stand for and vote for the principles of our party? The slimness of our majority makes every single vote even more important than it might be if we held an overwhelming majority.
Accordingly, I respectfully request that you remove Edward “Ned” Gordon from the chairmanship of, and membership in, the Judiciary Committee as soon as possible and replace him with a true Republican who will provide sound leadership and vote with the Republicans and the platform of the NHGOP.
The existing Vice Chair, Rep. McLean, could easily move up to the Chair position and would make an excellent choice.
But since I have been advised that it is probable that you will not accede to this request from me and perhaps others, I advise you formally that I am not willing to continue to serve on the Judiciary Committee as long as Rep Gordon is either a member or its Chair, so if he is to continue in those roles, please remove me from the Judiciary Committee and either assign me to another committee (Judiciary was neither my first, nor my second nor my third choice- it was purely your decision to place me on it), or to no committee at all. I will not continue to serve on Judiciary under his leadership since to do so would make me complicit in his unacceptable voting conduct and give my constituents and supporters the impression that I condone his actions, which I definitely do not.
As a courtesy and to explain my position on this matter, I am copying the other Republican members of Judiciary, the Belknap County Republican Committee voting members for which I serve as County Chair, and the other members of the Belknap County Delegation to the House.
Now, over 10 days has passed since my email and the responses to it I have received: silence; nothing; nada; zilch. I am still waiting for a response, and the absence of any meaningful response is, in my view, not only discourteous but disrespectful to me and to my constituents.
Perhaps thinking that I would simply slink away and be quiet, they were misinformed. I have to date refused to participate in the executive sessions of the Judiciary Committee, because to do so would make me complicit in the actions of the chair.
I refuse to be a victim and refuse to give those who collaborate and support RINOs “the sanction of the victim,” which means the willingness of the good to suffer at the hands of the evil, to accept the role of sacrificial victim for the “sin” of creating values.
If you agree that the chair of the Judiciary Committee should be removed as chair and as a member of that very important committee and replaced with a real Republican, you might consider emailing the Speaker of the House at Sherman.Packard@leg.state.nh.us & firstname.lastname@example.org, and the Majority Leader of the House at Jason@Osborne4NH.com. And tell them how you feel about this matter.