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July 06. 2011 11:43AM

Top NH democrat headed to Penn. to work for union

CONCORD - State Democratic Party executive director Rep. Michael Brunelle is leaving New Hampshire for Pennsylvania, where he will head the Service Employees International Union.

Brunelle, 26, said Wednesday will step down from his party post, his seat as a New Hampshire House member and as chair of the Manchester City Democrats.

Brunelle said “I'm very excited by this opportunity and I am going to miss everyone in New Hampshire very much.”

He thanked state Democratic Party chair Ray Buckley and others party officers, “for putting their faith in me and allowing me to lead at such an important time for Democrats.”

Republicans tried this year to prevent Brunelle from taking his seat in the House, saying the state Constitution barred a person paid to advocate for a cause from serving as a state representative. Brunelle and Democrats fought back and the GOP eventually dropped the idea after House counsel said the constitutional provision was aimed at a conflict of interest issue from the 1700s, not modern government operations.

Brunelle is serving his second term in the House, where he is the third-ranking Democrat and a member of the Election Law Committee. The Manchester native has been the party's executive director since 2008. Buckley said Brunelle has been a valuable member of his leadership team.

“I knew it was only a matter of time before Mike's extraordinary talents would be recognized across the country,” Buckley said. “While we are saddened over losing him, we have full confidence that this position will provide him a great opportunity to further expand his ability to improve the lives of working families.”

Brunelle is a recipient of the 2010 New Hampshire Young Democrat of the Year Award, the 2009 Manchester City Democrats' Soucy Award, the 2006 NHDP Grassroots Activist Award, and was named by the Union Leader as one of their '40 under 40' in 2007.

The SEIU PA state council represents three large locals and over 60,000 service employees. The New Hampshire SEIU Local 1984 includes the State Employees Association.


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