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House majority leader Bettencourt stepping down next month

New Hampshire Union Leader

May 25. 2012 9:56PM


CONCORD - House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt will resign from the House effective June 6 to take a position with the New Hampshire Legal Rights Foundation, he said Friday.

"It's difficult," Bettencourt said. "This is one of the more difficult decisions I've ever had to make in my life."

Bettencourt said he decided to leave elected office because of his new job and because he is getting married June 2 to Shannon Shutts, who works in the office of House Speaker William O'Brien.

"My focus post-June 6 will be squarely on my family and squarely focused on my professional career," he said. However, "I will still be active in speaking out on the issues that are important to me."

Bettencourt was frequently outspoken during his tenure in the House. The 28-year-old Republican from Salem is the youngest person ever to ascend to the post of majority leader.

"I am deeply grateful for the confidence my colleagues had in me to make their majority leader," Bettencourt said. "It was one of the real honors of my life."

Bettencourt was viewed as one of the rising stars of the state Republican Party.

"I still vividly remember the 20-year-old college student who entered the House with me in 2005, and it's amazing how far he has come in a short period of time," O'Brien said in a statement. "He will undoubtedly be long remembered for his work to bring this budget in balance and for leading efforts to make our state more competitive by bringing a pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda to Concord. I know that D.J. will be moving on, but his legacy in the State House will continue."

"D.J. is one of the young, principled and energetic leaders in our state, and I know he has a bright future ahead of him whether it is in politics, government or the private sector. I wish him the best of luck," state GOP Chairman Wayne McDonald said in a statement.

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