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School board member Wihby named state director for Sen. Ayotte

New Hampshire Union Leader

February 20. 2014 12:00PM

David Wihby 

CONCORD - Longtime Deputy Labor Commissioner David Wihby has been named state director for U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte.

Wihby said the last day of his 25-year run in the number two post at the Labor Department will end March 6 and that he begins his new job March 10.

"My family feels and, I think, Kelly feels that it's a good fit," Wihby said. "I'm anxious to get started."

Wihby said he sees a lot of similarities between the two roles and said his transition should be smooth.

"I'm still helping constituents of the state," he said. "It's almost the same type of role. Now it's just on the federal level."

He said he isn't nervous about giving up a seemingly secure job for a political appointment that could disappear if Ayotte, a Republican serving her first term, should not win reelection in 2016. "As long as Kelly keeps doing a good job," she should be reelected, he said.

In a statement, Ayotte said Wihby will replace Orville "Bud" Fitch II, who has served as state director since she took office in January 2011. Fitch will take on the position of legal counsel for her Senate office, she said.

"Bud has an outstanding legal background, and I look forward to receiving his advice and counsel as I address legislative issues," Ayotte said in a prepared statement. "David Wihby brings extensive experience in state and local government to the position of state director, and he will help me continue to provide New Hampshire citizens with the efficient and effective constituent service they deserve."

Labor Commissioner James Craig said he's sorry to see Wihby go.

"Although I'm not happy to lose him, I understand his decision and I wish him all the best," Craig said. "Dave and I are friends. There is nothing but good will between us."

Marc Goldberg, spokesman for Gov. Maggie Hassan, said: "The governor appreciates Dave Wihby's service to the people of New Hampshire and wishes him all the best in the future."

Wihby, a Manchester school board member who previously served 18 years as a Manchester alderman, said he is not planning to resign from the school board.

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