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June 12. 2014 9:32PM

Shurtleff announces run for House speaker to replace Norelli

CONCORD — House Majority Leader Stephen Shurtleff of Concord announced Thursday he will seek the House speaker’s post in December.

Shurtleff pledged to work with those across the political aisle as current Speaker Terie Norelli, D-Portsmouth, has done to accomplish Medicaid expansion, greater protections for victims of domestic violence, a settlement with hospitals on the Medicaid Enhancement Tax and increased economic security for working families.

“We all want to reach the same destination,” Shurtleff said with about 20 supporters behind him at a news conference, “although we may travel different roads to get there.”

He said he strives to be fair to everyone regardless of party.

Shurtleff said he has more than 70 Democrats supporting his run from different paths of life and from the state’s 10 counties.

And he said about 72 percent of democratic incumbents are running for reelection.

“We will keep moving forward with a Democratic majority in the House,” Shurtleff said. “We will not return to the harmful policies of the previous Legislature. Our human and economic infrastructure suffered too much.”

Shurtleff is the only Democrat to officially announce he will seek the speaker’s post, although former state senator and gubernatorial candidate Jackie Cilley of Barrington is running for the House and has said she may be interested in running for speaker if Democrats can maintain the majority.

Former Speaker Gene Chandler, R-Bartlett, announced Wednesday he would seek the speaker’s post if he wins reelection in November.

“I believe that my history of leadership positions in the House during my many years serving under and with a number of different speakers uniquely qualifies me for the position of speaker,” Chandler said. “The next Legislature will be facing a myriad of problems, and New Hampshire needs a proven leader to guide the House through the next two years.”

He said representatives have urged him to run for the House’s top spot.

Chandler said he wants to be part of making New Hampshire a proud and prosperous state.

Another former House speaker, William O’Brien, R-Mont Vernon, said he will seek the post as well. O’Brien was speaker during the 2011-12 legislative session when Republicans held three-fourths of the House seats and 19 of 24 Senate seats.

Two-term Rep. Laurie Sanborn, R-Bradford, announced last week that she would seek the speaker’s post as well.

She said it is time for new blood to lead the House.

“As we look towards 2014 and beyond, it’s time for a new conservative leader who has demonstrated the skills, leadership and presence to bring our party together,” Sanborn said when she announced.

The party that has the majority of representatives after the November general election will determine who will be speaker.

Each party caucus will vote for its choice for speaker, and the House will vote on organization day for the new speaker.

Norelli is retiring after three terms as speaker.

grayno@unionleader.com


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