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GOP gubernatorial candidates debate Thursday night in Windham. They are, from left, Rep. Frank Edelblut of Wilton, state Sen. Jeanie Forrester of Meredith, Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas and Executive Councilor Chris Sununu of Newfields. (ELI OKUN/UNION LEADER CORRESPONDENT)

Sununu's promise to 'gut' state Board of Education criticized


Some tough talk on schools and government during a recent Republican gubernatorial debate prompted Democrat Colin Van Ostern to take a few swings at two GOP rivals Monday.

Van Ostern said he was disturbed when GOP hopeful Chris Sununu promised he would “gut” the state Board of Education.

Sununu, who has regularly talked about education reform since announcing his run for governor last September, made the remark during the Windham GOP debate last Thursday.

Van Ostern held a conference call with Leslie Want, a Manchester School Board member, and Karen Ladd, a Sanborn Regional High School teacher and member of the NEA-NH executive board, to promote the state board and to bemoan what he called harmful rhetoric.

“Chris Sununu is trying to out-Gatsas Ted Gatsas,” Van Ostern said, extending his criticism to the Manchester mayor and GOP candidate.

David Abrams, a spokesman for Sununu, said, “Colin Van Ostern represents the status quo. As governor, Chris will work to restore local control in our schools, allowing parents and teachers to make better choices for their children.”

Van Ostern, an Executive Councilor from Concord, is vying for the Democratic nomination against former Deputy Secretary of State Mark Connolly and former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand.

Gatsas and Sununu, who is an Executive Councilor from Newfields, are seeking the GOP nomination along with state Sen. Jeanie Forrester of Meredith and state Rep. Frank Edelblut of Wilton.

Nate Lamb, campaign manager for Gatsas, said in a statement Monday that Van Ostern and Sununu both voted for contracts for Common Core standards on New Hampshire students.

dtuohy@unionleader.com


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