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Sununu to nominate Cline to state Board of Ed, remove chairman Raffio

State House Bureau

April 18. 2017 8:30PM
Drew Cline, left, and Tom Raffio. 

CONCORD — Gov. Chris Sununu plans to nominate former New Hampshire Union Leader editorial page editor Drew Cline to the state Board of Education, while removing 10-year veteran Tom Raffio from the board.

The Executive Council is expected to receive Cline’s nomination when it meets on Wednesday.

“Drew Cline has a great grasp on such a large variety of subjects in this state and he’s passionate about education. I see him as a great resource,” the governor said. “We’ve tapped him to bring some outside perspective to the Board of Education and I think he’s going to do a great job.”

Sununu’s office confirmed earlier in the day on Tuesday that Raffio, who served as chair for the past four years, will not be re-nominated.

“Earlier today, I spoke with Tom Raffio to thank him for his service and expressed my appreciation for his years on the Board of Education,” Sununu said. “As with any aspect of state government, it’s a good thing to bring a fresh perspective and give others the opportunity to offer their time and talents to our great state.”

Raffio was appointed to the board by former Gov. John Lynch in 2007 and was re-appointed by former Gov. Maggie Hassan, both Democrats. His term expired on Jan. 31, and he has been in holdover status for nearly three months.

He was at one time a registered Republican, but says he is now an Independent.

Raffio said he was disappointed by Sununu’s decision.

“I told him I think it’s a mistake, because I can add a lot,” he said. “There are already two new board members and my replacement will be a third, along with a new commissioner, but I respect the fact that it’s his decision.”

Cline served as editorial page editor at the New Hampshire Union Leader from 2001-2015, before leaving to become an independent writer and communications consultant.

He has served as chairman of the board of the Educational Farm at Joppa Hill, a non-profit educational farm in Bedford, since October of 2015. Cline has three children, two in the public school system and one not yet school age.

“New Hampshire’s public education system belongs to the people, and I am humbled to have been nominated to serve them on the state Board of Education," he said.

House Democratic leader Steve Shurtleff said he was disappointed by Sununu’s decision not to nominate Raffio, president and CEO of Northeast Delta Dental. Raffio was named Business Leader of the Decade by Business NH Magazine and the NH Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.

“Tom has always worked in a bipartisan manner to improve the educational opportunities available to New Hampshire children,” he said.

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