International Association of Fire Fighters General President Harold Schaitberger knew his union's quick endorsement of former Vice President Joe Biden's 2020 White House run was going to be roundly criticized by some.

"I am forced to reinforce this. We are a very politically diverse union. We have Republicans, conservatives, progressives, independents and in that way we are kind of a perfect reflection of the landscape in the country," Schaitberger said. "Whatever political decisions we have made past or present there will be a section of our membership that will not agree with that decision. We celebrate that, I understand that."

The IAFF became the first union to endorse Biden, announcing it last Monday at the candidate's first campaign stop in Pittsburgh.

President Trump himself signaled how upset the move made him with a two-day tweet storm that included retweets from 60 who identified themselves as IAFF members.

"I've done more for firefighters than this dues-sucking union will ever do, and I get paid ZERO!" Trump tweeted Wednesday.

During a telephone interview, Schaitberger said the choice was nearly four years in the making.

"We've been thinking about supporting Joe Biden since the late summer of 2015 when we were encouraging him, provoking him to get into the political arena and run back then," Schaitberger said.

After Biden passed on a 2016 run, citing his son Beau's passing, the union did not endorse anyone in 2016.

Schaitberger said Biden has a connection with middle-class voters and a long track record of support for issues important to first responders.

As for what to say or do about the Mueller probe and impeachment, Biden hasn't asked for Schaitberger's advice.

"I'd say stay focused on the issues he believes the American people need to be represented on, bringing civility and decency back into the political arena and talking about how to restore America's proper place on the international stage," Schaitberger said.

The group has a long history of loyally backing candidates whether they are front-runners or not.

In 2003 they got behind then-Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and chili fest events helped fuel Kerry's comeback win over former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean.

"Maybe we'll bring back the chili fests for Joe Biden. Can you tweet chili?" Schaitberger quipped.

Edelblut makes press pick

Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut has turned to a familiar face to become the department's new spokesman.

Grant Bosse began work earlier this week as DOE's director of communications.

Bosse was most recently editorial page editor with the Union Leader but comes to the state job with government/public policy experience that includes working as a majority party aide with the State Senate along with a stint at the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy

"I am excited to help Commissioner Edelblut and the department expand opportunities for students across New Hampshire," Bosse said in a statement.

He was hired at a labor grade that pays between $52,700 and $71,400 a year based on experience.

Bosse replaces Tony Schinella, who recently returned to the job he previously had on the national staff at the Patch news service.

Last August, Schinella came under fire for Facebook posts in which he suggested more diversity could turn the state into a "cesspool."

Schinella was pushing back against a New York Times story about the small minority population in New Hampshire.

"Diversity for diversity's sake doesn't bring us anything," Schinella wrote. "An extreme example? 1,300 illegal alien Dominican drug dealers moving from Lawrence (Massachusetts) to, say, Concord (New Hampshire) will make the state 1% more diverse ... but it would also bring more crime, higher taxes for public safety."

Schinella added, "We don't want or need New Hampshire to become any kind of cesspool. We have enough problems and many of us don't want or need to pay more taxes because of the new people moving in."

Edelblut immediately denounced the posts and said the department was taking "all appropriate and available disciplinary actions."

At the time Governor Chris Sununu said the posts were "unacceptable and wrong."

New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Raymond Buckley had called for Schinella's firing.

Potential GOP Senate hopeful way under the radar

In a small state where everything is our business, this potential candidate for major office remains way in the weeds.

Bryant S. "Corky" Messner heads a very successful, Denver, Colo-based law firm that has a long list of profitable clients.

He's reportedly enlisted consultants to advise him and has met with folks at the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

And the most prominent Republicans in the state said they didn't know anything about him or his interest in taking on Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH.

The only way his name emerged at all was when NRSC officials made calls to New Hampshire to ask some GOP operatives about him.

A 1979 West Point graduate, Messner served in the Army as a ranger and infantry company commander before going off to law school.

According to his firm's website, his sons, Max and Thomas, currently attend West Point.

Messner remains CEO of Messner Reeves LLP, which employs many lawyers with offices in nine cities.

Locally he recently moved to Wolfeboro and worked on the Wentworth Watershed Association, made up of residents and landowners working to preserve watershed habitats.

Woleboro planning board records going back to 2013 identify Messner as a property owner in town.

The firm's client list ranged from the American Casino and Entertainment Properties and Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. to MillerCoors, Northern Trust and Wells Fargo Banks

According to OpenSecrets.org and other campaign finance sites, Messner most recently gave $500 each to 1st Congressional District nominee Eddie Edwards of Dover and Republican state Sen. Ruth Ward and $1,000 to the Republican State Committee.

He gave $2,600 to Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. six years ago and has also written checks to the presidential campaigns of Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani.

Pappas to give first commencement

U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas, D-NH, will make his first commencement speech as the 1st District congressman Sunday May 19th at the New Hampshire Institute of Art.

At the Palace Theatre ceremony, Pappas will also receive an honorary doctorate.

This will be the school's final commencement.

NHIA will merge with New England College, becoming a division of NEC, and will remain in Manchester when this process is complete later this year.

Keene area celebrates one of their own

Keene City Councilor and business owner George Hansel became one of the first from the southwestern part of the state to be confirmed to a seat on the University System Board of Trustees.

Hansel said state law requires that two members of the 29-person board come from the Keene State College community, but this is the first independent member of the trustees to come from this area in decades.

"Keene State has new energy and an amazing new leader in President Melinda Treadwell. I look forward to supporting her and the entire KSC community in any way I can. More broadly, I'll work hard to ensure that New Hampshire's public universities are accessible, competitive and accountable," Hansel said in a statement.

Booker takes swipe at Sanders

Candidates continue to play nice when they're campaigning in New Hampshire, but the sniping began in earnest last week with Biden's entry.

The latest was from Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., who used a PBS interview Tuesday to take a shot at Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. because Sanders advocated letting felons vote even while behind bars.

"Let's get this conversation back to where it is right now. Our prison population in this country has gone up 500% since 1980 alone. We locked up more people for marijuana in 2017 than all the violent crimes combined," Booker said. "So here we have a nation that takes away people's liberty and their right to vote for doing things that two of the last three presidents admitted to doing."

"So if Bernie Sanders wants to get involved in a conversation about whether Dylann Roof and the marathon bomber should have the right to vote, my focus is liberating black and brown people and low-income people from prison, because we have a system in America, as Bryan Stevenson says, that treats you better if you're rich and guilty than if you're poor and innocent."

Sanders fired back, saying it was a "slippery slope" to decide a citizen's right to vote should be limited.

Earlier this week, Booker released his ambitious immigration plan, the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act, which was first introduced in the 2017-18 Congress.

This latest version with some upgrades comes in response to a recent Trump administration ruling about adult asylum seekers.

The measure would allow thousands more immigrants a month to seek release in the short-term, reversing a policy that restricts which immigrants can post bond to get out of detention while their deportation cases are pending.

Hassan reports on Asian trip

U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-NH, said she praised Chinese officials for agreeing to place fentanyl and all its analogs on its list of controlled drugs.

"This was a major breakthrough in early April, but if they didn't enforce their new measures then we really wouldn't be making progress enough to save lives back home," Hassan said during a conference call on the trip that included stops in Japan and South Korea.

"That was one of the most important aspects of the trip for me."

Klobuchar makes NH campaign hire

Kelsi Browning started recently as Sen. Amy Klobuchar's communications director in New Hampshire.

In 2018 she had press roles for Paul Davis, who lost a tight race for a U.S. House seat in Kansas and prior to that for Steve Farley, who lost a Democratic primary for governor of Arizona in August 2018.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Browning did press work for Hillary Clinton's campaign in Pennsylvania.

Warren's student debt plan wins support

Earlier this month, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. unveiled her plan to cancel student debt for an estimated 42 million Americans in New Hampshire.

A new BusinessInsider.com poll recently found majority support for the idea, including 57 percent for those who said they had already finished paying off theirs.

She would pay for the plan through an income tax hike for those with at least $50 million in assets.

Warren also recently named Kristen Morris as the New Hampshire press secretary for the campaign.

She had been media manager for the NextGen campaign in New Hampshire.

Gabrielle Farrell, a former state party communications director, had been handling New Hampshire press duties prior to Morris coming on board.

Farrell works on Warren's campaign staff in Boston.

Weld maintains Trump can be indicted

In case you had any doubt about his opinion, 2020 Republican presidential candidate and ex-Mass. Gov. Bill Weld said Attorney General Bill Barr erred; Weld said he would have pursued a criminal indictment against President Trump.

"No man is above the law. Our nation is built on the principle that we are all equal before Lady Justice, including the President of the United States," said Weld, a former U.S. attorney and criminal division head in the Department of Justice.

"Given the evidence laid out by Mr. Mueller, had I been in his place, I would have pursued an indictment of the President of the United States for obstruction of justice."

Limiting political spending plan attracts support

Election advocates urged a state Senate panel to make New Hampshire the 20th state urging Congress to amend the federal Constitution to allow limits on political spending. The bill further promotes an amendment to end political gerrymandering.

"The reason we keep having this bill is simple -- the people of New Hampshire keep telling us to!" said Rep. Ellen Read, D-Newmarket. "They are so mad that regular citizens have started warrant articles in their towns demanding that we, their state Legislature, fix the problem."

The bill has some bipartisan supporters but should it become veto bait for the governor, the House vote (200-149) was largely along party lines and could be sustained.