These days Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is such a hot political commodity that even being in a Capitol Hill video with her is eye-catching news.

There was AOC, as she’s known, casting her vote on the House floor last week for Nancy Pelosi as speaker in a video that went viral on the web because it featured many Republicans booing her.

During her New York primary campaign to upset the number-three Democrat in the U.S. House, AOC expressed skepticism about Pelosi’s leadership. She had joined protesters in Pelosi’s office demanding increased congressional action on climate change shortly after the midterms last year.

Making a guest star appearance in the video is U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, D-NH, who is seen talking with her.

AOC tweeted the video herself, adding: “Over 200 members voted for Nancy Pelosi today, yet the GOP only booed one: me.. Don’t hate me cause you ain’t me, fellas.”

Legislative staffer is new COO

The new Democratic leadership in the Legislature has turned to a moderate Republican and a familiar figure to lead them on the operations side.

He’s Terry Pfaff of Hooksett, a former House chief of staff during the reign of three different GOP speakers.

House Speaker Steve Shurtleff, D-Penacook, and Senate President Donna Soucy, D-Manchester, decided to create the office of chief operating officer, which will be a nonpartisan joint agency to coordinate all administrative and management cooperation for the NH General Court.

This will include physical plant, property management and personnel as well as long-range planning for the Legislature.

“It’s very humbling and quite flattering to have been chosen to fill this role by the speaker and the president,” Pfaff said Wednesday,

“You know how much I love this institution and the care this historic building requires. It’s a challenge that I am excited to meet.”

While serving the House, Pfaff has been a big proponent for making physical improvements to the State House. He championed a series of small projects for the complex that got into the two-year capital budget Gov. Chris Sununu signed in June 2017.

Pfaff will have 46 staffers working for him that include protective services (security officers), operations, accounting, the Office of Legislative Services (bill drafters) the Visitor’s Center and Information Technology.

Warren coming to NH

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has snagged a prime speaking spot next month in the first-in-the-nation primary state.

New Hampshire Democratic Party officials said Warren will be the keynote speaker for the 60th annual McIntyre-Shaheen 100 Club Dinner at the DoubleTree by Hilton Manchester Downtown Hotel on Feb. 22.

The dinner is one of the party’s biggest fundraisers of the year and likely to attract up to 1,000 guests.

But it won’t be her first visit to the state since she launched an exploratory committee on New Year’s Eve.

Her campaign announced Wednesday afternoon that Warren will host an “organizing event” at Manchester Community College this Saturday at 1:45 p.m.; the doors open at 12:45 p.m.

“Elizabeth is fighting her heart out so that everyone gets a chance to create their piece of the American dream,” the campaign email said.

“That’s why she’s launched this exploratory committee: to have a real conversation about how to level the playing field for working families and who is best to lead that fight. Can you join us in Manchester?”

Before Wednesday, aides to Warren had said she was going to be in the state “soon.”

Last weekend she made her first trip to Iowa, home of the first presidential caucus.

Voting rights activist Jason Kander headlined the 100 Club as he considered a run for President last year.

Former Vice President Joe Biden drew a big crowd when he spoke there in 2017.

Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley all shared the 2016 stage for the dinner and U.S. House Speaker Pelosi was featured in 2015.

Delaney hires NH staffers

In advance of U.S. Rep. John Delaney’s next presidential campaign visit to New Hampshire Jan. 18, he announced some new hiring here.

Chris MacKenzie will serve as Delaney’s state director and Casey Neal will be deputy political director,

Raised in Hopkinton, MacKenzie most recently was communications director for U.S. Rep. Terri A. Sewell, D-Ala. He had worked as communications director for the nonprofit, U.S. PIRG on issues relating to the influence of money in politics and enhancing voter protections.

MacKenzie previously had worked in Delaney’s office in Congress and also as regional field director during Delaney’s first bid for a U.S. House seat.

“I am truly honored to help lead John’s presidential campaign in my home state of New Hampshire,” MacKenzie said. “I worked with John when he first ran for Congress and saw firsthand how he built excitement and momentum behind big ideas for the future. Voters need a candidate who is going to stop dividing and start delivering.”

Neal worked on Colin Van Ostern’s campaign for secretary of state as the organizing director for Free & Fair New Hampshire. She previously worked on political fundraising and consulting in Baltimore, Md. and Albuquerque, N.M.

Delaney will hold Meet and Greet events in Manchester, Hanover and Amherst.

He is also planning to open an office in the state by the end of the month. This will be Delaney’s 13th trip to New Hampshire. (For more Granite Status, go to www.unionleader.com.)

klandrigan@unionleader.com

Shaheen-Hassan seek to protect pay of shutdown workersU.S. Sens.

Jeanne Shaheen

and

Maggie Hassan

, both D-NH, have reintroduced legislation that’s aimed at protecting all federal government workers from the repercussions of the current government shutdown and future lapses in spending.

The Government Employee Fair Treatment Act would guarantee that furloughed federal employees will be paid retroactively and stipulates that all employees will be paid as soon as possible after any halt of federal spending is over.

Signing onto the bill are Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Ben Cardin, D-Md.

“A government shutdown is bad for our economy and the American people – there are no winners,” Shaheen said. “This legislation will protect federal workers who have been unfairly impacted by this shutdown and ensure that they will be paid. I continue to stand ready to vote on a bill that will re-open the government immediately. It’s absolutely imperative that the President finally engage in good faith negotiations and end this harmful and unnecessary shutdown so federal services for Granite Staters and the American people can resume.”

Hassan hits EPA on PFOAsU.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-NH, criticized the decision of Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency to ignore and fail to act on guidelines the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended for cleaning up toxic chemicals at military bases across the country such as polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

“The Trump Administration continues to drag its feet when it comes to addressing water contamination from PFAS in drinking water in New Hampshire and across the country,” Hassan said. “Federal guidelines for cleaning up toxic chemicals like PFAS should be based on scientific facts – not political considerations. I urge the Trump Administration to approach this issue with the urgency and commitment that it requires in order to protect the health and well-being of hard-working people in the Granite State and across the country.”

Groundwater trust program helps MerrimackThe state’s Drinking Water and Groundwater Trust Fund Advisory Commission approved one of its largest loans to date, this one for $5.5 million to Pennichuck Water Works to finance a deep-water intake into the Merrimack River that will help the utility provide clean drinking water to the Merrimack area.

Senate Republican Leader

Chuck Morse

of Salem is chairman of the commission, having authored the state law that created the entity to help deal with a backlog of communities that needed to make water and sewer upgrades.

”As the greater Merrimack area has been hit particularly hard by water contamination issues, the approval of this loan is a critical step to ensure a reliable source of safe drinking water for years to come,” Morse said.

“As PFCs and other emerging contaminants are appearing in more places across the state, this project will enhance a water source to provide capacity to address contamination issues in the future.”

Billionaire Steyer passes on 2020 presidential runCalifornia hedge fund billionaire

Tom Steyer

decided that continuing his effort to promote the impeachment of President Trump was better than running against him.

Steyer told reporters at a Des Moines, Iowa news conference Wednesday afternoon that he had hired staff and a pollster to prepare for a run but ultimately decided against it.

He’s instead pleaded to add another $40 million into the impeachment drive that Steyer had already spent $40 million on.

“Most people come to Iowa around this time to announce a campaign for President,” Steyer said in prepared remarks. “But I am proud to be here to announce that I will do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to remove a President.”

Right-to-Know group weighs in on ombudsman billsLeaders of Right to Know NH are urging the Legislature to support one of two competing measures to create an ombudsman and a citizen’s right to appeal decisions by governmental bodies regarding their requests for open records.

President

David Saad

said his organization is backing a measure still in the drafting stages from Rep.

Kenneth Weyler

, R-Kingston.

The group prefers this one to a competing bill (HB 103) from Rep. Lynne Ober, R-Hudson, that faced a public hearing on Wednesday.

Saad said her bill would attach the ombudsman to the Department of Justice and Right to Know NH preferred it be an impartial body.

The group also protested as too high a $300 fee to file a petition with the ombudsman.

klandrigan@unionleader.com