CONCORD — A two-term New Hampshire House Republican has resigned his leadership post, accusing some in the GOP leadership of “vicious slander, coercion and outright incompetence.”
Rep. Aidan Ankarberg, R-Rochester, told the Union Leader the decision to step aside as a deputy majority whip came after “multiple conflicts” he had with unidentified House GOP leaders.
In a statement, Ankarberg said he would remain as a member of the House “even in the face of vicious slander, coercion and outright incompetence from certain members of the leadership team.”
“When voices of dissent are belittled and coerced into silence we cannot claim to truly represent the caucus let alone our constituents,” Ankarberg said. “All voices must be respected and listened to and that is simply not the case from on high at this time.”
Ankarberg declined to elaborate on the details beyond the resignation statement he turned in to House leaders.
In response, House Majority Leader Jason Osborne, R-Auburn, said he has promoted two other House GOP members.
“I am pleased to announce the addition of two new members of our leadership team. Rep. Juliet Harvey-Bolia, R-Tilton, and Rep. Leah Cushman, R-Weare, have joined the Majority Office leadership team as assistant whips,” Osborne said Friday.
“I am looking forward to working with these dedicated and hardworking team players.”
Ankarberg serves on the House Election Laws Committee.
He’s a member of the New Hampshire and Strafford County Republican Committees.
During 2023, he has sponsored or signed onto 18 different bills.
House committees have already voted to retain half of them.
All those kept in committee will not come to the full House for a vote of any kind until early 2024.
Those sidelined include a signature bill (HB 110) of Ankarberg’s to ban spending any state money on commuter rail projects.
Last year, the GOP-led House had passed the same bill but it died when the Senate refused to try and resolve differences it had with the House over the details.
On March 1, Ankarberg posted on Facebook that his goals for the House GOP caucus were to promote policies that appeal to “all Republicans,” adding that they should be “fiscally conservative and socially moderate.”
On Thursday, Ankarberg was also one of five House Republican to oppose a bill (HB 367) to expand eligibility for families to receive taxpayer-paid Education Freedom Accounts.
This amended bill that passed, 187-184, would raise the income eligibility for families from 300% to 350% of the federal poverty limit.
Some fiscal conservatives wanted House leaders to stick with the original bill to raise that family income cap to 500%.
Ankarberg referenced the perks he would give up by stepping away from a leadership post.
“I guess I’ll need to get some new license plates and go back to my beloved Storrs Street garage,” Ankarberg added.