THE Democratically led Legislature just raised Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut’s political profile and perhaps by design it has set him up as a martyr for the school choice movement.
A 6-4 final vote of the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules Thursday objecting to Edelblut’s Learn Everywhere reform and filinga joint resolution puts the wholecampaign on the shelf until the Legislature acts early in 2020.
Edelblut and Gov. Chris Sununu will likely now get their revenge when Sununu vetoes it and the GOP minority in the Legislature sustains that action on a joint resolution.
As the head of a state agency that largely acts as a clearinghouse for the delivery of federal education grants, Edelblut really doesn’t get many moments of high-wire political drama, especially when it comes to the Legislature. Now he’s got one and this will boost his profile among an important constituency. It could onlyhelp Edelblut once it inevitably comes time for Sununu to move on, either to run for the U.S. Senate against Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., in 2022 or to return to the private sector.
Edelblut came very close to becoming that 2016 nominee for governor, but he’s not the only one waiting for a shot.
Anybody who saw the awesome turnout last month for the fundraiser of former Senate President Chuck Morse, R-Salem, witnessed a crowd that likely would flood to his side if Morse gave the nod to an Edelblut run for governor.
But surely there are some Democratic leaders who would like nothing better than to have Edelblut as the GOP standard bearer the next time the corner office becomes an open seat.
Bill filing begins
The 2020 filing season for Senate bills began Wednesday and following a long, grinding 2019 affair, there was still pent-up demand for new laws.
Sununu presented his redraft of protections for vulnerable adults to improve on a measure he vetoed last spring (HB 696) working with Sen. Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, on the final details.
State Rep. Renny Cushing, D-Hampton, the lawmakerwho has spent three years putting together a broad coalition for this reform, said Sununu did not consult him before coming up with a new and improved version.
“We look forward to taking a look at what he has for us,” Cushing said.
Meanwhile, Senate Democrats came quicklyout of the chute with their own plans, apackage of bills to deal with the soaringcost of prescription drugs and five bills dealing with climate change that would bring a return of the net metering and ratepayer expert support measures that Sununu vetoed last spring.
Help for NH’s ME
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has gone out far and wide to get fill-in help for its beleaguered, two-person medical team.
At the end of this week, Dr. Kristen Landi of the Bronx, N.Y., has arrivedhas arrived to help for a week.
Next month, Dr. Aldo Fusaro of Montanaissoula, Mont., comes in for his one-week stint.
Then in early December, Dr. Mitchell Weinberg of Edmonton, Canada, makes the long trek east for his own weeklong work stretch.
Each will be paid $10,000 for their efforts.
All of this is because the office does more than 500 autopsies a year and right now the only ones on staff to do them are Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Jennie Duval and Associate Examiner Dr. Christine Jones.
According to national accreditationstandards, medical examiners should not do more than 250 autopsies a year.
“The position of deputy chief medical examiner has been vacant for some time and the department remains active in recruiting for this position,” said Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald.
A children’s champion
for children passes
Few in the rough-and-tumble political world would get the tributes that came from across the spectrum when we first tweeted the sad passing of former 11-term state Rep. Mary Stuart Gile, D-Concord.
If the state ever gets a paid family and medical leave law, advocates vow to name it after her.
“She was the embodiment of quiet grace in the midst of an often bumptious House,” recalled ex-Rep. Peter Sullivan, D-Manchester.
During four years a As HHS communications chief, conservative Greg Moore worked with Gile, who was the ex-chairman or ranking Democrat on the House Children and Family Law Committee.
“She was a delight to work with, she had such class and a real gravitas among the members as someone they looked to for leadership and maturity,” Moore said.
Council returns to Concord
The Executive Council ends its round-trip tour with a business meeting back at the State House in Concord.
This is the first since Councilor Russell Prescott, R-Exeter, pleaded with Democratic colleagues to reconsider their rejection of AG MacDonald as chief justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court.
Prescott said he’s in no hurry but there’s nary a sign any of the trio that opposed MacDonald last July are having second thoughts.