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Bob Odell
State Senator
District 8

January 13, 2009

Senator Odell is Chairman of  the Ways and Means Committee, and member of the Energy, Environment and Economic Development Committee;  Finance Committee; Citizens Trade Policy Commission; State Park System Advisory Council; and Comprehensive Cancer Plan Oversight Board.

Senate District 8 towns: Acworth, Alstead, Charlestown, Claremont, Gilsum, Goshen, Langdon, Lempster, Marlow, New London, Newbury, Newport, Roxbury, Stoddard, Sullivan, Sunapee, Sutton, Unity, Walpole, Washington and Westmoreland.

 

                In the Invocation at Governor Lynch's Inauguration on Thursday, the pastor asked for thanks for the wonder of democracy.  The state' s inaugural celebration every two years, whether it is for a Governor continuing his or her service or a new Governor starting a first term, there is something especially appealing to see our state's highest official sworn into office.

                The swearing-in ceremony begins with the introduction of dozens of dignitaries into a Joint Convention of the House and Senate into Representatives Hall.  There are groups of dignitaries which include the Governor's family, his friends and supporters, state government department heads and commissioners and the associate justices of the Supreme Court who are introduced into the chamber escorted by a member of the military.  Individuals, too, such as the State Treasurer and Secretary of State, the chief judge of our various courts and the Mayor of Concord are introduced and enter the chamber.  The Chief Justice is welcomed and at the appropriate time fulfills his responsibility  of swearing in the Governor.   The Governor, in turn, swears in the five members of the Executive Council.

                The ceremonies include the pledge to the allegiance, the singing of the National Anthem and  God Bless America, and a presentation by the troop of bagpipers from the New Hampshire Professional Fire Fighters.  It takes  just a little less than two hours but it is worth the time and effort.  Once in a while, we need to celebrate the wonder of (our) democracy at work as we publicly and officially bring into office those in the executive branch who will serve us for the next two years.  I think every thoughtful New Hampshire citizen would enjoy and benefit from seeing  the state's democratic  tradition being carried on.  And next week we can watch another wonder of democracy as we see a new President sworn into office. 

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                The highlight of any inaugural ceremony is the speech of the Governor.  Governor Lynch's speech, to me, was an appeal to have confidence that working together we can meet the financial challenge facing New Hampshire.  Over the next five months, as we work on the current year spending reductions and work craft a budget that is balanced for the two years beginning on July 1, legislators will need to pull together.  

               The Governor in his address noted the success of his job training program.  He noted that 3,000 employees from about 70 companies have successfully participated in the program.  The state partners with businesses, including some in our area, by sharing costs  to upgrade the skill levels of employees so that businesses can be competitive as technology advances around every business sector.   The New Hampshire share of the cost comes from federal funds and not from the state's General Fund.   Training and retraining employees is critical to saving jobs and creating new jobs in our state.

                Similarly, the Governor touched on an incentive program to encourage job creation around the evolving green  sector of our economy.  Using funds from the Regional Green house Gas Initiative (RGGI), the Governor suggested we could help create jobs in this sector.  Senator Molly Kelly (Keene) is the prime sponsor and am a co-sponsor of a bill to move this concept along during the legislative session.  There is much work to be done in New Hampshire and the state must also be poised to take advantage of new programs in this area that may come from Washington.

*   *   *

                Friday was the final day for House members to sign off on bills they are introducing for the new session.  Monday was the deadline for Senators.  Nearly 1,000 bills have been introduced and every one must have a public hearing before a committee, a vote on a recommendation by the committee and a floor vote on the committee's recommendation to either accept, reject or amend the committee recommendation.

*   *    *

                A couple of times in informal conversations, residents living between the Lempster wind farm and Newport have asked what is going to happen to the old utility poles along Route 10.  The new poles, I'll call them the tall ones, were needed to carry the power from the wind farm to the connection with the Public Services of New Hampshire station in Newport.  Some may have thought that once the new, tall poles went in that the old, shorter poles would come out.   And that will happen. 

                A utility executive was in my Concord office last week and explained that there is a commitment to have the old poles out a year after the new poles went in.  That would mean some time this fall.  The line to carry power from the wind farm to Public Service goes up first, then a line to distribute power back along Route 10 goes on next, then telephone companies' lines, cable providers and municipal and other lines go on in sequence.  It is simply a matter of time but the commitment is there that the old poles will be pulled at the agreed upon time.

Bob Odell
State Senator
New Hampshire State House
107 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301-4951

Telephone:  603-271-6733
Email:  rpojr@aol.com


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