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Bob Odell
State Senator
District 8


August 28, 2011

Senator Odell is Chairman of  the Ways and Means Committee; Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee; Vice Chairman of the Finance Committee; Vice Chairman of the State Parks Advisory Council; and member of the  Capital Budget Committee.

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.

 

The heart of the summer has been coming to a close. And the end was confirmed by the Senate President’s call to have the Senate return for a one day veto session on Sept. 7.

There are six bills originally sponsored by Senators that went through the legislative process, passing both the House and Senate, that were vetoed by Governor Lynch. Each will face a vote on Sept. 7 as to whether or not the Governor’s veto should be sustained. To overrule the Governor and have the bills become law will take a super majority of the 24-member Senate.

Each bill has supporters wanting a veto override and detractors seeking to have the Senate vote to sustain the Governor’s veto. Once the Senate President, Peter Bragdon (Milford), set the date for our veto session, lobbyists and citizens alike have restarted the email communication and requests for meetings to persuade Senators to support their positions.

The issues involved are serious, ranging from a bill on the use of deadly force "in defense of a person" (Senate Bill 88) to another bill that would make it profitable for the title loan industry to do business again in the state (Senate Bill 57). Any vetoes overturned will see those bills going to the House for votes there.

There are also bills that started in the House, and have been vetoed by the Governor, that will be taken up by that chamber in October. The most notable is the "right to work" legislation that has been awaiting a veto override vote for several months.

Usually, there are just a couple of bills that are vetoed by the Governor each session. This year the Governor wielded his veto pen regularly. The active lobbying on these bills by the Governor and stakeholders indicates that some votes are very close.

*

Thankfully, months ago I scheduled a trip to Olympic National Park with my two grandsons, leaving their parents a few quiet days to prepare for the classes they will be teaching this fall at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR.

Although William, eight years old, and Alex, five years old, had been to the park before with their parents, it was the first trip for Judy and me. It takes a real motivation … and grandchildren are that motivation … to leave New Hampshire in the summer. Without our trip, it had been far too long between visits to see these rapidly growing young men.

So, off we went. Traveling to this spectacular national park reminded me of the talks by Dayton Duncan who, with his partner Ken Burns, created the PBS series on the history of our national parks system. And that wonderful series, like others produced by this team, come through their studios in Walpole.

The Olympic National Forest and Olympic National Park together protect hundreds of thousands of acres of some of America’s most unique landscapes. Four days in the park and forest only provided time to get a glimpse of this national treasure.

We were in the Quinault Rain Forest, located at the southwestern end of the park, an area of old growth trees that is one of only three coniferous rain forests in the Western Hemisphere. The trees were right out of the picture books we looked at as children. There is the world’s largest Sitka spruce tree, 19 feet in diameter and 191 feet tall. At 1,000 years old, it was fun to think that this tree was 500 years old when Christopher Columbus discovered the new world.

This "valley of the giants" is also home to gigantic hemlocks and the world’s largest Douglas fir and western red cedar. The trails through the forest make it easy to get immersed in the trees and other plants that are sustained by over 12 feet of rain each year.

Our room was at Lake Quinault Lodge, a rustic facility originally built in 1926. While there were plenty of cell phones in use, the lodge has no TVs and no phones in the rooms. It was nine months after a visit to the lodge in 1937 that President Franklin Roosevelt signed the bill that created the Olympic National Park.

Next summer Alex and William will be coming to New Hampshire. We have a year ahead of pleasant anticipation of that visit. Given that they could not be here this summer, a week with them in a very unique and wondrous spot was very good.

You cannot be at a national park like Olympic without saying "thank you" to those who had good judgment and foresight to save and protect this treasure.

*

With hurricane Irene bashing the east coast, quiet days with grandsons quickly became anxiety over getting home. Our flight on Sunday was cancelled. We reorganized and took the first plane available from Portland to Chicago renting a car to travel back to Boston. The alternative was to wait until the weekend to get a confirmed flight back home.

We caught a glimpse of a report that 10,000 flights were cancelled because of Irene. In Portland, the departure board had just five red cancellation notices. But at Midway, there was a sea of cancellations on the screen.

Good memories of a great time with William and Alex will sustain us as we cover the 1,000 miles to get us back home.

 

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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