Wow! That was one word to describe the overwhelming victory of Republicans in New Hampshire House and Senate races in last week’s election.
On the Monday before the election, Michael Dennehey, a Concord political consultant, had sent me an email predicting that as many as 19 seats could be in Republican hands. My response was that he did not know what he was talking about. But late on election night he was right. The Senate switched from 14 Democrats and 10 Republicans to 5 Democrats and 19 Republicans.
That switch brought about a Republican majority in the Senate not seen for half a century. Republicans were elected in all the swing districts as well as many of the districts that trend toward electing Democrats.
The assumption is that Sylvia Larsen (Concord) will lead the 5 member Democrat caucus. She led the "six pack" back in the 2003-2004 legislative session when Democrats were in a nearly similar situation with just 6 seats to 18 seats held by Republicans. Four years later the Democrats were in the majority.
Republicans in the Senate have acted quickly and chosen Peter Bragdon (Milford) to be the Senate President. The Bragdons and Odells were Amherst farming neighbors for a couple of generations in the first half of the last century and, having grown up in Milford, Senator Bragdon and I have many connections.
In turn, Senator Bragdon has filled his leadership team asking former Congressman and now Senator Jeb Bradley (Wolfeboro) to be majority leader. This is a key position for keeping the majority on track and focused on its legislative goals.
Others on the leadership team include Sharon Carson (Hudson) who will be majority whip. Returning to the Senate after a four year absence is Chuck Morse (Salem) who was named chair of the Finance Committee and I have been re-appointed chair of the Ways and Means Committee.
The Republican tide also brought in many new members of the House of Representatives moving Republicans from minority status to hold almost 300 of the 400 seats in that chamber. There are new Republican members from throughout the 8th Senatorial district and I will report on the changes in a future column.
The Greater Claremont Chamber of Commerce annual breakfast kept me away from the polls for a couple of hours on election day morning. The event is held to recognize the business of the year and the non-profit of the year. The non-profit organization chosen this year is the Kiwanis Club of Claremont. The club is closing in on 60 years of service to the community which provides scholarships, gives out clothes and toys during the holiday season, offers volunteers to schools, clubs and other local organizations and makes donations throughout the year to a wide array of worthy groups.
The business of the year is North Country Smokehouse. The business is as home grown as you can get. From his experience with his dad’s butcher shop, Mike Satzow has built a business nationally recognized for the quality of its products and customer service that brings positive attention to Mike’s hometown.
Congratulations to the Kiwanis Club and its members for their decades of service and contributions to our region. And congratulations, too, to Mike Satzow and his team at North Country Smokehouse for their success building a premier business here in Claremont that sells products nationally and internationally.
With the election behind me, I decided to take the weekend off. That meant a leisurely train trip to New York City to take in some exhibits and enjoy my walks about the city.
The rain on Friday morning let up just as the departure time arrived. The train left and I settled into my seat with plenty of papers and books to read over the seven hour trip.
Something came to my mind to check my wallet and make sure I had my credit cards. When the wallet was not in my jacket pocket or any other place, with a bit of panic, I called the Claremont branch of my bank where I had stopped on my way to the train.
I said "This is Bob Odell" and the immediate response was: "We have your wallet." There was mixed relief. I knew where my wallet was. But now I was on my way to New York without credit cards and very little cash. I mentally ran through a list of friends and contacts in New York but there was no one I could think of that I was sure I could reach and seek a little assistance.
I did remember a conversation last summer with Jim Bolger. He lives in New London and was introduced to me by Vern Viollette as I was making plans for my campaign. Jim mentioned he would be running in the New York marathon which was being held on the same weekend I was going to be in New York City. Wisely, I had entered his cell phone number into my phone at our first meeting.
A call to Jim produced an invitation to join him and his family and friends for dinner on Friday night. And after dinner, he handed me an envelope with the money I needed to be able to enjoy my weekend in New York.
What a relief! But also what a reminder of how much we rely upon our credit cards.
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