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Bob Odell
State Senator
District 8

November 16, 2008

Senator Odell is Chairman of  the Ways and Means Committee, a member of the Energy, Environment and Economic Development Committee, and the Finance 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.


In the first couple of weeks after an election, newly elected legislators participate in caucuses and other meetings so that everyone will be in place for December 3rd when House and Senate members will be sworn-in and the Senate President and House Speaker will be voted into office.

The Democrat Senate caucus, having a 14-10 majority, has chosen Sylvia Larsen (Concord) to again be President of the Senate, Martha Fuller Clark (Portsmouth) will be President Pro Tem, Maggie Hassan (Exeter) will be Majority Leader and Kathy Sgambati (Tilton) will be Deputy Majority Leader.

Republicans in the Senate met in caucus last week and chose a new leader. It is Peter Bragdon (Milford). His family and mine go back a few generations as the old family farms were close by in Amherst. Senator Bragdon will chose an Assistant Minority Leader shortly.

Why do legislators get sworn-in on December 3rd? The Constitution of New Hampshire, Part Two, Article 33 deals with the Secretary of State examining records of votes and "shall issue his summons" to the winners " ... that there may be a due meeting of senators and representatives on the first Wednesday of December, biennially ...". This year, that is December 3rd.

To get ready for the swearing-in and the start of the legislative session, the six new Senators will be offered a couple of days of orientation. One will be on "How to be an effective Senator" and then four of us in the category of "experienced" Senators will run through a mock committee hearing, opening of the Senate and Senate session. While four of the new Senators are moving over  from the House and one is a former House member, the procedures and tempo of work in the Senate with 24  members is much different from the 400 member House of Representatives. The orientation sessions give new members a chance to be ready to go on December 3.

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Last week I noted that New Hampshire has the only legislative body with women in the majority. NBC was in Concord last week interviewing members of the Senate for a news story. An email over the weekend announced that the segment on the new New Hampshire Senate, with women in the majority, will air tonight on the NBC evening news program.

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With only caucuses and planning meetings in Concord, last week gave me an opportunity to participate in several important local events. Wednesday morning was the annual Newport Area Chamber of Commerce "Salute Breakfast." Owners of new businesses get a chance to let other business leaders know about their new ventures. And this year, WCNL (1010 AM) and manager Steve Smith received special recognition. An area native, Steve has restarted WCNL broadcasting from the studio on Main Street in Newport. WCNL is part of the Koor Communications group of radio stations. The company and owner, Bob Vinikoor, are celebrating 20 years in broadcasting in our area.

November is National Home Care & Hospice month. Thus, it was appropriate that a joint Business After Hours of the Newport Chamber and the Greater Claremont Chamber was held at the Connecticut Valley Home Care and Hospice on John Stark Highway on Wednesday evening. Hospice services are tailored to individual needs and provided in the client homes but organized from the John Stark Highway facility. 

Legislative colleague, Carla Skinder (Cornish), administers the Adult Day Out Program. The program provides an opportunity for adults, often seniors, to get individualized care while participating in a variety of activities in a safe environment.

Next door is the Child Care Center for the children and grandchildren of Valley Regional Hospital employees. Teacher Tracey Bundy took me on a tour explaining the education philosophy behind the center including the interaction of the children with the adults in the Day Out Program. The hospice service, Day Out Program and the Child Care Center are all part of Valley Regional Hospital.

The Library Arts Center "Gallery of Gifts" opening reception was held on Friday evening. What a show! It is so good I was back again on Saturday afternoon with Sandy to pick up a few gifts for Christmas. The exhibition of crafts and fine woodworking by furniture masters like Terry Moore is exceptional. But there are also absolutely beautiful pieces made by state prison inmates through an  outreach program of the New Hampshire Furniture Masters Association.

Terry Moore is a mentor for the outreach program. His special efforts made it possible for the prisoner made furniture to be at the exhibit. With very reasonable pricing, the many red "sold" stickers on the card on each piece suggests sales were brisk on Friday and Saturday. A volunteer told me additional pieces will be brought in to replace items sold. Congratulations to Terry Moore and to the new Library Arts Center executive director, Kate Niboli, and the professional and volunteer team at the center.

I finished up Friday evening with a stop at the Claremont Soup Kitchen open house. Jan Bunnell was there at the new facility just she has been since opening the kitchen on January 10, 1983. That first day there were 10 people to be fed; on Friday there were 70 and another 30 food boxes delivered. When thinking about special Christmas and Thanksgiving gifts, consider our local food pantries and soup kitchens. The need is great.

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

Telephone:  603-271-6733

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