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Bob Odell
State Senator
District 8

December 29, 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.

 


With 400 members of the House of Representatives and 24 Senators, the simple math shows that means there are nearly 17 House districts within each Senate district. Some House districts overlap with two or more Senate districts and so it is not a perfect measurement.

Some of the House members who represent districts within the 8th Senatorial District picked up some leadership roles as the Speaker of the House chose her committee chairs and vice chairs. Representatives Tara Sad and Lucy Weber, both from Walpole and both in just their second terms, became chairs of two House committees.

Representative Sad will chair the Environment and Agriculture Committee taking over for former Representative Jay Phinizy (Acworth). This keeps the chairmanship of a committee important to our region under the leadership of local legislator. Representative Weber will continue to serve on the Judiciary Committee but will also chair the Legislative Administration Committee.

Interesting statistic: of the 22 House Committees, 16 will be chaired by women for the next two years.

Area legislators also were appointed as vice chairs on important committees. Long time member, Tom Donovan (Claremont) will be vice chair of the Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee while former councilman and mayor Representative Ray Gagnon (Claremont) will be vice chair of the Municipal and County Government Committee. Representative Ricia McMahon(Sutton) will back up Lucy Weber as vice chair of the Legislative Affairs Committee in addition to serving on the Executive Departments and Administration Committee.

Other appointments to note are Representatives Randy Foose (New London), Dan Eaton (Stoddard), Sandy Harris (Claremont) and Beverly Rodeschin (Newport) on the all important House Finance Committee. Representative Joe Osgood (Claremont) gets a coveted seat on the House Ways and Means Committee. Representative Sue Gottling (Sunapee) will return to the Resources, Recreation and Development Committee and will be joined by new members, Representatives Jim McClammer (Charlestown) and Tom Howard (Croydon). This is an important committee for our region and the one I was on when I served in the House.

Representative David Kidder (New London) and Representative Tony Maiola (Newport) may be on one the most interesting committees, the Local and Regulated Revenues Committee. This is a new committee created at least in part to take bills dealing with gambling off the Ways and Means Committee worktable. With revenue falling way behind budget and prior year revenue, there will be plenty of discussion about expanded gambling over the next few months. Rounding out the appointments, Representative Cynthia Sweeney (Charlestown) will serve on the State-Federal Relations & Veterans Committee as veteran legislator, Representative, John Cloutier, returns to the Public Works and Highways Committee.

The House committees you serve on are important. They are  often the places where you build personal relationships and develop expertise on the legislative issues the committees handle. The leadership tries to match the interests and experience of legislators to the most appropriate committee.

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If anyone is looking forward to new programs or increased spending for any projects coming out of the next legislative session they are likely going to be out of luck. The feeling instead is toward spending reductions and frugality across the budget. That was highlighted by the Governor saying "no" to an inaugural ball to celebrate his swearing-in to a third term. He and the five Executive Councilors will be sworn-in on January 8 with traditional ceremonies in Representatives' Hall  

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As we ponder what we might expect to see take place next year, I think back to conversations as a child with my grandfather, James McIntosh. He had immigrated to this country in 1910 as a teenager, worked at granite quarries and cobblestone construction projects, married and was widowed as a young man and was out of work during part of the depression. He must have wondered what lay ahead as 1932 was ending. The country was in terrible economic straights and a President-elect, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, waited for his upcoming March inauguration.

My grandfather told how everyone was worried, especially those without a "professional job" as he would call it. There wasn't much work for granite workers when no one was buying granite. President Roosevelt was sworn-in and launched his "New Deal" to stabilize the financial system and started spending money to create jobs in every economic sector and region of the country. In time, my grandfather got a job through the WPA planting trees along the road between Milford and Nashua. He would say years later that it wasn't much of a job but those two dollars a day allowed him to keep his house and feed his daughters.

Grandparents and parents who went through the depression carried the scars and memories for a lifetime. None of us ever wanted to see anything close to a repeat of that economic experience. But once again the nation is counting on a new President to restart our economy and take some of our fears and worries away. Each generation, it seems hits a huge hole in the economic road. We found ours last year. I wish for you and for our country a very successful year in 2009. We need one. 

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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