Leading Republicans Against Right-To-Work Can Keep Their Posts After All

Protect NH Families / Flickr

Right-to-Work legislation has proved controversial in the Granite State--as have Speaker O'Brien's attempts to overturn the governor's veto.

Yesterday, we linked to a story on TheLobbyNH.com following-up on House Speaker William O’Brien’s latest attempt to overturn the governor’s veto of Right-to-Work legislation.

A number of Republicans joined Democrats in opposition to the override during Wednesday’s vote.

O’Brien ultimately lost his bid to institute Right-to-Work by seven votes.

Then yesterday, Kevin Landrigan reported for TheLobbyNH.com that one leading Republican–Representative Gary Hopper of Weare–had already resigned his chairmanship on the House Fish and Game Commission after voting against Right-to-Work.  Landrigan also reported that Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt would be asking for the resignations of three assistant majority whips who broke with party ranks–Michael McCarthy of Nashua, John Tholl, Jr. of Whitefield, and David Welch of Kingston.

Now today, in TheLobbyNH.com, Landrigan reports a change in plans:

“A day after sackings looked imminent, the top House Republican leader has decided bygones should be bygones and refused to accept resignations from ranking GOP members who opposed the Right to Work bill.

House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt, R-Salem, issued a letter Thursday to three members in his extended leadership team who either offered to step aside or expected they would be replaced because they had opposed Right to Work.

‘It is important that you realized that in exchange for responsibility and authority that comes with leadership some independence is sacrificed. All members of my leadership team must recognize they are part of a team and publicly must support the team at all times. I do not believe in harsh discipline. After all, we are all elected to represent our constituents to the best of our ability. However, I do believe in accountability,’ Bettencourt wrote.

But the top House Republican praised them for not publicly speaking against Right to Work and decided to overlook this break from the GOP priority agenda.”

Bettencourt also wrote in his letter:

“‘Most importantly, I am loathed to declare that a single issue defines what it means to be a ‘good’ Republican. Therefore, while I appreciate your offer to resign I decline your resignation and would respectfully request that you remain in leadership should you choose to continue in your role.'”

While the three assistant majority whips get to keep their leadership posts, Landrigan reports Hopper’s resignation from the Fish and Game Commission chairmanship stands.  That’s because “Hopper reports directly not to Bettencourt but to House Speaker William O’Brien, R-Mont Vernon.”

Ed. Note: In an earlier version of this post, we referred to Kevin Landrigan as “Ken Landrigan.”  We regret the error.


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