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Tilton says election of Jasper as speaker was 'terrible' day for Republican Party

LACONIA — "It was terrible," said Representative Frank Tilton (R-Laconia) of the Wednesday election of Shawn Jasper, the Republican from Hudson, as Speaker of the House of Representatives. "It was a divisive party becoming more divisive."

Drawing unanimous support from Democrats in the House, Jasper topped fellow Republican Bill O'Brien of Mont Vernon, who was the nominee of the Republican caucus, by seven votes, 195 to 178 to claim the speakership on the third ballot after six hours of debate.

Since the election of the speaker is conducted by a secret paper ballot there is no record of either how individual members voted or how parties divided. A candidate must receive a majority of the votes, including write-in votes and blank ballots, cast by the members present. There are 239 Republican, 160 Democrat and one Independent in the House. At least a quarter of the Republicans shunned O'Brien on the decisive ballot.

Tilton likened the vote in the Republican caucus, where O'Brien edged former Speaker Gene Chandler of Bartlett by 116 to 112, to a primary. Tilton supported Chandler in the caucus, but said that once the caucus nominated a candidate all Republicans should have supported him as the party's candidate for speaker. He said that the same elements of the GOP have reacted similarly in general elections by failing to support the party's nominees in the general election.

Tilton said that he spoke with Jasper in the days before the vote on Wednesday. "He was looking to eliminate O'Brien," he said and suggested that he decided to step forward when others, like Chandler and David Hess, a veteran lawmaker from Hooksett, declined to do so. Jasper, he said, believed that the election of O'Brien, whose previous tenure as speaker many believe enabled the Democrats to regain a majority in the House, would again cripple the GOP at the polls in 2016.

After mulling it over, Tilton said that he reached the opposite conclusion, namely that dividing the party over the speakership by raising and perpetuating dissension within the party will have a more adverse impact on its fortunes in 2016 than the election of O'Brien as Speaker.

"There is a lot of outrage," he remarked.

Tilton said that he had not spoken with all 18 of the representatives from Belknap County, but suspected that most, if not all, voted for O'Brien.

Representative Herb Vadney (R-Meredith) agreed "there is a lot of emotion and a lot of varying opinions," but said that the immediate challenge will be for Jasper to assemble an "effective management team" in a short period of time. He noted that O'Brien had been preparing to become speaker for some time and likely had chosen committee chairmen and vice-chairmen and perhaps even made committee assignments. Jasper, he said, will have 15 or 20 days. "I wish him well," he said. "It is a difficult job in the best of conditions and these are not the best of conditions."

Last Updated on Friday, 05 December 2014 02:41

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LRCC student arrested in aftermath of Keene riot

LACONIA — As yet officials at Lakes Region Community College (LRCC) have taken no disciplinary action against one of its students who was arrested by Keene police after the rioting amid the annual Pumpkin Festival on October 18 and 19.

Scott Kalicki, president of the college, speaking through his assistant Tanya Lindquist, said yesterday that  officials would await the outcome of the adjudication of the criminal charges brought against the student, who has not been identified, before contemplating disciplinary action.

Police arrested 84 individuals during the rioting and another 16, including the student from (LRCC), afterwards following an investigation that drew heavily on pictures posted on social media, especially Facebook and Twitter. At the same time, 170 students of Keene State College were disciplined for their conduct during the rioting.

Last Updated on Friday, 05 December 2014 02:36

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Region will have 2 senators on vital finance committee

CONCORD — Senator Andrew Hosmer (D-Laconia) has been named to the Senate Finance Committee, joining Senator Jeanie Forrester (R-Meredith), who chairs the panel, to assure the Lakes Region a strong presence on the committee during the 2015 session of the New Hampshire Legislature.

The Finance Committee will play a huge role in the development of a new, biannual state budget

Hosmer, who served on the Ways and Means Committee during his first term in the Senate, said yesterday that he requested a seat on the Finance Committee following his re-election in November. He noted that the retirement of Senator Sylvia Larsen of Concord, created an opening for a Democrat on the committee. He described the budget as "the nuts and bolts of state government" and anticipated it would be the "biggest challenge of the session. The budget affects the interests of everyone," he continued. "This is an opportunity to represent all my constituents."

Forrester, who was named to the Finance Committee in her second term, last year succeeded Senator Chuck Morse (R-Salem) as chairman when he became president of the Senate. She also serves on the Public and Municipal Affairs Committee.

Last Updated on Friday, 05 December 2014 02:31

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Tilton man charged with misdemeanors relatingto what Sanbornton police believe was 'road rage' incident

SANBORNTON — A Tilton man has been charged with one count of misdemeanor vehicular assault and one count of misdemeanor reckless operation for his alleged role in a crash on Bay Road in October that put one man in a coma.

Adam M. Jones, 20, of Ash Road in Tilton turned himself into Sanbornton Police last week and is free on personal recognizance bail.

According to police, Jones and a second man, Scott Marcotte of Sanbornton, were both allegedly traveling at high rates of speed in the same direction along Bay Road at 6:43 p.m. on October 15 when Marcotte, who was riding a motorcycle, lost control of his bike and crashed.

Police said Jones "locked up his brakes and swerved" to avoid hitting Marcotte and rolled his car in the process.

Lt. Kevin McIntosh said the two didn't collide on Bay Road, however a subsequent investigation led them to believe the two had some kind of earlier encounter minutes before the crash at the lights near Shaw's supermarket in Belmont.

McIntosh said that it appears this could be a case of road rage. During an interview, Jones allegedly told investigators that he and Marcotte had some kind of incident and that he was trying to follow close enough to the back of his motorcycle to read the plate number.

He said a witness told them that he saw a motorcycle with a car right behind it traveling at a high rate of speed on Bay Road. The witness said he heard the crash and that those were the only two vehicles he had encountered on the road.

McIntosh said Marcotte suffered a serious head trauma and, to date, police have not had an opportunity to interview him. Marcotte is expected to recover.

Jones has a scheduled appearance in the 6th Circuit Court, Franklin Division on December 8.

Last Updated on Friday, 05 December 2014 02:28

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