Senate View

Senate View

With the Inauguration of the Governor and Executive Council last week the Legislative year begins in earnest. Inauguration Day was one of festivities and celebration. Representatives Hall was filled with elected officials and dignitaries. Recent Governors and First Ladies attended….Mrs. Walter Peterson, Gov. Merrill, Gov. Sununu, Gov. Benson, and of course outgoing Governor and Dr. Lynch. Senator Kelly Ayotte was there, and former “first man” Bill Shaheen represented Senator and past Governor Jeanne Shaheen. It was fascinating to watch NH Chief Justice Linda Delainis swear in Governor Maggie Hassan. NH has once again made history with the predominance of women in government!

The day culminated with a public open house. This was a chance for families to meet the Governor, tour the State House, listen to NH music groups and see NH demonstrations of FIRST Robotics teams, a puppet show, and a variety of other activities. I got to see and visit with several Hollis families enjoying the fun!

While Inaugurations are celebratory, they set the stage for the tone and the challenge of the work to come. Both were evident in Gov. Hassan’s Inaugural Address. Citing the need for fostering innovation and a bipartisan approach to problem solving, Governor Hassan promised a tone of openness and respectful dialog. With her strong legislative experience, she knows the “workings” of the chambers, and has committed to regular communication between the branches of government. I worked with Governor Hassan when she was in the Senate, and I am confident she will be true to her word.

The major focus of the next months will be crafting the biennial budget. The Governor must present her budget by February 15. It is clear that spending decisions will be made with great care. Governor Hassan has asked department heads to submit budgets at 97% of 2012. As various revenues have come in below target, such as the loss from the reduction in the cigarette tax, we know that funding requests will outweigh available dollars. With competing needs, there will be a need for creativity and compromise and to create solutions that best reflect our priorities.

I will serve on the on the Transportation Committee as Vice-Chair, and on the newly combined Health and Education Committee. I anticipate a busy committee indeed, as there are many decisions facing both health and education funding, and already many bills have been filed that will come before us.

I look forward to hearing from you. I can be reached at my Concord number, 217-2104, or at home, 465-2336. My email is Peggy.Gilmour@leg.state.nh.us. Please be in touch with questions or issues, and stop in if you are in Concord. My office is in the State House, Room 105-A.



New Tone in Concord

A New Tone in Concord

The election of 2012 presented a clear message from the people. They want a government that works together to find solutions to our problems. Something as simple as seating became one of the first tone setting events of the 2013 NH legislature. In the past, representatives were seated with their party. If you were in the majority you were seated in sections 1-3, or in the last session 1-4, and the minority would be seated in section 5.

This session, under the Leadership of Speaker Terie Norelli, there was a substantial change. Representative were seated together whether Democrat or Republican. I was pleasantly surprised to see Representative Susan Emerson (R) Rindge seated in the first row of section 1. If you don’t know Representative Emerson, she adorns the most amazing hats. Each session she wears a different one. I have never seen the same hat twice. In the previous session Rep Emerson came upon serious challenges from the speaker. Her seat in the front was a sign of respect for her service and that this would be a different legislature.

I sit on the Election Law committee. Traditionally the majority party holds the leadership positions of Committee Chair, Vice Chair, and Clerk. David Cote (D) Nashua, a 16 Year veteran of the NH House, is our Committee Chair, Representative MaryAnn Knowles (D) Hudson, serves as Vice Chair, and Representative Kathleen Hoelzel (R) Raymond ,is our Clerk. I had the pleasure of working with Representative Hoelzel on Election Law in 2008-2010. It is an honor to have her serve as our Clerk.

We are setting a positive tone in the statehouse, one of respect, building relationships, and listening to different points of view. We may not necessarily sway each other’s decisions or change minds. But this is a good start to opening the dialogue. There will always be disagreements and different points of view However; as my dear departed 100 year old girl friend, Iris Thompson from Milford , would say “We can disagree without being disagreeable”.

I look forward to hearing from you regarding your concerns or support of upcoming legislation. Although I specifically serve Brookline and Mason, I work for the betterment of our state and I am here to listen. Please feel free to write me at mlevesque1@charter.net

Happy New Year!

Rep. Melanie Levesque
Brookline & Mason NH



PUBLIC NOTICE: School Voting Checklist



The Supervisors of the Checklist will be in session at the Mann House/Town Office, 16 Darling Hill Rd, Mason on Wednesday January 23, 2013 from 7:00PM – 7:30PM, for additions and corrections to the Mason Voter Checklist.  This will be the last time you are able to register to vote before the School District Deliberative Session on Saturday February 2, 2013.