CONCORD — The Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire is endorsing former New Hampshire House Speaker Bill O’Brien as he bids to return to the top leadership position he held in 2011 and 2012 before Republicans lost the majority for a term to the Democrats.
Republicans were returned to the majority in the House in the Nov. 4 election, and O’Brien, of Mont Vernon, is again running for speaker. The Republicans will make their choice for the next speaker at its caucus scheduled for next Tuesday, Nov. 18, and a final vote will be taken when the full House convenes for Organization Day on Dec. 3.
At the GOP caucus, O’Brien is expected to be opposed by another former speaker and the current House Republican Leader, Gene Chandler of Bartlett, as well as by Rep. Laurie Sanborn of Bedford.
The conservative RLCNH said its emphasis is on fiscal conservatism and “social tolerance.”
The group’s vice chair, Spec Bowers, who is also chair of the Sullivan County Republican Committee, said, “Bill O’Brien is well-known and well-liked among our activists, especially for the exceptional leadership he showed as Speaker of the House in 2011 and 2012. During that time he confronted serious overspending issues caused by previous Democrat majorities, and balanced the state budget without raising taxes. In fact, taxes were actually reduced under his leadership 2011-12.”
Also in the RLCNH statement, group Tim Condon said O’Brien “also found that there was nearly a billion dollar structural budget deficit caused by past Democrat overspending. It was a ticking fiscal time bomb. But instead of raising taxes as the Democrats would have done, O’Brien put the state back on sound fiscal footing without raising taxes at all. It was quite an accomplishment.”
“As Republicans, we appreciate Gene Chandler’s past service, and we like Laurie Sanborn,” said Condon, “But Rep. Chandler was compromised by ethics charges in the past, and while Rep. Sanborn is a rising star, she needs more experience before stepping into such a high office. Bill O’Brien was both effective and courageous as Speaker just two years ago, and he deserves to be returned to that position now.”