John Rist, Gov. John Lynch’s nominee to serve on the State Board of Education, was criticized in 2008 while he served as principal of Manchester Central High for attempting to skirt the rules to aid then-Sen. Hillary Clinton by giving her a plum speaking slot at the high school’s graduation ceremony.
Clinton was running for president at the time and Rist later endorsed her. Republicans and the powerful New Hampshire Union Leader criticized Rist’s actions at the time. “Having a single presidential candidate speak at a public high school graduation is entirely inappropriate,” opined the Union Leader. “Intentionally or not, Principal Rist is turning commencement into a Clinton campaign stop and offering up the students as props.”
Lynch nominated Rist on Wednesday to fill a vacancy on the State Board of Education created by the resignation of Stephen R. L’Huereux of Hooksett.
The revelations call into question the propriety of the Rist nomination, which many see as overly political. UNH polling director Andy Smith said at the time that Rist’s wife Kathy Sullivan, one of the most powerful Democrats in the state, probably “had something to do with their ability to make it possible for Clinton to come to the school, but I wouldn’t see it as an endorsement.”
In fact, State House sources tell the Journal that many Republicans are privately furious about the nomination and view it as a slap in the face to the Governor’s Executive Council, many of whom Rist’s wife Sullivan has personally attacked and smeared over the years.
Stay tuned …