Once again the NH Republican Party has brought shame to our great state.
Today, the NH Legislative Administrative Committee met to vote on whether any action would be taken against Rep Robert Fisher for his comments promoting rape and Rep Sherry Frost for her personal tweets that were deemed inappropriate due to her use of “foul” language.
“The actions by House Republicans on the Legislative Administration Committee today were an embarrassing abdication of our duties as Representatives,” said House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff.
Republican Dick Hinch (Merrimack), chair of the committee, wanted to have one vote covering both Representatives implying that the tweets made by Rep Frost were somehow equal to the years of rape promotion by Rep Fisher.
“Decisions made by the majority today were clearly designed to provide cover for Representative Fisher and deny the ability to take any action against him. Dictating that the committee consider the actions of both Representatives Fisher and Frost in a single motion violates both legislative process and common sense, and violates the legislature’s right to discipline its members as it sees fit,” Shurtleff added.
“The NH GOP is sending a loud message that it will work to provide political cover for individuals like Rep. Fisher who promote rape culture and misogyny. There should have been no hesitation in calling out Fisher’s action and no hiding behind false equivalences. The NH GOP didn’t want to hold Fisher accountable, so they chose instead to target a female legislator who speaks her mind. This is the same playbook that encourages rape culture in the first place – blame the woman,” said Zandra Rice-Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress in a May 4th statement.
Just prior to the committee vote, Rep Tim Smith (D- Manchester) highlighted how Rep Fisher is still moderates the Red Pill Reddit under another alias. Rep Fisher, under oath, denied having any continued involvement with the Red Pill Reddit, however the evidence provided indicates that he was lying under oath, a fact the Republican leadership did not seem to care about.
In his statement today, Rep Shurtleff announced the he personally would “ask the Attorney General to investigate the allegations that he still runs the Red Pill forum.”
Rep Smith also noted that the committee had received over 40,000 petitions to have Rep Fisher removed from office.
“Robert Fisher is a rape promoter who has no place serving in government,” explained Shaunna Thomas, co-founder of UltraViolet one of the advocacy groups behind the petition drive.“Comments like Fisher’s contribute directly to America’s rape epidemic by normalizing and excusing violence against women. Fisher’s promotion of this repulsive ideology puts women’s lives at risk and undermines trust in the New Hampshire state legislature to protect all citizens.”
The vote came out as expected, straight down party lines 8-6 to take no action on Rep Fisher or Rep Frosts. The crowd was outraged, yelling “Shame, Shame.”
Democrats on the committee wanted to submit a minority report to all members of the House before the entire House votes as early as next week. Rep Hinch, rejected their request and ruled that no minority report would be accepted.
“The most egregious action by the Republican majority today was the denial of the minority to submit a report. How ironic that the majority recommendation of ‘no action’ was made under the guise of supporting free speech, while simultaneously denying the minority the long established tradition to formally oppose majority action by including a minority report,” Shurtleff added.
After the vote today, Rice-Hawkins said, “The NH GOP sent a loud message that it will work to provide political cover for individuals like Fisher who promote rape culture and misogyny. House Speaker Shawn Jasper, Republican Majority Leader Dick Hinch, and the entire Republican caucus of the Legislative Administration committee undermined the trust placed in them by constituents by putting party politics ahead of the women and children of our state and voting for no action to be taken on then-Rep. Fisher. There is absolutely no question this was about politics, since the Republicans required the motion on Fisher to be combined with a motion regarding actions of another elected official, leaving the committee with only the option to approve or condemn them both. It is hard to imagine a jury being ordered to issue a joint ruling on two different individuals charged with two very different offenses, but that is exactly the partisan game the NH House GOP played today. Furthermore, they refused to even allow a minority report.”
After the despicable action by the GOP voting to take no action, effectively justifying his rape comments, Rep Fisher officially resigned his position effective at noon today.
— Casey McDermott (@caseymcdermott) May 17, 2017
Prior to the committee session, members of UltraViolet, Granite State Progress and Action Together spoke out against Rep Fisher’s rape comments and once again called for his resignation.
“Action Together New Hampshire is pleased to learn Robert Fisher tendered his resignation following the executive session on his actions. While seeing Fisher out of a position of power was the outcome we were seeking, we are deeply disturbed by the extreme partisanship and blatant misogyny that this process exposed in the House,” said Action Together New Hampshire Executive Director Emily Morgan. “Action Together New Hampshire remains committed to holding elected officials accountable regardless of party affiliation, and we expect honorable public servants to also hold their colleagues to a higher standard of behavior than Mr. Fisher demonstrated.”
“We are pleased that Rep. Fisher finally resigned, though we note his resignation only came after House Democrats threatened to take his statements under oath to the Attorney General for investigation. From start to finish, Robert Fisher has not been honest and transparent regarding his viewpoints that women are of a lesser class than their male counterparts,” Rice-Hawkins added.
“We welcome Robert Fisher’s resignation from the New Hampshire state legislature. Fisher’s repulsive ideology and cultivation of a pro-rape forum put women’s lives at risk–he directly contributed to America’s rape epidemic by normalizing and excusing violence against women. It is deeply concerning that New Hampshire’s Legislative Administration Committee did not recognize what the rest of us did – that brand of dangerous misogyny simply has no place our government,” said Karin Roland, Chief Campaigns Officer of UltraViolet.
Ultimately the goal of removing Rep Fisher from the House was accomplished but not until after the committee brought shame our state by justifying his comments and actions by voting to take “no action.”