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Democracy Fails As Executive Councilors Vote To Confirm Edelblut, Against Constituents Overwhelming Objections

Today our elected representatives have failed us and took another step toward the destruction of our democracy.

With a party line vote of 3-2, the NH Executive Council voted to confirm, the completely unqualified Frank Edelblut, as Commissioner of Education against the wishes of their own constituents.

“Republicans on the Executive Council let down Granite State students and young families today by confirming Frank Edelblut, despite overwhelming grassroots opposition, a vote of no confidence by the State Board of Education, and a remarkably unqualified resume for this important position,” said Granite State teacher Matthew Gerding.

“As a school teacher and a young LGBT Granite Stater hoping to raise my family here, I find it incredibly disheartening to see Republican leaders chose to confirm someone who opposes full-day kindergarten, refuses to oppose the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy, and calls education a ‘product’ not a public good.”

“Governor Sununu has taken every opportunity in his short time in office to turn young people away from our state. From nominating Mr. Edelblut, to raising tuitions at our state and community colleges in his budget, Governor Sununu is sending a clear message that he values politics over people,” concluded Gerding.

“Like DeVos, Edelblut has no experience or inter­action with the public education system of New Hampshire. Overseeing a state department of education requires an in-depth knowl­edge of how public schools are governed, how they are man­aged, and the challenges employees in public schools face. Mr. Edelblut possesses no such knowledge or experience. Other than overseeing the management functions of the employees under his direct supervision, the business skills Mr. Edelblut possess are not transferable to ensuring our children’s educational experi­ence is exceptional. Our chil­dren’s futures are too important to rely on someone who cannot hit the ground running on day one,” stated NEA-New Hampshire.

“Educators throughout New Hampshire strive to reach every child in their classroom, develop effective and engaging lesson plans, spend hours correcting papers and encouraging students to keep persevering. Every day for educators the theory and practice of pedagogy becomes real in the lives of the young people entrusted to their care. To have the highest ranking education official in the state bring only system level management and communication skills to the job threatens the future of every public school student in New Hampshire,” continued NEA-NH.

“The fundamental promise of a great public education for all students is under attack here, and across the country,” said Megan Tuttle, NEA-NH Vice-president. “We’re not just arguing over budget questions any longer; we’re in a full-on ideolog­ical battle with people who do not believe that every child deserves the same opportunity to succeed.”

“We are disappointed that a majority of the Executive Council did not listen to voices of thousands of parents and educators across the state or to the concerns expressed by the NH Board of Education about the appointment of Frank Edelblut as our next Commissioner of Education,” stated Doug Ley, President of AFT-NH. “We remain gravely concerned about a Commissioner of Education who, when running for governor, supported further diverting much needed funding and resources from our public schools.   There still has been presented no evidence, after a lengthy public hearing, to suggest Mr. Edelblut either has the experience or qualifications in education to lead NH schools and serve more than 180,000 students, our State’s most precious resource.”

“Our teachers and school district employees pour their hearts into the education of NH’s students, are highly trained and have dedicated a lifetime to serving NH students. They deserve a Commissioner who cares deeply about public education.”

“AFT-NH will remain vigilant in protecting our public schools and our cherished public education system in NH. We will always extend a hand to anyone, including Mr. Edelblut, willing to strengthen and support public schools but we will speak up and act in fierce opposition to any extreme agenda or attack on our schools. We sincerely hope that Mr. Edelblut will retreat from his past positions and start anew by listening to NH parents, educators and stakeholders in our schools,” concluded Ley.

“During the confirmation process, Frank Edelblut demonstrated he lacks both experience with and support for our state’s public schools,” wrote Executive Councilor Chris Pappas just after the vote. “It is clear that Mr. Edelblut is unable to be the type of non-partisan, consensus-building commissioner that our education system deserves. He holds political views on a range of issues that place him outside the mainstream, from his opposition to full-day kindergarten to support for gay conversion therapy. We do not need a commissioner who will interject ideology into the role, and I didn’t receive assurances that he would abandon past positions or steer clear of political activities after he is confirmed.”

It is plainly clear that the confirmation vote for Edelblut was purely partisan politics as usual. Two of the Executive Councilors openly admitted that they would vote to confirm despite overwhelming opposition to Edelblut’s nomination.

“Executive Councilors Joseph Kenney and Russell Prescott told us all about the concerns they heard from parents and educators about Frank Edelblut. Instead of listening to their constituents, they decided to put in earplugs and vote to confirm him in a blindly political move,” said NHDP Chairman Ray Buckley. “It’s shameful that Governor Sununu didn’t consult the Board of Education before he made the pick. Instead, he followed the Trump model by appointing an unqualified businessman rather than looking out for the future of New Hampshire.”

“We are disappointed that Executive Councilors Russ Prescott, Joe Kenney, and David Wheeler decided to rubber stamp Governor Sununu’s blatantly unqualified nominee despite widespread opposition from the State Board of Education and their constituents,” stated Zandra Rice-Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress. “Councilors Kenney and Prescott specifically mentioned that their constituents were overwhelming in opposition to Frank Edelblut before going on to say that they would vote for him anyway.

“Community members should be on notice that Prescott and Kenney fully acknowledged that they were voting against their constituents on this nomination,” Rice-Hawkins added.

It is obscene that our elected representatives are completely ignoring the will of the people in a partisan political vote. It takes a lot to get people to engage in politics, especially when it comes to political appointments like this. Yet hundreds if not thousands of Granite Staters took the time to write letters, emails, and call their Executive Councilors asking them to oppose Edelblut’s nomination.

To Councilors Prescott and Kenney, those constituents do not matter.

This is where democracy dies. When our elected leaders only do what is good for their political careers and reject the will of the people we can no longer say we live in a democracy. The people spoke out and overwhelmingly opposed Frank Edelblut’s nomination, yet they confirmed him anyway.

This is a sad day for the future of our public schools and our democracy.


I would like to join Granite State Progress in saying:

“We thank Councilors Andru Volinsky and Chris Pappas for standing with the majority of constituents and experts who voiced concern over Governor Sununu’s unqualified nominee.”

(Featured image of Russ Prescott by Granite State Progress on Twitter)

Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire Endorse Andru Volinsky for Executive Council

CONCORD, NH – The Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire (PFFNH) is pleased to announce its endorsement of Andru Volinsky for Executive Council, District 2.

“Andru will be a strong voice for fire fighters and paramedics in our state. We’re proud to endorse Andru and believe he will bring to the Executive Council passion and vision,” said PFFNH President David Lang. “As an Executive Councilor he will be an asset to our state and will be a strong supporter of public safety.”

Upon learning of this important labor endorsement, Andru Volinsky said, “I am proud to receive the endorsement of New Hampshire’s firefighters. I’ve built my career advocating for New Hampshire’s working men and women. As Executive Councilor, I will continue fighting for New Hampshire public servants who work hard every day to keep our communities safe.”


The Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire, headquartered in Concord, NH, represents more than 2,000 active and retired fire fighters and paramedics from 44 locals across the state

Jennifer Daler Announces Run for Executive Council

Daler has the support of over 100 key leaders from across District 5

Jennifer DalerFormer State Representative Jennifer Daler of Temple today announced her candidacy for Executive Council District 5 and released the following statement:

“The job of Executive Councilor is to best represent constituents and our current Executive Councilor is failing to do that by consistently voting against our district,” said Daler.  “I will always put the citizens of this district before partisan ideology to help move New Hampshire forward.”

“The partisan vote of the Executive Council to not renew the state’s contract with Planned Parenthood shows how out of touch David Wheeler and the Republican majority are with New Hampshire’s women and their families. Wheeler’s continued opposition to commuter rail,  which is broadly supported by Nashua area businesses and residents, shows the same disconnect.” said Daler. “Wheeler even recently voted against the confirmation of Dorothy Graham to the Superior Court despite her being highly qualified and garnering universal support at her confirmation hearing. Wheeler would rather engage in ideological and political grandstanding than serve the people of District 5 and the state of New Hampshire.”

“As I announce my candidacy for the Executive Council, I am honored to have key community leaders and local activists ready to work together to return common sense to the Executive Council.”

About Jennifer Daler

Jennifer Daler is the mother of three, a graduate student in Social Work at the University of New Hampshire where she is participating in the NH-LEND program (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities). She served as State Representative in 2006-2008 and 2011-2012, where her policy focus was on health care access and meeting the needs of our most vulnerable citizens. She is a member of the Temple Ad-Hoc Pipeline Advisory Committee.  

For more information about Jennifer Daler and her campaign go to jenniferdaler.com

Jennifer Daler for Executive Council 2016 Steering Committee

  • Julie Radhakrishnan, Amherst
  • Aly McKnight,  former Field Organizer, Jim Donchess for Mayor,  Amherst
  • Marion Noble, Antrim
  • Linda Quintanilha, ConVal School Board, Bennington
  • Jon Manley, State Representative, Bennington
  • Doreen Robertson, Bennington
  • Janet Lutkus, Bennington
  • David McKenzie, Bennington
  • Melanie Levesque, Former State Representative, Brookline
  • Brendan Denehy, Brookline
  • Brian Rater, Brookline
  • Gale Taylor, Brookline
  • Keith Thompson, Brookline
  • Aaron Gill, Selectman, Deering
  • Stephanie Scherr,  Fitzwilliam
  • Lawrie Barr,  Francestown
  • Jane Gallagher Hooper, Francestown
  • Karen Day, Greenfield
  • Agneta Brown, Greenfield
  • Neal Brown, Greenfield
  • Karen Nadeau, Greenfield
  • Jim Giddings, Greenville
  • Henri Vaillancourt,  Greenville
  • Cookie Shahmehri, Greenville
  • Richard McNamara, State Representative, Hillsborough
  • Marjorie Porter, State Representative, Hillsborough
  • Nancy Birn Struckman, Hollis
  • Claire Helfman, Hollis
  • Richard Drisko, Former State Representative, Hollis
  • John Knowles, Former State Representative, Hudson
  • MaryAnn Knowles, Former State Representative, Hudson
  • Alejandro Urrutia, Hudson
  • Richard Ames, State Representative, Jaffrey
  • Harry Young, Former State Representative, Jaffrey
  • Dianna Normanton, Litchfield
  • Michael Atkins, Lyndeborough
  • Barbara Sim,  Lyndeborough
  • Charles Moser, Selectman, Mason
  • Jon Pearson,  Mason
  • Doug Whitbeck, Mason
  • Gwen Whitbeck,  Mason
  • Brenda Grady, Former State Representative, Merrimack
  • John Grady, Merrimack
  • Kim Kojak, Merrimack
  • Amy Conley,  Milford
  • Michael Conley,   Milford
  • Trudy Morgan, Milford
  • Jennifer Bertrand, Mont Vernon
  • Shawn Bertrand,  Mont Vernon
  • Mary Jean MacGillivary, Mont Vernon
  • Mary Katherine McNamara, Mont Vernon
  • Kurt Schmidlein, Mont Vernon
  • Alan Cohen, State Representative, Nashua
  • David Cote, State Representative, Nashua
  • Ken Gidge, State Representative, Nashua
  • Marty Jack, State Representative, Nashua
  • Alan Cohen, State Representative, Nashua
  • Lori Wilshire, Alderman at Large, Nashua
  • Sylvia Gale, Former State Representative, Nashua
  • Linda Gathright, Former State Representative, Nashua
  • Barbara Pressly, Former State Representative, Nashua
  • Tom Lopez Ward 4 Alderman-elect
  • Eileen Brady, Nashua
  • Sonia Prince, Nashua
  • Deidre Reynolds,  Nashua
  • Rafael Calderon, Nashua
  • Jay Chittidi, Nashua
  • Alex Jafery,  Nashua
  • Homa Jafery,   Nashua
  • Nadia Jafery, Nashua
  • Allison Nutting, Nashua
  • Michael Pedersen, Nashua
  • Gloria Timmons, Nashua
  • Gwen Mikailov, Nashua
  • Sue Newman,  Nashua
  • Mary Jo Cannaralla, Nashua
  • David Woodbury, State Representative, New Boston
  • Bill Gould,  New Boston
  • Marie Stanger,  New Boston
  • Thomas Noel,  New Boston
  • Elaine Tagliamonte,  New Boston
  • Patricia Canaday,  New Ipswich
  • Helen Emma,  New Ipswich
  • Dennis Gauvin,  New Ipswich
  • Kathy Gauvin,  New Ipswich
  • Jill Shaffer Hammond, Former State Representative, Peterborough
  • Ivy Vann, State Representative, Peterborough
  • Beverly Bacon, Former Member, ConVal School Board, Peterborough
  • Sheila Bay, Peterborough
  • Rob Couchon,  Richmond
  • David Worth,  Richmond
  • Pat Brady Martin, Rindge
  • Deborah Opramolla, Rindge
  • Peter Colpitts, Temple
  • Steve Cullinan, Temple
  • Lincoln Geiger,  Conservation Commission, Temple
  • Tom Hawkins,  Temple
  • Camilla Lockwood, Planning Board,  Temple
  • Christine Robidoux, Temple
  • Becky VanDam, Temple
  • Pete von Sneidern, Temple
  • Carol Roberts, State Representative, Wilton
  • Kermit Williams, State Representative, Wilton
  • Alice Groh,  Wilton
  • Diane Foss,  Wilton
  • Anthony Graham, Wilton
  • Gail Proctor,  Wilton
  • Bill Finlayson, Wilton
  • Dodie Finlayson, Wilton
  • Bridget Mooney, Wilton
  • Mickey Pieterse, Wilton
  • Ben Reed, Wilton
  • Christie Reed,  Wilton
  • John Zavgren, Wilton

About Executive Council District 5

This swing Executive Council District is comprised of the towns of Amherst, Antrim, Bennington, Brookline, Deering, Dunbarton, Fitzwilliam, Francestown, Greenfield, Greenville, Hillsborough, Hollis, Hudson, Jaffrey, Litchfield, Lyndeborough, Mason, Merrimack, Milford, Mont Vernon, New Boston, New Ipswich, Peterborough, Richmond, Rindge, Sharon, Swanzey, Temple, Troy, Weare, Wilton, and Windsor, and the city of Nashua.

Andru Volinsky Announces Campaign For District 2 Executive Councilor

Concord, NH—Today Andru Volinsky released the following statement:

“After much thought and discussion with my family, I’m proud to announce today that I’m running for Executive Council in District 2, which goes from Keene to the Seacoast.

New Hampshire needs Executive Councilors who will serve as champions for all our citizens, as protectors of transparency and efficiency in government, and as advocates for the appointment of the best possible judges and members of our state boards and commissions.

As an Executive Councilor, I will continue the fight I’ve undertaken as a lawyer for sound public policies that benefit all of New Hampshire’s citizens. I understand the importance of a strong, transparent, and well-informed process for approving judicial appointments and contracts. I will work to approve qualified appointees to state boards and commissions who will work to protect public education funding and the retirement security of our state employees—not undermine them. As a board member of the Manchester Community Health Center, I know the importance of a strong public health system, which is why I will work to restore vital family planning funds to Planned Parenthood health centers across our state and protect the increased access to affordable health care made possible by Medicaid expansion.

I’m committed to continuing our work to build a stronger future for New Hampshire and I hope to earn your support over the next few months by meeting as many of you as possible.”


Andru Volinsky is a father, husband, and lawyer who lives in Concord. He is general counsel and a shareholder of Bernstein Shur where he practices law and helps manage the firm’s New Hampshire office. To find out more about Andru’s campaign for Executive Council, please visit www.volinskynh.com

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