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  • Former House speaker Gene Chandler, of Bartlett, is once again seeking the post. But contoversy over his infamous Old Fashioned Corn Roast has resurfaced in a mystery document circulating through the House.
  • Photo by Bruce Preston. House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt is pictured in the Statehouse in December.
  • Shawn Jasper
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    Rep. Michael Brunelle of Manchester
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    Speaker of the House William O'Brien of Mont Vernon at the State House recently.
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    Speaker of the House William O'Brien of Mont Vernon at the State House recently.
Sunday, April 29, 2012

Bill O’Brien has had many important moments since being nominated NH House Speaker in 2010

Nov. 18, 2010: William “Bill” O’Brien nominated speaker; leads former House Speaker Gene Chandler by nine votes on second ballot, wins by acclamation on third.

Nov. 23, 2010: O’Brien names Chandler as speaker pro tempore, a ceremonial post, and Rep. Pam Tucker, R-Greenland, as deputy speaker.

Dec. 1, 2010: O’Brien takes oath as new speaker with 298 Republicans in House to 102 Democrats.

Dec. 9, 2010: O’Brien forms two new committees, one to deal with constitutional amendments, another to consider citizen grievances against state government.

Dec. 9, 2010: O’Brien names campaign treasurer and Rep. Steve Stepanek to chairman of Ways and Means Committee; Stepanek was found guilty of drunken driving in Milford on Nov. 6, 2010.

Jan. 5, 2011: O’Brien supports and House votes to end a 40-year ban on carrying guns on House floor. Legislative facilities panel with O’Brien support lifts ban on carrying weapons throughout Statehouse.

Jan. 5, 2011: Manchester Republican state representative seeks to remove Rep. Mike Brunelle, D-Manchester, because he’s full-time staff head of N.H. Democratic Party. House GOP leader endorses charges; ultimately, House committee takes no action but urges rules be changed to prevent lawmakers from serving in full-time, partisan jobs.

Jan. 18, 2011: O’Brien endorses election law reform to keep “out-of-state” students from voting in N.H.; House ultimately ships bill off to study. Later learned his son, Brendan, registered to vote and ran for Maine state House seat in 2010 primary and then voted to re-elect his father to N.H. House seat five months later.

Jan. 13, 2011: O’Brien endorses House GOP agenda that has balanced state budget, retirement reform and education funding amendment as top priorities. Campaign to repeal same-sex marriage pushed to 2012.

Jan. 28, 2011: Executive Council declines appeal from House legal counsel that Rep. Edmond Gionet, R-Lincoln, was entitled to financial protection from countersuit brought by former legislator. Before becoming speaker, O’Brien was Gionet’s lawyer and advanced the same legal argument, which the attorney general denied Nov. 23, 2010.

Feb. 25, 2011: O’Brien signs onto failed bill to make N.H. the fourth state to carry concealed guns without a permit.

March 21, 2011: House approves leanest state budget in modern history, cutting state spending 17 percent. Gov. John Lynch refuses to sign but lets the plan become law – spending was cut 11 percent, tobacco tax cut, gambling winnings tax eliminated.

April 1, 2011: O’Brien clears gallery during vocal debate on state budget. Two ex-senators sue; judge upholds right of speaker to maintain decorum by dismissing suit on Sept. 16.

April 4, 2011: House Maj. Leader D.J. Bettencourt, R-Salem, apologizes to Catholic Bishop John McCormack for calling him “pedophile pimp” on his Facebook page.

April 6, 2011: Rep. Lee Quandt, R-Exeter, removed from House Finance Committee after opposing House GOP state budget and Right-to-Work bills.

April 17, 2011: Rep. Susan Emerson, R-Rindge, kicked off her committee for opposing budget and asking to increase spending. She claimed in private meeting O’Brien tried to bully her, a charge he and Bettencourt vigorously deny.

May 15, 2011: Reps. Matt Quandt, R-Exeter, and Timothy Copeland, R-Stratham, resign minor roles on O’Brien leadership team after opposing Right-to-Work bill, an O’Brien priority.

May 18, 2011: Rep. Paul Ingbretson, R-Haverhill, O’Brien-named chairman of new grievance committee, steps aside during a child custody complaint after judicial branch discloses Ingbretson personally supervised visits of father-daughter named in petition before him.

May 22, 2011: O’Brien unveils plan to cut gas tax 5 cents per gallon for two months; Senate kills it.

May 25, 2011: Jennifer Daler, D-Temple, wins special election in O’Brien’s home district to replace Robert Mead, R-Mont Vernon, and chief of staff for O’Brien.

June 8, 2011: O’Brien appoints self to state Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Rules.

June 16, 2011: Supreme Court rules the House can’t direct the attorney general to join state lawsuit against federal health care reform. O’Brien championed bill seeking to force attorney general to act.

Aug. 3, 2011: O’Brien calls on state Democratic Party chairman to quit after party agrees to pay $5,000 fine for auto-call attack against O’Brien on eve of September 2010 primary election.

Aug. 20, 2011: O’Brien defends strict controls on mileage reimbursement for House members, only for committee work and not routine trips to Concord.

Oct. 20, 2011: House committee takes revote after O’Brien visits to protest initial move to study bill including fetuses as victims in state murder laws.

Oct. 26, 2011: Deputy Majority Leader Shawn Jasper, R-Hudson, bounced from Election Laws Committee after battling with chairman over Voter ID bill. O’Brien had removed Jasper from two other committees after a February dispute.

Dec. 1, 2011: House deals O’Brien rare defeat, upholding by 13 votes Lynch’s veto of Right-to-Work bill.

Dec. 19, 2011: O’Brien replaces Chief of Staff Mead with policy director Greg Moore. Mead takes new job as director of legislative services in N.H. House GOP office.

Jan. 19, 2012: O’Brien ends silence, denies he tried to bully Emerson or anyone. House committee recommends and House kills Emerson bill to outlaw bullying lawmakers.

Jan. 17, 2012: O’Brien promotes his plan to move $17 million in surplus from last year into Rainy Day Fund. Lynch says such a move is premature.

Feb. 7, 2012: O’Brien testifies for proposed specialty care center in Salem to get $3.5 million tax break to lure jobs there; when committee rejects it, O’Brien convinces House to restore it.

Feb. 5, 2012: O’Brien speaks for bill passing House that blocks creating state health care exchange or letting state insurance boss work with federal government in setting one up for N.H.

Feb. 13, 2012: O’Brien favors repealing 12-year-old law that requires insurers to cover women’s contraception. House approves bill.

Feb. 16, 2012: Senate rejects O’Brien priority to require three-fifths vote on taxes through Constitution preferring a cap on state spending. House-Senate rift extends to dispute over competing education funding amendments.

March 20, 2012: O’Brien pushes for new state program to crack down on welfare fraud. House approves it.

March 21, 2012: O’Brien endorses House move to permit committee chairs for the first time to seek subpoenas.

April 9, 2012: Attorney General Michael Delaney says grievance panel O’Brien created has “a bias” that prevents protecting children. O’Brien says attorney general is playing politics.

April 16, 2012: O’Brien announces he will seek a fourth term in the House and second term as speaker.

– Compiled by KEVIN LANDRIGAN