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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Meredith senator chosen as top budget writer by Morse

CONCORD – Senate President Chuck Morse, R-Salem, promoted a Republican senator from Meredith to replace him as top Senate budget writer Wednesday and got a partisan attack against the move in response.

Two-term Sen. Jeanie Forrester had served as vice chairman of the Senate Finance Committee before Wednesday’s announcement. Taking her place as No. 2 on the panel is Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, D-
Manchester. ...

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CONCORD – Senate President Chuck Morse, R-Salem, promoted a Republican senator from Meredith to replace him as top Senate budget writer Wednesday and got a partisan attack against the move in response.

Two-term Sen. Jeanie Forrester had served as vice chairman of the Senate Finance Committee before Wednesday’s announcement. Taking her place as No. 2 on the panel is Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, D-
Manchester.

Morse noted that as finance chairman, he shepherded the current two-year budget through the Senate last June on a 24-0 vote.

“I know Senators Forrester and D’Allesandro will work well with Governor Hassan and our executive branch agencies to ensure our spending targets are met,” Morse said in a statement. “Managing the state budget properly is the foundation for having a sound economy here in New Hampshire. This will ultimately lead to our business community having greater confidence to create new jobs.”

Morse will remain as a member of the panel as will Sen. Peter Bragdon, R-Milford, who formally stepped down as president Tuesday because of what he called the “perception” of conflicts of interest from his new job as CEO of the quasi-public Local Government Center, now the New Hampshire Municipal Association.

A Democratic Party spokesman questioned Forrester as the choice since Forrester was one of few who knew that Bragdon had applied for the LGC job and had wanted to remain as Senate president.

Forrester agreed to write a letter of reference, Bragdon said.

On July 19, Bragdon officially appointed Foster as the only senator on a study committee reviewing whether to change state laws governing insurance risk pools like those at the LGC that Bragdon now manages.

Bragdon insisted that he decided to put Forrester on that panel July 5, six days before he was approached by the LGC’s last executive director to consider applying for that job.

“Chuck Morse’s Senate presidency is starting down the same ethically questionable road that ended Peter Bragdon’s,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party communications director Harrell Kirstein. “If Forrester can’t provide taxpayers and voters with an accurate accounting of her intimate involvement in BragdonGate, how can they trust her to chair the committee overseeing the state budget?”

Kevin Landrigan can reached at 321-7040 or klandrigan@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Landrigan on Twitter (@Klandrigan).