State Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut was confirmed for a full, four-year term by the Executive Council Wednesday. Edelblut had earlier been appointed to fill out the remainder of the term of his predecessor, former commissioner Virginia Barry.
Edelblut was approved 3 to 2, in a party-line vote of the five-member council.
Democrats have criticized Edelblut for what they call his extreme views on school choice and lack of professional education experience. At Wednesday's Executive Council meeting, Democratic Councilor Andru Volinsky accused Edelblut of meddling with a school renovation project in Rochester in his first weeks on the job.
But Republican Councilor Russell Prescott said Edelblut had done nothing to cast doubt on his readiness for the job.
"I do not believe that Frank Edeblut is one that would run off on his own agenda," Prescott said. "I don't believe that he would go back on his word to the people of New Hampshire. I believe that he would be a very good Commissioner of Education."
Edelblut mounted an unsuccessful campaign for the Republican nomination for governor last year. Gov. Chris Sununu tapped Edelblut to run the Department of Education soon after taking office.