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Sununu says Rep. Ken Weyler should lose his role as House Finance Chair over COVID-19 misinformation

N.H. State House, John Stark statue
Dan Tuohy / NHPR
New Hampshire State House, Gen. John Stark statue

Gov. Chris Sununu joined top State House Democrats in calling for Rep. Ken Weyler to lose his position as the House’s top budget writer due to the Republican from Kingston's continued spread of COVID-19 misinformation.

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“I have repeatedly expressed directly to Speaker Packard about the need to remove Weyler from this position of leadership,” Sununu said in a statement. “These latest absurd emails have accelerated the urgency that the Speaker needs to take action,” Sununu said.

Sununu’s statement comes after Weyler, 79, emailed colleagues materials full of COVID conspiracy theories, including a discredited, false report that claims COVID deaths are driven by a plot orchestrated out of Vatican City, Washington D.C. and London.

“It’s all one huge puppet theatre, where the majority of the people
 even most of those who are complicit — haven’t got the slightest clue what is going on, and how everyone is being played,” the report states.

Among other false claims, the report says some COVID vaccines include “living organism(s) with tentacles.”

House Speaker Sherman Packard has remained silent on whether Weyler will be stripped of his post and downplayed Weyler’s decision to share such material.

“It is not uncommon, whether one agrees or disagrees with the content, for a committee chair to share constituent information with committee members,” Packard said in a statement.

Packard also referenced a now-controversial $27 million of federal funding the Sununu administration says New Hampshire needs to bolster vaccination efforts in his comments.

“The Fiscal committee is still interested in learning what additional information the state agencies can provide on future obligations that could be tied into acceptance of the federal money.”

Last month, the GOP-controlled Fiscal Committee voted to table the receipt of that money. During that meeting, Weyler clashed with Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinnette over COVID hospitalization rates in New Hampshire.

Shibinnette said 90 percent of those hospitalized in New Hampshire due to COVID-19 were unvaccinated. Weyler said he didn’t believe her, and Shibinette accused Weyler of spreading misinformation. Weyler has served in the House for 30 years, andpreviously told NHPR he is unvaccinated.

Rep. Mary Jane Wallner, the ranking Democrat on the House Finance Committee, also criticized Weyler in a statement.

“The continued dissemination of disinformation on COVID from Rep. Weyler is a danger to public health in New Hampshire and to the credibility of the legislature as a whole,” she said.

The $27 million dollars in federal money is also before the New Hampshire Executive Council, which had to postpone its meeting last week due to safety concerns presented by the behavior of protesters who opposed the funding at the gathering.

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