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Seeking more control over ski area, Republican lawmakers appoint political ally to Gunstock's board

Gunstock Mountain Resort
Last year, Gunstock turned a record profit and released an ambitious expansion plan. But some current lawmakers, including the leaders of the Belknap County delegation, say the mountain needs more oversight.

Belknap County's Republican lawmakers have picked a local Republican Party official to fill a vacancy on the five-member board overseeing the operations of county-owned Gunstock Mountain resort.

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The move comes as a group of conservative lawmakers within the county delegation continue to push for more direct control over Gunstock.

Read more: In Belknap County, a battle over the future of a beloved local ski resort reaches a boiling point

The all-Republican county delegation Tuesday evening chose Dr. David Strang, a physician with a background in amateur ski racing, to serve out the nine months remaining in the term of Brian Gallagher, who quit the commission last month amid flaring tensions between the Gunstock Commission and the delegation.

Strang, who lives in Gilmanton, has said he’d bring an independent perspective to the board. He is treasurer of the Belknap County Republican Committee, and has testified against vaccine mandate during hearings at the State House.

Eight of the Belknap County Republicans in attendance for Tuesday's vote supported Strang. The other two candidates — Heidi Preuss, a former Olympic skier from Laconia, and Doug Lambert, a local businessman from Gilford — received four votes each.

Strang’s election to Gunstock's board came on the same day a New Hampshire House committee voted unanimously against a bill to give Belknap County lawmakers direct say over the mountain resort's budget.

Gunstock has since 1959 been operated by the board, as a buffer against political meddling. But some current lawmakers, including the leaders of the Belknap County delegation, say the mountain, which turned a record profit last year, needs more oversight.

Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000.

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