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Governor-Elect Sununu Becomes Star of the Show at First Post-Election Council Meeting

josh rogers/nhpr

No sooner had Chris Sununu slipped into the council chambers though the back door than the well-wishing began.

First, there was Maj. Gen.William Reddel, the adjutant general of the New Hampshire National Guard: "Sir, congratulations."

And then Public Utilities Commission Chairman Marty Honigberg: "Congratulations."

"OK, thanks, good to see you," Sununu replied. "Everything going good over there?

"Oh, every day is better than the day before," Honigberg said.

"That’s the attitude man, that’s the attitude," Sununu said. "I love it."

For Sununu, what's not to love these days? He’s the first Republican in a dozen years to win a governor’s race, and with the Republicans also controlling the other chambers in Concord he’ll have a fighting chance of achieving policy goals. 

And people seem to know it. Take Jack Donovan, who runs the New Hampshire Business Finance authority.

“So I know everyone is grabbing and wants you time," Donovan told Sununu, "but when you’ve got a few minutes I’d love to talk to about some ideas on the Balsams...”

But Sununu, in this case, wanted to talk fashion: “You want to talk about that shirt?”

“You don’t like the shirt," Donovan replied, laughing.

“No, I love the shirt," Sununu responded. "Just the opposite, I love it. You can pull that off. See I’ve got to lose some more weight — then I can dress stylish.”

But if trim-fitting shirts are in Sununu’s future, he might be advised to cut back on peanut M&Ms he was scarfing amid the glad-handing.

“There’s protein in there, so it’s how I justify eating candy," the governor-elect explained. "It’s one of my many nervous habits, I guess.”  

The other denizens of the council table who sought statewide office on the ballot last week  — Governor Hassan, who edged Kelly Ayotte for U.S. Senate, and Councilor Colin Van Ostern, who lost to Sununu for the governor's seat — were less the center of attention.

When a representative of New Hampshire's Mayflower Society made reference to Hassan’s new job during a Thanksgiving proclamation, the sitting governor steered things back to the task at hand.

"And thank you Governor, or  should I say, Senator-Elect..."

"Governor, works just great," Hassan assured him.

Van Ostern, meanwhile, was the last councilor to arrive for today's meeting. His first action at the council table was to abstain from several votes. Those contracts involved Southern New Hampshire University, Van Ostern’s once and possible future employer.

Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000.

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