House Majority Leader Says He's Moving Forward, Setting Goals

Dec 17, 2014

Voting buttons on the N.H. State House floor
Credit Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The man appointed by House Speaker Shawn Jasper to lead House Republicans held his first GOP caucus on Wednesday.  Brookline lawmaker Jack Flanagan says he expects resistance from some backers of former House Speaker Bill O'Brien, but expects the controversy over who is the rightful leader of Republicans in the House to fade.

On Wednesday afternoon, Flanagan caucused privately with about 100 House Republicans.  Flanagan said the stated goal was to gather input of policy priorities for the next two year session.

"What we're trying to do is we are trying to set goals, at the caucus level, driving upwards, instead of from the leadership downwards."

But uniting the caucus won't be easy.  A majority of Republicans backed O'Brien for Speaker and many -- including O'Brien-- believe since he was the caucus choice for Speaker, he is the rightful caucus leader.

O'Brien plans to seek a change to House rules to require that.  Flanagan, meanwhile, says what's done is done.

"He can say whatever he wants to say, but right now, I guess I am the Majority Leader and we will deal with any issues that the leadership deals with."

The rule change backed by O'Brien will get its first airing at a rules committee meeting scheduled for Thursday.

For any rule to take effect it would need to win majority support of the whole House.