The race to succeed House Speaker Dick Hinch, who died from COVID-19 last week, is taking shape. Acting Speaker Sherman Packard is running, as are three other Republicans.
Packard has represented Londonderry at the State House for 30 years, and has held leadership position under three different speakers. It’s that experience, he said, that qualifies him to lead the House.
"I know how the Speaker's office runs, I know its responsibilities, and I just feel I have the best chance of keeping the caucus together and moving forward together,” Packard said.
Fellow Londonderry Rep. Al Baldasaro is also running. Like Packard, he says he plans to maintain Hinch's policy goals and much of his leadership team. But he also said, on his watch the House will push back against executive actions taken by Gov. Chris Sununu regarding COVID-19.
“The governor is the Executive Branch and we’ve got to make it known that we are the Legislative Branch, a separate entity,” he said.
Other GOP candidates to declare for speaker are Rep. Tim Lang of Sanbornton and Rep. Max Abramson of Seabrook. Republicans will select a caucus nominee via Zoom on Friday. The full House will vote for the new Speaker January 6.