N.H. House Speaker Terie Norelli to announce she won't seek re-election
Three-term New Hampshire House Speaker Terie Norelli will not seek re-election this fall. She will hold a press conference at 1 p.m. today in the Legislative Office Building to discuss her decision.
“After six years as Speaker and 18 years in the Legislature, it is time to turn over the gavel to the next generation of leaders. I have tremendous confidence in the membership of the Democratic caucus and believe they will hold the majority and continue fight for the values we share,” she said in a statement.
Norelli, a Portsmouth Democrat, was first elected to the House in 1996. In 2006, she became the first Democrat to control the House in 84 years and the second woman to hold that title. She lost her speakership in 2010 when Republicans took control of the House, but re-took the spot in 2012. A number of New Hampshire Democratic leaders have praised Norelli’s leadership this morning.
“She lead and oversaw tremendous legislative accomplishments, including Medicaid Expansion, marriage equality, and the in-state college tuition freeze,” state Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley said in a statement. “New Hampshire families are better off because of my friend Terie. Her legacy will continue on and serve as an example for the next Democratic speaker, which we look forward to welcoming to the floor next session.”
But the state Republican Party was quick to say Norelli’s decision to retire is a sign of Democrats’ weakness heading into the 2014 election.
“Speaker Norelli’s announcement today serves as an implicit admission that Democrats realize they will lose their majority in the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Granite Staters are fed up with the tax and spend policies proposed by Gov. Hassan and her allies in the Democrat-controlled House, and they are going to replace them with fiscally responsible Republicans in November,” party chairwoman Jennifer Horn said in a statement.
Peter Burling, a Democratic National Committee member and former member of both legislative chambers, called Republicans’ comments “foolish” and said serving eight years in House leadership is a taxing job. As speaker, Norelli presides over nearly 400 House members.
“She’s never lost her patience, she’s never lost her cool, and she’s stayed incredibly committed to the best interests of the New Hampshire House,” Burling said.“(For) most people who haven’t served in the New Hampshire House, you don’t know the institution, you don’t know how tough it is to keep things going. That’s why it’s important for those of us who understand the experience to say this women has done a simply spectacular job.”
(Kathleen Ronayne can be reached at 369-3309 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @kronayne.)