Letter: Senators ignored the people’s voice
On March 20 I attended a public hearing on Senate Bill 99 regarding a moratorium on new energy projects in New Hampshire to assess their impact on our state. I had my 3-year-old son in tow. We patiently waited in a hot, crowded room for two hours to testify. The topic was of utmost importance to our family. We are in the path of the Northern Pass project.
When we were finally able to sit in front of the five senators – Jeb Bradley, Martha Fuller Clark, Bob Odell, Russell Prescott and Jeff Woodburn – they were all gracious, smiling and teasing my son. I read my testimony, foolishly thinking they cared about my story. I left the State House feeling like I had done something productive. I had shared with the senators my concerns, and they had listened. Little did I know that shortly after I and the rest of the public left the building, the senators would amend the bill, stripping the electrical transmissions projects from it, thereby excluding the Northern Pass project. They then passed the bill 4-1.
Here is what I’ve learned about New Hampshire government: Lobbyists have an entrenched, louder voice than people like me. Senators listen closely when an affluent company whispers in their ears but become deaf when the 32 of the 33 towns that will be affected by Northern Pass come out strongly opposing it. And lastly, never trust politicians when they smile at you.
My issue is not in the fact that the vote did not go our way. My issue is that the public hearing on SB 99 was nothing more than procedural window dressing. The outcome was predetermined. The people’s voice was blatantly disregarded.