On organization day, new legislators sworn in, secretary of state elected

View Photo Gallery
  • Secretary of State David Scanlan waits in the office for the vote by the legislature on his re-election during a lunch break on Wednesday. He was elected to his first full-term after taking over for Bill Gardner earlier this year.

  • New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu swears in the house representatives on Organization Day at the State House. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Newly elected State Representative James Roesener raises his right hand while being sworn at the State House on Organization Day, Wednesday, December 7, 2022. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Melanie Levesque waits in the House gallery for the vote on the New Hampshire Secretary of State race on Wednesday, December 7, 2022. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • State Representatives line up to vote on the speakership at the State House on Organization Day, Wednesday, December 7, 2022. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu waves as he and the Executive Council are introduced on Organization Day at the State House on Wednesday, December 7, 2022. Sununu swore in the representatives during the day. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • State Representative Mary Jane Wallner of Concord (left) talks to fellow representatives during the opening of Organization Day at the State House on Wednesday, December 7, 2022. Wallner, who has served since 1980, is now the longest serving representative in the house. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu waves as he and the Executive Council are introduced on Organization Day at the State House on Wednesday, December 7, 2022. Sununu swore in the representatives during the day. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • New Hampshire state House representatives applaud as Sherman Packard walks up after winning re-election as the House Speaker on Wednesday. GEOFF FORESTER photos / Monitor staff

  • State Representative Jim MacKay of Concord walks up to cast his vote for the Speaker of the House on Wednesday, December 7, 2022. MacKay, 92, is the oldest member of the legislative body. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Sherman Packard receives the speaker gavel from House Clerk Paul Smith as Packard was re-elected as Speaker of the House at the State House on Wednesday, December 7, 2022 GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 12/7/2022 5:26:55 PM

For the first time in five decades, the New Hampshire legislature elected a new Secretary of State.

David Scanlan, who was appointed to fill the role since the sudden retirement of Bill Gardner in January, will serve a full two-year term, winning the contest 237-175 against challenger Melanie Levesque, a former State Senator. 

It was one of many votes on organization day in the State House as a new Legislature got ready to begin its work. Gov.Chris Sununu and the Executive Council swore in newly elected House and Senate members, who then got to work voting for party leaders and deciding how to resolve a tied race in Rochester that would determine the house’s 400th member.

Jeb Bradley, a Wolfeboro Republican, was unanimously elected Senate President – filling the position left empty after Chuck Morse ran for the republican nominee for U.S. Senate this fall.

Rep. Sherman Packard, a Londondedrry Republican, will serve again as House speaker, after he defeated House Democratic Leader Matt Wilhelm, in a 205-184 vote.

For party leadership, the senate will see a new majority leader with Senator Sharon Carson, another Londonderry Republican.

“We look forward to empowering parents, expanding resources for our children, keeping our streets safe, and broadening the economic opportunities that allow Granite Staters to thrive,” Carson said in a statement. “Senator Bradley will serve as a phenomenal leader in achieving these goals, and I am proud to be on his leadership team to help drive this success.”

In the house, Rep. Jason Osborne, of Auburn, will remain as the majority leader.

Ahead of Wednesday’s vote, Scanlan, who served as deputy Secretary of State for two decades under Gardner, applauded the team he assembled to oversee the midterm election.

“I have really elevated the operating systems within the Department of State to the point that we’ve got a solid foundation and we’re ready to really move on building better systems that will help out our population,” he said in an interview Tuesday. “We’re trying to modernize and have systems that are responsive to the needs of our population.”

Levesque who previously chaired the Election Law and Municipal Affairs Committee, campaigned on a platform that New Hampshire’s elections could be more modern – starting by increasing accessibility to elections with online or automatic voter registration.

With the house close to evenly divided, Scanlan’s appointment with 237 votes shows bipartisan support.

“The people of New Hampshire won today,” Sununu said in a statement following the vote. “Congratulations to Secretary of State Dave Scanlan on earning a full term as New Hampshire’s Secretary of State. Now, more than ever, we need Secretary of State Scanlan’s experienced leadership to defend, protect, and promote our First in the Nation Presidential Primary.”

The opening day of the 2023 legislative session will be January 4.


MICHAELA TOWFIGHI

Michaela Towfighi is a Report for America corps member covering the Two New Hampshires for the Monitor. She graduated from Duke University with a degree in public policy and journalism and media studies in 2022. At Duke she covered education, COVID-19, the 2020 election and helped edit stories about the Durham County Courthouse for The 9th Street Journal and the triangle area's alt-weekly Indy Week. Her story about a family grappling with a delayed trial for a fatal car accident in Concord won first place in Duke’s Melcher Family Award for Excellence in Journalism. Towfighi is an American expat who calls London, England, home despite being born in Boston.



Concord Monitor Office

1 Monitor Drive
Concord,NH 03301
603-224-5301

 

© 2021 Concord Monitor
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy