Tensions Remain High Between N.H.'s Republican House Speaker, Conservative Faction

Apr 13, 2017

Credit Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Republican leadership in the New Hampshire House of Representatives is again at odds with conservative members of the caucus. This time the argument is not over the state budget - but House rules.

Last week House Speaker Shawn Jasper criticized a group of far-right reps for sabotaging the house version of the state budget – making it the first time the New Hampshire House failed to pass a budget proposal in recorded history.

Now the speaker is telling leaders of the House Republican Alliance, many of whom voted against the budget, that unless the caucus is more transparent, they can no longer meet on Statehouse grounds.

Here's the letter House Speaker Shawn Jasper's Chief of Staff sent Wednesday night to the leaders of the House Republican Alliance.
Credit Twitter

“They are the only caucus that makes recommendations to the House and all I’m asking is that everyone knows how these recommendations are arrived at,” Jasper said in response to a letter he sent the HRA this week regarding his requests.

Jasper says he’s been asking for the caucus’s rules for over a year now.

But those who lead the House Republican Alliance see this as an effort to punish members for voting against last week’s budget.

Rep. Glenn Cordelli said Thursday he was shocked the Speaker took this route, stressing that the HRA was clearly "singled out."

Although tensions may be high, Cordelli says, "He hopes doors aren't closed and that there's opportunity for moving forward together," stressing that the HRA and Speaker both need each other to push the Republican agenda along.

Here's the response that the HRA sent back to the Speaker's Office Thursday morning.
Credit Twitter

The HRA has about 100 members and its founding dates back to 1997. Its stated aim is to pass fiscally responsible legislation that’s in line with the Republican platform. The group plans to meet on Tuesday, but whether that meeting will be held at the Statehouse is yet to be determined.

As of late Thursday, neither the speaker nor leadership from the HRA have agreed to meet to discuss the issue.