CONCORD – House Speaker William O’Brien (R-Mont Vernon) and House Majority Leader Pete Silva (R-Nashua) today offered the following comments in response to the New Hampshire Supreme Court approving the redistricting plan for the House of Representatives. The plan had been contested by several communities and lawmakers, relative to a new provision in the New Hampshire Constitution, passed in 2006, calling for local representation. The ruling can be viewed here.
House Speaker William O’Brien
“As a freshman legislator eight years ago sitting with my colleagues on the Election Law Committee when we worked on this new constitutional amendment, none of us could have imagined the level of complexity that would be involved in putting together the next redistricting plan. Today, the court realized the challenge that the House faced in developing a blueprint that synthesized both the federal “one-person, one-vote” principle as well as the 2006 state constitutional amendment. The strong opinion of the justices validates the extraordinary hard work of the House Redistricting Committee, House staff and our attorneys, all of whom did a tremendous job in coming up with a proposal that deftly navigated the obstacle course of the many constitutional provisions involved with this effort while trying to be as accommodating of local sensibilities as possible. It’s certainly disappointing that state and local tax dollars were spent on this unnecessary litigation, even though we worked hard to educate communities and representatives about the process, but the outcome gives a roadmap for future legislatures to follow in redistricting cases.”
“The good news is that the House plan doubles the number of districts statewide, resulting in smaller House seats and even greater local representation. We have clearly achieved the goal of the 2006 amendment and the citizens of New Hampshire will benefit from these actions.”
House Majority Leader Pete Silva
“When he vetoed the redistricting plan, among other objections, Governor Lynch called it “unconstitutional.” In doing so, he implicitly invited a constitutional challenge to the plan. Now that his statement has been proven to be ill-conceived, inaccurate, uncivil and inappropriate, we will wait for his apology, while celebrating the progress made when the House overturned his veto. This plan represents the House’s best effort to thread the needle and come up with a great plan that delivers local representation so that our citizens will actually get a chance to see their legislators in their neighborhood, whether out walking their dogs, at the grocery store or having lunch at a sandwich shop. This will make House members more accountable, as we will be talking to a larger percentage of our constituents every day. I just wish the groups that brought these poorly thought out lawsuits appreciated the level of work and precision involved before they chose to go to court. I further hope that they can now appreciate the waste of state resources and public employee time spent in defending their deficient objections to House redistricting. The results, however, speak for themselves.”