ICYMI: Where in the world was Governor Sununu?
Concord, N.H. - After calling a special legislative session to enact legislation designed to combat the effects of South Dakota v. Wayfair, Governor Sununu failed to attend the special legislative session on Wednesday and was out of town as the bipartisan bill was first gutted by the NH House and then killed by the NH Senate. Instead of overseeing the session and rallying support in-person, Sununu attended a two-day RGA conference in Colorado and was absent from the state from Sunday through Wednesday. Yesterday, the New Hampshire Democratic Party filed two Right to Know requests demanding answers for Sununu's absence and the cost to the taxpayers of New Hampshire. NHDP Chair Ray Buckley issued the following statement: "Governor Sununu has failed the people of New Hampshire. When he decided it was more important to fly off to Colorado and mingle with Republican elite, he allowed this bipartisan bill to sink and NH small businesses to suffer. His actions are a disgrace and are perfectly indicative of this governor who only cares about the wants of his corporate donors instead of the needs of hard-working New Hampshire families. Being a governor is hard work. It's more than just smiling and waving at a camera. It requires a person to actually show up and represent the interests of all Granite Staters, not only the uber wealthy, and that is something Sununu is incapable of doing. If Sununu is so determined to spend his time on vacation away from the office, then he'll be pleased to know that after November he'll have all the free time he wants since voters will be kicking him out of office to elect someone who will actually show up for the people of New Hampshire." See a roundup of coverage on Sununu's absence below:
WMUR: Democrats attack Sununu for being absent from State House during special session Gov. Chris Sununu’s absence from the State House on Wednesday as the Legislature killed a bill he had called critical to the state’s business community opened the door for Democrats to go on the attack as the political season intensifies. During the session, the Legislature killed a proposal the governor strongly supported to deal with the online sales tax requirements imposed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in South Dakota vs. Wayfair... But as WMUR’s New Hampshire Primary Source column first reported Thursday morning, in the days leading up to the session, Sununu left the state to attend a meeting of the Republican Governors Association.... Sununu told WMUR that he would have not done anything differently... But Shurtleff said Sununu may have made a difference, citing “symbolism.” “First of all, if he had gone to the Republican caucus and spoken to them, that would have helped,” Shurtleff said. “And just the fact that. if he had been there for the opening of the session – when we said the Pledge of Allegiance and the opening prayer and the national anthem was played – it would have conveyed, ‘I’m here. I’m concerned. This is important.’ “I think it would have swayed some members of the House,” Shurtleff said. “The fact that they hadn’t seen him at all, I think that could have pushed a couple of people to vote against it.” Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn said, “Governors can make things happen. They have the bully pulpit, sitting down with people, coming to people’s districts. There is a whole cadre of power that a governor has that he can bring to issues that are priorities.” Woodburn also said that the Republicans, including Sununu, did not reach out to the Democratic leadership... WMUR: Democrats seek records of Sununu out-of-state travel this week The state Democratic Party has issued right-to-know requests for records of Gov. Chris Sununu’s travel out-of-state earlier this week in the days leading up to Wednesday’s special legislative session... On Thursday, the NHDP issued two right-to-know requests. The first was issued to Sununu’s legal counsel, John Formella, seeking records of out-of-state travel for Sununu and his staff between July 21 and July 25. The second was issued to Commissioner of Safety John Barthelmes, seeking records of out-of- state travel for Sununu’s executive security detail during the same dates... NHDP executive director Amy Kennedy said, “There are still many unanswered questions about why Governor Sununu missed the special legislative session that he called. “His office said he was in Aspen, Colorado, to attend a two-day meeting of the RGA, but Senate President Chuck Morse was acting governor for four days. It doesn't quite add up, so we submitted these right-to-know requests to get some transparency from Governor Sununu's office. “The people of New Hampshire deserve to know the whole truth about why their governor was out-of-state during an important special session, including whether their tax dollars paid for any of this trip, which Sununu shirked his official duties to take," Kennedy said. An RGA spokesman said the meeting in Aspen was actually four days. The spokesman said that “official events were held July 22-25." A report from Missouri, however, said it was a two-day event. Union Leader: Kevin Landrigan's Granite Status: How party leaders ended up with egg on their faces ...Anyone who wants to accomplish anything in [special sessions] had better be careful, cautious and well-schooled in their studies. On Wednesday, the powers that be in Representatives Hall did none of the above and that’s why Gov. Chris Sununu and many others with fancy political titles have egg all over their faces. This looked like a slam dunk. Here comes a heavy-hitting task force offering all the legally crafted solutions needed to respond to a stunning U.S. Supreme Court decision that would make New Hampshire businesses collect sales taxes for other states chasing online purchases. But Yogi Berra was right. This was deja vu all over again. What we saw was exactly the outcome in the spring of 2017 in the House when then-Speaker Shawn Jasper had to endure the embarrassment of watching a proposed two-year state budget go down in flames. Back then, conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats who both didn’t like the spending bill for different reasons joined forces to croak it. On Wednesday it was Special Session Senate Bill 1 getting its own one-way ticket to nowhere... Concord Monitor: During special legislative session, where was Sununu? Gov. Chris Sununu vowed to take action to protect New Hampshire’s online retailers from collecting sales tax, but during Wednesday’s special legislative session to pass a bill he championed, Sununu was far from the State House... New Hampshire’s two Democratic gubernatorial candidates quickly labeled Sununu as missing in action. “The special session yesterday did not go as planned and the question on everybody’s mind is ‘Where was Chris Sununu?’ ” Molly Kelly said on a campaign call Thursday with reporters. “For weeks leading up to the special session, the governor promised to fight, but yesterday he was nowhere to be found. When it was time to do the hard work of gaining support for his bill, it turns out he was in Aspen, Colorado,” added the former state senator from Harrisville. The other Democratic candidate for governor, former Portsmouth mayor Steve Marchand, was equally cutting with his words. “I’m disappointed but I’m not surprised that Chris Sununu was absent yesterday because his leadership’s been absent the last 18 months,” Marchand said. The Democratic leaders in the state House and Senate claimed that if the governor had been present, the legislation may have passed... Kelly criticized Sununu, arguing “he couldn’t even bother to show up at the State House to push a bill he says would help our small businesses.” Marchand said that if he were governor, he wouldn’t “advocate for a special session that would be on a day that you’re not going to be in the state.”...