CONCORD, NH — This week Republican House Speaker Sherman Packard released his list of House Chair and Vice Chair assignments, which include some of the most far-right, low-quality conservative activists ever assembled in the New Hampshire state legislature. The following list includes a few of the most eye-popping appointments among this year’s State House committees:
Finance Chair Ken Weyler — Rep. Weyler resigned from leading the finance committee in disgrace just last year after sharing a document with anti-semetic conspiracy theories with legislative leaders, with even Republican Governor Chris Sununu calling for his resignation. The 52-page document that Rep. Weyler shared stated that “unknown, octopus-like creatures” are being injected into children worldwide and were stealing people’s thoughts and feelings through 5G. His behavior was covered extensively on late-night talk shows, in a humiliating episode for the state.
Criminal Justice Chair Terry Roy — Rep. Roy has been a vocal denier of the 2020 presidential election, among other conspiracy theories, including that the “Democratic Party and government insiders of conspired with the Chinese military to develop and weaponize Covid-19 in order to prevent Trump's re-election.” Rep. Roy also said he “would be ecstatic if abortion were illegal totally.”
Election Law Vice Chair Ross Berry — During the redistricting process in April of 2022, Rep. Berry was the architect of congressional maps so badly gerrymandered that even Governor Sununu refused to sign them. He was also a proponent of other maps which resulted in Republicans winning narrow majorities in the State House and Senate despite losing the popular vote. On the House’s Organization Day last week, Rep. Berry led an unsuccessful effort to bypass a special election in Rochester Ward 4 and seat a Republican representative following a tie during this year’s midterm election.
Fish and Game Chair Jim Spillaine — Rep. Spillane has a lengthy history of disturbing criminal behavior, including a 2010 arrest for DWI and domestic assault and a 2017 arrest for DWI. In 2019, Rep. Spillane was removed from the Fish and Game Committee after being investigated by the Department of Fish and Game for violating hunting laws. In 2020 Rep. Spillane was investigated by the NH Department of Justice for a social media post encouraging people to burn houses with Black Lives Matter signs. Last year, the House Ethics Committee reprimanded Rep. Spillane for an antisemitic post which violated the Legislature’s Policy Against Sexual and Other Unlawful Harassment and Discrimination.
Health and Human Services Chair Erica Layon — Rep. Layon was arrested just over six months ago for a DUI charge in Derry. A video of her arrest surfaced where she attempted to use her title as a State Rep to escape being charged. Rep. Layon was also highlighted on social media in December of 2021 for saying the 3/5ths compromise was an effort to end slavery.
In response to the announcement of leadership appointments in the House, NHDP Chair Ray Buckley released the following statement:
“Republicans in the New Hampshire State House made many lofty promises of improved bipartisanship after voters gave them a single seat majority in this year’s midterm election — one in which they lost the popular vote.
“However from day one, it’s clear their efforts have been anything but bipartisan. This list of House leadership appointments is a veritable who’s who of the most extreme conservative activists in the state of New Hampshire, to say nothing of the highly questionable personal behavior of these lawmakers.
“These appointments show the NH GOP has done nothing to bolster its bench of political talent and is willing to settle for F-Tier elected leaders to take their caucus into the next election cycle.”