ROUNDUP: After Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut Attends Far-Right Extremist Meeting, Elected Leaders Call on Sununu to Demand His Resignation
In case you missed it, yesterday Senate Democratic Leader Donna Soucy, Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington, House Democratic Leader Renny Cushing, State Representative and House Education Committee member Mel Myler, and State Representative Matt Wilhelm called on Governor Sununu to demand the resignation of Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut. Sununu has not yet called for Edelblut’s resignation after Edelblut spoke in his official capacity at an event on Sunday hosted by the Government Integrity Project, a fringe extremist organization that has made false accusations about election fraud, promoted efforts against public health initiatives to mitigate the spread of COVID, and has supported chaotic protests against vaccine requirements in New Hampshire — including the protests that disrupted the Executive Council meeting last month. In his remarks, Edelblut encouraged protests against mask requirements in public schools -- requirements recommended by New Hampshire public health officials. Read more below:
Democratic leaders called on Gov. Chris Sununu to seek Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut’s resignation, saying his speech to a conservative group that opposes mask mandates in public schools encourages parents to continue mounting vocal protests at local school board meetings.
“By his own words, he clearly supports the efforts of parents to be disruptive and not make decisions based on science and public health,” Senate Democratic Leader Donna Soucy of Manchester said Tuesday.
Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington, D-Concord, said Edelblut should support universal mask wearing in public schools.
“While authorization for vaccinations for 5- to 11-year-olds is expected soon, masks are the most important tool we have to combat the spread of COVID-19 in our elementary schools,” Warmington said. “The actions of Frank Edelblut directly contradict the recommendations of public health officials and put our school children in harm’s way.”
House Democratic Leader Renny Cushing of Hampton urged Sununu to seek Edelblut’s resignation as the governor did when the then-chairman of the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee two weeks ago shared conspiracy theory information regarding the risk of COVID-19 vaccines with committee members.
Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington and other Democratic leaders called on Gov. Chris Sununu to demand the resignation of Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut for speaking Sunday “at an event of fringe right-wing extremists encouraging people to forgo public health guidance in our schools.
“Frank Edelblut’s continuous disregard for New Hampshire public health puts the well-being of our school children at risk,” said Warmington, D-Concord. “It is time Governor Chris Sununu demanded Frank Edelblut resign from his position as Commissioner of Education.”
Warmington said Edelblut’s speech to the Government Integrity Project’s forum on Sunday comes just “two weeks after the group and other far-right extremists put the safety of state employees in jeopardy by disrupting the functions of government at an Executive Council meeting.
“This denial of science and disregard for the safety of our public schools comes just four days after the Republican Executive Councilors rejected $27 million in federal funding to combat the deadly COVID-19 pandemic,” Warmington said.
House Democratic leader Renny Cushing of Hampton said, “Commissioner Edelblut has inappropriately used his office to meet with fringe groups on multiple occasions, and it is past time for the governor to demand his resignation. Since Sununu first appointed him four years ago, Commissioner Edelblut has been working to undermine teachers, school boards, and public education every step of the way.”
Senate Democratic Leader Donna Soucy of Manchester said: “It is deeply concerning that Commissioner Edelblut would think that attending this meeting was appropriate under any circumstance — but especially given that our schools are facing a barrage of attacks from anti-vaxxers who, almost daily, are attacking our teachers and school boards for doing what they need to in order to protect our students’ health and safety.”
Rep. Mel Myler, D-Hopkinton said: “In the Commissioner’s recent meeting, he praised agitators who have shut down school board meetings and encouraged parents to fight common sense mask policies in schools. It’s also worth noting the Government Integrity Project is infamous for spreading conspiracy theories about the election and they’ve worked to undermine our state government.”