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Apr 5, 2017 12:08 PM

Executive Council unanimously confirms MacDonald as NH attorney general

NH1.COM

CONCORD – Gordon MacDonald is now New Hampshire’s attorney general.

As predicted, the five-member Executive Council voted unanimously on Wednesday to confirm Republican Gov. Chris Sununu’s nomination of MacDonald, a well-known Manchester attorney, to lead the state Department of Justice.

All three Republicans on the Executive Council voted in favor of MacDonald, with councilor Joe Kenney saying “we have a rock star and I think he’s going to do well for the citizens of New Hampshire.”

GOP councilor David Wheeler noted that “there was no opposition” at last week’s public hearing on MacDonald’s nomination.

Councilor Andru Volinksy of Concord, who’s also an attorney, said “Gordon MacDonald is well liked and respected in the legal community. I share those sentiments about him. I think he’ll do a good job as the attorney general.”

And councilor Chris Pappas of Manchester added that “I have all the confidence in the world from folks in different sectors across the state that Gordon MacDonald will be a great attorney general. I think he’ll serve well in the vain of individuals like David Souter, Warren Rudman, and Joe Foster.”

MacDonald’s has been a partner at the firm Nixon Peabody, working out of the Manchester office as a key member of the firm’s commercial litigation practice group.

One of MacDonald's clients was Purdue Pharma, known for making the drug OxyContin. Purdue is one of five drug makers that for a year and a half have repeatedly resisted a state subpoena which seeks to determine if the companies illegally marketed opioid painkillers.

The over prescription of opioids is considered a major factor in the state's drug crisis.

At last week’s hearing MacDonald said “the Department of Justice has a recusal policy and I will comply with the recusal policy.”

“I’ve identified cases in which recusal will be required if I am confirmed,” he added.

MacDonald also said at the hearing that he would bring a “full focus, a fresh set of eyes, and a fresh set of ears” to the battle against New Hampshire’s heroin and opioid epidemic.

MacDonald has been active in GOP politics in the state for years. He was a key backer of Ovide Lamontagne’s 2010 bid for the U.S. Senate and 2012 run for governor. And he was a major supporter of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s campaign for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.

Asked at the hearing how he’d ensure that the attorney general’s office will stay separated from political pressures, MacDonald answered “every day, every day.”

“I would not be sitting here if I did not think I could be independent. It is organic to the office,” he added.

MacDonald succeeds out-going Attorney General Joe Foster, whose term expires at the end of March. Foster, a former Democratic state senator, was nominated by then-governor and now U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, Sununu’s Democratic predecessor in the Corner Office.

In comments before the vote, Sununu highlighted MacDonald’s integrity, adding “I think he’s going to do a tremendous job.”

After the vote, MacDonald told NH1 News that "I’m looking forward to diving in and doing all I can for the people of New Hampshire."

Following his confirmation as New Hampshire attorney general, Gordon MacDonald joins Gov. Chris Sununu in talking to reporters, at the Statehouse on April 5, 2017

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