Dec 1, 2014 5:58 PM

House Speaker-to-be Bill O'Brien makes peace with GOP opponent

CONCORD - New House Speaker to be Bill O'Brien, R-Mont Vernon, signaled a desire to quickly unite his party by naming his former opponent as his ceremonial second in command.

Two weeks ago, former House Speaker Gene Chandler, R-Bartlett, lost by only four votes to O'Brien in the Republican caucus. After that tight race, O'Brien pulled Chandler onto the rostrum with him and vowed the two would be central figures in House leadership over the next two years.

"In his 17 terms serving the citizens of New Hampshire, Gene has consistently demonstrated his commitment to the state and has been a leader at every level of the House. There is no one more knowledgeable than Gene on the institution and tradition of this body,'' O'Brien said in a statement.

Chandler said he's looking forward to being part of O'Brien's second team. "Together, we can make sure that our state's fiscal house is in order and we take the steps to get New Hampshire's economy back on track and growing again,'' Chandler said.

The full House formally gets sworn in Wednesday and selects O'Brien to lead them as speaker.

On Nov. 3, Republicans took back from Democrats control of the lower chamber and presently have 239 Republicans to 160 Democrats and one independent.

Chandler had served as speaker from 2000-2004 and as speaker pro-tem during the two years O'Brien was also on top, 2010-12.


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