Jul 22, 2015 5:22 PM
In the wake of criticism of state response to the heroin epidemic, today's Executive Council meeting features high political drama as Gov. Maggie Hassan and the state’s drug czar, Jack Wozmak, fire back at detractors.
"Obviously I’ve been quite critical on it as everybody knows.’’
Councilor Chris Sununu, a potential Republican candidate for governor in 20-16, charged state drug czar Wozmak and Governor Hassan failed to communicate a robust strategy for battling the heroin epidemic.
The governor defends Wozmak’s 22-point plan and her own commitment.
"We’ve been working on it daily since I became governor,’’ Hassan said.
Hassan urges councilors to lobby the Republican-led Legislature to make Medicaid expansion permanent, a program Sununu opposed last year.
"If you all want to be helpful on this issue reaching out to legislators finding a way that we could deal with Medicaid expansion,’’ Hassan said.
Wozmak said relations with critic Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas have improved since they met Monday.
"I’m not sure I would call it a rift,’’ Wozmak told NH1 News.
"What would you call it?’’ he was asked.
Wozmak answered, "I would call it a transition to reaching out to everyone who needs to be contacted.’’
Sununu says more local feedback is key.
"I thought the 22 points that were put out were very helpful but getting their feedback as to how those might be enhanced,’’ he added.
Hassan said one of the reasons she vetoed the GOP-backed state budget plan last month was it didn’t include enough money to support substance abuse treatment efforts; Hassan had asked lawmakers for $10 million and the budget she rejected had $7 million in it.
"It’s one of the reasons why it’s so important for the Legislature to come back to the table so we can continue working on this problem that is really wreaking havoc across our state,’’ Hassan added.
The council meeting today was at the scenic St. Gauden's National Historic site in Cornish which is New Hampshire’s only national park.
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