CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – Today, at the end of a contentious two days of session, House Democratic Leader Renny Cushing (D-Hampton) released the following statement:
“What we expect when we go to session is for spirited, sometimes heated debate on policies that we all care deeply about. What we do not expect, and will not tolerate, is the outright bullying and silencing displayed by the Republican Majority this week.
Wednesday’s session culminated with a motion by the Majority Leader implying that an anti-choice bill was not deserving of anyone’s time and attention and should immediately “just be dealt with” with little debate and consideration. When some Democrats decided to leave session instead of supporting their partisan, radical games, the Speaker locked the doors, trapping members outside. Democratic Members were not allowed back in the chamber for numerous votes, even after the Speaker was informed multiple times that they were trying to get back in.
This morning, the Speaker claimed that when he became aware of the desire of members to return, he allowed them back in. This is not true, as the session video on the General Court website will clearly show when it is uploaded. The same week that the Speaker permitted Republican members who defy public health orders to attend session, he locked the doors and barred Democrats from entering the chamber and voting. (See video evidence of the Speaker denying reentry here.)
In his speech, the Speaker also implored everyone in the chamber to act with civility, pleading with us to not put hateful and incendiary content on social media. I completely agree with this request. The Speaker’s speech failed to address the communications sent out Wednesday night by his Majority Leader, Representative Jason Osborne (R-Auburn), that claimed Democrats would be “out for blood after their violent insurrection.” I find it hard to imagine any language that would be more inflammatory and dangerous than this, and by failing to address it this morning the Speaker effectively endorsed the words of the radical element of his party. I do not understand what Representative Osborne found so threatening about members deciding to peacefully walk out of the chamber. Maybe he was taken aback by all of the women in our caucus who continued to rise throughout the day and challenge the repeated attempts to silence and bully them.
The House Session yesterday was rife with Democratic members being silenced, ignored, and flat out intimidated by the Speaker, and concluded with the Speaker locking the doors and barring members from voting on a radical, anti-choice bill.”