The Executive Council confirmed former State Rep. and businessman Frank Edelblut as Commissioner of the Department of Education. The Council confirmed Governor Sununu’s nominee in a 3-2 party-line vote.
Each council member said that they received droves of letters, emails, and calls regarding Mr. Edelblut’s nomination. Councilor Chris Pappas said at today’s meeting that his constituents are concerned about his qualifications, political aspirations, and even religious beliefs and how they may impact how he carries out the duties of Commissioner. In public hearings, Mr. Edelblut’s supporters say that he would provide a fresh perspective to the Department of Education.
Councilor David Wheeler said that he will support Mr. Edelblut’s nomination despite receiving similar concerns. He plans on hosting a meeting with Mr. Edelblut and superintendents in his area so they can see “how committed Mr. Edelblut really is” to education.
The vote follows Governor Sununu’s meeting with the State Board of Education yesterday. He answered the board’s questions for about a half hour. Chairman Tom Raffio said that the Board heard from parents, educators, and community members and read every letter and email he received. The Board compiled the concerns they heard and issued an executive summary to the Executive Council and Governor. View it here.
Chairman Raffio issued this statement about concerns over Mr. Edelblut’s nomination and the SBOE’s role going forward:
“After discussion with the public today and among board members, we have to say, Governor, that we share the public’s concerns about Mr. Edelblut’s qualifications for the role of New Hampshire Education Commissioner,” Raffio concluded. “The high level of concern parents have voiced about this nomination that is so important to them puts the State Board of Education on notice. We owe parents the Board’s full commitment to our statutory responsibility as the board of directors of New Hampshire public education. We are prepared for that role and will exercise it with full transparency.”
Check out the video of Governor Sununu’s meeting with the SBOE below, courtesy of Granite State Progress: