Keene resident: Edelblut nomination is not nonpartisan, just bad

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Keene resident Nicole Demarest submitted a letter to the Keene Sentinel about former State Rep Frank Edelblut’s nomination as Commissioner of Education. Here’s the letter:

Chris Sununu, our New Hampshire governor, delivered an inaugural address at the beginning of last month which included these words: “1.3 million people out there are looking … right now and saying, ‘Are they going to do it differently and be positive and open and not just use ‘bipartisanship’ as a tagline on twitter feed?’ ”

It didn’t take long for the answer to come, for when Gov. Sununu nominated Frank Edelblut for N.H. commissioner of education, he threw out any semblance of bipartisanship. He nominated the man who lost to him in the Republican primary for governor by a mere 1,000 votes.

That man has no experience in education and no academic education in the field. He himself has never attended public school nor have his seven children. He has never served in any capacity in support of public education- never volunteered his time on a school board, school committee or PTA.

Under close questioning from Executive Councilors on Tuesday, Jan. 31, it became apparent that he has never taken a tour of a public school in his entire life. He neglected to meet with any public education officials — no superintendents, no principals, no teachers — even after receiving the nomination.

Gov. Sununu threw out his “bipartisanship” tagline in his inaugural address and then less than two weeks later nominated not only a completely unqualified candidate as Commissioner of Education, but also one with an extreme ideological bent.

Mr. Edelblut, while serving a two-year term as a N.H. House representative, voted to oppose a law to ban conversion therapy for gay children under age 18. The law passed the house by a large majority. This is the person who would be responsible for the education of all New Hampshire children, including the thousands of gay children in our state.

Mr. Edelblut went on record opposing full funding for full-day kindergarten and at the Jan. 31 hearing on his nomination, he defended that opinion by saying he had read a study showing kindergarten had negative effects on children. This is the person who would be in charge of promoting education in our state and yet he is not in favor of kindergarten.

This also is a man who has gone on record that families should not have access to Medicaid because it would keep them locked in poverty. This is the person who would be in charge of the education of all New Hampshire youth, including those thousands and thousands who receive Medicaid. Can he serve these families for whom he has such disdain and so little empathy?

Frank Edelblut is New Hampshire’s very own Betsy DeVos. But unlike Trump’s pick for secretary of education, there is still time to reject him and insist the governor find a more qualified candidate.

The Executive Council is expected to vote on his nomination next week. You can call the governor’s office at 603-271-2121 and you can send a brief email to gcweb@nh.gov, which will go to all five executive councilors. And you can pass the word to your friends and family.

Read the full letter here.