Governor Sununu’s pick for NH Education Commissioner is unqualified to serve, and even if he were his extreme views make him unfit. One-term State Rep. Frank Edelblut lacks the necessary qualifications to lead the Department of Education. He has no formal background or training in education. He has never once served on a local school board. He home schooled his own seven children but has no experience with public schools, which the majority of our state’s children attend. The state law is very clear: the commissioner must be qualified “by reason of education and experience.” Edelblut fails to pass the test on both counts. His only real experience with public education includes voting to divert taxpayer dollars to private and religious schools, opposing full-day kindergarten, and allowing parents and guardians to opt their students out of the statewide assessment test. Edelblut’s lack of qualifications aren’t the only reason he is unfit for the job. As Commissioner of Education, Frank Edelblut would be responsible for the adequate education and safety of all of our school children, which is why his past votes jeopardizing a child’s right to an adequate education and his opposition to LGBTQ inclusion and fact-based science are so concerning. Learn more here or read on for the latest actions.
Thank you to all of the Granite State Progress members who made it to the Executive Council public hearing on Frank Edelblut for NH Education Commissioner or sent a letter to the Executive Council. We made it abundantly clear that Edelblut is not qualified, and even if he were, his extreme views make him unfit to serve.
Our next opportunity to weigh in is by contacting the State Board of Education and providing public comment at the meeting on Tuesday, February 14th.
The Executive Council unexpectedly tabled the education commissioner vote. Why? Because Governor Chris Sununu again showed us how unprepared he is to govern responsibly—first, by selecting an individual completely unqualified for the position, and second, by neglecting to consult with the State Board of Education as required by law. Governor Sununu will now present his nomination at the regularly planned State Board of Education meeting – which, in good fortune for us, always includes an open public comment period!
State Board of Education – Public Comment Period
Tuesday, February 14th at 8:30 AM Sign holding; 9:00 AM Meeting
NH Department of Education, 101 Pleasant Street, Concord
We will meet in front of the building at 8:30 am to hold signs, then go inside to make public comments during the regularly scheduled open comment period which begins shortly after the meeting starts. Governor Sununu is scheduled to formally consult with the State Board of Education at 9 am, and the conversation is open to the public. If you are uncertain whether you can make it in person, you can send written testimony to Granite State Progress to submit on your behalf – or email it directly to all State Board of Education members. It is fine to use the same testimony from the Executive Council public hearing. Our ask: Governor Sununu should withdraw his nomination of Frank Edelblut for Commissioner of Education. (See further below for sample talking points.) It is unclear how the State Board of Education will proceed as it is highly unusual for a nominee to be so clearly unqualified and political, but that is all the more reason why we need to send a strong message for them to take a stand.
IMPORTANT: Please report back any BOE responses you receive from your calls and emails by emailing zandra@granitestateprogress.
Other upcoming opportunities to stop Frank Edelblut’s nomination
Wednesday, February 15—The Executive Council is scheduled to act on the appointment. In his testimony before the Executive Council, Edelblut was both ill-informed and evasive, providing a chilling preview of his inability to handle the responsibility of educating our children. You are encouraged to attend the 8:00 am Executive Council breakfast to speak one-on-one with the councilors as well as to bear witness at the 10:00 am official meeting. The breakfast location will be at the NH Department of Administrative Services, State House Annex, 25 Capitol Street, Concord, NH. The full meeting will take place across the street at the Governor and Executive Council Chambers – State House Room 207, 107 North Main Street, Concord, NH 03301.
Other action items: 1) Call Governor Sununu (603-271-2121) and insist he withdraw this flawed appointment. 2) Call the Executive Council (603-271-3632) and insist that all of them vote against Edelblut; then send the Councilors an email using our action page if you have not already. 3) Amplify your objections through social media (Twitter and Facebook) with the hashtag #nhpolitics. Broadcast this email using your own personal address book. Submit letters to the editor on the nominee’s lack of qualifications and commitment to public education. Every action helps!
Introducing new Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky
Governor Sununu’s poor pick for NH Education Commissioner aside, the public hearing did give us an opportunity to see which of our Executive Councilors are willing to stand up for strong public education in New Hampshire. Returning Councilor Chris Pappas (Manchester) asked tough questions, and we were delighted to see the energy and resolve new Councilor Andru Volinksy (Concord) brought to the table. It was only his second Executive Council meeting, but Councilor Volinsky did not shy away from the elephant in the room, asking direct and challenging questions about Edelblut’s lack of public education experience and how his extreme ideological positions will influence his decision-making. Volinsky’s impactful line of questioning drew rebuke from Edelblut’s allies on the Executive Council, which is all the more reason why we needed him to stand up against rubber stamping Governor Sununu’s misguided education commissioner pick. If you want to send a thank you note to either of these councilors, their email addresses are CPappas@nh.gov and Andru.Volinsky@nh.gov.
Frank Edelblut’s track record: It gets worse
Granite State Progress took some time over the past week to look deeper at Edelblut’s record, including his alliances with the secession supporting Free State Project, his extreme anti-LGBTQ history, and his checkered record on fact-based science. Worth a read – and very concerning indeed.
Hope to see you at the upcoming events and/or hear your reports from calls and emails. Thank you for taking action!