November 16, 2015

Editorial Boards: Hassan Playing Politics With Heroin Response

The Nashua Telegraph’s editorial board joined the growing chorus of criticism of Governor Maggie Hassan’s handling of the opioid crisis that is causing hundreds of overdose deaths across the state. The paper pushed back on her call to rush her legislation through in a special session next week, without allowing time for experts to vet her proposals:

And that’s why a Republican proposal to establish a 26-member commission to vet Hassan’s proposals and report to legislative leaders at the start of the next session, around Jan. 6, makes sense.

Because when you hurry, you make mistakes, and when you’re talking about a crisis that has already killed hundreds in the state this year, mistakes caused by inattention or attempts to gain a political advantage are unacceptable.

The editorial goes on to allude to Hassan’s summer of inaction on the crisis, where she engaged in fruitless political gamesmanship on the state budget while her “drug czar” came under heavy criticism for failing to work with New Hampshire’s law enforcement and medical communities.

The New Hampshire Union Leader’s editorial board expressed similar sentiments last week:

The governor’s news releases last week would have you believe she’s leading New Hampshire’s response to the growing opioid epidemic.

More accurately, Hassan’s panicked call for a special session and the rejection of her rushed rules on painkillers show just how far off the rails her administration’s has gotten.

A few days earlier, another Nashua Telegraph editorial raised questions about Hassan’s motivation:

But there are also political considerations at work, tied to the fact that Hassan is running for the U.S. Senate seat currently occupied by Kelly Ayotte.

It seems indisputable that at least some of the urgency the governor feels is driven by political considerations.

Hassan’s focus on political posturing and press releases is clearly failing to convince leading Granite State editorial boards that her sudden sense of urgency on the drug crisis isn’t more about bolstering her senate campaign than solving the state’s problems.