(Editor's note: The following is a letter provided to Patch by House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt, R-Salem, addressed to Gov. John Lynch regarding education funding amendment CACR 12. Lynch spoke about the need for the constitutional amendment to target aid based on need. You can listen to what he said in this exclusive Patch video)
I read with great concern your remarks as reported by the Portsmouth Herald to the Portsmouth Rotary Club late last week regarding a constitutional amendment on education funding.
As you know, the House and Senate have requested a committee of conference to address some important educational policy considerations and some technical legal issues that have been brought to our attention since the Senate passed its version of CACR12.
From the very beginning of this legislative session, the leadership of the House and Senate has been in agreement with you regarding the need for a constitution amendment. However, comments referring to views of House members as "absurd" are not only unhelpful and uncivil but are detrimental to the success of an amendment. If we are to be successful we must negotiate on this matter very carefully, allow the committee of conference process to work, and guard against alienating potential support from either side of the aisle.
On numerous occasions we have requested your advocacy in attracting members of the House Democrat caucus to a compromise proposal. To date, we are unaware of any efforts on your part to attract such support. You assured us of your commitment to play a positive role in this process, but to this date it seems that your negative comments about members of my caucus have been your only contribution. This must change.
It is essential that this is an equal effort between both Democrats and Republicans. That is not only crucial in getting an amendment on the ballot in November but also getting the necessary support at the ballot box. To maximize the chance of a successful committee of conference process, it is our expectation that you or a representative from your office with authority to approve language on your behalf will be present and available to provide feedback during each meeting of the committee of conference on CACR12.
Additionally, I do not see a viable path toward successfully achieving an amendment with components of your preferred language if you are unable to make an effort to deliver some level of House Democrat support. I would estimate that success requires two to three dozen House Democrat votes. Without this contribution, I do not believe we will be able to gather the 239 House votes needed to pass the amendment.
You have preached throughout your tenure as Governor about the importance of bipartisanship and setting aside partisan differences. Let us put those ideals into practice by placing an amendment on the ballot this November and standing united in our support.
Time is running short and New Hampshire needs this amendment and it needs it this year.
House Majority Leader