November 28, 2012DALTON — Although not yet sworn in, the North Country's new State Senator Jeff Woodburn, a Democrat of Dalton, has teamed up with District 1 Executive Councilor Ray Burton, a Republican of Bath, to invite newly elected state Senators and Executive Councilors for a tour of the region. Woodburn served as one of Burton's interns back when he was a college student at Franklin Pierce.
"It's important for these new leaders to understand our culture and landscape," Woodburn explained in an e-mail exchange. "We have a unique relationship with government and how it is delivered across a rural and mountainous terrain."
The group is an equal mix of three Republicans and three Democrats, but Woodburn still hopes that a few more invitees will join the group.
The Saturday, Dec. 1 tour, will include stops at Cannon Mountain in Franconia Notch State Park, the up-to-75-megawatt biomass-fired Burgess Biopower plant now under construction in Berlin, the Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital (UCVH) in Colebrook, SPNHF's Rocks Estate and Christmas tree farm in Bethlehem, and a reception with community leaders at the Omni Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods.
"The stops are built around specific projects and legislative initiatives, all aimed to give a full perspective of the North Country," Woodburn pointed out. "Key issues will include the proposed $1.1 billion Northern Pass Transmission project, distribution of the nine-percent state Rooms and Meals tax, establishing an equitable formula for helping to fund rural, critical-access hospitals (with 25 or less beds), and improving the economy and expanding job opportunities."
Confirmed participants include: District 4 Executive Councilor-elect Chris Pappas, a Democrat of Manchester; and State Senators-elect Andrew Hosmer, a Democrat of Laconia, John Reagan, a Republican of Deerfield; and Andy Sanborn, a Republican of Bedford.
Outgoing District 1 state Senator John Gallus, a Republican of Berlin, hosted seven state Senators on Aug. 22, 2011, who toured both the state and federal prisons and enjoyed a noontime barbecue in Jericho Mountain State Park put on by former state Rep. Paul Ingersoll of Berlin, followed by an ATV ride, all in Berlin.
The Executive Council has five members; the state Senate, 24.