May 03, 2012BERLIN — State Senator John Gallus, a Republican of Berlin, announced on Thursday that he will not run for a sixth term.
"It has been a great honor to have represented the people of State Senate District 1," he said in a prepared statement. "My wife Peggy and I enjoyed traveling across the North Country, meeting new friends, and doing what was in the best interest of our constituents. After 10 years in this role and accomplishing so much, I feel it's time for someone new to continue in the quest for a better North Country and a stronger Granite State. Make no mistake about it, while I am not running for re-election to the State Senate, I will remain active in my community and the state in the future."
Gallus and his wife own and operate Gallus and Green Realty on Main Street.
He is the fifth of 19 Republican state senators and sixth overall to announce that he will not seek re-election to the 24-member Senate.
Gallus was elected to the State Senate in 2002 after serving as a state representative. He recalled in a Saturday afternoon interview at his office that he had won his House seat in a Special Election in 1999 called following the death of Rep. Paul St. Hilaire at a young age.
Gallus' decision came as a great surprise. But he explained that he had given very serious thought to not running two years ago, but then decided to stay on for another two-year term.
He explained that his senatorial duties mean that, in essence, he works two full-time jobs. Being a senator is a full-time commitment, Gallus explained, keeping him in Concord five days a week. This means that he spends virtually every weekend in his real estate office.
His $100-a-year-plus-milage public service job also costs him money in lost listings and sales, he said. In addition, Gallus pointed out that he had felt that he had to turn down a $200,000 commission when he represented the seller from whom the state bought the acreage to create Jericho Mountain State Park.
Offsetting these downsides, however, Gallus said, is his feeling of pride and accomplishment in the number of bills he has sponsored and co-sponsored, all of which takes time and energy and draws on the collegiality of the state's small-sized Senate. The feeling of common purpose that supports and encourages bipartisan and intra-party efforts is far less common than in the past, he lamented.
Helping constituents with their individual and family concerns has been very rewarding but also time-consuming, Gallus said. Surprisingly, he spent a lot of time helping families deal with psychological and psychiatric problems, especially after the Androscoggin Valley Hospital shuttered its psych unit. The senator said that many times he has had to call on every resource at his disposal to find a needed bed for specialized treatment, including admission to drug treatment centers.
"I'm still surprised that a senator must help with these kinds of problems," he said, noting that these situations should fall under the purview of state agencies.
Gallus has truly enjoyed meeting people, he said. The senator recently agreed to go to a meeting of the Good Ol' Boys Club in Woodsville, since that town is being added to District 1. "I'm looking forward to it, even though I'm not seeking reelection," he said.
Senate Gallus' announcement drew immediate response and praise for his service from Gov. John Lynch and members of the state's Congressional delegation: Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte, plus Rep. Charlie Bass.
Local officeholders, past and present, had a greater grasp of Gallus' contributions as well as his dedication to serving the North Country.
His immediate predecessor, former state Sen. Fred King of Colebrook, e-mailed a statement in reply to a request for a comment: "If John were to run again he would be the Senator representing the northern 50% of NH, and the other Senators would have the other 50% of the state. No one can understand the cost both in time and in his own dollars that he has invested for us. He has been there when asked and has fought our North Country battles. He will be missed very much, but I appreciate his need for time off and wish him well."
First-term Republican state Rep. Marc Tremblay of Berlin also provided a comment: "I was taken aback when I heard the news of my dear friend Senator John Gallus announcing that he was not running for re-election. Words are inadequate to express my surprise as well as my dismay! I will eternally remember the day that I was sworn in as a State Representative. When the Senate entered the House chambers, I was sitting in the front row in Section 1 and as Senator Gallus entered shaking various representatives' hands he approached me, and I offered my hand.
"He instead offered me a welcoming embrace and spoke encouraging and calming words to me...I knew from that moment that the next two years would prove to be productive and rewarding under his guidance. There will only be one Senator like John Gallus!"
When he heard of an "open" seat, former state Sen. Charlie Bond, a Republican of Jefferson who is perhaps a little bored with rural life, commented: "Oh, to be 10 years younger!"
Former state senator Carole Lamirande of Gorham, formerly of Berlin, who is retiring after 14 years as CoŲs County Registrar of Deeds, explained that she had served for two years in the state Senate — 1992 to 1994. "I spent five days a week in Concord and came home on weekends. I spent many nights staying with an aunt who lived in Manchester." She feels no pull at all, she said, to even consider running for Gallus' seat.