Sununu Asks House Speaker Jasper to be Agricultural Commissioner
CONCORD (AP) — Republican Gov. Chris Sununu has asked House Speaker Shawn Jasper to apply to be the state's next commissioner of the Department of Agriculture.
Sununu said Thursday that Jasper has been immersed in New Hampshire's agricultural community his entire life, as evidenced by his extensive involvement as a lifelong member of the Future Farmers of America Alumni Association and his family's poultry business.
The current commissioner, Lorraine Merrill, is planning to retire at the end of the year after 10 years on the job.
"I can think of no better choice to continue Commissioner Lorraine Merrill’s legacy than Speaker Shawn Jasper and urge the Agricultural Advisory Board to carefully review the Speaker’s application," Sununu said. "New Hampshire’s agriculture industry would be under great leadership with Speaker Shawn Jasper.”
Jasper said he did not seek the position, but that was honored by the Governor's request.
"It is not a position that I sought out, however, it is the only position for which I would even consider stepping down as the Speaker of the House, a role that I have cherished," Jasper said.
Jasper has been elected to the House for 12 terms and has served as the speaker on two separate occasions. He said he hopes to guide the New Hampshire agricultural community into the future if given the chance.
"These are crucial times for agriculture in our state and we must continue to do all we can to protect agriculture, commerce, consumers and the environment as we move ahead," he said. "Agriculture has been in my blood, and a part of my life, since childhood when I worked in the family poultry business."
N.H. G.O.P. Chair Jeannie Forrester called the governor's recommendation outstanding.
"Speaker Jasper will bring a deep knowledge of agriculture and state government to the department," she said. "I look forward to working with the House Republican caucus as they nominate a candidate for Speaker for the rest of the session.”