On Wednesday, the New Hampshire Executive Council rejected $27 million in federal funding contracts to advance the state's vaccination efforts. Despite persistent urging from Governor Chris Sununu to approve the funds, all four Republicans on the council's five-member body—whose job is to consider state contracts—voted against accepting the funds, making them the first in the nation to do so.
The funds—submitted as a pair of grant requests—would have been used by the state's Department of Health and Human Services to create 13 vaccine propaganda positions and expand New Hampshire's controversial vaccine registry. Following the vote, an agitated Sununu issued a scathing statement saying, "The people of New Hampshire know I call the balls and strikes as I see them, and today's vote by members of my own party on the Executive Council was a total disservice to the constituents we serve." He continued, adding:
"The Attorney General and Department of Health and Human Services addressed all of the Councilors' concerns, and still they voted to send $27 million of our taxpayer dollars back to Washington instead of spending it here to help get our state out of this pandemic. The vote showed a reckless disregard for the lives we are losing while they turn away the tools our state needs to fight and win this battle against COVID."
Gallup, September 22, 2021
According to those against the federal funds, the grant language, which also appears in other grants accepted by the council, would have required the state to abide by any "future directives" issued by Joe Biden, including vaccine mandates. On the flip side, Gov. Sununu, as well as Attorney General John Formella, have said the language in no way hinders the state's sovereignty, remarking that concerns were "based on fantasy." Sununu added:
"You reject these federal dollars, the federal government doesn't put it in a savings account. They're going to send it to New York and California. The dollars are ours for programs we already implemented. So to say no makes no logical sense whatsoever."
Interestingly, Sununu has stated he is eager to join others in court to challenge Joe Biden's COVID-19 vaccine "mandates" for private employers, calling the forced jabs "completely un-American." Speaking to reporters following Wednesday's vote, which took place at the state Police Standards and Training Council in Concord, the governor remarked that "there is no logical reason to say no to these contracts."
The council's rejection of funding thrilled outspoken opponents who two weeks ago halted a public meeting and delayed the Executive Council's vote. Resident and election integrity advocate Lisa Mazur described today's decisive vote as "a huge win for New Hampshire." Certainly, with nearly 175 protestors occupying every available public seat at Wednesday's meeting, and over 100 more waiting in support outside, Mazur remarked it was an emotional and tension-filled day.
Offering a glimpse into the mood of the room, Mazur shared a moving video of a pre-meeting prayer followed by the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, after which Sununu scolded the patriotic crowd for "getting too emotional." Nonetheless, despite a few rowdy protestors, the majority of those in attendance watched and listened to the proceedings in silence, turning their backs in unison when the discussion turned to federal funding for the vaccine narrative.
Following the vote, New Hampshire Public Radio pointed out that despite Wednesday's rejection of the federal contracts, the council approved other federal funding for different COVID-19 vaccination efforts, including expanding commitments to increase mobile vaccines and a retroactive contract for four public testing sites. U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (who in May 2020 declined to be vetted by Biden for V.P.) blasted the vote in a statement on Twitter, tweeting:
"By denying critical federal $ to bolster N.H.'s vaccination efforts, N.H. Republicans are hurting our state's ability to get to the other side of the pandemic & save lives. This extremist, reckless anti-science behavior must stop—lives are in danger & Granite Staters deserve better."
Meanwhile, Andrew J. Manuse, chairman of RebuildNH—an effort made up of concerned N.H. citizens, including the effort's executive director, State Rep. Melissa Blasek, R-Merrimack—reminded that "the founders of New Hampshire created the Executive Council as a check on the governor's authority, and today's vote shows the wisdom of that system." He continued, noting that:
"By supporting continued government overreach into private medical affairs, the governor was hoping he could continue bullying New Hampshire citizens to cater to his will, just like he did during the State of Emergency last year, and it is about time to end his continual lust for power."
Realizing the significance of activating taxpayers at the grassroots level, RebuildNH has encouraged concerned citizens to "engage civilly and peacefully" at all public hearings and meetings for the past two weeks. Their efforts paid off. Speaking after the victory, Blasek declared:
"We look forward to the next fight in the Legislature as we reform the Immunization Registry System to bring it into constitutional compliance by protecting citizens' rights to medical privacy and requiring the state to obtain citizen consent before including private medical data in their registry.
We will also continue to monitor the federal government's attempts to control our state and its people and ensure we protect the people's right to medical freedom and privacy. We should also consider whether the registry has a future in this state at all."