Gov. Chris Sununu called for the ouster of two members of the Gunstock Area Commission as the quickest way to restore operations at the now mostly closed Belknap County-owned recreation facility.
Sununu again called out fellow Republicans from Belknap County, state Reps. Mike Sylvia, Gregg Hough, and Norm Silber as being “crazy with a ‘c'” who don’t believe in government.
“They don’t believe in the Republican party or anything we stand for,” Sununu said.
Sylvia, a self-described Free Stater, and Hough didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment but Silber said in an email: “The long overdue resignation of Gary Kiedaisch from the Gunstock Area Commission, and the concomitant resignation of the general manager and several members of the management staff at Gunstock is the result of a well-orchestrated and well-financed campaign of disinformation to divert attention from soon to be released reports from the financial and legal auditors engaged by the Gunstock Area Commission, which reports may be very damaging to the reputations of the resigned commissioner, many of the resigned former staff, and the governor himself.”
Silber went on to say: “The unwarranted interference in this county matter by the governor, without complete accurate information and factual data, is not completely unexpected in light of the longtime strong connections between him and his family with Kiedaisch, which is repeatedly touted by Kiedaisch. It is truly unfortunate that the governor failed to have any contact with the chair of the Gunstock Area Commission or the chair of the Belknap County Delegation or the other two elected state Representatives he called out before inserting himself into a controversy about which he actually knows very little.”
On July 21, Sununu released an open letter to the residents of Belknap County regarding the Gunstock Area Commission after the leadership team and then-Commissioner Kiedaisch resigned saying they could not work with the Gunstock Area Commission and the Free State and libertarian-leaning Republicans in the legislative delegation who appointed the commission and are interested in seeing Gunstock be leased out to a private entity.
Sununu said he did not think Sylvia, Hough, or Silber spoke for most Libertarians or the Free State movement, separating them from groups with which he said he has no problem.
“The issue of Gunstock is the latest in a litany of problems that those representatives have brought to bear. They don’t support tax cuts, refuse to provide property tax assistance to our citizens in the state, and refused to support what ultimately was a fantastic budget for the state of New Hampshire. Some of them actually voted to secede from the union, OK, they wanted to secede from the United States…completely un-American. They don’t believe in all the benefits in all the good that we have here in New Hampshire. So yes, I think those individuals, for a variety of reasons this is just the latest issue of their craziness. And that is crazy with a ‘c’,” Sununu said.
As for them representing a movement, Sununu said, “I will say this, I think that a few individuals have maligned the Free State movement. I don’t have any problem with the Free State movement. Those are libertarians. Those are folks that moved here in the last 20 years as part of an opportunity for a more limited government and less government in their lives. I am all for that.”
About Sylvia, Hough and Silber, Sununu said: “These are not Republicans. These are anti-government individuals that like I said don’t believe in returning extra tax dollars for property tax relief that we were able to achieve, that didn’t vote for tax cuts across the board, that didn’t vote for a lot of the opportunities to deregulate our government so I am not sure what they are for. I think they are more for nothing.”
The 18-member Republican-only Belknap County legislative delegation has the power to appoint the five-member Gunstock Area Commission. A group has formed to save Gunstock from what it calls “political extremism.”
See story here: https://indepthnh.org/2022/07/25/gunstock-mostly-idle-group-urges-action-against-political-extremism/
Belknap County residents, attending the Gunstock Area Commission meeting Tuesday, in the face of most of Gunstock being closed for lack of a management team, called for the delegation to remove two members of the commission who have supported the concept of it being leased and have thwarted management.
The resigned management team, led by former Gunstock General Manager Tom Day, said they would be willing to return if the two members, Dr. David Strang and Peter Ness are removed.
Sununu said he would absolutely support their removal.
“I think the previous management at Gunstock did everything they could for months and months to provide common ground and you can’t blame them for saying ‘we’re done with this’ these are folks that don’t have any experience and understanding of what they have been put in charge of. They have been put in charge to do it specifically by individuals that again, don’t care for the value of that asset and I would be frustrated too,” Sununu said.
In his email response to Sununu’s comments, Silber also said: “And it is worthy to note that the principal political consultant to the shadowy group trying to interfere with proper legal oversight of Gunstock, granted to the Gunstock Area Commission by the General Court in 1959, has ties to organizations believed to be funded in large measure by George Soros.
“Finally, the citizens of Belknap County need to understand and appreciate that the Delegation, consisting of the 18 elected state representatives of the county, do not run or control Gunstock. The principal role of the Delegation as set forth in the law establishing Gunstock in 1959, is to appoint or remove Gunstock Area Commission members, which commission is in actual charge of oversight of day-to-day operations of the county-owned property,” Silber said.
Photo by Paula Tracey.