By Kimberly Morin
On Sunday the Rockingham County Republican Committee held a candidate forum in which candidates for office within Rockingham County came together to give stump speeches. There were candidates from across the county running for various political offices. One of the candidates was Nancy Steenson.
Steenson is running for the New Hampshire District 23 seat in the Republican primary. District 23 consists of the following towns: Brentwood, Chester, Danville, East Kingston, Epping, Exeter, Fremont, Kingston and Sandown. This seat is currently held by Russell Prescott who is now running for Executive Council. Steenson gave her speech explaining her entrance into politics and public service many years ago.
Steenson claims she isn’t in public service for the politics but because her husband owns a small business; she wants children to get a good education and claims she’s interested in smaller government and upholding the liberties of Granite Staters.
Unfortunately for Steenson, her record doesn’t quite match her words. Steenson was a member of the Timberlane school board and then chair of the same school board where her lack of transparency, unaccountability in incivility shone through.
Not only did Steenson completely ignore parents and others in the Timberlane associated towns but she actually shut down public comment on pressing matters. She also renewed a sketchy contract with Earl Metzler’s wife without the approval of the school board. From Timberlane and Sandown:
Mrs. Metzler’s consulting contract was renewed for 5 years and a total expense of $250,000. This renewal was “problematic” in two ways.
- ONE: The board did NOT vote on this contract amendment;
- TWO: multi-year contracts are not permitted without a vote of the legislative body – in others words, multi-year contracts must go to warrant and be approved by voters.
School board chairmen have no authority to sign contracts without an explicit vote of the board.
It appears that Steenson has been just another rubber stamp for the controversial Dr. Earl Metzler, Superintendent of the Timberlane school system which is made up of several towns: Danville, Sandown, Atkinson and Plaistow.
Not only was it Metzler who hired his wife on a ‘no bid’ contract but Steenson, rather than representing the interests of the taxpayers, parents and children of those towns, as the school board is supposed to do, simply pushed the contract through without question. No bid contracts should always be questioned but no bid contracts of family and friends should be excoriated.
Steenson was school board chairman they decided to hire a ‘public relations consultant’ (who happens to be the wife of candidate for Rockingham County Attorney, Jason Grosky, a bid which was questionable as well) because:
“If we have an opportunity through someone who does this well, then we can present our story correctly,” she said, as reported by James Niedzinski. “We don’t have the control to make sure everything is accurate all the time.”
The two key words in Steenson’s statement are “control” and “accurate.” They are the obsession of Steenson, the like-minded members of the board, and Timberlane Superintendent Earl Metzler.
Essentially Steenson, the puppet of Metzler, wants to quash any questioning of the board, any decisions the board makes and just pretend shoving through no bid contracts for relatives and friends is just par for the course. Steenson was handily defeated in her last run for re-election as the Timberlane School Board Chair by a new comer.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise given her behavior on the school board and as the school board chair. The last thing district 23 needs is a senator who isn’t going to represent the people of the district. Steenson couldn’t manage to represent the parents and taxpayers who elected her on a school board, how can voters expect her to represent them in the senate.
What ‘powers that be’ will Steenson decide to represent if she’s elected? Her history has conveniently shown that she isn’t fit to serve the people of her district in any capacity. These two controversial contracts are just small examples of a much bigger issue with Steenson. Her tenure on the Timberlane School Board has been wrought with backroom deals, lack of transparency, inaccountability, incivility and complete lack of respect for voters. Those are not qualities voters in district 23 seek in a senator, especially after having such an excellent senator like Russell Prescott for many years.
NOTE: Prescott has endorsed Representative Bill Gannon for his senate seat.