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Meet the Next Senator From New Hampshire

By Ben Pershing

New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch (D) announced this afternoon that he would appoint J. Bonnie Newman (R), a veteran of both politics and academia, to fill the seat of Sen. Judd Gregg (R), who will leave the chamber when and if he is confirmed as President Obama's Commerce secretary.

Calling Newman an individual with "deep compassion, intellect and independence," Lynch made clear in his announcement that she would not run for the seat in 2010 and would not endorse a candidate in that race. In that respect, the appointment is similar to that of Sen. Ted Kaufman (D) in Delaware. Kaufman, the former chief of staff to current Vice President Biden, was named to succeed Biden in the Senate but does not plan to compete for the seat two years from now.

The choice of Newman brought forth bipartisan praise. In a conference call with the press, Gregg called Newman "one of the true gems in our state." Rep. Paul Hodes (D), who is expected to run for the Senate seat in 2010, congratulated Newman and applauded Lynch for "his swift, bipartisan action. And Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H) said, "I have known Bonnie Newman for years, and know she is dedicated to the State of New Hampshire."

Newman, 63, served as Gregg's chief of staff when he was a House member during the 1980s. She later moved on to the executive branch, serving as assistant Commerce secretary during the Reagan administration and then as assistant to the president for management and administration under President George H.W. Bush.

Dave Carney, a political consultant who worked with Newman in the Bush administration, told the New Hampshire Union Leader that Newman was tasked with "making sure the trains, planes and automobiles ran on time" in the White House. He also predicted that Newman would "vote a lot like Judd on fiscal issues."

Both before and after her stint in Washington, Newman held a variety of posts at the University of New Hampshire, eventually serving as interim president of the school in 2006 and 2007. Newman also held the position of executive dean at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government from 2000-2005.

Since 2007, Newman has served on the board of directors of FairPoint Communications, a Charlotte, N.C.-based firm that provides phone, cable and Internet services. She previously held several posts at Exeter Trust Company, an investment management firm, and also held the title of president of a radio broadcasing company.

By Ben Pershing  |  February 3, 2009; 6:20 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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This whole thing makes me want to throw up. We elected President Obama with a mandate for change. Why is he kissing up to the Republicans after what they've done to the country?

Posted by: svreader | February 3, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

I understand Obama's desire to have a bi-partisan administration. But why is he turning to rabid right-wingers? The one good thing I see is the replacement may not be as knee-jerk reactionary as Gregg.

Posted by: lowercaselarry | February 3, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

"assistant to the president for management and administration under President George H.W. Bush. "

And there was so MUCH to admire about the management and administration of the Shrub Administration.


Democrats? GROW A PAIR.

Posted by: RealCalGal | February 3, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

I want to know WHY Gregg wants the job???? This administration is going to go down in flames and every Republican should stay away from it. Let the fall begin... Bi-part - MY FOOT!!!

Posted by: PalmSpringsGirl | February 3, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Those of you who are Democratic partisans and Bush haters weren't listening during the primary season and fall election campaign. Barack Obama said that he wanted to transcend divisive partisan politics. Now he is acting as though he actually meant it. FYI, I'm a NH Democrat and a faculty member at UNH. Bonnie Newman was interim dean of our business school and interim president of the university. She is smart, pragmatic, and a good listener. I would rather have her in the US Senate than a comedian from Minnesota.

Posted by: rwe123 | February 3, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Bonnie Newman is well-known, well-respected and well-liked here in New Hampshire. Fair, smart, funny and always prepared, she will reflect New Hampshire's views - socially moderate and fiscally conservative.

Posted by: saratogaway | February 3, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Stunning ignorance from two posters ...

""assistant to the president for management and administration under President George H.W. Bush. "

And there was so MUCH to admire about the management and administration of the Shrub Administration."

Ah, that's George Sr. for whom she worked -- H. W. Shrub was just plain W. R-e-a-d c-l-o-s-e-l-y before inserting foot.


"This whole thing makes me want to throw up. We elected President Obama with a mandate for change. Why is he kissing up to the Republicans after what they've done to the country?"

He said his Change includes bipartisanship, and that he would appoint Republicans. How did you miss that ???

Posted by: phoenixresearch | February 3, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

What a meaningless job. How can you get anything accomplished as Commerce Secretary when Congress, The Fed, and the Treasury are creating money like crazy and tossing it about?

By pulling Gregg out of New Hampshire, Obama has paved the way for a Democrat to replace him in 2010. This becomes even more interesting when you learn that New Hampshire is discussing secession.

Posted by: websmith1 | February 3, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Neuman looks like the female version of Daschle with her connections to America's Charter School Finance Corp, Coastal Broadcasting & Exeter.

She may have worked for the old man, but the money was flowing from Jr's administration.

Dept of Education grants, Sallie Mae grants, and even Weather Survey grants from the Commerce Dept to people connected to Exeter.

In the meantime, Exeter was buying up radio stations along the Jersey shore. Have to keep those casino dwellers informed.

Posted by: mac2151 | February 4, 2009 2:06 AM | Report abuse

Jerry Brown said it best long ago, "We're going to have to do more with less." or something like that. Our government is failing because WE are failing. We have to stop expecting our paternal government to be able to do everything. We have to get of our behinds and actually contribute to our communities (those of actually lucky enough in one). We have to do a lot of the work ourselves because it is obvious the government will be falling behind in what it can do for some time. Find a civic club, charity, become a volunteer if possible. It is WE who must also do more.

Posted by: cueprofessor | February 4, 2009 2:59 AM | Report abuse

With all due respect to President Obama this is a disaster. We have elevated two Republicans to positions of power, I thought the goal of party politics was to have our Party at the top! If and when the Republicans coerce the American people to bring them back to power don't expect them to bring in a bunch of Democrats into a new Republican administration. They despise us, call us socialist (or worse) on a daily basis, and are in general a bane to American society. We must stop this Republican madness before it infects other levels of government even more. Republicans must be contained--like communism or fascism in the 20th century

Posted by: jmr862003 | February 4, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

What everyone here needs to understand is that Obama doesn't have enough of a majority in either house that would permit him to run roughshod over the government, which is what most of you complainers desire, although you may not be totally aware that that is what you are asking for. We Democrats would have to replace EVERY Republican in BOTH houses in order to do what you want, and that is NOT about to happen. Many in Republican states voted for Obama, knowing full well that they could count on their Senators and Representatives to restrain him in his actions as President; they wouldn't have voted for him if that were not true. George Washington had the only example of a One Party Government in the USA, and that will remain true for the future.

Posted by: cseon | February 4, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

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