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.
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