Lawmaker who resigned says he feared for safety

Modesto Morganelli
Mag 18, 2017

A New Hampshire legislative committee is recommending that no action be taken against a Republican lawmaker who created a misogynistic online forum and a Democratic lawmaker accused of making offensive comments on Twitter.

Packard's motion reads, "absent in our House rules that specifically provides for a code of conduct for the membership that holds them to a higher standard than others in society, I do not believe the committee can recommend discipline of the two members, based exclusively on the constitutionally protected right of free speech".

The panel also recommended no discipline for Democratic Rep. Sherry Frost, who said white Christian men represent a terrorist problem.

In the wake of misogynistic controversy, State Rep. Robert Fisher, R-Laconia, delivered his resignation Wednesday, which led to reactions from political organizations around the state. When defending herself to the panel, she said, "My speech is not always pretty or polite but I have the right to express myself in ways that I feel best relay what I witness and experience".

Fisher told a legislative panel earlier this month that he had posted to the site and described comments left several years ago which questioned women's intelligence as unwise. Fisher said at a hearing last week that he no longer moderates the forum.

The committee's task was weird, as they heard two very different cases, and chose rule on both as one (despite vehement from the committee vice-chair and House Minority Leader, Democrat Steve Shurtleff).

House Majority Leader Dick Hinch, R-Merrimack, the chairman of the committee, said Fisher's comments were reprehensible.

"Holding me hostage provided some in the GOP with a way to help give cover both to Mr. Fisher and to the Republican members of the House who wanted to talk about anything except his vicious, vile misogyny and the culture it fosters", she said. But in a recent piece he wrote for his local newspaper, Fisher defended and doubled down on some of his statements.

The committee's vote elicited shouts of "Shame!" from women in the audience. Some dressed as characters from the book and television series, "The Handmaid's Tale", which imagines a dystopian republic in which women have lost their rights and even their identities. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.

Be Civil - It's OK to have a difference in opinion but there's no need to be a jerk.

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