On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that the New Hampshire Executive Council, a body analogous to the office of lieutenant governor in some other states, voted down a $27 million proposal to increase vaccine outreach in the state, following a pressure campaign by anti-vaccine activists and efforts to disrupt the meeting that led to multiple arrests.
"Among other things, the money would have allowed the state to hire a public health manager and a dozen workers to promote the COVID-19 vaccine and address public concerns about it," reported Holly Ramer. "Opponents argued the grant language would have required the state to comply with any 'future directives' issued by the Biden administration regarding COVID-19, such as vaccine mandates. The same language has appeared in other grants accepted by the council, a five-member body that approves state contracts."
The Executive Council has been under control of Republicans since 2020.
Gov. Chris Sununu, a Republican rumored to have Senate ambitions in 2022, had been leaning heavily on the Executive Council to approve the proposal. After the rejection, Sununu issued a statement scorching their decision, reported by the New Hampshire Union Leader's Kevin Landrigan:
.@GovChrisSununu issues strong statement condemning Exec. Council vote. "The vote showed a reckless disregard for t… https://t.co/qVO2WNNLJB— Kevin Landrigan (@Kevin Landrigan) 1634145379.0
The New Hampshire GOP has been plagued with vaccine denialism in the ranks of elected officials. Last week, state Rep. Ken Weyler stepped down from the state House Finance Committee after sharing conspiracy theories that COVID-19 deaths are orchestrated by the Vatican and the vaccines contain "living organisms with tentacles."