Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Representative Steve Vaillancourt disgraces the New Hampshire House of Representatives

Remember when New Hampshire Republican Steve Vaillancourt from Manchester defended the inappropriate comments made by Representative D.J. Bettencourt on Facebook last year in which he referred to Bishop John McCormack as a "pedophile pimp." Vaillancourt wrote, "This pedophile enabler has blood (and perhaps other bodily fluids) both figuratively and perhaps literally on his hands...The Bishop has disgraced the Catholic Church."  See here.

The highly emotional and erratic Republican lawmaker had to be physically removed from the state House of Representatives on Tuesday afternoon after making a Nazi salute during a contentious debate about limiting what is considered valid voter identification.  The Huffington Post is reporting that the angry Republican "shouted, 'Sieg Heil' and moved his hand in the air after House Speaker William O'Brien (R-Mont Vernon) restricted what he could address during a floor debate on an amendment to a state voter ID bill. O'Brien had restricted what Vaillancourt could say about the full bill, saying that he could not reference the House Election Law Committee's discussion, only the issues presented in the committee report.

O'Brien, who had previously threatened to toss Vaillancourt from the floor, used Vaillancourt's outburst to have the veteran lawmaker moved off the floor. It is the first time in at least a decade that a House member has been removed from the chamber in New Hampshire. House members then voted 238 to 103 to allow Vaillancourt to apologize to the full chamber in order to be allowed back in, setting off further debate when Vaillancourt did not apologize in the manner that O'Brien had expected.

'Part of the apology is to get the record straight. I did not use the word 'Hitler,' Vaillancourt said before O'Brien ordered him away from the podium.

State House police were called to remove Vaillancourt from the chamber, where he was sitting in his seat, with several House members tweeting that he would not leave. Rep. Christopher Serlin (D-Portsmouth) tweeted that "Stand Our Ground" was shouted by House members just before police physically removed Vaillancourt from the chamber. O'Brien also had Vaillancourt's voting card taken from him to prevent him from casting votes. A committee was formed by O'Brien that would meet with Vaillancourt to discuss his apology." (See here).

Dr. Germain Grisez, addressing the responsibilities which accompany communication, writes, "All communication should be open to community, and mutual good will and honor are essential for that purpose.  Pleasantness in speech and manner manifests good will and the desire to please others.  Marks of courtesy - polite words, gestures, and other actions - manifest not only respect for persons insofar as they are persons, but the honor appropriate for each in accord with his or her social status, the relationship of persons, and other circumstances (S.t., 2-2, q. 114, a. 1).  Hence, in communicating, people should always be courteous and pleasant (See Col 4: 6), unless it is unavoidable to sadden others or there is some reason for not trying to please them."

Representative Vaillancourt had no such reason.  His was merely a temper tantrum, an emotional outburst because he couldn't have his own way.  For that reason, the sophomoric lawmaker should be censured appropriately.


Samantha said...

Vaillancourt says, "I did not use the word Hitler." Gosh, how comforting. Yesiree, he just used a Nazi salute and shouted out "Sieg Heil." Nothing controversial or inappropriate about that huh?

It's time for Vaillancourt to be removed from office. He is clearly out of control and incapable of the maintaining that decorum which is required of a State Representative.

Disgraceful conduct!

Wendy said...

I agree Samantha. Vaillancourt's actions are inexcusable. He should be removed from office immediately. His actions will be most offensive to the Jewish community since they make light of a horrible period of history.

Justin said...

The lack of professionalism and basic courtesy from some New Hampshire politicians is a mark of shame on the Granite State. The House has become a Theater of the Absurd.

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