As a congressman and as governor of New Hampshire, Judd Gregg opposed the creation of a state holiday honoring the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. While much attention last year went to Arizona‘s long denial of a state holiday, New Hampshire’s state holiday came even later, followed by last-in-the-nation South Carolina.

The King holiday faced a rocky road in NH. NH Senator Jim Splaine filed the first bill proposing a King holiday, in 1979. It was defeated, as were similar bills in 1981. Our current US Senator Judd Gregg opposed honoring Dr. King, when Gregg was serving in the US House back in the 80’s. He continued to oppose it as Governor of NH. For a number of years NH celebrated "Civil Rights Day" instead of honoring Dr. King. The claim by a succession of NH GOP governors was that it wasn’t just about one person; that the civil rights movement was more than that. This was an attempt at preventing NH from looking like a state full of pasty white bigots – a charge that continues to threaten NH’s first in the nation primary status.  Arizona voters opted to honor Martin Luther King in 1990. NH didn’t until 1999. Governor Jeanne Shaheen was a strong advocate for renaming the holiday when she was re-elected in 1998.  In 2000, NH celebrated Martin Luther King Jr., Civil Rights Day for the first time. 

So — has the Congressional Black Caucus really set aside its concerns about Judd Gregg as Secretary of Commerce because of a little bureaucratic kabuki by Rahm Emanuel regarding where the Bureau of the Census gets its marching orders?

Because I don’t really understand why America’s first President of African heritage has invited a King Holiday obstructionist into his Cabinet. Does the Congressional Black Caucus understand?

Teddy Partridge

Teddy Partridge

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