The Nackey Loeb Center, a journalism outreach organization founded by a long-time publisher of the Union Leader, is recognizing me with their annual First Amendment award. I have the honor of sharing it with David Pearl, a man of extensive community service, a Right to Know advocate, and a former Hooksett School Board member. In April he challenged a cover-up by the Pembroke School Board concerning an administrator who had been arrested for drug possession in his daughter’s school. He initiated a very public argument about the board’s abuse of the Right to Know law, an argument that garnered state-wide publicity. He died of a heart attack in early June.
David Pearl’s sudden and untimely passing brings home to all of us the private cost of controversy. I’m the public face of many committed people who have given many hours of their time, as well as their friendship, to me. It would not be possible for me to stand up to the stress that challenging the SAU administration and the school board involves without an extensive private network of fellow advocates and supporters.
Most important among this ardent network is my husband of 39 years, Arthur, who is an equal partner in all I do emotionally, intellectually and financially. Thank you, Arthur, for making me seem formidable.
Members of Right to Know NH have been staunch allies for years, one of whom – the inimitable Harriet Cady – nominated me for this award along with Rich Girard, friend and radio host who infuses normally ignored school board issues with attention-grabbing relevance.
Our generous, committed and brilliant lawyer, Richard Lehmann, of Douglas, Leonard & Garvey made this recognition possible by wresting a Supreme Court victory from my losing pro se action. He has been our trusted and appreciated counselor, advocate and pit bull. Thanks to his skill, everyone in the state can now demand information from public bodies in electronic form when it so exists.
There are so many whose enduring support and friendship should be recognized. I must thank Ed Naile of the Coalition of NH Taxpayers for much wise advice, and Attorney Gilles Bissonnette of NHACLU for stepping up to push back on the vile Timberlane School Board Rules that would have limited my right (and duty) to disagree with board decisions way back in 2014 when I was first elected to the school board.
Not least, thank you to the Nackey Loeb School and the judges for this very meaningful award, which was announced in the Oct. 2 edition of the Union Leader, New Hampshire’s state-wide newspaper.
There’s an exceptionally nice comment on the UL site from Sandown’s Ed Holgate. (Thank you, Ed and Sandown for your continued support.)