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Gregg: Changes In House

It’s not just social issues that have seen a sea change in the New Hampshire House since Tea Party Republicans were ousted by voters in November.

Fiscal and tax policy have also moved toward the progressive, or at least centrist, spectrum.

Case in point — the House yesterday voted 206-149 to kill a proposed constitutional amendment that would have made it harder to raise taxes or fees.

Largely along party lines, Democrats voted against the proposal, which would have required 60 percent support in the Legislature for tax or fee increases, or for any new borrowing by the state.

The measure passed the Republican-controlled House last year.

Valley Democrats opposed the measure, including state Rep. Susan Almy, the chairwoman of the House Ways and Means Committee, who, according to the Associated Press, said, “If you think there is no need for state government, vote for this.”

Also opposing the measure was state Rep. David Kidder, a Republican from New London. But state Rep. Rick Ladd, another centrist Republican from Haverhill, voted for the measure, as did several other Valley Republicans.

Happy Landing

Former Dartmouth-Hitchcock co-president Nancy Formella has landed a big new job in Boston.

Formella, a registered nurse who shared power as president of Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital, has been named chief operating officer of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

“We had great candidates from all over the country, and it was clear to us that Nancy’s strong proven track record of day-to-day hospital management and robust health system development made her the perfect fit for Beth Israel Deaconess,” Beth Israel President and CEO Kevin Tabb, a physician, said in a statement.

Beth Israel is a major academic medical center in Boston, with 649 beds, and officials there cited Formella’s “commitment to providing high quality patient care within a complex academic medical center.”

A Beth Israel spokesman declined to divulge the salary for Formella, who starts her new job in mid-March.

Formella and Dr. Thomas Colacchio were eased aside from an unwieldy three-president leadership structure at DHMC in November 2011 when Dr. James Weinstein took full command in Lebanon. She continued to receive her $675,000 salary while serving as an “executive adviser” to the Dartmouth-Hitchcock board, but left D-H in December.

Rating Game

A new WMUR Granite State Poll released by the UNH Survey Center last night shows that President Obama’s approval rating “remains largely unchanged” since his re-election in November. Some 53 percent of New Hampshire adults approve of the job he is doing, while 44 percent disapprove. Yawn.

What we all really want to know is how Hillary Rodham Clinton is polling for her putative 2016 campaign.

Actually, the UNH poll did have one piece of illuminating data. Among readers of the Republican-leaning Union Leader, only 38 percent approved of Obama’s job performance, while 61 percent disapproved. Among listeners of New Hampshire Public Radio, Obama had a 76 percent approval rating, with just 23 percent of NHPR listeners disapproving. But you’re not really surprised, are you?

Briefly Noted

∎ State Sen. David Pierce, the Hanover Democrat whose district stretches from Lyme to Charlestown, is reaching out to Claremont constituents. Pierce is holding a “town hall style” public meeting on Monday at River Valley Community College in Claremont at 7 p.m.

∎ Frank McDougall, the vice president of government relations at DHMC, has been named to the advisory board of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. We asked McDougall, who worked for both a Republican and a Democratic governor as a Cabinet secretary in Montpelier, if the IOP folks knew he lived in Quechee, not the Granite State. Yes, he said. “They value my political wisdom and probably needed a Democrat,” he wisecracked. “Somebody that Howard Dean will call back.”

∎ Several parents from the Upper Valley are being honored by Gov. Maggie Hassan later this month as part of the New Hampshire Children’s Trust’s annual “Unsung Heroes” awards ceremony. They include Tom and Peggy Greco of Claremont; Jay and Sally Jason of Claremont; Christine Johnson of North Haverhill; and Walter Sombric of Charlestown.

∎ U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., was named January “porker of the month” by Citizens Against Government Waste. Not for any earmarks, mind you, though Welch’s letter several years ago to help secure a military contract for Darn Tough Socks remains a classic. The Washington-based nonprofit is knocking Welch for a letter he wrote urging President Obama to use the 14th amendment, if necessary, to prevent Republicans from using the debt ceiling as leverage in budget negotiations.