CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- The state Senate elected Chuck Morse as its president Tuesday to replace fellow Republican Peter Bragdon, who stepped down after critics complained his new job was a conflict of interest.
Morse, who heads the Senate's budget committee, won 23 of the Senate's 24 votes. He is a 52-year-old nursery owner from Salem and is in his fourth term in the Senate. Bragdon, of Milford, is becoming executive director of the Local Government Center but is not leaving his Senate seat.
Morse pledged to run the Senate in an open-door, honest and collegial manner.
"We all come from varying backgrounds and different corners of New Hampshire. Whatever path or areas of interest have brought us here individually, as a Senate, we are all charged with working to improve this state and make it the best place in the country to call home," he said.
Hanover Democrat David Pierce was the only senator to vote against Morse. Pierce said his vote was in protest over a Senate rule against considering resolutions and not Morse's ability to administer the Senate fairly. Pierce said Morse would not commit to rescinding the rule.
"I think he's going to do a good job," said Pierce.
Senate Democratic Leader Sylvia Larsen of Concord seconded Morse's nomination in a bipartisan move she said was made in the hope he would treat each member as an equal.