By Rep. William Marsh, MD, Carroll 8
Just now, I met with the Town Clerk of Brookfield, NH and officially changed my party affiliation to
The events leading up to this are public information. On June 3, I spoke on the House floor against
amendment 1864h to SB155 – an amendment which would have restricted our ability to control the
spread of COVID-19 in NH much as Gov. Desantis has done in Florida. That speech is printed on page
148 of House Journal 8.
Consequent to that speech, I was removed from the Vice Chairmanship of the Health, Human Services
and Elderly Affairs Committee.
This summer has provided me time to consider what my beliefs truly are. Politics is really a team sport.
I have come to realize a majority of Republicans, both locally and in the New Hampshire House, hold values which
no longer reflect traditional Republican values. And so I am recognizing the reality that today’s
Republican party is no longer the party I first joined when campaigning for President Reagan many
Further, I feel the local Carroll County Republicans and Winnipesaukee Republicans have
been taken over by extremists who see no place for moderates like me in the Republican party.
My intention had been to quietly finish my term and enjoy my retirement in peace. Unfortunately
events have forced my hand.
As we all know, the combination of the infectious delta variant and waning immunity is causing
COVID-19 to surge both in NH and throughout the United States. ICUs are filling up and younger
people are getting sick and dying.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends vaccination of children over age 12 and masks in schools as control of this virus will require multiple interventions.
Maintaining in-person education is a priority, and we need every tool to do that for our children.
The press release today from Republican House leadership forces me to take a stand.
The constitutionality of vaccine mandates is well established by the 1905 precedent of Jacobson v.
Massachusetts, which upheld mandatory smallpox vaccinations. In a civilized society, individual rights
are limited when they start to impinge on the rights of others.
By denying the appeal of Klaassen v. Trustees of Indiana University to the United States Supreme Court, Justice Amy Coney Barrett upheld this precedent, allowing a university to require COVID vaccinations.
I was a physician long before I became a representative. Doctors live by the principle “first do no
harm.” I cannot in good conscience support this selfish refusal to take reasonable precautions. And
while I might wish for a viable third party, the reality in our country is that does not exist.
So far, NH has done remarkably well with COVID by taking all reasonable precautions while carefully reopening
our economy. I was proud to be part of the Governor’s Economic Reopening Taskforce that made that
happen. I cannot stand idly by while extremists reject the reasonable precautions of vaccinations and
masks which made that happen.
And so I have reluctantly changed my party affiliation. I urge others to
consider what is happening and come to their own conclusions.