ICU nurse Heidi Kukla, center, sits beside a eye pile as she is injected v the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine external a hospital in Manchester, N.H., in December. (Charles Krupa/Associated Press)
A new Hampshire state representative “reluctantly” switched his party affiliation native Republican to democratic on Tuesday, citing state Republicans’ opposition come masks and also coronavirus vaccines.

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Rep. William Marsh stated party extremists space edging out moderates like him, and that he had actually planned quiet to retire but felt his hand was forced by what he dubbed Republicans’ refuse to take it reasonable wellness precautions.

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“Politics, I"m afraid, is a team sport,” that told The Washington Post. “You’ve obtained to work with various other people, and also if nobody"s interested in what you need to say, you might as well go home.”

Marsh’s notice comes together the nation faces a new surge the coronavirus cases fueled by the highly transmissible delta variant. Day-to-day numbers space rising across the country, consisting of in the Granite State, where infections have actually increased 16 percent from last week and also deaths room up 36 percent.

Marsh, one ophthalmologist who has served together his town’s health and wellness officer because that 20 years, said his tipping allude was when new Hampshire house Republicans arranged a rally Tuesday opposing president Biden’s new vaccine mandates because that federal and private-sector workers. Marsh has actually repeatedly established public health as his peak legislative priority.

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“It’s not in the attention of the public to allow covid to spread out in new Hampshire as it has actually in Florida,” swamp said. “I’m a doctor first, so ns stood up for my patients and also said, ‘I’m done with this.’ and I left.”

Most Republicans throughout the country have denounced vaccine and mask mandates, especially as the possibility of requiring face coverings and also inoculations has grown progressively political.

At a news conference Tuesday prior to the rally, Republican residence leaders wondered about the constitutionality of vaccine mandates. Anti-vaccine protesters, some clad in Trump and QAnon gear, criticized the party for no reacting an ext dramatically come Biden’s mandates.

Marsh said precedent supports the constitutionality of mandates, citing the U.S. Can be fried Court’s current ruling that enabled a mask mandate at Indiana college to stand.

New Hampshire Gov. Kris Sununu (R) has actually condemned the mandates as what he called federal overreach, saying, “I am as pro-vaccine together it gets, however I carry out not support this mandate from Washington, as it is not the answer.”

New Hampshire residence Speaker Sherman Packard (R) stated in a statement that Marsh misunderstood Tuesday’s news conference, i m sorry Packard stated was come speak out versus “unconstitutional mandates and also executive orders.”

“Anyone selecting to obtain vaccinated should, and also we have actually the resources available here in N.H.,” Packard’s explain said. “Nobody need to be required to obtain vaccinated, the is no the correct means to go around this issue.”

But Marsh said he would not “stand idly by if extremists disapprove the reasonable precautions that vaccinations and masks.”

“I have concerned realize a bulk of Republicans, both locally and in the new Hampshire House, organize values i m sorry no longer reflect traditional Republican values,” he claimed in a statement. “And so ns am recognizing the fact that today’s Republican Party is no much longer the party I an initial joined when marketing for president Reagan plenty of years ago.”

When home Speaker penis Hinch (R) died of covid-19 in December, marsh tweeted, “Those in our caucus that refused to take precautions space responsible for dick Hinch’s death.”

He additionally gave a decided in early on June the contrary an amendment that he stated would have limited New Hampshire’s capacity to manage the spread of the coronavirus. Marsh claimed that ~ the speech, the party driven him the end of his role as vice chair of the Health, human being Services and Elderly to work Committee.

He claimed that in ~ minutes the his announcement about switching parties Tuesday, that was gotten rid of from his newer write-up on the Election regulation Committee.

Marsh stated he does not suppose to to the right in any much better with the democracy than v the Republicans yet does not watch a 3rd party as a viable option.

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“At the finish of the day, I might decide that retirement is a much better deal 보다 politics, however it’s to be an amazing ride,” he said.