The Bulletin Board

House minority leader Renny Cushing takes leave of absence

By: - March 2, 2022 1:27 pm
Renny Cushing stands in front of his house in Hampton.

Rep. Renny Cushing, the House Democratic leader, is being treated for stage four prostate cancer. (Amanda Gokee | New Hampshire Bulletin)

Rep. Renny Cushing announced Wednesday he will be taking a temporary medical leave of absence from his duties as House minority leader. Deputy Democratic leader David Cote, who represents Nashua, will take over the role in Cushing’s absence.

Rep. Mary Jane Wallner of Concord will become the party’s deputy leader.

In a letter read by his daughter to the Democratic caucus, Cushing said he would be taking the leave of absence in order to focus on his health. Cushing has been fighting stage four prostate cancer since he received the diagnosis in August 2020. The Democratic caucus was aware of the diagnosis when they elected him to the leadership position in November of that year. In his letter, Cushing said he has since dealt with other health setbacks, including complications from cancer treatment as well as COVID-19, and thanked the party for its support.  

“I have fought my entire life for the people of New Hampshire and served in the Legislature for more than 30 years – but for now, I need to focus on another fight,” he said in the letter.

Cushing has been active in politics in the state for most of his life. He grew up in Hampton and became involved in protesting the Seabrook nuclear station in the 1970s as a part of the Clamshell Alliance. He was an active advocate of abolishing the death penalty, a cause he spent decades of his life pursuing. And recently, he has pushed for marijuana legalization and remote access to the Legislature during the pandemic.

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Amanda Gokee
Amanda Gokee

Amanda Gokee reported on energy and environment for New Hampshire Bulletin. She also previously reported on these issues at VTDigger. Amanda grew up in Vermont and is a graduate of Harvard University. She received her master’s degree in liberal studies, with a concentration in creative writing, from Dartmouth College. Her work has also appeared in the LA Review of Books and the Valley News.