GORHAM, N.H. —Two special interests outside his family define Gene Chandler, this year's New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association (NHTOA) President's award recipient: public service and the outdoors. 

He has been around politics and outdoor activities (hunting, fishing, and forestry/timberland) his entire life. Growing up in Bartlett, N.H., he worked and recreated in the forests of the Saco River Valley. When not in the forest, he served his community on local boards, including as a member of the Planning Board, town moderator, and school district moderator. He has been a Selectman in Bartlett since 1974 (43 years) and a State Representative since 1982 (he is in his 18th term).

Gene has successfully combined his personal/professional interests with his political work. He is a perennial supporter of the White Mountain National Forest's timber harvesting program. As the prime sponsor of the legislation appropriating $10 million to fund the state's portion of the U. S. Forest Service Forest Legacy land conservation easement for the Connecticut Headwaters, he has demonstrated long-standing support of and commitment to land conservation. He was also the prime sponsor of the landowner liability protection bill (HB 1551) in 2012 and, more recently, he was the prime sponsor in 2016 of the NHTOA’s landowner right to redress from illegal dumping and property damage bill (HB 1298). House Bill 1298 was recently recognized by the National Woodlands Owner Association as the best pro-landowner legislation for 2016. He is currently a sponsor of the NHTOA’s 2017 renewable energy/biomass bill (SB 129).

In the New Hampshire State House, Gene Chandler has held numerous leadership positions over his 18 terms, including Deputy House Majority Leader, House Majority Leader, Deputy Speaker, Speaker Pro Tempore, and Speaker of the House from 2000 to 2004. Today, he is currently chairman of the House Public Works and Highway Committee and is serving another term as Deputy Speaker.

For all his work in Concord on behalf of timberland owners and the state’s forest products industry, the NHTOA Board of Directors recognizes Gene Chandler with the 2017 NHTOA President’s Award.