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May 3, 2013

Potato bill sails through N.H. Senate

Derry students lobbied for state vegetable

CONCORD — Derry students are close to realizing their dream of making the white potato the official state vegetable.

The Senate yesterday passed House Bill 535 on a voice vote.

The news got better later in the day when a spokesman for Gov. Maggie Hassan said she is ready to sign the bill into law.

“Gov. Hassan believes that the civic engagement displayed by Derry’s students in their efforts to pass this legislation reflects the best traditions of New Hampshire,” communications director Marc Goldberg said. “She looks forward to having the students join her as she signs the bill into law.”

Teacher Amy Landry planned to tell students about the Senate vote when they returned to class yesterday from recess.

“There will be a big, loud yell,” Landry said.

She also planned to mark Senate passage on the checklist on her classroom door tracking legislative progress of the bill.

Sen. Jim Rausch, R-Derry, was among a group of Derry lawmakers who sponsored the bill on behalf of Derry Village Elementary School students.

“I am extremely pleased with the passing of HB 535 and for the opportunity to support the efforts of my fourth-grade Derry Village School students, who are learning how government works and have the unique opportunity to participate in the legislative process here in the great state of New Hampshire,” Rausch said.

Landry said about 85 students in the fourth and fifth grades had worked on the project over two years.

They got the idea at the Statehouse two years ago when they took a tour and a guide told them about another class trying to pass a bill establishing a state color.

The students wanted to make their own effort at establishing a state symbol and settled on the white potato, which they decided was part of the history of America, New Hampshire and Derry.

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