Stephen E. "Steve" Merrill
(born June 21, 1946) is an American
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
A lawyer, according to Black's Law Dictionary, is "a person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel or solicitor; a person who is practicing law." Law is the system of rules of conduct established by the sovereign government of a society to correct wrongs, maintain the stability of political...
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...
from Manchester, New Hampshire
Manchester is the largest city in the U.S. state of New Hampshire, the tenth largest city in New England, and the largest city in northern New England, an area comprising the states of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. It is in Hillsborough County along the banks of the Merrimack River, which...
Merrill was born in Hampton
Hampton is a town in Rockingham County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 14,976 at the 2010 census. Located beside the Atlantic Ocean, Hampton is home to Hampton Beach, a summer tourist destination....
, New Hampshire
New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state was named after the southern English county of Hampshire. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian...
. He studied at the University of New Hampshire
The University of New Hampshire is a public university in the University System of New Hampshire , United States. The main campus is in Durham, New Hampshire. An additional campus is located in Manchester. With over 15,000 students, UNH is the largest university in New Hampshire. The university is...
, graduating from it in 1969. He received his J.D.
Juris Doctor is a professional doctorate and first professional graduate degree in law.The degree was first awarded by Harvard University in the United States in the late 19th century and was created as a modern version of the old European doctor of law degree Juris Doctor (see etymology and...
from Georgetown University Law Center
Georgetown University Law Center is the law school of Georgetown University, located in Washington, D.C.. Established in 1870, the Law Center offers J.D., LL.M., and S.J.D. degrees in law...
He served in the Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...
as a lawyer from 1972 to 1976, then became a legal counsel to the Secretary of the Air Force
The Secretary of the Air Force is the Head of the Department of the Air Force, a component organization within the Department of Defense of the United States of America. The Secretary of the Air Force is appointed from civilian life by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate...
from 1973 to 1975. He finally became a special assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force from 1975 to 1976. Merrill left military service as a captain, then went to Manchester to practice law from 1976 to 1984.
He served on the staff of Governor Sununu
John Henry Sununu is a former Governor of New Hampshire and former White House Chief of Staff under President George H. W. Bush. He is the father of John E. Sununu, a former senator from New Hampshire, and formerly a U.S. Representative...
and was the state's Attorney General before being elected Governor. He is known for being the first elected official to coin the phrase, "The New Hampshire Advantage."
Merrill entered the 1992 Republican gubernatorial primary. He won election on his first try at state office; he was reelected with seventy percent of the popular vote.
Even before he entered office Governor-elect Merrill faced a daunting challenge. Public Service of New Hampshire
Northeast Utilities is a publicly-traded, Fortune 500 energy company headquartered in Berlin, Connecticut, with several regulated subsidiaries offering retail electricity and natural gas service to more than 2.1 million customers in New England....
had appealed a special property tax
A property tax is an ad valorem levy on the value of property that the owner is required to pay. The tax is levied by the governing authority of the jurisdiction in which the property is located; it may be paid to a national government, a federated state or a municipality...
imposed by former Governor Judd Gregg
Judd Alan Gregg is a former Governor of New Hampshire and former United States Senator from New Hampshire, who served as chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. He is a member of the Republican Party and was a businessman and attorney in Nashua before entering politics...
and the legislature as a way to balance the state budget, and in December 1992 this tax was declared unconstitutional. Governor Merrill therefore had to speak in his first inaugural address about new ways to meet an anticipated $40 million shortfall in state revenues. He proposed changes in state employees' Workmen's Compensation, and in March 1993 a number of changes in other state taxes, as ways to meet the fiscal emergency; in April 1993 he proposed to the legislature that the state's biennial operating budget be revised downward. But by then the state's economy was beginning to improve. Merrill got full credit in national and state media for fiscal responsibility. Merrill declined to run for a third term citing family obligations.
He was twice selected as the "most fiscally responsible governor in America" by the Wall Street Journal
The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was founded in 1977 by Edward H. Crane, who remains president and CEO, and Charles Koch, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the conglomerate Koch Industries, Inc., the largest privately held...
, the only governor to receive the award more than once. He is the recipient of honorary academic degrees, including doctorates for civic and educational achievements. He received the "Distinguished Citizen of the Year" award from New Hampshire's Daniel Webster Council
Daniel Webster Council is a division of the Boy Scouts of America that serves most of New Hampshire.-History:In 1912, two years after the Boy Scouts of America were founded in the United States, a volunteer-led council was organized in Manchester, New Hampshire. Initially there were only two...
of the Boy Scouts of America
The Boy Scouts of America is one of the largest youth organizations in the United States, with over 4.5 million youth members in its age-related divisions...
Merrill currently serves as president of Boston-based Bingham Consulting
Bingham McCutchen LLP is a global law firm with approximately 1,100 attorneys in nine US offices and four international offices. It represents clients in corporate litigation, cross-border restructurings and insolvencies, financing and securities, structured finance and capital markets, government...
, where he assists companies on legal and business matters.
- Member, National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG)
- Participated in the drafting of the NAAG 2000 Strategic Planning Committee Report to its membership
- President, Former Governor's Association
- Life Fellow, American Bar Association
- Member, New Hampshire Bar Association
- Member, District of Columbia Bar Association
- Member, Pennsylvania Bar Association
Awards and honors
- Editor, Georgetown Law Journal
- Georgetown Law Fellow
- Phi Beta Kappa, University of New Hampshire
- Ford Foundation Scholar, University of New Hampshire
- University of New Hampshire, Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, 1969
- Georgetown University Law Center, Juris Doctor, 1972