Formella says he’s ready to be NH Attorney General despite questions of experience

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John Formella/Courtesy Photo


CONCORD, NH – John Formella told the Executive Council he believes he is qualified for the top law enforcement post as attorney general while Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington of Concord questioned his experience.

During a public hearing on Formella’s appointment by Gov. Chris Sununu to the post Thursday, Formella, who is currently Sununu’s chief legal counsel, said his work in the private sector at the Pierce Atwood law firm provided a great deal of experience as did his time working as the governor’s legal counsel.

Warmington, the lone Democrat on the Executive Council, focused on Formella’s having only eight years of experience as a lawyer and no criminal case experience.

The public testimony was all from former colleagues and supporters who praised Formella as a smart, hard-working and talented lawyer.

Formella also spoke of the importance of having parents who were great role models. His father was a truck driver who went on to become an engineer and his mother, who died last year, left a legacy of toughness and deep abiding faith, Formella told the councilors.

“My only loyalty will be to the law…,” Formella said, promising to be independent of the governor and lawmakers.

Formella said he would support law enforcement, hold them accountable and work to implement recommendations of the Law Enforcement Accountability, Community and Transparency Commission.

Retired Supreme Court Chief Bob Lynn, who is now a state Representative, testified on behalf of Formella, and focused on Formella’s ability to work with people.

“He is obviously extremely bright, articulate and thoughtful, and he is held in high regard among members of the Bar,” Lynn previously said of Formella. “He is open-minded and has a deep commitment to our system of justice and the rule of law, and there is no question that he has the skills and judgment necessary to lead our Department of Justice.”

Formella is a Phi Betta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude graduate of Florida State University who went on to attend George Washington University Law School, where he graduated with honors and was a member of the George Washington University International Law Review.

He has been active in the community, currently serving as a member of the Portsmouth Zoning Board of Adjustment and recently serving as a board member of McGregor Memorial EMS in Durham, and as a board member of Rosie Riveters, an organization dedicated to encouraging young girls to pursue careers in STEM.

The Executive Council is scheduled to vote on Formella’s nomination at their March 24 meeting.