Bipartisan lawmakers help colleague after son’s death

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire lawmakers have come together to help one of their own.

Rep. Dan Itse’s 23-year-old son, Jarrod, who was severely ill since birth, died earlier this month. Within days, a group of bipartisan lawmakers and others raised more than $13,000 to help his family pay for the funeral and other expenses.

Thanking his colleagues this week, the Republican from Fremont said he and his wife were told their newborn would only live a few weeks and that they should deny Jarrod nutrition and hydration because of his severe brain injuries.

“We said, ‘No, he’s just another one of our children, we’ll take him home for however long we have him,’” Itse said. “I’ll be honest, we did not think it was going to be 23 years.”

Rep. Al Baldasaro, whose wife created the fundraising account, said lawmakers of both parties should be proud of their response.

“Republicans and Democrats came together as one team and took care of that family,” said Baldasaro, a Republican from Londonderry. “They put party aside, and that’s the way this House should work.”

Itse, who is in his 9th term in the House, said raising Jarrod made him a different person, someone dedicated to fighting for those who couldn’t fight for themselves.

“As much as I would not have wanted that to have happened to Jarrod — I’d give my right arm for that — neither would I want to give up the person he required me to become,” Itse said at the end of Thursday’s House session.

Itse said he is still adjusting to having time on his hands, after spending upward of 50 hours a week caring for his son in recent months.

“But I’ll be using part of that time to serve this House more fully,” he said.