New NH transportation commissioner approved

Victoria Sheehan becomes second woman to head NHDOT

The NH Executive Council has confirmed Victoria Sheehan, Gov. Maggie Hassan’s nominee, to be the state’s next commissioner of the Department of Transportation.

Sheehan has served as the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s manager of strategic planning and highway performance, coordinating the five-year, $5 billion capital plan for the Highway Division. Before that, she was MassDOT’s Accelerated Bridge Program manager, in addition to working as a project design engineer and resident engineer for the Highway Department.

Sheehan was confirmed on a 4-1 vote, with Foster’s Daily Democrat reporting that Councilor David Wheeler of Milford casting what he described as a “soft no.”

According to the newspaper, Wheeler said he was not comfortable with the fact that Sheehan, a native of Northern Ireland, has been a U.S. citizen for three years. He also said there wasn’t enough of a search conducted to replace Chris Clement, who resigned as commissioner earlier this year to take a job with the University of New Hampshire.

The other councilors praised the nomination, with Councilor Joe Kenney of Wakefield singling out her “technical expertise.”

In a statement, Governor Hassan agreed, saying Sheehan “has the skills and knowledge needed to lead the Department of Transportation as it continues its critical work to ensure that we have the transportation infrastructure that our 21st century economy needs to grow and thrive.”

Sheehan is now the second woman to serve as New Hampshire’s transportation commissioner. Carol Murray served as NHDOT chief from 2001 to 2007.

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