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About NH Labor News

The New Hampshire Labor News is a group of NH Workers who believe that we need to protect ourselves against the attacks on workers. We are proud union members who are working to preserve the middle class. The NHLN talks mostly about news and politics from NH. We also talk about national issues that effect working men and women here in the Granite State.

Powerful New Coalition Aims To Advance Bold Wall Street Reform Agenda

Labor organizations and community groups representing 25 million Americans unite behind tough agenda: closing Wall Street tax loopholes, making banks smaller and simpler, curbing predatory lending, and more 

Senator Elizabeth Warren (image by Ninian Reid FLIKR)

Senator Elizabeth Warren (image by Ninian Reid FLIKR)

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) today headlined an event in Washington, DC, where membership organizations, policy experts and elected leaders launched a new campaign for bold reforms to overhaul the country’s broken financial system. The Take on Wall Street coalition represents approximately 25 million Americans, including members of labor organizations like the AFL-CIO, AFT and CWA; grassroots community organizing networks like People’s Action and the Center for Popular Democracy; and others, including faith based organizations, MoveOn.org and the Working Families Party.  

As the 2016 campaign season has demonstrated, Americans across the political spectrum remain angry and frustrated with Wall Street and the Big Banks, which they see as both drivers and beneficiaries of a rigged system.  Wall Street billionaires continue to rake in outrageous profits through business practices that hurt working families—families that are still struggling to recover from the crisis Wall Street greed and recklessness precipitated eight years ago. Poll after poll demonstrates that most Americans strongly favor financial reform to support a fair economy.  

The Take on Wall Street campaign will advance a set of ambitious policy goals for a more equitable and inclusive economy.  The coalition members aim to convert the anger about Wall Street’s growing political and economic dominance into concrete, bold and lasting legislative gains at the state, local, and federal levels. 

“Hardworking men and women across the country want a fighting chance to build a real future for themselves and for their children,” Senator Elizabeth Warren said. “I’m glad to stand alongside the Take on Wall Street coalition to push for changes to make our financial markets safer and to create an economy that works for all our families. These are tough fights, but I know that if we get out there and stand together, we can win.” 

At the launch event, Take on Wall Street unveiled a five-point agenda to rebalance the economy so it is no longer rigged against working Americans: 

1.    Close the carried interest loophole which permits private equity and hedge fund managers pay a lower tax rate than most working Americans.

2.    Introduce a Wall Street speculation tax on sales of derivatives, stocks, bonds, and other financial products that would raise billions of dollars, bring banks closer to paying their fair of taxes, and stop some forms of destructive high-frequency trading outright.

3.    Make banks simpler, smaller and safer. End ‘too big to fail,’ and reinstitute the Glass Stegall separation between commercial and investment banks.

4.    Close the CEO bonus loophole, which permits corporations to pay less in taxes the more they pay their executives.

5.    End Predatory Lending and expand access to fair safe financial services by supporting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and expanding access to fair and equitable banking through Postal Banking. 

This is a rare moment in history to achieve fundamental change. This campaign is about rewriting the economic rules. The proposals at the heart of this campaign will drastically improve the way financial services function and mean more money in the pockets of working families, and hundreds of billions of dollars to boost our economy,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. 

“Finance has become the master of the economy, rather than a tool to serve it. And the outsized influence of the financial industry defends and extends rules that reward the already extremely wealthy but leave everyone else behind,” said Lisa Donner, Executive Director of Americans for Financial Reform, a broad-based coalition that was formed to work for financial reform and create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. “This campaign is about moving people into action to demand change that will unrig the game and build a financial system that works for working people.” 

“Predatory lenders and tax-avoiding corporations work in concert to extract wealth from my community, leaving my customers, the lifeblood of my business, trapped in a perpetual cycle of debt and absorbing a larger share of our mutual tax responsibility. We must usher in a set of rules that reins in predatory lending, holds corporations accountable to pay their fair share in taxes, and returns the wealth of communities to the hands of local consumers,” said David Borris, owner of Hel’s Kitchen Catering in Chicago and member of the Main Street Alliance Executive Committee.   

In coming weeks, the campaign will host a tele-town hall with leading champions of reform, and launch a wave of direct actions and media events to call attention to some of the worst Wall Street practices that call out for reform, with particular emphasis on closing the carried interest loophole, which campaign leaders describe as a particularly glaring example of the corrupting influence of Wall Street campaign and lobbying dollars.  

Campaign partner organizations say that they will continue to press elected officials, regulators, and candidates at all levels of government throughout the summer and into the fall. The coalition will focus on naming the executives, legislators, and big banks and financial companies who continue to put our economy in jeopardy – while also shining a light on those champions who are taking action to make Wall Street accountable to working families.  

Current partners in the campaign include:  

  • AFL-CIO
  • Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) Action
  • American Family Voices
  • American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees
  • American Federation of Teachers
  • American Postal Workers Union
  • Americans Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO
  • Americans for Financial Reform
  • Campaign for America’s Future
  • Catholic Alliance for the Common Good
  • Center for Popular Democracy
  • Citizen Action NY
  • Communications Workers of America
  • Consumer Action
  • Courage Campaign
  • Daily Kos
  • Democracy for America
  • Economic Policy Institute
  • Friends of the Earth
  • HedgeClippers
  • Institute for Policy Studies, Global Economy Project
  • International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace, & Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW)
  • The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
  • Media Voices for Children
  • MoveOn
  • National Education Association
  • NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
  • NYC Communities for Change
  • The Other 98%
  • People for the American Way
  • People’s Action Institute
  • Presente
  • Public Citizen
  • Rootsaction
  • Service Employees International Union
  • Strong Economy for All Coalition
  • The Nation
  • The Rootstrikers at Demand Progress
  • UNITE-HERE
  • Working America
  • Working Families Party

NEA-NH Makes A Powerful Recommendation In District 2 Executive Council Race

NEA - NH Logo(CONCORD, NH) New Hampshire’s largest public employee union, the National Education Association of New Hampshire, just threw their weight behind Andru Volinsky in his campaign to for Executive Council.  

Founded in 1854, NEA-NH has grown to represent over 17,000 public employees throughout the state with one mission: “to advocate for the children of New Hampshire and public school employees, and to promote lifelong learning.”

NEA-New Hampshire’s President Scott McGilvary announced NEA-NH’s recommendation of Andru Volinsky in his run for the New Hampshire Executive Council in District Two, which includes Rochester, Dover, Concord, Keene, and a number of other New Hampshire communities.  

“Andru Volinsky has been supporting teachers and the interests of public education since the days of the Claremont School Funding Suit.  We are proud to stand with him in his race for the Executive Council,” said McGilvray

Volinsky was one of the three lawyers who represented the Claremont School District in their fight against the State for adequate school funding.  The Claremont decision forced the State to reevaluate how they disperse state funds to local schools and increased the stated contributions by over 8%.

WMUR reports that “[Volinsky] is currently representing the City of Dover in its lawsuit against the state contending that the cap on state adequacy money to school districts violates the state constitution.”

Mr. Volinsky, upon learning of the recommendation, said, “There are few greater honors than to be recognized by an organization you respect as much as I respect the NEA.  I shall cherish this recommendation.”

TSA Union in Full-Page Ad: Congress Must Fund 6,000 New Airport Security Screeners

Ad in Tuesday edition of The Hill calls for emergency funding for additional screeners to ease long lines

WASHINGTON – The union representing Transportation Security Officers at our nation’s airports is amplifying its call for 6,000 additional full-time screeners to alleviate long airport security lines.

AFGE Fund TSAThe American Federation of Government Employees took out a full-page ad in The Hill newspaper today urging Congress to pass emergency legislation funding the additional screeners, which are needed to counter years of staffing cuts and address growing passenger volumes.

“It’s time for Congress to stop the waiting games and give TSA the resources it needs to meet growing demands at our nation’s airports,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said.

TSA currently has about 42,000 officers on the job, down from 47,000 in 2013. At the same time, the volume of passengers has risen 15 percent, from 643 million to 740 million, and is projected to exceed 800 million this year, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

“This is not a complicated problem, but Congress is avoiding the commonsense solution: Give TSA the resources it needs to hire enough screeners to meet passenger demand,” Cox said.

While Congress has shifted funds from other Homeland Security accounts so TSA can hire about 800 additional officers and pay for additional overtime, these are short-term fixes to a long-term problem that will only grow worse without a significant increase in manpower, Cox said.

“Adding one or two officers to a security line will do little to ease the crush of passengers waiting two or three hours at times to get through the checkpoint, and excessive mandatory overtime will lead to overworked employees,” Cox said. “This is a serious problem that demands a serious solution.”

On May 12, Cox wrote a letter to House and Senate leaders calling for an additional 6,000 screeners.

Despite the lower staffing levels, TSA officers are doing an excellent job of ensuring the safety and security of the flying public. Last year, TSA officers discovered a record 2,653 firearms at security checkpoints across the country, on top of countless other weapons and dangerous items — a 20 percent increase from 2014.

Yet the understaffing takes its toll in terms of lower employee morale and higher turnover. Every week, 103 screeners quit TSA. In 2014 alone, 373 officers joined the agency, but 4,644 left.

“Security screeners hate the wait as much as passengers and the airlines. It’s bad for morale and makes a difficult job that much harder,” Cox said. “Congress needs to do its job and give TSA the resources it needs to keep the public safe.”

Charlie Chandler Announces Bid for Senate District 2

Experienced, North Country leader makes bid for open District 2 seat.

Charlie ChandlerWarren, NH –  Charles “Charlie” W. Chandler of Warren, announced that he is a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the open District 2.

“As a lifelong Granite Stater, it is my strong desire to continue my many years of public service to the citizens of New Hampshire as the State Senator for District 2.  My experience as a small town attorney, the director of a state agency, and as a selectman have uniquely prepared me to deliver the people of District 2 the results they expect, and deserve, from Concord,” said Chandler.

Over the past 45 years, Chandler has held many elective and appointed state and local positions. He has served in the New Hampshire Legislature, on the New Hampshire Ballot Law Commission, was the New Hampshire Presiding Officer of the FRM matter, and as New Hampshire Election Monitor appointed by the Secretary of State and Attorney General. Additionally, Chandler is a selectman in his hometown of Warren.

“As a State Senator, I will bring to Concord a strong business background and public service record rooted in social responsibility. I am committed to providing excellent education for all of our children, as they are our future. We must fully fund and provide this adequate education in order to keep New Hampshire moving forward.”

Chandler currently serves as Chairman of the Board at Franklin Savings Bank, a strong, service-minded mutual savings bank; as well as on the Board of Directors for Pemi-Baker Land Trust. He also serves as Governor Hassan’s appointee to the Cannon Mountain Advisory Commission.

“I am excited to get out to all 27 towns across District 2 and hear directly from Granite Staters about practical solutions to the challenges that face our state. I look forward to a spirited, positive campaign, that focuses on the issues that matter to the people of the second district like access to affordable healthcare, protecting our state’s natural beauty and ending the crippling opioid epidemic.” Chandler concluded.

About District 2

With Haverhill to the north, Center Harbor in the east, Tilton in the South and Wilmot in the west, New Hampshire Senate District 2 is a swing district in northwestern New Hampshire comprised of 27 towns in Belknap, Grafton, and Merrimack Counties. It is noteworthy that Governor Hassan won this district with 52% of the vote in 2014, and President Obama won it in 2012 with 53% of the vote. 

Donald Trump Is Nothing More Than An Old Kentucky Mule Trader

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

hypocrisy-thy-name-donald-trump-donald-trump-hypocrisy-china-politics-1457579539You’re at the bargaining table.

The lead management negotiator slides over a piece of paper. “You’re going to love what I’m proposing,” the guy says.

“Honest. It’s so good you don’t even have to check it out. Don’t read it. Just trust me. You know I want to do right by my workers.”

What’s that you say? “That dog won’t hunt?” (Or you might use a two-word phrase that connects an uncastrated male bovine and what he plops in the pasture.)

Well, Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, is shooting unions the same “trust me” line.

Where to start? How about Trump’s oft-repeated promise to stop outsourcing, which he had no problem with before he ran for president. Oh, yeah, he’s a big-time outsourcer himself. Click hereherehere and here.

Trump says he’d make American firms quit sending jobs and production to cheap labor countries by smacking them with hefty tariffs, or import taxes. He’s proposed a 45 percent tariff  on goods imported from China and a 35 percent tariff on Ford cars and parts made in Mexico and sold stateside.

Here’s the problem: A president can’t impose any federal tax. Only Congress can. (Remember “No taxation without representation” from history class?)

The odds of Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan going for an import tax—or any tax hike—aren’t even slim and none. They’re none and none.

If Trump wins, the Republicans will almost certainly hold the House and Senate and, more likely, enhance their majorities in both chambers.

I’d bet the farm Trump realizes a president can’t levy a tax. So he’s free to bloviate about sticking up for American workers by sticking it to outsources with punitive tariffs knowing there’s no way he can do it by himself and no way a GOP Congress would pass them.

But he’s counting on working stiffs, especially those who’ve lost their good union jobs to outsourcing, to trust him and to swallow his sucker bait, hook, line and sinker.

Oh, Donald Trump brand suits andt ties are made in China.  Does anybody think he really wants a tax that would hit hit him hard in the wallet?

Anyway, Trump also says union members love him. Never mind that he’s fighting, tooth and nail, to keep his Las Vegas hotel workers from unionizing. Forget that Trump prefers “right to work” states to non-RTW states.

Boosting the minimum wage? Trump was against it. Now he wants to “let the states decide” whether to raise it. Here, the guy who claims to be a straight shooter is passing the buck, big time.

Trump is a lot like the Kentucky mule trader of old. He’s happy to show his teeth, but not the mule’s.

Fat Profits, But Lean Wages: Workers To Protest At McDonalds Shareholder Meeting

  • Fight for $15 Vows Biggest-Ever Protest at McDonald’s Shareholder Meeting
Mcdonalds fight for 15 strike

Fight for 15 strike in 2015

As Fast-Food Giant’s Profits Grow, 10,000 Workers to Flood Company HQ, Demand Higher Pay So They Don’t Have to Rely on Food Stamps

Strike for $15, Union Rights by Chicago-Area Fast-Food Workers to Kick Off Two Days of Protest

Oak Brook, Ill. – McDonald’s cooks and cashiers announced Thursday that thousands of underpaid workers fighting for $15/hour and union rights nationwide will converge in the Chicago area next week to wage the largest-ever protests to hit the fast-food giant’s annual shareholder meeting.

Fast-food workers across Chicago and its suburbs will kick off two days of protests by walking off their jobs Wednesday morning, followed in the afternoon by a massive march of a record 10,000 fast-food, home care, child care, and other underpaid workers on the company’s Oak Brook, Ill. headquarters. The protesters will argue it is wrong for a company whose stock just hit an all-time high to pay wages so low that its workers are compelled to rely on public assistance to scrape by.

McDonald’s profits in the first quarter rose 35%, propelled largely by the company’s move to serve breakfast all day, prompting the New York Times to argue in an editorial, “Fat Profits, but Lean Wages,” that it’s time for the company to share its good fortune with its workers.

“McDonald’s sales are going through the roof, but my children have to live with their grandparents because I can’t afford to keep a roof over our heads as long as my paycheck is stuck at minimum wage,” said George McCray, a McDonald’s worker from Chicago, Ill., who is paid $8.25/hour. “We’ve been working hard to make new changes like the All-Day Breakfast a success and have helped make the company billions, but our wages haven’t budged. How much longer will McDonald’s workers have to wait before the company’s success benefits us too?”

On Thursday morning, thousands of workers will take their demand for $15/hour and union rights directly to the company’s shareholder meeting. Underpaid workers from across the service sector – joined by McDonald’s workers from five countries spanning three continents – will demand that McDonald’s use its global economic footprint to lift up working families across the economy rather than hold them down. They’ll argue that McDonald’s is driving a race to the bottom that is hurting workers across the service economy.

Rob Mercier, a low wage worker from New Hampshire, will be one of those speaking out at the McDonalds shareholder meeting next week.

“I worked for McDonald’s for more than two years, struggling to pay bills and unable to afford to buy basic items like diapers and bottles for my newborn son at the time, said Rob Mercier, a member of the Fight for $15 in New Hampshire and a line cook at 5 Guys earning $9.00 an hour. “I worked long hours, picked up shifts, and worked overnight because my pay was too low, and when raises came around I was rewarded with a measly ten cents. That was a slap in the face. McDonald’s is the largest fast-food restaurant in the world and it’s time they do more than lead the fast-food industry by profits and start to lead by lifting up struggling families like mine.”

McDonalds low wages are not only hurting fast food workers they are driving down wages for workers all across the country in their race to the bottom.

“This isn’t just about fast-food workers or McDonald’s workers – McWages are holding us all back,” said Vicki Treadwell, a Milwaukee home care worker who is paid just $10.75/hour after 25 years on the job. “As long as McDonald’s fails to pay fair wages and rips off taxpayers, moms like me will have to turn to food pantries to feed our families. With its record profits, McDonald’s can choose to lift up all workers and the economy.”

While McDonald’s sales have soared in recent months, exceeding analysts’ expectations, and the fast-food giant’s stock hit a record high in May, the company’s low wages cost taxpayers an average of $1.2 billion every year in public assistance. This low-wage model drains revenue that could be used to support the country’s home care, child care and public education systems.

“Even though I educate and care for a classroom of three- and four-year-old children, I am paid just $8.40/hour, which means I have to choose which bills to put off so that I have enough cash for food,” said Shannon Mettie, a child care worker in Detroit, MI. “McDonald’s sets pay and standards at employers large and small. But as long as the fast-food giant keeps skimping on pay and dodging taxes, communities like mine won’t have the money we need for quality child care and strong schools.”

As McDonald’s faces louder calls from workers across the U.S. demanding higher pay and the right to a union, the company is also coming under fire from regulators and elected officials worldwide over a range of harmful business practices, including tax avoidance, labor violations, and anti-competitive practices.

In April, the French government sent a letter to McDonald’s demanding the company pay back €300 million ($340 million) in unpaid taxes and fines as a result of a scheme that funneled royalties through Luxembourg. Late last year the European Commission opened an investigation into McDonald’s over allegations the company avoided more than €1 billion in taxes via the same Luxembourg machinations.

Earlier this year, Spanish tax authorities opened a criminal investigation into McDonald’s tax avoidance, and leading consumer rights advocates and NGOs petitioned Italy’s top tax authorities late last year to investigate McDonald’s over allegations that the fast-food giant has dodged at least €74 million ($84 million) in taxes owed to Italy since 2009.

In January, Italian consumer groups filed an antitrust complaint with the European Commission, alleging exorbitant rents and onerous contracts thrust upon franchisees give the company an unfair advantage. Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom – the home of turf of CEO Steve Easterbrook – McDonald’s is facing more scrutiny than ever before. In April, Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn announced his party’s support for a global campaign to hold McDonald’s accountable, saying, “We will extend that campaign all across this continent.” Also last month, Labour Party leaders barred McDonald’s from sponsoring its party’s convention because of the company’s unfair treatment of workers. Worker protests in the UK forced McDonald’s to abandon its controversial zero-hours scheduling policy in which workers are required to be available to work all the time, but receive no set hours.

In March, Brazilian prosecutors launched an investigation of alleged “fiscal and economic crimes” committed by McDonald’s, including suspected tax avoidance and violations of Brazil’s franchise and competition laws. As McDonald’s looks to sell or refranchise thousands of company-owned stores worldwide, the Change to Win Investment group sent a letter to McDonald’s Board of Directors earlier this month expressing concern over flagging sales and poor corporate governance by the company’s master franchisor in Latin America, Arcos Dorados.

“In France, like elsewhere, McJobs leave us without enough to feed our families or live with dignity,” said Lynda Zarif, a McDonald’s worker from Paris, France, who will join the protest in Oak Brook next week. “At the same time, McDonald’s and its shareholders are enriching themselves and benefiting from billions in profits. McDonald’s workers are the ones in the kitchen making the Big Macs that the company sells every day, and we deserve to benefit from the company’s success.”

Roger Tilton To Run For New Hampshire Senate To Unseat Senator Gary Daniels

RHT MainWe have just learned that Roger Tilton of Milford will be announcing his candidacy for New Hampshire Senate, District 11 (Milford, Merrimack, Amherst and Wilton) on June 10th.

Currently, the District 11 Senate seat is held by, Gary Daniels, who is no friend to labor. From his time as chair of the Labor Committee in the NH House and now in the Senate Daniels has repeated voted against raising the minimum wage. Raising the minimum wage would lift the wages of over fifty thousand hard working Granite Staters.

Daniels also co-sponsored SB 107, which would have prohibited “collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join or contribute to a labor union,” the official description of his so-called Right to Work bill.

Tilton has been a long time supporter of organized labor including a stint as a union organizer. Tilton helped AFTRA organize production workers at KING5, Seattle’s NBC affiliate in the late 80’s. As a former union organizer, Tilton understands the true power unions and collective bargaining.

“The past 40 years have not produced fair gains for the people who put the economy in motion, and without taking steps in the other direction we will not change anything. I know first-hand the immediate and long-term beneficial impact that organizing workers has on their working conditions and standards of living. I will support both those who have organized, and those who need help in doing so,” said Tilton in a recent interview.

Tilton said he opposes so-called Right to Work legislation and any other attacks on workers rights to form unions and collectively bargain.

“So-called ‘right to work’ legislation has been shown to reduce wages, decrease worker safety and protection, and slow regional economic development. ‘Right to Work’ makes sense for big businesses taking big profits out of the local area, but it makes no sense for the people in towns like Wilton, Milford, Amherst, or Merrimack,” added Tilton.

Tilton also plans to announce his own legislation to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour in 2017, with a goal of $15 by 2021.

“Since 1938 the federal minimum wage has been increased 22 times, and our economy has never suffered because of it. Keeping New Hampshire’s minimum wage down has reduced consumer demand, which keeps local businesses from growing. We need a $10 per hour minimum wage right now, and increases to $15 an hour in reasonably short-order,” Tilton explained.

Sen. Daniels has also been a long time supporter of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, which has come under serious scrutiny over the last few years. Daniels was first selected as the NH Co-Chair when he was a State Rep a number of years ago and continues to be a NH Co-Chair as a State Senator.

ALEC is well known for allowing corporate sponsors to supply legislators with lavish gifts and vacation getaways and in return the legislator introduces model legislation in their home state that benefits the corporate sponsors.

In 2013, leaked documents showed that corporate special interest lobbying group ALEC asked state chairs, including New Hampshire State Rep Gary Daniels, to sign a pledge stating: “I will act with loyalty and put the interests of the organization first.”

“It is unbelievable that these politicians participate in an organization that asks them to pledge allegiance to corporate special interests over their constituents,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress who first reported on the ALEC pledge in 2013.

“We are being invaded and undermined by big corporate money. ALEC is buying elections in exchange for candidates’ pledges to put outsiders’ interests ahead of the locals. Gary Daniels took that pledge, and we must stop him from selling out New Hampshire,” added Tilton.

In this current legislative session Sen. Daniels introduced legislation interfering with a woman reproductive rights, including repealing NH’s “buffer zone” law around reproductive health care facilities.

Daniels also sponsored legislation to require specific licensing of outpatient facilities that provide abortion services. Other states have used similar legislation to “trap” women’s health clinics and force them to shut down, taking away a woman’s legal right to a safe abortion.

Tilton disagrees with Daniels when it comes to women’s reproductive rights.

“I believe in a woman’s right to make her own reproductive healthcare decisions,” said Tilton. “Senator Daniels sponsored multiple pieces of legislation attacking a woman’s right to choose and attacking women’s healthcare providers like Planned Parenthood, which provides thousands of women with quality healthcare options at little to no cost.”

Tilton will officially announce his candidacy for District 11’s Senate seat on June 10th.

As a Merrimack resident, I look forward to his candidacy and look forward to Tilton tossing Daniels out of office.

Tilton Sign 2014


P.S. Tilton is also a huge proponent of legalizing cannabis in New Hampshire like they did in Washington and Colorado. He believes this could be a strong revenue source for the state.

Granite Stater Among A Dozen Young Leaders In Washington Calling On Senate To “Do Your Job”

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Young Leaders Join Members of Congress to tell Senators: #DoYourJob

Yesterday, national youth-led and youth-serving organizations released an open letter to U.S. Senators calling for fair consideration for President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland.

At the press conference releasing the letter today at the Supreme Court, young leaders from across the country joined members of Congress and discussed why Senator Chuck Grassley, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, needs to do his job and schedule hearings and a vote for Judge Garland instead of engaging in unprecedented partisan obstruction. Speakers also shared what’s at stake for young people in the Supreme Court vacancy fight.

“It’s energizing to see so many young leaders at the front of the growing chorus of voices urging Senate leaders to do their job and provide a fair process for the consideration of Chief Judge Merrick Garland,” said Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ). “The decisions made at the Supreme Court don’t just impact us today, they impact generations to come. That’s why it’s so important that the Senate do its constitutional duty to provide advice and consent by giving Merrick Garland a fair hearing and an up-or-down vote.”

“It’s been more than three months now since a vacancy opened on the U.S. Supreme Court, and during that time, we’ve seen a whole lot of partisan bickering, obstructionism, and political maneuvering,” said Senator Al Franken (D-MN). “But you know what we haven’t seen: Senate Republicans doing their job as outlined by the Constitution. The President has fulfilled his duty by nominating Chief Judge Merrick Garland to the highest court in the land, and now, it’s the responsibility of us—the Senate—to fulfill our duty as well. That means we need Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, and ultimately, an up or down vote on Judge Garland’s confirmation. I was pleased to join these young American leaders today to remind Senate Republicans that it’s time to take off their political blinders. This is far too important to ignore.”

“As a member of Congress who was elected to do my job, I take my constitutional duty seriously,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego. “Senate leadership should stop their obstructionism and take their duties seriously, too. A lengthy Supreme Court vacancy can have severe and lasting consequences. It’s time for the Senate to do their jobs and give Judge Garland a fair hearing and a timely vote.”

“This Supreme Court vacancy is critically important for all Americans, but especially for Latinos living in the United States,” said Rep. Linda Sánchez. “We are an especially young community with more than 14 million millennials. So our message is simple: The President has done his job, now it is time for Republican Senators to do their job.”

Oscar R. Cornejo a junior at Dartmouth College studying Sociology and Native American Studies, was one of the many young leaders who traveled to Washington to urge the Senate to “Do Your Job.”

As an undocumented student from Mexico, Oscar co-founded Dartmouth’s first immigrant rights organization, advocating and raising awareness of the undocumented immigrant voice. During his three years at Dartmouth, Oscar has united campus stakeholders to cultivate inclusivity and access to undocumented students, organized the 2015 Collegiate Alliance for Immigration Reform conference, and lead a successful campaign to have the Library of Congress drop the I-word.

“I know some senators want to wait until after the election, until the next President is elected, to choose the next Supreme Court justice,” said Oscar Conejo, of Hanover, New Hampshire. “But the Senators need to do their job, not play politics with the Supreme Court. As an undocumented student, I know just how critical the decisions are that they make on important issues that affect me and my family, from education to immigration and so much more.”

The letter released today is signed by Young People For, Generation Progress, NAACP Youth and College Division, Sierra Student Coalition, the Roosevelt Institute, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Energy Action Coalition, American Constitution Society Student Chapters, the Young Elected Officials (YEO) Network, Student Debt Crisis, Advocates for Youth, and the Micah Leadership Council.

Text of the letter is below as well as selected remarks from some of the young leaders who spoke out yesterday.

Consuelo Hernandez, Tucson, Arizona: “I’m here today because I’m tired of conservatives in the Senate choosing politics over precedent and chaos over constitutional duty. On issues as wide-ranging as voting, reproductive justice, and economic justice, the day-to-day lives of young people are directly impacted by the decisions made at the Supreme Court. By choosing not to give Chief Judge Merrick Garland the fair and timely consideration afforded past nominees, conservatives are abandoning their constitutional duties and turning their backs on the constituents like me who put them in office.”

Max Levy, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: “As the president of the College Dems chapter at the University of Pennsylvania, I know how important it is to work with organizations from across the political spectrum.  Even though we don’t always agree, we work hard to foster productive dialogue on our campus. Right now, some Senators are saying we shouldn’t even hold a hearing for President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, and that’s just plain wrong. Dialogue is healthy for democracy. I know that’s true on my  campus, and it’s true for the Senate.”

Mary Marston, Concord, North Carolina: “Young people now make up the largest voting bloc in America and many are just becoming politically active. It is critical that our elected officials follow through on their constitutional commitments to keep young people engaged in the democratic process.”

Zach Wahls, Iowa City, Iowa: “I see the marriage between my moms—the possibility of their marriage—as our legal system keeping up its end of the American promise to a fair hearing and due process. Because the Court was able to act, and its decision was recognized as legitimate, my parents’ marriage is recognized in all fifty states—my parents’ sacred promise is recognized to mean the same thing in Iowa as in Alabama. We got a fair hearing, and we need to make sure that America can get a fair hearing, too.”

Peter Cheun, American Constitution Society Student Chapter President at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law (Illinois): “Law students across the ideological spectrum may disagree on who their ideal Supreme Court nominee would be. But in my experience, they have been nearly unanimous in their agreement that the Senate should do its job: Give Judge Garland a fair hearing and an up or down vote.”

Max Eichenberger, American Constitution Society Student Chapter President at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law (Illinois): “When employees fail to do their jobs, it is their business and consumers that ultimately suffer. For the U.S. Senate, their business is administering our representative government, and we are all the consumers. Give Judge Garland a fair hearing and keep this shop running.”

Joelle Gamble, National Director, Network at the Roosevelt Institute: “So far, in 2016, we’ve seen that young people just want the political process to work the way it is supposed to. If our leaders want us to participate, they have to ensure that the political process works in the first place. They must restore our faith in democracy.”

Karissa Gerhke, Sierra Student Coalition National Director: “Young people working for just, sustainable communities and the protection of the environment are not taking a back seat in this fight. We can’t and we won’t let obstructionists threaten everything we’re fighting for on our campuses and in our communities. The Senate should do its job to fill this vacancy.”

Stephen A. Green, NAACP National Youth and College Director: “Young people from across the country have courageously come together to call upon Congress to do their job or lose their job. We deserve a democracy that works for all people, give Judge Garland a fair hearing!”

Erik Lampmann, People For the American Way Foundation’s Young People For Public Affairs & Policy Manager: “Keeping the Court understaffed is simply indefensible. Until our Supreme Court is empowered to function as it was designed, we will not stop calling on Senators to “Do Your Job” and treat the Court, the Constitution, and us with respect.”

Layla Zaidane, Generation Progress Managing Director: “As a generation, Millennials have grown up amid partisan gridlock and politicians more interested in playing political games than doing their job. But the Supreme Court vacancy isn’t a game to us: from marriage equality to reproductive rights, the decisions the Court makes affect our lives, every day. Millennials overwhelmingly support a hearing and a vote on President Obama’s nominee—it’s time for the Senate to do its job and ensure a fully-functioning, fully-staffed Supreme Court.”


Open Letter to the Senate

Dear United States Senators,

We, the undersigned youth-led and youth-serving organizations, call on all U.S. senators to give fair and timely consideration to President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Chief Judge Merrick Garland.

On issues as diverse as immigration policy, voting rights, and reproductive rights, the daily lives of young people are affected by what happens in our nation’s courts. We represent broad youth constituencies seeking to ensure that their rights are protected at the local, state, and federal level — including young immigrants, youth of color, trans* and queer youth, students, low-income youth, and differently-abled young people. We know the communities we work with are just some of the over 100 million people in this country who stand to be directly impacted by cases before the Court just this term.

A fully-functioning judiciary is essential to a flourishing democracy and critical to our ability to protect our rights and seek justice. Purposefully keeping the Supreme Court understaffed, as some senators are proposing, is indefensible.

Chief Judge Garland deserves the treatment traditionally afforded past Supreme Court nominees: prompt hearings and an up-or-down vote in the Senate. Senators who believe Chief Judge Garland should not serve on the Supreme Court are free to vote against him, but blocking the process entirely is an abdication of senators’ constitutionally-defined responsibilities and an insult to the people who elected them.

Young people are working each day to provide for themselves and their families; some are also studying for advanced degrees and vocational certificates or organizing their communities to create change. Across the country, young people are working hard at their jobs. They should be able to expect the same of their senators.

The undersigned organizations call on all senators to do their jobs and consider the President’s nominee to the nation’s highest court in a timely fashion. There are too many critical issues at stake for young people, and for all people, for ideologically motivated senators to play politics with our Supreme Court.

Respectfully,

Advocates for Youth

American Constitution Society Law Student Chapters

Energy Action Coalition

Generation Progress

Sierra Student Coalition

Student Debt Crisis

Micah Leadership Council

NAACP Youth and College Division

NARAL Pro-Choice America

Network at the Roosevelt Institute

Young Elected Officials Network

Young People For

Governor Hassan Proclaims Clean Water Week in New Hampshire

 CONCORD – In order to highlight the importance of clean water to public health, public safety and New Hampshire’s economy, Governor Maggie Hassan today proclaimed Clean Water Week in New Hampshire. The Governor issued the proclamation during a ceremony at the State House with the New Hampshire Water Pollution Control Association to recognize students for their participation in a poster competition promoting Clean Water Week in the Granite State.

“Ensuring that all of our residents and visitors have access to safe, clean drinking water is critical to public health, the well-being of our families, vibrant communities and a thriving economy,” Governor Hassan said. “During Clean Water Week – and every week – we must continue working aggressively to address water contamination, ensure clean drinking water for all of our citizens, and protect the beautiful natural resources that make our state a unique place to live, work, visit and raise a family.” 

To help ensure that Granite Staters have access to clean, safe drinking water, Governor Hassan recently signed bipartisan legislation to create the New Hampshire Drinking Water and Groundwater Trust Fund, which ensures that funds from the MtBE decision are used to remove MtBE contamination. 

Governor Hassan and state officials also continue to work aggressively to address water contaminated by perfluorochemicals (PFCs) around the Saint-Gobain facility in Merrimack, near the former location of Textiles Coated International in Amherst and at Pease Air Force Base. She has pushed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct a review of the best available science regarding PFCs and establish a lifetime health advisory for states to assess the safety of drinking water. The Governor has also worked with the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services and the Department of Health and Human Services to expand well testing, delivery of bottled water and assistance with blood testing as appropriate, and to start an investigation into the potential presence of these chemicals elsewhere in the state. 

The full text of the Governor’s proclamation is attached and below: 

CLEAN WATER WEEK

MAY 15 – 21, 2016 

WHEREAS, New Hampshire residents have a strong commitment to protecting our state’s environment and consider our ocean, lakes, streams, and groundwater among the most precious of our resources; and

WHEREAS, With the support of New Hampshire residents and through several different water protection programs, the Department of Environmental Services endeavors to keep New Hampshire’s water clean for aesthetic, recreational, ecological, and drinking purposes; and

WHEREAS, Other guardians of New Hampshire’s waters are the New Hampshire Water Pollution Control Association and the New England Water Environmental Association comprised of government officials and wastewater treatment plant professionals concerned with the abatement and control of water pollution; and

WHEREAS, Since the passage of the 1972 Federal Water Pollution Control (Clean Water Act), substantial progress has been made in protecting and enhancing water quality due to the concerted efforts of the government, the private sector, and the public, including the construction and expansion of more than 80 publicly owned wastewater treatment plants throughout New Hampshire; and 

WHEREAS, Clean water is critical to public health, public safety, and our economy; and

WHEREAS, Significant water pollution challenges still lie ahead in the effort to protect New Hampshire’s water resources from pollution; 

NOW, THEREFORE, I, MARGARET WOOD HASSAN, GOVERNOR of the State of New Hampshire, do hereby proclaim MAY 15 – 21, 2016, as CLEAN WATER WEEK in the State of New Hampshire and invite the people of New Hampshire to observe this week by remembering how critical clean, fresh water is to all of us and to act responsibly in their use of this shared resource.

Given this 18th day of May, in the year of Our Lord two thousand and sixteen, and the independence of the United States of America, two hundred and forty.

Margaret Wood Hassan

Governor

Powering Forward: A New Book About Campaigning On And Enacting Real Green Energy Solutions

Powering ForwardOver 97% of all climate scientist’s agree that climate change is real and caused in part by man. If we do not work to reverse the effects of climate change the temperature of the plant will continue to rise until all life will be gone.

Even with such overwhelming evidence a large majority of Republicans refuse to accept climate science and actively campaign for higher office against it. On the other hand, Democrats accept climate change as a reality, yet not all of them are willing to stake the outcome of their election on working to reverse climate change.

One gubernatorial candidate took a stand against climate change. Not only did it win him the election, it pushed Colorado to the front of the green energy revolution.

“I believe that a global crisis is looming on the horizon and that the United States not only can but must take the lead in addressing it, in large part through a dynamic overhaul in how we produce and consume energy. The well-being of people around the globe depends on us doing just that,” said Governor Bill Ritter, Jr.

Bill Ritter ran his campaign for Governor of Colorado on building a new economy based on renewable energy and lowering the state’s dependence on fossil fuels.

In his new book, Ritter talks about how he ran his successful campaign on building a new economy on green energy. After winning his election, Ritter put his ideas into actions creating a thriving economy in Colorado and creating thousands of new good paying jobs.

“An informative why-and-how book about preventing climate change by making the transition to clean energy. In straightforward prose […], Governor Ritter tells it like it is, showing what the challenges are, where we have failed, and why,” wrote Kirkus Reviews.

Every elected official in the United States should read this book. It is the owner’s manual to a new American century and clean energy economy,” said Robert C. Sisson, Executive Director of ConservAmerica.

“Governor Ritter shows how success will require rethinking not only our energy policies but also our politics,” wrote Walter Isaacson, CEO of the Aspen Institute.

 

You can pick up this new book by ordering here.

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