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AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin: Edelblut’s Croydon Bill, Voting Rights, And Kindergarten Funding

May 18, 2017  

The NH House met briefly yesterday, primarily to pass an emergency bridge appropriation to keep the Dept. of Health and Human Services functioning until the end of the budget year on June 30. While there was the usual vocal opposition from those who oppose virtually any governmental spending, the bill passed easily.

The most intriguing moments centered around the Robert Fisher case. As you may know, the committee investigating Robert Fisher (the apparent founder and contributor to the anti-feminist, misogynistic website “The Red Pill”) concluded on a strict party-line vote to recommend no action be taken against Representative Fisher, nor against Sherry Frost. Frost is the representative brought before the committee in a vain attempt by Republicans to muddy the waters charging her with uncivil conduct for tweets made months ago and for which she had already apologized. What is truly irksome is the claim that Fisher’s odious comments and postings, all posted anonymously or veiled behind user-names, are protected by free speech and therefore not subject to House action. Yes, his online rants on rape, women as intellectual inferiors and other such topics ARE protected by the First Amendment, BUT the House does have rules and limits on free speech that its members must follow. For example, a member speaking in the House may not refer to another representative by name, and there are other restrictions regarding references to the NH Senate and general rules regarding civil discourse. So for Republicans to suddenly hide behind the First Amendment is truly disingenuous, and to draw any comparison between Fisher and Frost is ludicrous, since none of her comments were anonymous but were openly acknowledged by her and she took full responsibility for her words.

In the end, Republicans continue to refuse to take any action in the Fisher case, and just hope it will all go away. Representative Fisher, unrepentant to the end, resigned his seat in the House after the investigative whitewash and in the face of a possible perjury investigation. The committee report, one-sided and written only by the Republican majority, will come before the House on June 1. As for yesterday, that self-same majority voted down a motion to print in the permanent journal the remarks of Representative Debra Altschiller, who gave an impassioned speech on May 4 regarding the Fisher case, misogyny and denigration of women as part of a dominant culture in the NH House. Republicans walked out on her speech two weeks ago and yesterday, refused the usual courtesy of allowing her remarks to be printed in the permanent journal. Apparently, the hope is that if no record is kept, all will be forgotten. Time will tell.

Voting Rights  Elsewhere in the State House, the House Election Law committee narrowly voted to amend and recommend passage of SB 3, the voter suppression bill aimed at curbing non-existent voter fraud (even Governor Sununu now admits he has no evidence of any voter fraud). To solve this non-existent problem, the bill will place new burdens on citizens seeking to register within 30 days of an election. The goal is to discourage such groups as college students from voting, and while same-day registration will continue, the paperwork and the threat of subsequent investigations will likely turn many from bothering to register while doing nothing to curb non-existent voter fraud. It is a solution in search of a problem, but the House is likely to pass the bill.

Edelblut’s Croydon Bill The House Education Committee was also active, approving an amendment to SB 8 (the so-called Croydon bill) which completely rewrites the proposed legislation. It is reported that Committee Chair Rick Ladd openly stated that this is Commissioner of Education Frank Edelblut’s bill and that he and the Commissioner worked to design the replace-all amendment. The new version still permits districts to use public funds to send students to private schools when the district does not have schools for certain grades or any schools at all! In essence, it is another version of vouchers. The private school must be non-sectarian (a bow to the constitutional prohibition of public support of religious schools) but there is no provision preventing private schools from refusing to accept students who need special educational services. There is also pitifully little accountability in place, other than a requirement that the private school administer some sort of annual standardized assessment. In other words, the State would be delegating to the local district its responsibility to provide for adequate education by reneging on accountability requirements and by punting on how districts will provide for students with special needs.

SB 8 will now go to the House with the recommendation to pass the rewritten bill. If it does pass, it will be a victory for Commissioner Frank Edelblut, who has long supported Croydon in seeking to use public monies for private schooling and who is a longstanding proponent of charters, private schools, sectarian schools, and home schooling, everything but public education. Perhaps SB 8 should now be called the Edelblut bill, in honor of the commissioner who in his confirmation hearings claimed he would only be an administrator and not a policymaker. Looks like that stance changed rather quickly!

Kindergarten Funding Setback The Senate Finance committee by a 4-2 vote recommended against including full funding for full-day kindergarten and reverted back to the target formula originally proposed by Governor Sununu. Since the Governor’s original proposal he has now supported the position of the House to fully fund full-day kindergarten. However, the committee did support Edelblut’s proposal for a spokesperson to the tune of $83,500 per year. This is not over and we need to make certain members of the House and Senate are reminded of the broad support for funding full-day kindergarten.

Action Needed   So, many important votes lie ahead. Please contact your House Representative and ask her/him to oppose SB 3 (voter suppression), SB 8 (the Edelblut/Croydon bill) and to fully fund full-day kindergarten. And, while doing so, keep your eyes and ears open, as we await the Senate’s version of the 2017-2019 NH State budget.

In Solidarity,

Douglas Ley

AFT-NH, President

 

Attached is the bulletin in PDF format you can download and share.

AFT-NH LEGISLATIVE BULLETIN May 18, 2017

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin: NH Budget, Kindergarten Funding, And Voter Suppression

May 11, 2017  

The wheels turn slowly in Concord, as we grind towards the inevitable mid-June end of the 2017 legislative session The House did not meet in session this week due to a lack of bills coming to the floor for action, so everything will be condensed into sessions at the end of May. The House meets in session on May 18th to vote on an emergency supplemental appropriation to fund the Department of Health and Human Services until the end of the fiscal year. There will be no consideration of committee reports at this session.

Senate Action   The Senate did meet in session this week. The Senate’s proposed budget is yet to be unveiled. Committees did meet, however, and legislation continues to be refined and revenues continue to be sought for funding of various proposals. HB 356-FN, the bill with the attempted power grab by Education Commissioner Edelblut, was voted on by the Senate and for now, the power grab has been held at bay. The final amended bill as passed by the Senate creates a committee to study education funding and the cost of an opportunity for an adequate education, the original intent of the bill, and “establishes a committee to study the organizational structure of the department of education and the duties and responsibilities of the commissioner of the department of education”.  The report of this committee is due out on November 1, 2017. The bill as amended also “authorizes the commissioner of the department of education, with the advice of the state board of education and after consultation with the deputy director and affected division directors, to transfer or assign functions, programs, or services within or between any division. Vigilance will be necessary to monitor the work of this committee and recommendations for the session in January.

Voter Suppression The House Election Law committee met earlier this week to once again consider SB 3, the voter suppression bill. A lengthy amendment was presented to the committee by Republican members, but while it redrafted many sections of the bill, most of the changes were technical and related to issues raised by groups such as the NH Municipal Association. One interesting proposal was to change who might come to your door to follow up and check on your domicile. Rather than election officials or local law enforcement, the proposed change had county officials doing this work, that is until it was pointed out that county sheriffs and their employees would likely be tasked with this duty. So, back to the drawing board. Given that there are virtually no reported instances of voter fraud in New Hampshire, the idea of having law enforcement confirm the domicile you listed when registering seems just a bit sinister. But to hear some House members and Senators speak, bringing law enforcement into the voter registration process and creating lengthy and confusing forms for new voters to fill out is all just normal, not an attempt to dissuade people from voting. According to the docket, the House Election Law Committee has this scheduled for Executive Session on May 16th at 10:20am at the Legislative Office Building, Room 308.

Funding for Full Day Kindergarten   In other news, the House Finance Committee held hearings this week on funding of full-day kindergarten across New Hampshire. No one can accuse New Hampshire of rushing into new and innovative ideas, since 76% of kindergarten students in 2012 were already in full-day sessions. Whether the Finance Committee will recommend financing this initiative or ask the House to reject it, it will be a difficult vote to defeat this initiative, given that it passed as a policy measure by nearly a 2 to 1 margin in the House just a couple of weeks ago. The public hearing was held last week and the Finance Committee (Division II) has scheduled an executive session for SB 191-FN, funding for full day kindergarten on Tuesday, May 16th at 11:00am at the Legislative Office Building, Room 209. The Finance Committee is also investigating the financing of SB 247, which will mandate early childhood testing for lead poisoning and require it as a prerequisite for public school enrollment. Everyone concedes that lead poisoning has very serious developmental consequences for young children, consequences that last a lifetime. Where the battle-lines are being drawn in the House is over the proposal to establish a fund to aid landlords in remediating for lead in properties they own. So there are costs associated with this initiative, costs that must then be counter-balanced by the public health benefits, especially in regards to young children who are not responsible for the environment in which they live. It is a public health issue, but also one with serious educational and social welfare ramifications, so it will prove interesting to see how this plays out at the end of the session.

New Hampshire Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Ceremony   On Friday, May 19th at 9:45 am in front of the Legislative Office Building at the memorial site, the annual service to honor our fallen NH law enforcement heroes will be held. If you can attend, please do make the effort. Next week is National Policer Officers Week to honor the work of law enforcement. We gather on May 19th to honor and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice keeping us all safe and every day we should appreciate and support the work of our law enforcement officers.

Finally, the House Committee on Legislative Administration held its public hearings on Republican Robert Fisher, accused of misogynistic commentary and running/contributing to a web platform with postings favorable to rape as well as claiming women lose value once past the age of thirty. Fisher defended himself in his hearing, admitting to some comments, denying others, but showing little in the way of remorse or contrition. As for Democrat Sherry Frost, the committee is investigating uncivil language used by her in a series of tweets a number of months ago, for which she already apologized. As noted last week, the political balancing act here is quite clear even if the allegations are not remotely equivalent, but this is life under the golden dome of the State House. The committee will issue its report and recommendations next week, and it will be interesting to see if the committee goes beyond a reprimand. That leaves it to the voters in Laconia (Fisher) and Dover (Frost). However, when the front page of NH’s leading newspaper features headlines on Fisher’s hearing and then the sentencing of former Republican representative Kyle Tasker on drug charges and using the Internet to solicit sex with a minor, well it just wasn’t a good day. Of course, if Tasker were proposing marriage to the 14-year old, that would be fine—remember, the House refused to raise the age for marriage for girls from 13 to 18 years old. It has been that kind of year. 

 

In Solidarity,

Douglas Ley

AFT-NH, President

Below is a PDF copy of the Bulletin you can print and share.

AFT-NH LEGISLATIVE BULLETIN May 11, 2017

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin: A Triple Crown Victory for Public Education

 

Bow, NH – April 25, 2017

As we all know, public education is under assault here in New Hampshire. Yesterday, though, we won three important victories, and it is time to take a moment to celebrate and to reflect. Days like today don’t come about too often, especially when opponents of public education control seemingly control every branch of NH government. But, through the hard work of thousands of people testifying in Concord, protesting outside the State House, writing letters and emails and calling their senators and representative, you won some important victories. So congratulations, rest up for a day, and get ready for the battles yet to come!

Edelblut Power Grab Halted! The Senate Education Committee defeated the amendment put forth by Sen Reagan, and supported by Commissioner Edelblut, which would have totally reorganized the Department of Education and consolidated much power in the hands of the commissioner. Sen. David Watters put forth an amendment which will have the reorganization and commissioner’s power referred to a study committee. Quick response by AFT-NH members and supporters of public education helped defeat this grab for power which could have had significant consequences for public education in NH.

Please take a moment, send an email or make a phone call and thank the three members of the Senate committee who listened to their constituents and defeated this power grab.

Senator Jay Kahn (D-Keene), 603-271-8631 or Jay.Kahn@leg.state.nh.us

Senator Ruth Ward (R-Stoddard), 603-271-6733 or ruth.ward@leg.state.nh.us

Senator David Watters (D-Dover), 603-271-8631 or david.watters@leg.state.nh.us

SB 193 Retained in Committee     The House Education Committee voted 15-4 today to retain SB 193 , the school voucher bill. This bill would have drained public tax dollars from public schools and diverted to education savings accounts for students in private and religious schools along with home-schooled children. By retaining this bill in committee, no action will be taken this year. There was overwhelming opposition to this bill. We will remain vigilant on any efforts to divert tax dollars from public education. There is no question that direct citizen outreach to state representatives made the difference!

Please be sure to write to the House Education committee and thank them for the defeat of this bill. You can contact the entire committee at the following address: HouseEducationCommittee@leg.state.nh.us

Full-Day Kindergarten Funding   SB 191, the kindergarten funding bill, came before the House Education Committee today and the Committee voted to recommend funding for full day kindergarten. This amended bill would go beyond the targeted funding proposed by
Governor Sununu. The bill will now go to the full House and will be subject to the scrutiny of House Finance since $5 million was added to the original $9 million in funding. If passed, this would be a great advancement for our schools and NH’s five-year olds. We’ll keep you apprised of the need for action as this bill proceeds.

In Solidarity,

Douglas Ley

AFT-NH, President

AFT-NH Legislative Bulletin 2-24-17: Payroll Deduction And The Expansion Of School Vouchers

February 24, 2017  

This week and next week the House will not be in session, due to school winter vacations, though the Senate is holding sessions and many committee hearings continue to be held. So, business continues to be done, though we are in a bit of a pause in the House, before the deluge of bills hits the floor on March 8 & 9. Due to the pause, and trying to closely monitor committee actions, this bulletin is intended to provide a snapshot of where we are and what lies ahead the next few weeks.

Right to Work So-called ‘right to work was defeated soundly on February 16th and also was indefinitely postponed. However, it is “not quite dead yet:” Yes, you read that correctly. The House version of so-called right to work (HB 520), is a virtual carbon copy of the Senate version decisively rejected by the House last week. However, there does need to be one more vote on the House bill. On either March 8 or 9, there will be a procedural vote on whether to take up HB 520 in the House. A 2/3 margin is needed to take up the bill, so it is unlikely to rise from the dead, but opponents of anti-worker, so-called ‘right to work’ legislation will need to be vigilant and in their seats, ready to vote to defeat the motion. AFT-NH is actively engaged with our fellow labor unions and community allies to close out this ugly chapter.

It is not too late to thank those legislators who stood with us to defeat right to work. To view the list, please click here. If you click on the name of the representative, the contact information is provided.

Payroll Deduction (HB 438) As you may already know, this proposal is a companion piece to so-called right to work, except it lacks even the flimsy veneer of ideological justification so often touted by advocates of so-called right-to-work. It is vindictive and an undisguised assault on the financial basis of labor organizations, their member dues. Under this legislation, no public employer will be allowed to deduct union dues from an employee’s wages, meaning the union must develop alternative means of collecting dues. Payroll deduction is a long-standing system that is negotiated in contracts, and must be authorized by individual union members. Yet unlike voluntary contributions to charities, apprenticeship funds, voluntary health insurance, or savings funds, all of which will continue to be allowed as voluntary deductions, union dues will be singled out and barred by law from payroll deduction. Why such a prohibition? To simply weaken the ability of unions to collect member dues, thereby weakening their financial foundations and ultimately, weakening the ability of labor unions to fight for their members, whether it be for better wages and benefits, workplace protections, or simply having a voice in the workplace. In essence, time for workers to return to the good old days, before labor unions, when the employer was unchallenged and the worker, to quote Frank Zappa, had to “do as you are told, until the rights to you are sold.”

The public hearing on this bill will be held on Wednesday, March 1, in front of the House Labor Committee, beginning at 10 am in LOB 305-307. If you are able to do so, please attend the hearing and register your opposition. You can also send an email to the entire House Labor Committee at

HouseLaborIndustrialandRehabilitativeServices@leg.state.nh.us

Education Legislation This week yielded up a mixed bag in regards to education-related legislation. A proposal (HB 505) to create a new, alternative body to authorize charter schools (thereby making it even easier to establish such schools) was retained by the Education Committee, meaning it will not come to the floor of the House in 2017 but could be addressed in 2018. That is a victory, at least in terms of delaying action. Another bill (HB 429), to strip the judiciary of any role in determining adequate education funding, was unanimously recommended to be killed by the House Legislative Administration Committee. Given the obvious and repeated failures of the Legislature in years past to adequately fund public education, this is a victory.

However, legislation to create a statewide education voucher system in NH continues to move forward. Last week, the House narrowly approved (along largely party lines) a bill (HB 647-FN) to establish a voucher system for use by parents of children with disabilities. While we all care deeply about such children, a voucher system that removes funding from the public schools and gives it to parents to use for private and/or religious education, is simply wrong for NH, weakening the public system and providing direct aid to schools that quite often do not need to meet the same stringent requirements and thresholds of traditional public schools. This bill now proceeds to House Finance (Division II) which will be conducting hearings on Feb. 28th and March 2nd. Stay tuned for specific actions on this bill as we determine the direction which will be taken from House Finance.

Meanwhile, in the Senate yesterday, SB 193-FN passed 13-10. This bill would establish a statewide voucher system for all students in NH, moving millions in taxpayer funds into private and religious schools. The impact on local communities is incalculable at this point, but these bills could easily be labeled as “Raise Your Local Property Tax” legislation. Traditional public school facilities would still need to be maintained, programs offered, and requirements met, but the funding would decrease while taxpayer dollars flow into private and religious schools. Needless to say, this is bad legislation, but is supported by Governor Chris Sununu as well as his new Commissioner of Education, Frank Edelblut. This bill is now referred to Senate Finance. Both SB 193 and HB 647 will reappear in late March.

There is also the so-called “Croydon” bill, SB 8-FN, which passed the Senate this week. This bill would allow a school board to contract with a private school if there is no public school in the student’s grade in its district. More diversion of tax dollars to private schools. This will proceed to Senate Finance. The topic of non-academic surveys was also addressed by the Senate in SB 43 which no student shall be required to participate in these surveys without written consent from the parent or guardian. The only exception to this would be the youth risk behavior survey developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, a parent could opt out on behalf of the student.

As a member of the NH Retirement Security Coalition, we continue to monitor any bills affecting the NH Retirement System and your benefits. HB 413, which would require the State to pay 15% of the retirement obligation to local communities, is now in House Finance (Division I) and will have a public hearing on February 28th. This bill would provide much needed relief to local communities.

There is much else going on in Concord as we approach the “cross-over” when are bills are due to be voted on by the respective chamber and sent to the other body. We will keep you posted in those bills where there is need for immediate action. Breaking news first appears on our AFT New Hampshire page, so please have your friends, family and colleagues take a moment to like our page!

For those of you starting your February vacation, enjoy your time off and the warmer weather. Spring is around the corner.

 

In Solidarity,

Douglas Ley

AFT-NH, President

AFT-NH President Ley’s Testimony Against SB11, “Right to Work”

Testimony of Douglas Ley In Opposition to Senate Bill 11

I am president of AFT-NH, representing 4000 teachers, para-educators, school support staff, town and municipal employees, police officers and first responders. As such, I have been asked to present letters from a number of our local presidents regarding this proposed legislation and ask that you read these with care and consideration. I have letters from the Presidents of the Hillsboro-Deering Federation of Teachers, Hudson Federation of Teachers, Newfound Teachers’ Union and Timberlane Teachers’ Association.

My own testimony shall be brief, to the point, and is rooted in my long-standing public opposition to so-called ‘right to work’ legislation as well as my membership in a private sector union local with agency fee. Within that local at Franklin Pierce University, over 90% of bargaining unit employees are full members of the union. One full-time employee and a small number of part-time employees opt for the lower agency fee or a third option provided within our contract, ‘charitable contribution.’

Our ‘agency fee’ is really a ‘recovery cost payment,’ which helps defray the cost of negotiation and the enforcement of our contract. We have a good relationship with our employer, but nevertheless, there are constant questions of contract interpretation as well as various personnel issues which arise each year, all of which require investments of time and resources to resolve, whether it be through local activity, working with our state federation, or even calling upon the resources of our national offices. Like us, our employer also incurs costs to negotiate and enforce our collective bargaining agreement. They recover their costs by incorporating them into the operating expenses of the University, charged against students and others using the University. All we ask is the continued ability to act in similar but more limited fashion, to have employees who benefit from the collective bargaining agreement contribute to defraying the costs of negotiation and implementation.

I have worked at FPU for 26 years, and during that entire span there has been an “agency fee” option. In keeping with Federal and NH statutes, no one is required to join the union, but all must contribute in some form as mandated by our collective bargaining agreement. In twenty-six years, I know of no individual who declined employment due to this requirement, and as stated earlier, virtually every eligible employee has joined the union. Management agreed to this provision many, many years ago and has never brought forward a proposal in negotiation to eliminate agency fee. Similarly, in my experience working for AFT-NH, I can state that approximately half of our locals have agency fee, and no employer has ever proposed eliminating it. It is a provision freely agreed to by the two signatory parties to a contract, and the contract is then duly ratified via democratic process by employees in the bargaining unit and the governing body of the public employer after approval by the legislative body. Therefore, it is an excellent illustration of local flexibility and local control, long-standing NH traditions. To pass this legislation will only further inject the State into what is a localized and in many cases, private relationship and process, setting the stage for possible further restrictions upon employers and the bargaining agents of employees.

In sum, “right to work” interferes with the freedom to negotiate and engage in collective bargaining and resolves a problem which does not exist. Statute already prohibits requiring union membership as a condition of employment, and every potential employee already has the right to decide to accept a job, with all the conditions and requirements laid out by the employer, which in this case, could include support for maintaining the mutually-agreed-upon collective bargaining agreement. I respectfully ask that this Committee honor that freedom and local control, by rejecting so-called “right to work” legislation.

Strong Women Leaders Campaign For Maggie Hassan In Durham

Cecile Richards, Ilyse Hogue, Randi Weingarten, Maggie Hassan at UNH Today: Ayotte and Trump Would Be Disaster for Women 

img_8865Durham, New Hampshire – Outlining what is at stake for New Hampshire women and young people in this election, Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Ilyse Hogue, President of NARAL, and Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, joined New Hampshire U.S Senate candidate Governor Maggie Hassan at a Planned Parenthood Action Fund-NARAL membership rally on the University of New Hampshire campus.

The four women highlighted the contrast between Kelly Ayotte’s repeated attacks against women’s health, including her six votes to defund Planned Parenthood and year long support of Donald Trump – who has bragged about groping women and called women “pigs” and “dogs” – and Maggie’s commitment to protecting a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions, as well as Maggie’s commitment to making college more affordable and supporting K-12 education. 

Statement from Governor Maggie Hassan

“It is an honor to join today with true fighters for women’s health and economic opportunity, and I am grateful for the support of Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Here in New Hampshire, I have been proud to stand up for a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions and control her own destiny, including restoring funding for Planned Parenthood at the state-level. But Granite State women and their families deserve better than politicians in Washington like Senator Kelly Ayotte, who has voted six times to defund Planned Parenthood and has consistently blocked women’s access to health care. In the Senate, I will always fight to protect a woman’s right to make her own health decisions and to safely and affordably access health care, and I will stand up to those who want to pull us backward.”

Statement from Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund

“New Hampshire’s Senate election is ground zero for women’s health. Kelly Ayotte has shamelessly tried to rewrite her record – hoping New Hampshire voters forget her 6 votes to defund Planned Parenthood and promises to take away no-copay birth control. Ayotte’s year-long support of Donald Trump makes it clear she is willing stand with bullies who insult and demean women rather than standing with New Hampshire women and families. Planned Parenthood Action Fund is proud to stand with women leaders like Maggie Hassan and Hillary Clinton, who support the thousands of New Hampshire women who visit Planned Parenthood health centers, push for debt-free college, and work to make life better for women and families.”

Statement from Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America

“NARAL members and pro-choice voters across New Hampshire are proud to stand with Maggie Hassan in her campaign for Senate. As governor, Maggie has defended each woman’s right to control her own destiny and to access basic reproductive healthcare, including abortion. Maggie is the type of leader who works with both sides to get things done for women and our families, and she will be the leader that New Hampshire deserves in the Senate.”

Statement from Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers

“I was thrilled to join Cecile Richards, Ilyse Hogue and Gov. Maggie Hassan today to get out the vote for Hillary Clinton and Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire. U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s tenure has been marked by obstruction rather than problem-solving, and time and time again, she has shown she stands with the Koch brothers, Wall Street and big pharma instead of putting the needs of working families first. As Governor, Maggie Hassan has walked the walk for the people of the Granite State: She lowered tuition costs at community colleges and froze tuition hikes, she expanded healthcare coverage to more than 50,000 people, and she has been a champion for public education so our kids have the chance to succeed. Gov. Hassan’s values are working families’ values—she will always fight to ensure the people’s interests become the public interest.”

Polls show that 73 percent of Granite Staters support access to safe and legal abortion , 66 percent support Planned Parenthood, and a majority of Independent voters are less likely to vote for her because of her votes to defund Planned Parenthood). Ayotte has consistently tried to rewrite her record after consistently finding herself out of step with New Hampshire voters. Ayotte was ridiculed in the media for handing out condoms at one of her events, a stunt at odds with her six votes to defund Planned Parenthood and stated commitment to overturn the Affordable Care Act, which gave 55 million women nationwide access to no-copay birth control.

Nashua Teachers Contract Stalls, Union Calls For Collaboration

Nashua Teachers Union calls on the Nashua Board of Education to work together and create a fair agreement that is best for the students, teachers and the entire community.

ntu-logoNASHUA, N.H.– The President of the Nashua Teachers’ Union called on the Board of Education today to choose collaboration and cooperation over contentiousness, saying swift completion of a new, fair agreement would help stabilize the teaching force and enable the district to better attract and retain teachers – and serve students.

“We are at a crossroads,” said NTU President Adam Marcoux of the agreement that expired on August 31. “We can choose to go in the direction of collaboration and cooperation, and working together on a fair agreement that reflects the challenges and demands of our profession.  Or, we can go the other way. The NTU believes it’s better for parents and students – and our entire community – to work together than to have a bitter, divisive fight. We invite the board to join with us and move forward.”

Marcoux noted the district filled about 100 teaching vacancies since the end of June. The vast majority of teachers leaving, he said, chose not to return to Nashua because salaries and benefits lag behind what other education professionals are paid in neighboring communities.

“Competitive salaries are essential if Nashua is going to attract the best teachers to serve students – and, once hired, keep teaching here. A revolving door benefits no one.  The NTU is looking to the Board to negotiate a fair agreement that enables the district to move forward, and is not a penny more – nor a penny less – than taxpayers can afford,” Marcoux added. “Salaries across the board must reflect the knowledge, skills and dedication that Nashua’s teachers bring to their classrooms every day, and which enable us to continue to deliver a first-rate public education to all students.” 

Marcoux said he is hopeful that talks, which resume with a mediation session on September 13, will be productive and result in a swift settlement. He said teachers are frustrated at the fourth expired contract in five years, and the lack of progress so far on a new deal.  He said the NTU’s membership voted recently to resign from district committees on September 14 if no deal is struck, but would continue to write letters of recommendations for students; serve as club advisors; and continue volunteering their personal time to help the districts most precious resource – its students.

“There is considerable frustration among the membership with the way this Board is currently handling negotiations, but that frustration won’t impact our work on behalf of students,” Marcoux said. “We hope the board can get itself together and work productively this week to ensure our September 13 mediation session is successful.”

Lee Nyquist Garners Endorsement From AFT-NH In NH Senate District 9 Primary Race

New Boston — Today the New Hampshire Chapter of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT-NH) announced their endorsement of  Town Moderator, attorney, and community leader Lee Nyquist. AFT-NH has previously endorsed Nyquist in the 2012 and 2014 elections. 

aft sqaure“Lee Nyquist is a tenacious advocate for public education in New Hampshire, is firmly committed to upholding collective bargaining rights for working people, and has dedicated many years to advancing the interests of working families in New Hampshire,” said AFT-NH President Doug Ley. “As a federation representing nearly 4,000 teachers, school support staff, police, higher education faculty, and town employees, AFT-NH is proud to add its support to Lee Nyquist as the candidate best prepared to defeat the extremist Andy Sanborn in November.”

“When I graduated from Harvard, I was the first in my family to attend college, and this was the result of the first class education I received in public school,” said Lee Nyquist. “The education I received as a child is what put me on the path to living the American dream. In Concord I will use my nearly four decades of experience as a trial attorney to advocate on behalf of the children and working families in our communities.”

Nyquist is currently in a contested primary against businesswoman Jeanne Dietsch who recently made headlines on the NHLN for burning the AFP’s Right to Work Pledge.

The winner of the primary with then go on to face Senator Andy Sanborn who referred to raising the minimum wage as a “war on employers.”  Sanborn also voted against the medicaid expansion and is a strong proponent of Right to Work legislation.

“Andy Sanborn wants District 9 voters to believe he’s a bipartisan compromiser. But based on his voting record, he’s the most extreme member of the New Hampshire Senate – and votes don’t lie,” wrote Molly Cowan, chair of Strong Local Economies NH during the 2014 election cycle. “When we scored and graded every senator on local economy votes in our Local Economy Report Card, Sanborn earned an F grade and a score of just 27% – far below every other senator, Republican or Democrat.”

The Local Economy Report Card, released in September of 2014, found Sanborn voted against helping unemployed people start small businesses, against expanding access to affordable health coverage for 50,000 uninsured New Hampshire residents, and against multiple bills aimed at combating the corruption of the political process by big money that stacks the deck in favor of out-of-state big business interests at the expense of local, home-grown small businesses, among other things.

AFT-NH’s endorsement comes on the heels of an excellent week for the Nyquist campaign, during which he announced receiving endorsements from a majority of the Democratic Representatives who represent towns throughout Senate District 9 and four town Selectboard chairs. Lee has also received the endorsement of Executive Councilor Chris Pappas who represents Bedford. Nyquist’s diligent advocacy for all New Hampshire families and civil consensus-building approach to politics is striking a chord with the electorate, as his campaign continues to build momentum throughout the district.

AFT NH Endorses Carol Shea-Porter for Congress

 Shea-Porter a Proven Leader, Best Suited to Represent Working Families

New Hampshire—Today, AFT New Hampshire announced its endorsement of former Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter for election to Congress from New Hampshire’s First District.

“This fall’s election presents Granite Staters with a clear choice—the same old gridlock and leadership failures in DC, or a proven leader with a history of producing results for the First District’s working families,” said AFT NH President Doug Ley. “That proven leader is Carol Shea-Porter, and AFT NH is proud to endorse her for Congress. Carol listens and understands that negative politics like we have seen in Washington and right here in our state is not the NH way.”

“Carol Shea-Porter is the candidate in this race best suited to represent the interests of middle class families and our teachers, para-educators, police officers and all of our members who serve the public,” Ley continued. “Frank Guinta would rather kowtow to special interests than fight for the jobs and priorities working families in the Granite State need and deserve. But Carol understands the importance of supporting public education, affordable healthcare, and real job creation measures as our economy continues to grow.

“Carol Shea-Porter shares our deep commitment to supporting the middle class and ensuring everyone has an opportunity to achieve the American dream, and we are pleased to support her election this fall.”

“I am very honored to once again be endorsed by the American Federation of Teachers –NH,” said former Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter.   “I graduated from a NH public high school and from the University of New Hampshire, and I know how committed AFT-NH members—teachers, school support staff, police, higher education faculty and town employees- are to serving the people of this state. I share their commitment to Granite State families, and I will bring my New Hampshire values of hard work and honesty back to Washington.” 


“AFT-NH is the State Affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers. The AFT has over one million members with nearly 4,000 members here in New Hampshire.   These members are teachers, school support staff, police, higher education faculty and town employees. AFT-NH is a member of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO which represents over 45,000 working men and women.”

Chris Pappas Receives Endorsement of AFT New Hampshire

 Manchester, NH—Today, Manchester business owner and Executive Councilor Chris Pappas received the endorsement of the American Federation of Teachers of New Hampshire.

“There’s only one candidate in the race for Executive Council in District 4 with the proven record, the unwavering commitment, and the steady leadership to stand up and fight for working families across New Hampshire,” said American Federation of Teachers Local 4796 President and Manchester resident Ryan Richman. “As a proud product of Manchester Public Schools, Chris Pappas understands that a strong educational foundation creates greater opportunities to build a better, more secure future for families and communities across our state. Chris believes every child has a right to a high-quality public education and that every worker deserves the right to a fair shake — and he will continue the fight to make that a reality. AFT-NH is proud to endorse Chris Pappas to another term on the Executive Council.”

“I’m honored to be endorsed by the AFT-NH and to have the support of New Hampshire teachers and the education community,” said Executive Councilor Chris Pappas. “High-quality public education is the foundation upon which we’ll build a brighter future for working families and communities across our state. I’m proud to be standing alongside AFT-NH as we keep fighting for policies that help kids learn, help educators teach, and help New Hampshire thrive.”

AFT-NH is the state affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers. The AFT has over one million members with nearly 4,000 members here in New Hampshire. These members are teachers, school support staff, police, higher education faculty and town employees. AFT-NH is a member of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO which represents over 45,000 working men and women.

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