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Republicans Fail (Again) To Repeal And Replace: NH Senators Respond

Photo by Victoria Pickering on Flickr.

Democrats stood united against the GOP ‘repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act” with the help of three Republican Senators, Susan Collins, John McCain, and Lisa Murkowski they defeated yet another bill that would have stripped healthcare from 15 million Americans.

Last night’s version of the GOP plan to reform healthcare labeled the “Skinny Repeal” still gave massive tax cuts to the wealthy, would increase the cost of healthcare on working families, and make drastic cuts to Medicaid and Medicare.

“Republicans released the skinny bill just three hours before voting began. It would have retroactively repealed the Obamacare penalty on individuals who do not purchase health insurance, repealed for eight years a penalty on certain employers who do not provide employees with insurance and repealed a medical device tax until 2020. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that if it became law, 15 million fewer Americans would be insured in 2018 than under existing law,” wrote the Associated Press.

Many are praising Senator McCain for opposing this bill, however the real heroes are Sen Collins and Sen Murkowski who have been vocal opponents of the GOP repeal and replacement plans.  These two women have withstood attacks from their colleagues on the right and still found the strength to oppose these cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and specifically women’s health.

“I thank Senators Lisa Murkowski, John McCain, and Susan Collins for putting the health and well-being of the American people before partisan politics,” said Senator Maggie Hassan.  “I am also incredibly grateful for the brave Granite Staters and Americans who have laid themselves bare and shared their stories over the past months. Without you, this outcome would not have been possible. Now, it is time for Republicans and Democrats to come together and get to work on improving and building upon the Affordable Care Act in order to bring down health care costs for hard-working people.”

“Tonight, I’m very relieved that, for the time being, healthcare repeal has been set aside,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen. “Republican leadership, through a reckless and partisan process, came dangerously close to undermining healthcare for millions of Americans and tens of thousands of Granite Staters. The American people have made their voices heard and deserve credit for defeating this dangerous legislation. It’s time for Republican leadership to finally abandon their attempts to repeal healthcare and begin working across the aisle to improve the Affordable Care Act. Healthcare is a life and death issue and it’s time for Democrats and Republicans to come together and do the will of the American people.”

“Last night was a win for the American people who are tired of partisan politics getting in the way of real solutions,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “Everyone who took the time to call their members of Congress over the past several months has played an important role in defeating this misguided effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and I want to thank you all. I have also heard from Granite Staters who have faced challenges accessing healthcare through the ACA. I appreciate those concerns, and I recognize the ACA is far from perfect. I urge my Republican colleagues to abandon their focus on repealing the ACA and instead come to the table in good faith to improve our healthcare system so that everyone is able to access quality, affordable health insurance. I’ve outlined what I hope can be the basis for bipartisan conversations about commonsense solutions to fix problems within the ACA and look forward to working with my Republican colleagues on this critical issue.”

Last week, Kuster wrote an op-ed with Congressman Peter Welch (VT-At Large) in the Valley News on their proposal to improve upon the successes of the Affordable Care Act, like reducing the uninsured rate and improving the quality of health insurance, while fixing the remaining issues in our nation’s healthcare system. Kuster and Welch also highlighted how repealing the ACA and passing the Republican healthcare bill would harm their constituents.

After the first failed attempt to repeal the ACA, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter released the following statement:

“Senate Republicans took a vote to rip healthcare from millions of Americans without even knowing themselves what’s in Mitch McConnell’s latest repeal plan. In doing so, they not only voted to take health coverage and financial peace of mind from their own constituents — they also betrayed the fundamental values of transparency and openness that underpin our democratic system. I share the anger and frustration of the many New Hampshire families and health care providers whose voices were ignored by the Senate today. This is not how our government is supposed to work.”

The AFL-CIO Executive Council also spoke out against these attacks on Medicare and Medicaid and called for real reforms that help working people.

“Quality health care should be a basic right in the United States. It should not be a commodity that can be denied because you have too little income, do not have the right job or any job, or have a pre-existing medical condition. Republican leaders in Congress, however, are pursuing an agenda that attacks this principle and undermines everyone’s health care, whether you are covered through a job, an individual plan, Medicaid or Medicare. Each of their attempts, so far, to pass legislation that repeals major parts of the Affordable Care Act has failed, however, largely because tens of millions of Americans have spoken out against their proposals, and because some Republican lawmakers have stood up for working people against these health care cuts despite enormous pressure from within their party.”

The NH Democratic Party thanked Senators Shaheen and Hassan and highlighted Governor Sununu’s silence on the GOP healthcare reforms.

“Endless thanks are due to Senator Shaheen and Senator Hassan for standing up on behalf of Granite Staters in our nation’s capital. Last night, 51 Senator voted to do the right thing by rejecting a health care bill that would have kicked millions of Americans off insurance and hiked premiums by 20% just next year. New Hampshire voters delivered two of those key Senate votes by electing Democrats in competitive races in 2014 and 2016. This should underscore the importance of the Democratic energy that continues to grow in New Hampshire and across the country,” said NHDP Chairman Ray Buckley.

“Meanwhile, Governor Sununu refused to use his platform to stand up for the 73% of Granite Staters who don’t support Trumpcare. Instead, he said nothing. He had the opportunity to join five other Republican governors opposing this devastating bill. Instead, he did nothing. It couldn’t be clearer than it is today: Governor Sununu serves President Trump, Washington Republicans, and corporate special interests, not New Hampshire.”

It is clear that the Republicans are not interested in helping to ensure that more Americans have access to healthcare or god forbid have healthcare provided to them, they are only interested in tax breaks for the wealthy and the corporations who are bankrupting working people.

Kelly Ayotte’s Fast Food Photo Ops Don’t Change Her Opposition To Raising The Minimum Wage

Concord, N.H. — Kelly Ayotte’s photo ops at fast food restaurants don’t change the fact that she has consistently sided with her special interest backers like the Koch Brothers in opposing an increase to the minimum wage. Kelly Ayotte earns $83.65 per hour, a rate that is over 11 times New Hampshire’s $7.25 minimum wage, yet in Washington she has repeatedly voted against helping working families earn a livable wage.

Raising the minimum wage to $12 per hour would give an estimated 141,000 hard working Granite State employees a raise and send positive ripple effects through New Hampshire’s economy. But when the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity urged Senators to vote against a measure to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 in 2014, Kelly Ayotte turned her back on her constituents and obliged.

New Hampshire is tied for the lowest minimum wage in the country, and its voters strongly support an increase to this wage. A poll earlier this year found that 70% of Granite State voters support raising the minimum wage to at least $10 an hour, but Kelly Ayotte put the Koch Brothers before the people she represents and voted against such a measure.

“Kelly Ayotte opposes a common-sense measure to ensure fast food workers earn a livable wage, so her posing for photos at a drive through window is tone deaf and offensive,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley. “Working families in New Hampshire know that Kelly Ayotte puts the Koch Brothers before the people of our state, and they won’t be fooled by her campaign season photo ops.”

Ayotte’s History Of Protecting Special Interests Began With Her Time As Attorney General

Frankly, I am not surprised to find out that Attorney General Kelly Ayotte was not the “champion for working people” she has claimed to be. Her history as Attorney General mirrors her current opposition to policies that will help working people in New Hampshire and her history of trying to weaken the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Newly uncovered data shows that while Ayotte served as Attorney General, her office issued dramatically fewer consumer protection subpoenas than her successors. During the four years between July 2005 and July 2009, Ayotte’s office issued a total of only 53 consumer protection subpoenas. That’s less than half the number of consumer protection subpoenas issued during the next four years by the AGs that succeeded her. (Between July 2009 and July 2013, under Attorneys General Michael Delaney and Joseph Foster, a total of 116 consumer protection subpoenas were issued.)

Think back to 2007-08: that was when the housing market collapsed, Wall Street financial institutions were under attack for fraudulent and predatory lending, and working people were being crushed by the collapsing economy.

Wouldn’t you expect that the AG’s office would be inundated with consumer protection claims during that time? Yet Ayotte only issued 30 consumer protection subpoenas between 2007-2009.

As we already know, Ayotte left the AG’s office and was narrowly elected to the US Senate in the off-year, red wave election of 2010.

And ever since going to Washington, Ayotte has been an opponent of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, voting against confirming its director and voting for an amendment that put the agency’s budget on the chopping block “to pressure the agency against cracking down on lenders.”

Her opposition to the CFPB might have something to do with the $4.5 million dollars in donations she has directly received from the finance and insurance industry. Her PAC also received an additional $893,000 in donations for her reelection effort.

“New Hampshire consumers deserve public servants who will fight on their behalf, but it’s clear that Kelly Ayotte puts corporate special interests ahead of the people of our state,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “And now we know she failed to stand up for consumer protection during her time as Attorney General, meaning that her refusal to fight on behalf of New Hampshire consumers is nothing new.”

(Read about Ayotte’s 2015 New York City fundraiser, sponsored by a mega-donor “hedge fund executive who has a history of opposing Wall Street reforms” here.)

There are other examples of how Ayotte has put her Wall Street special interest donors above the people of New Hampshire.

  • Ayotte has repeatedly voted for budgets that slash funding for Pell Grants at the urging of the Koch Brothers’ Americans For Prosperity. And just last year she voted for a bill that would have cut Pell Grants by $90 billion
  • Ayotte voted to end an expansion of the “Pay As You Earn Program,” which could double the cost of student loan payments for those who had enrolled in the program.
  • Ayotte has also repeatedly voted against allowing student borrowers to refinance their loans to take advantage of lower interest rates available to other borrowers.
  • Ayotte introduced a sham student loan bill that has been called that has been called a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.” Even the conservative American Enterprise Institute said that Ayotte’s bill is a “sweetheart deal” for private sector lenders like those on Wall Street.

Protecting Wall Street is not the only place that Ayotte has been standing against the will of the people.

She has continued to oppose increasing the federal minimum wage, which would help lift tens of thousands of Granite Staters out of poverty. 74% of Granite Staters support raising the minimum wage, yet Ayotte votes against it.

Just this week at the Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy forum, Ayotte was peddling the myth of “job losses” if we increase the minimum wage.

“Contrary to the claims we hear from opponents, raising the minimum wage increases the income of low-wage workers without hurting jobs,” said Jeff Kramer in a recent editorial on the NH Labor News.

During a recent WMUR question and answer session, Kelly Ayotte simultaneously admitted that the current minimum wage is not livable and doubled down on her opposition to raising it.

When asked by a participant whether she will “stand with New Hampshire workers to raise the minimum wage,” Ayotte responded “if we focus on the minimum wage, we’re, we’re losing sight of what we should be focusing on, which is better paying jobs because you can’t live on minimum wage.”

Ayotte has also stood by her decision to not hold a hearing or a confirmation vote the Supreme Court nomination of Merrick Garland – even though 60% of Granite Staters believe that Ayotte should do her job and hold a vote on Garland’s nomination.

“People are tired of Senator Ayotte playing politics with the Constitution by refusing to consider the President’s nominee to the Supreme Court,” said Zandra Rice-Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress.

“Because of Republican obstruction, the Supreme Court finished this year’s term with a 4-4 tie on some of the most important issues to reach the court in recent years, denying justice to millions of our families and neighbors in the process,” said Linds Jakows, New Hampshire Campaign Organizer with progressive advocacy group People For the American Way.

The last example is Ayotte’s opposition to common sense legislation to reduce gun violence. Ayotte has continually stood with her NRA donors in opposition to expanding background checks and closing loopholes that PolitiFact confirmed helps terrorist purchase guns.

Since opposing the 89% of Granite Staters who support expanding background checks, Ayotte has refused to meet with gun violence prevention advocates.

“Constituents have made phone calls, sent letters, signed petitions, and invited the Senator to their homes for dinner, but Senator Ayotte has repeatedly denied meeting requests from gun violence prevention advocates ever since she voted against background checks and the 89 percent of her constituents who support them,” Rice-Hawkins said. “Senator Ayotte needs to stop hiding behind NRA lobby talking points and meet directly with her constituents.”

It should have been obvious to the people of New Hampshire when Ayotte was Attorney General that she was not looking out for working people. She used the AG’s office as a stepping-stone for higher political office and lucrative campaign donations.

She may have fooled us the first time she ran for Senate, but we will not be fooled again.

60% of Granite Staters believe the Senate should vote on the nomination to fill the Supreme Court vacancy. Ayotte refuses to do so.

74% of Granite Staters support increasing the minimum wage. Ayotte opposes it.

89% of Granite Staters support background checks for gun purchases. Ayotte opposes them.

It couldn’t be any more clear. Ayotte represents her campaign donors, she doesn’t represent us.

Seven And A Quarter ($7.25) Reasons New Hampshire Voters Can’t Trust Kelly Ayotte On The Minimum Wage

In tonight’s New Hampshire Senate debate between Senator Kelly Ayotte and Governor Maggie Hassan, one thing was clear: only one candidate would raise the federal minimum wage and stand up for working families. Kelly Ayotte opposes increasing the minimum wage, even voting twice against raises to the federal minimum wage. She reiterated her opposition to raising the minimum wage again tonight.

Rights & Democracy and other partners in the state are working to put a stop to Senator Ayotte’s shameful record on the minimum wage. Here are seven and a quarter ($7.25) reasons why working families in the Granite Staters can’t afford to send Kelly Ayotte back to the U.S. Senate:

$1. More than 225,000 workers in New Hampshire earn less than $15 an hour. In New Hampshire more than a third (225,305) of New Hampshire workers earn less than $15 an hour.

$2. New Hampshire has the lowest wage in all of New England. It’s the only state in the Northeast region — and one of just 21 states nationally — that does not have a higher wage than the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour.

$3. Nearly half of all Black and Hispanic workers in New Hampshire earn less than $15 an hour. Startlingly, nearly half of Black and Hispanic workers in New Hampshire earn less than $15 an hour.

$4. An overwhelming majority of those earning less than $15 an hour are 25 years old or older. More than two-thirds (67 percent) of workers earning less than $15 an hour are 25 years old or older. More than 40 percent of New Hampshire’s children live in households supported by a worker earning less than $15 an hour.

$5. Raising the minimum wage is exceedingly popular in New Hampshire. By a margin of 50 points, voters in New Hampshire support raising the minimum wage — 74 percent of voters support raising the minimum wage while only 24 percent oppose it.

$6. Four in five business owners support raising the minimum wage. In a recent survey of 1,000 business executives, 80 percent supported raising their state’s minimum wage, while only 8 percent opposed it. Hermit Woods Winery in Meredith, New Hampshire, raised pay for its employees to $15 an hour. “I think it’s a good investment to invest well in your employees,” owner Bob Manley said. “I think that’s a very meaningful way to grow your business.”

$7. More than four in 10 women in New Hampshire earn less than $15 an hour. In New Hampshire, more than 40 percent of women in the workforce earn less than $15 an hour.

$7.25. Kelly Ayotte doesn’t even pay her own staff a fair wage. Wage data from 2012-2015 shows that Sen. Ayotte pays women 66 cents for every dollar men earn who work for her — an even bigger wage gap than the national average of 79 cents to the dollar.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte Needs To Explain To Voters Her Opposition To Raising The Minimum Wage

Guest Editorial By Jeff Kramer

Senator Kelly Ayotte and her challenger Maggie Hassan are scheduled to go toe-to-toe on November 2nd, their last debate before Election Day.  As someone who has spent much of my adult life working in a low-wage jobs, I urge the moderators ask the candidates to answer one of the most important questions for working households like mine: whether they will vote to raise the minimum wage.

Working people in New Hampshire deserve to know why, during her time in the U.S. Senate, Kelly Ayotte has voted against every effort to raise the minimum wage. Her opposition to raising the federal minimum wage has kept it frozen at a poverty-level of $7.25 an hour since 2009. The low federal minimum wage is even more significant in New Hampshire because it is the only New England state that ties its state minimum wage to the federal level. Sen. Ayotte’s role in keeping the federal minimum wage low is therefore doubly hurting New Hampshire’s working families, keeping pay low in this increasingly expensive state.

Without action to raise the minimum wage, the adjusted median wage in New Hampshire has declined by almost 7 percent since the recession, a sharper decline than virtually all other states in the nation.  As a result, over 35 percent of working New Hampshirites (225,300 workers) today earn less than $15 per hour, and 155,000 are paid less than $12. The vast majority of these low-wage workers are adults 25 and older, including over 15 percent who are 55 years or older. Most of these workers are women, many raising children – New Hampshire’s future – on low wages. The low federal minimum wage forces hundreds of thousands of working families to seek food stamps and other forms of public assistance each year, costing New Hampshire taxpayers $104 million annually.

As an adult working low wage jobs, I have been struggling to get by. When I went back to college full time to finish my degree, I worked at a fast food restaurant up to 40 hours a week during closing shift, and over 30 hours a week at a retail store to support myself. Even while working both of these jobs, I could not fully support myself. I couldn’t afford an apartment and was still living with my parents at the age of 29. I couldn’t afford health insurance and it was not offered to me through either job. Last year I became injured and I was working at a retail store where I was only offered 5-8 hours a week of work. I was paid $7.25 even though I had a college degree, management experience, and a beautiful resume. I had to rely on government assistance and food pantries to get by until I found new work. I now work for an organization that pays me $15.00. I have an apartment, a car, and am able to independently financially support myself for the first time in my life. Raising the minimum wage to $15.00 would do so much for struggling families. I know earning a livable wage has been life changing for me.  

Contrary to the claims we hear from opponents, raising the minimum wage increases the income of low-wage workers without hurting jobs . The most recent and most rigorous studies to date have shown that any employment effects from an increase in the wage floor are very small. As Goldman Sachs analysts summarized recently, “the economic literature has typically found no effect on employment” from U.S. minimum wage increases.

New Hampshire workers of all ages deserve fair pay and a shot at a decent life. They are frustrated by Sen. Ayotte and the Republican Congress’s blocking any action to raise the minimum wage. Gov. Maggie Hassan, by contrast, has called for giving working families in New Hampshire the long overdue  minimum wage increase they need.  Recent polling shows that nearly three-quarters of New Hampshire voters want a minimum wage increase, and that when voters learn of Sen. Ayotte’s track record on the minimum wage, Gov. Hassan’s lead widens.

With voters demanding action on the minimum wage, other Republican incumbents are reassessing their opposition to raising wages.  Last week, Senators Rob Portman (Ohio) and Ron Johnson (Wisconsin) backtracked on their previous opposition to raising the minimum wage, and Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen backed a $15 minimum wage for Florida.  As she seeks another term in the U.S. Senate, Kelly Ayotte’s should do the same.

Jeff Kramer lives in Manchester and is now a field organizer with Rights & Democracy, a grassroots member organization which is part of the Raise Up New Hampshire Coalition.  

New Hampshire Advocates Launch “Spooky Kelly” Ad Campaign Ahead Of Senate Debate

 Ads Unmask Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s True Positions on
Issues Important to New Hampshire Voters

spooky-kellyMANCHESTER – Granite State Progress, People For the American Way, NH Citizens Alliance for Action, Rights and Democracy, and People’s Action are rolling out a new advertising campaign this week to hold Sen. Kelly Ayotte accountable to New Hampshire voters. Her positions on paid leave, equal pay, and the Supreme Court vacancy do not align with what New Hampshire voters want, or what she says on these issues. Over $25,000 will be spent on print and digital advertising through the election highlighting Ayotte’s doublespeak on the issues. The Halloween-themed ads feature Sen. Ayotte’s spooky positions and encourage voters to learn the truth on where she stands.

A website, www.spookykelly.org, will be launched as well to educate voters on what’s going on under her mask. Sen. Ayotte says she supports paid leave, but supports a bill that provides workers with less leave, less money, and less flexibility than the leading bill in Congress. A new report found that Sen. Ayotte pays women less than she pays men, despite claiming that she supports equal pay for equal work — women working for Sen. Ayotte earned 66 cents for every dollar that men earned, which is even less than the national pay gap of 79 cents to the dollar. And Sen. Ayotte has consistently been saving a seat on the Supreme Court for a Donald Trump nominee, despite flip flopping on whether or not she even supports Trump. 

“Senator Ayotte knows she’s out of step with New Hampshire values so she keeps making one political calculation after another to dress up her votes and pretend they are something different,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “The Senate halls are already haunted by politicians who put political interests ahead of their constituents. Granite Staters deserve to know exactly where Kelly Ayotte stands on important issues which is why we’ve launched this ad campaign about her record in advance of the last U.S. Senate debate.”

“Senator Ayotte has proved that she sides with Donald Trump and obstructionist Republicans over Granite Staters on issue after issue,” said Linds Jakows, New Hampshire campaign organizer with People For the American Way. “She refuses to do her job and fill the Supreme Court vacancy, and she supports legislation that’s detrimental to the economic success of women and families. And she only rejected Trump out of political expedience, as she stood by him for over a year, supporting him after he attacked veterans, people with disabilities, immigrants, and so many others.”

New Report Shows Senator Ayotte’s Office Is Worse Than National Average On Pay Equity

Women Earned Only 66 Cents for Every Dollar Men Earned in U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte’s Office, According to New Report

 In contrast, Governor Maggie Hassan and Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s offices are exemplars of equal treatment 

CONCORD, NH – A new report by Granite State Progress shows that women earned only 66 cents for every dollar men earned in U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte’s office. In contrast, women in Governor Maggie Hassan and U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s offices earned exactly or close to a dollar for every dollar men earned in years reviewed. Women also serve in several leadership roles in the offices of Hassan and Shaheen’s offices, while the majority of Ayotte’s top paid staff members year after year are men. Key findings from the report:

Women earned only 66 cents for every dollar men earned in Kelly Ayotte’s Senate office – and even earned less than their male counterparts with the exact same job title. 

  • Women earned an average of $50,060.46 from 2012-2015, whereas men for the same period earned an average of $75,703.52.
  • Women working for Sen. Ayotte have only fared worse the longer she has been in office; in FY 2012, Senator Ayotte’s first full year in office, women earned 72 cents for every dollar men earned.
  • This pay gap exists at all levels in the Senator’s office: In FY 2015, a female with the title of Staff Assistant earned $18,183.19 annually, whereas a male with the same title earned $32,360.96 annually – nearly twice as much as a woman with the same job title. In FY 2013, a male with the title of Legislative Assistant (LA) earned $79,999.92 annually, whereas a female LA that same year earned only $60,000 – a 33 percent pay gap, or 75 cents for every dollar the male LA makes.
  • Senator Ayotte consistently employs men for the most senior roles in her office. In all years but one, the four highest paid employees in her office have been men. Women are consistently underrepresented in her office. 

In contrast, women fare much better under U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen.

  • Women earned an average of $61,530.91 from 2012-15, whereas men for the same period earned an average of $61,131.15 –  virtually no pay gap at all.
  • Women are also well-represented in senior roles in Senator Shaheen’s office; in every year reviewed, women held at least 2 of the 4 highest paid positions in the Senator’s office.

Governor Maggie Hassan – a vocal proponent of equal pay and signer of the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act – also has women well-represented in senior roles and virtually no pay gap in her office. 

  • Women who worked for Governor Hassan earned an average of $38,295.14 from 2013-15, whereas men for the same period earned an average of $38,313.74 – virtually no pay gap at all.
  • Women are also well-represented in senior roles in Governor Hassan’s office; in every year reviewed, women held at least 2 or 3 of the 4 highest paid positions in the Governor’s office.

The data on Senator Shaheen and Ayotte came from Legistorm, which collects publicly available data, and only those employed for a full fiscal year were included in this analysis. The data on Governor Maggie Hassan was gleaned from publicly available information by calendar year, without any indication as to if the person was employed for the full or partial year. 

The staff salary differences reflect the legislative record of each of the public officials: Senator Shaheen and Governor Hassan are strong proponents of equal pay, with Hassan signing the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act into law in 2014 and regularly issuing Equal Pay Day proclamations. Meanwhile, Senator Ayotte voted against the federal Paycheck Fairness Act – a bill that would strengthen federal equal pay laws, and protect employees who speak up about unequal pay – four times.

Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins:

“Women have made great strides in achieving success in the workplace, breaking through multiple glass ceilings to get there and achieving parity in many ways. However, women today still face a wage gap that hurts their families in the form of lower salaries, decreased benefits, and smaller retirements. In 2015, women, on average, earned just 79 cents for every dollar men earned, and that pay disparity is even worse for women of color. For mothers, of whom 40 percent are the sole or primary breadwinner in their family, a mother earns only 71 cents for every dollar fathers earn. 

“The wage gap is impacted by the many discriminatory barriers to equal pay—including lower pay for women in the same job, the segregation of women into lower-paying jobs, bias against women with caregiving responsibilities, and lack of workplace policies to allow workers to care for families without paying a stiff economic penalty. On the issue of equal pay for equal work, Senator Kelly Ayotte claims she supports fair workplaces, and that she’s even “leading common sense efforts” on this issue. However, Senator Ayotte voted against the federal Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that would strengthen federal equal pay laws, and protect employees who speak up about unequal pay, four times. Not only did Kelly Ayotte vote against the very measure she publicly claims to support, she has consistently paid men more than women in her own Senate office. The pay gap in Senator Ayotte’s office is even worse than the national gender wage gap. Senator Ayotte needs to square her public position with her own practices, and even more importantly, with her votes in the United States Senate to pay women a fair wage.” 

The full report and data is attached. Granite State Progress has worked on several efforts related to equal pay over the years, including toward successful passage of the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act in 2014 and most recently working with several New Hampshire businesses to offer women discounts on Equal Pay Day to highlight the pay gap and generate public awareness. In each instance, Granite State Progress has called on Congress – and in particular, U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte – to pass the federal Paycheck Fairness Act in support of New Hampshire families.

Granite State Progress report on Senator Kelly Ayotte:



Granite State Progress report on Governor Maggie Hassan:



Granite State Progress report on Senator Jeanne Shaheen:


Ayotte’s Big Oil Cash & Votes Against Climate Action Featured In Statewide Sierra Club Ad Campaign

Sierra Club slams Ayotte in six figure digital ad buy targeting millennials

Washington, DC – The Sierra Club launched a six figure statewide digital ad buy, in New Hampshire today targeting millennial voters in the Granite State. The ad – entitled “Campaign Lifehacks with Kelly Ayotte” – focuses on the half million dollars in oil and gas company cash which Kelly Ayotte has taken for her campaign while voting against climate action and for big oil tax breaks.

“Granite Staters know that the climate crisis is accelerating and that we must act to stop it. But Kelly Ayotte has voted to thwart climate action in the U.S. Senate while preserving massive tax giveaways to the oil and gas industry sought by the Koch Brothers and other fossil fuel interests” said Sierra Club Political Director Khalid Pitts. “We can’t afford to send a climate disaster like Kelly Ayotte back to the U.S. Senate–New Hampshire needs a real climate and clean energy champion like Governor Maggie Hassan to stand up to the Koch Brothers and Big Oil by standing up for our communities.”

The ad will run from Tuesday, October 25 to Election Day on digital channels across New Hampshire. More information about the ad can be found at ayottenotfornh.com

Further announcements of additional ads holding Kelly Ayotte accountable for her record will be forthcoming in the days ahead.

Ayotte Office Pays Women 63 Cents On The Dollar

Kelly Ayotte’s Washington Allies Caught Lying to Cover Up Her Record of Paying Women 63 Cents on the Dollar 

Concord, N.H. — Kelly Ayotte’s Washington allies attempted earlier this week to push false data to attack Governor Hassan, and a new report shows that not only were they incorrect but that they were trying to cover up Kelly Ayotte’s actual abysmal record on equal pay for the women in her office. New analysis shows that Ayotte paid women in her Senate office only 63% of what she paid men in fiscal year 2015. 

Share Blue crunched the numbers for both Senate candidates’ offices. Please see below for excerpts from their analysis, or read the full story online HERE:

Maggie Hassan, the Democratic governor of New Hampshire, has made equal pay for women a focus of both her governorship and her campaign for the U.S. Senate. She signed into law the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act, and has pledged to push for the federal version of the law if elected to the Senate.

But the conservative Washington Free Beacon has insinuated hypocrisy, claiming that their research shows Hassan pays women in her administration only 80 cents on the dollar that her male staffers earn.

…And contrary to the claims they made based on this inaccurate mode of analysis, public records tell a different story.

In Fiscal Year 2015, the mean average salary of female employees in Ayotte’s office was $50,137. The mean average salary for male employees was $80,141.01 — over $30,000 higher than their female coworkers. This translates to female staffers making only 63 cents for every dollar a male staffer made.

For the same time period, the mean average salary of female employees in Hassan’s office was $54,840, while the mean average salary earned by male employees was $56,946 — a difference of only $2,106, which works out to female staffers earning 96 cents on the dollar compared to male staffers.

It is dishonest enough to make supposedly factual claims based on faulty methodology; it is even more mendacious to do so in order to discredit a politician on an issue that she has been fighting for throughout her career, and that conservatives often refuse to admit even exists.

AYOTTE FACT CHECK: New Ayotte Ad Features Company That Benefited From Stimulus Ayotte Opposed


Kelly For NH Ad Screen Shot

Ayotte Ad Tries to Cover Up Record of Siding With Special Interests to Cut Job Training Programs

Concord, N.H. — Today, Kelly Ayotte continued her attempts to cover up her record of siding with special interests by releasing a new ad, but her record shows that not only has she voted to slash job training funding at the urging of the Koch Brothers, but she also opposed the economic stimulus–the very program that benefited a company featured in her ad to the tune of over three million dollars. 

Cirtronics, a company featured in Ayotte’ ad, benefitted from over three million dollars in stimulus funding. But Ayotte said she “wouldn’t have supported” the stimulus because she said “it was not effective in creating private sector jobs.” 

And while Ayotte’s misleading new ad talks a big game about job training, its claims just aren’t borne out by her record. Just months after arriving in Washington, Ayotte did as the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity asked and voted to cut $2 billion from job training. She also voted to eliminate altogether the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College Career Training Grant that funded programs at community colleges across New Hampshire. 

Some of the job training efforts supported by this program Ayotte voted to eliminate include:

  • Great Bay Community College’s composites lab that trains and helps place workers at Albany International and Safran Aerospace Composites
  • Nashua Community College’s revamped advanced manufacturing program
  • Upgraded mechanical machining equipment at Lakes Region Community College
  • White Mountain Community College’s advanced welding program
  • Machining labs at River Valley Community College and partnership between River Valley Community College and Hypertherm to train and place workers

“Kelly Ayotte’s rhetoric just doesn’t match her record, and Granite Staters won’t be fooled by her misleading ads that try to cover up her real Washington record,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Press Secretary Melissa Miller. “Kelly Ayotte has repeatedly put the corporate special interests that fund her campaigns ahead of programs that are important to Granite Staters like job training at our community colleges. New Hampshire deserves better.”

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