Garcia’s Party Line Opposition To The ACA Leaves Unanswered Questions About Her Health Insurance

obamacare-playbookMarilinda Garcia, the Republican candidate for Congress in the Second District, says she’s adamantly opposed to the Affordable Care Act. But how is she getting her healthcare?

Garcia seemed to be stumped when a NHPR reporter question her about her own healthcare. He asked if she got healthcare through the Affordable Care Act exchange.

Garcia: “I… that’s my own issue.”
NHPR: “So you don’t want to say?”
Garcia: “No that’s fine, I don’t need to share everything.” 

NHPR: “Is it fair to say you are not getting your health care through Obamacare, through the (federal) exchange?”
Garcia: “I don’t need to talk about that. Thank you.”

This entire exchange completely puzzles me. This is a very simple question, asked of someone who has put herself in the public arena by running for a high-level federal office.

It should have been really easy for Garcia to answer – unless Garcia she’s trying to hide the truth. Did she have healthcare insurance at all before this interview? If she had insurance before, where was she getting her insurance from?

If someone were to ask me if I get healthcare from the ACA, the answer would be, “No, I get my health insurance through my employer.” Since Marilinda was nice enough to inform us that she only has a part time job giving harp lessons, we can be pretty sure she is not getting healthcare from her employer.

Garcia’s campaign was also nice enough to tell us that Garcia is in her early 30s and is still living at home with her parents. It is too bad she is not under 26 because then she could have stayed on her parents’ healthcare plan. (How old is her sister Bianca? I wonder if she is still their parents’ healthcare plan.)

Garcia is trying, and failing, to get people to believe that – at least during this campaign – she is buying insurance from a private company on a month-to-month basis, without going through the ACA exchange in any way. Even though her campaign admits she is eligible to use the ACA exchange.

I wonder how much Garcia’s monthly insurance costs?

Marilinda Garcia (Gage Skidmore CC FLIKR)I also wonder how a harp teacher who only works part time can afford to purchase an individual policy directly from the insurer on a month-to-month basis. I can’t think of a more expensive way to buy insurance. Even the lowest-rated plans (with high deductibles and high out-of-pocket limits) cost about $350 a month.

Of course, if Marilinda gets elected, she will undoubtedly sign up for the federal healthcare plan, while she collects that $174,000-a-year Congressional paycheck.

“I want to represent those who have seen their situation go beyond the bounds of what they expected” when the law was implemented, Garcia told the Union Leader. “People were told they could keep their doctor. People were told they could keep their plans if they liked them. All of that was false.”

It’s easy for Garcia to spout negatives and toss around blame. In fact, Republicans in the US House of Representatives put together a step-by-step instruction manual on exactly how to do that. Read the House Republican Playbook here, and then try to figure out if Garcia is saying anything that wasn’t pre-scripted for her.

(Then, maybe you’ll want to consider whether scripting political attacks is a very good use of Congressional funds.)

I guess it is very easy for Garcia to blame Congresswoman Kuster and President Obama for passing healthcare reforms that have been in the works for decades. A healthcare plan that expanded access for millions of Americans. A healthcare plan that lowered premiums for tens of thousands of Granite Staters while mandating better coverage.

What happened to the “old plans” that Garcia is so nostalgic for? Those canceled policies didn’t meet the ACA’s minimum standards for health insurance. But instead of changing the policies to meet the requirements, insurers across the nation just canceled them.

Except here in New Hampshire. Here in the Granite State, Anthem is still renewing those out-of-compliance health care plans.

What happened to limit coverage? That’s private market forces at work. If you’ve been following New Hampshire health insurance for a while, maybe you remember Anthem’s contract dispute with Exeter Hospital and Core Physicians?

Anthem was not willing to negotiate or mediate, and in order to ensure uninterrupted access to high quality, local care for more than 20,000 patients who utilize the services of Exeter Hospital and Core Physicians, we had no choice but to accept Anthem’s demand for more favorable reimbursement rates.

“Although the $10 million in concessions Anthem has demanded will have a negative impact on the health care resources available to this community, we will strive to provide the very best health care services to the tens of thousands of patients we care for every year,” says Kevin Callahan, President and Chief Executive Officer.

Aren’t Republicans supposed to be in favor of market forces? But Garcia doesn’t the practical effects? (This sort of thing wouldn’t happen with Single-Payer.)

Or maybe Garcia finds it more provocative to blame the President and the incumbent Congresswoman, rather than Anthem corporate executives.

WellPoint is known as a company that lavishes money and stock on its CEOs. Braly’s predecessor, Larry Glasscock, once pulled down total disclosed annual compensation of almost $50 million. Most of that rich outlay was a stock and cash award, payable over three years, given after he ­orchestrated the 2004 merger of Anthem and WellPoint.

“Tea Party extremist Marilinda Garcia signed the Koch Brothers pledge calling to take away health care from tens of thousands of Granite State families, but refuses to say where she receives her own coverage,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Deputy Communications Director Bryan Lesswing. “If Marilinda Garcia is going to make denying health coverage to hard-working Granite Staters a central part of her campaign, then voters deserve to know what she is hiding when it comes to her own health care.”

 

NH Alliance For Retired Americans Endorse Annie Kuster at Social Security Anniversary Celebration

Kuster and NHARA Endorsement 1Today, Alliance for Retired Americans members proudly endorsed Annie Kuster for re-election to the U.S. Congress from New Hampshire’s 2nd District at a celebration of Social Security’s 79th anniversary in Nashua.

“Annie Kuster is really a champion for seniors. She can be trusted to lead with our interests. Her views on keeping health care affordable and retirement secure are among the reasons that we stand behind Annie Kuster and her candidacy for U.S. Congress,” said Lucy Edwards, President of the New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans.

Annie Kuster’s strong positions on fighting Social Security and Medicare privatization and strengthening Social Security and Medicare confirm her commitment to improving the quality of life for older Americans. She understands that selling off our Medicare to the big insurance companies or turning our Social Security over to Wall Street would benefit few and harm many, including New Hampshire seniors.

“We need to make sure we elect representative s who support these essential safety net programs   we know retirees and their families can count on Anne Kuster,” added Edwards.

To commemorate Social Security’s birthday, activists also released a new report showing how important Social Security is to seniors in New Hampshire. To view the report, go to:

http://www.socialsecurityworks.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/NH2014.pdf

The Alliance for Retired Americans represents over 4.3 million retirees and community activists, including more than 13,000 members in New Hampshire.

NH Alliance For Retired Americans President Lucy Edwards remarks at the endorsement as prepared are below this image. 

 

 

Kuster and Lucy EdwardsWelcome to all of you, and thank you for coming!  My name is Lucy Edwards, and I serve as the President of the Executive Board of the New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans.

Every year, at this birthday time for Medicare and Social Security, I think about these wonderful programs and our New Hampshire retirees. It often seems that New Hampshire runs on volunteers, and like so many of our seniors, I am a volunteer, not only for our Alliance but also on my town’s planning board. This year most of our board went to a conference put on by the New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning, and heard the latest statistics on our population and our economy. We knew that New Hampshire had one of the oldest populations in the country but now it seems we are getting older even faster than previously thought.  As the board charged with planning our land use in the future we are asking ourselves, “How will we help our town deal with this changing demographic? What does this mean for economic development here?”  

One thing I am very sure of is that we will need Social Security and Medicare to be flourishing programs, so that we all can retire with dignity and security, and continue to be a vital part of our communities. Congresswoman Kuster is a champion for small business in New Hampshire, and our small businesses will not flourish without our retirees having income to spend.  Did you know that Social Security benefits totaled $4.1 billion in New Hampshire in 2013?  That’s a lot of local business, and seniors spend almost all their money locally. 

I’m sure we all understand that Medicare not only helps seniors stay healthy in retirement, but that without it the cost of healthcare would leave most of our seniors in poverty.  There will be no help for New Hampshire’s economy if something like the Ryan budget should pass Congress, with its vouchers for private insurance as a Medicare replacement.  Congresswoman Kuster has pledged her support for Social Security and Medicare and fought against cuts to these programs. She has also introduced the Social Security Caregiver Credit Act which would increase Social Security benefits for qualifying caregivers who spend more than 80 hours per month providing care to their loved ones.

We need to make sure we elect representatives in Congress who support these essential senior safety net programs. That’s why the Alliance for Retired Americans, a nation-wide group of over 4.2 million members, and our New Hampshire Alliance, with 14,000 members, endorse Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster for Congress in New Hampshire’s 2nd District.  We know retirees and their families can count on her!

Remember this: seniors should do their homework in November and vote in self-defense!

 

 

9-12-14 Remarks by Lucy Edwards, President New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans

What happened in the US Senate yesterday? (Hint: They’re not trying to overturn Citizens United anymore.)

Money Corrputs by Light Brigading via Flikr

photo by Light Brigading via flikr

Yesterday, the Senate GOP voted to block any further consideration of a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

That means the amendment won’t go over to the House of Representatives for a vote.

And it won’t go out to the 50 states for a ratification vote.

The proposed amendment would have explicitly authorized Congress and state legislatures to set campaign finance limits. (Read more about Citizens United and the resulting “unprecedented amounts of outside spending” in the 2010 and 2012 elections here.)

So… those 16 states that have already voted in favor of a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United? Sorry, folks.

All those other states – including New Hampshire – whose state Legislatures have shown interest in a constitutional amendment? Sorry, folks.

Those 80% of ordinary Americans – including 72% of ordinary Republicans – who oppose Citizens United? Sorry, folks.

The Senate GOP knows better than you do.

So you don’t get a vote on this.

Who to thank, for taking the states’ vote away? The 42 GOP Senators who voted to block the amendment yesterday.

citizens_united_switched_votesOr, more bizarrely, the 25 Senators who on Monday night voted to let the amendment proceed – but by Thursday afternoon, had changed their votes to block it. (And yes, that would include New Hampshire’s own Senator Kelly Ayotte.)

If those 25 Senators had voted the same way on Thursday as they voted on Monday, the constitutional amendment would be going to the House. And then, maybe, out to the 50 states for ratification votes.

So… what happened during those 68 hours, to make those 25 Senators change their votes?

Can’t tell for sure, from out here in the hinterlands. The news is full of the Oscar Pistorius case… 9/11 remembrances… the Ray Rice case… ISIS and the spectre of terrorism. But there’s relatively little press coverage of this attempt to amend our Constitution.  The 80% of Americans who oppose Citizens United probably don’t even know that the Senate took a vote yesterday.

Here’s my best guess: I think Mitch McConnell happened. I’m guessing that the Senate GOP Leader told them how to vote… and the 25 Senators did. (Even Arizona Sen. John McCain, one of the sponsors of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, more commonly known as the McCain-Feingold Act.)

That’s just a gut-instinct guess, but there are two things behind it.  First, during Committee consideration of the amendment, the GOP members marched in lockstep to oppose the amendment. Every recorded Subcommittee and Committee vote was strictly along party lines.

Second reason: GOP Leader McConnell has opposed campaign finance limits since… well, it seems like forever.

Take some time and listen to the GOP Leader’s speech at a June “retreat” for billionaires organized by the Koch Brothers.

In his remarks, GOP Leader McConnell tracks the history of campaign finance reform efforts “back to the beginning of the 20th century” … and how they “petered out” during “the great prosperity” of the 1920s. (Do you think he remembers how the 1920s ended?)

He reminisces about his own efforts to block passage of campaign finance reform:

We had filibuster after filibuster, which in my first term in the Senate I was leading. And then it came back again in the first two years of Clinton. The bill would pass the House, the bill would pass the Senate, and then it would go to conference. And I was so determined, I came up with a new filibuster. That’s all I’d ever done before was filibuster and go in, go into conference. We had to do it all night long. Under (inaudible) procedure every senator had an hour, and if you didn’t show up right on time, you were out of luck.

Everybody rallied together. This was about two months before the great fall election of 1994. Everybody rallied together. We went around the clock. Everybody showed up on time. And I thought, well, maybe we’re finally through with this nonsense.

He says “The worst day of my political life was when President George W. Bush signed McCain-Feingold into law.”

He talks about his own lawsuit to overturn McCain-Feingold. (You can read the Supreme Court decision here.)

He talks about what has happened since his lawsuit.

So what really then changed the Court was President Bush’s appointment of John Roberts. The most important was Sam Alito because we lost the McCain-Feingold case five to four because of Sandra Day O’Connor. The majority was all liberal. Then she retired, and Sam Alito replaced her, and we now have the best Supreme Court in anybody’s memory… Now, that’s where we are today. I’m really proud of this Supreme Court and the way they’ve been dealing with the issue of First Amendment political speech. It’s only five to four, and I pray for the health of the five.

And then he talks about some other things of interest to his audience of billionaires: like minimum wage… environmental regulation… regulation of the financial services industry. And he promises to use federal spending bills to “go after” those issues.

And I assure you that in the spending bill, we will be pushing back against this bureaucracy by doing what’s called placing riders in the bill. No money can be spent to do this or to do that. We’re going to go after them on healthcare, on financial services, on the Environmental Protection Agency, across the board (inaudible).

And – in response to a mostly-inaudible question from David Koch about “free speech” and amending the Constitution – GOP Leader McConnell says:

Having, having struck out at the Supreme Court, David, they now want to amend the Constitution. … These people need to be stopped, and believe me, something that I thought to do (inaudible) what is spent (inaudible) independent coordination?
(Laughter.)
(Applause.)

Yeah, read that again: “These people need to be stopped.”

THAT’s why I’m guessing “Mitch McConnell happened” to those 25 Senators who switched their votes between Monday and Thursday.

What can we do about it, now? What can we – the 80% of Americans who oppose Citizens United – do, now that the Senate GOP has blocked the amendment?

We can make it a campaign issue.

Scott Brown in 2010 Image by Wiki Commons

Scott Brown in 2010
Image by Wiki Commons

Starting here in New Hampshire, with Scott Brown… who, as Massachusetts Senator, helped block the DISCLOSE Act back in 2010. Here in New Hampshire, 69% of us want a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. Even among Granite State Republicans, six out of 10 want a constitutional amendment. (Sen. Ayotte: who were you listening to, when you voted yesterday?) How do you think Scott Brown will vote on this, if he is elected in November?

We need to make Citizens United an issue in the 2014 campaigns.

There’s not all that much else we can do, at this point.

—–

If you want to wander through Leader McConnell’s campaign finance disclosure records – including $14.8 million in “large individual contributions” – click here. Remember: that’s just contributions to his official campaign.

“Outside spending” is much harder to track. So far, during this election season, McConnell has also “been boosted by $2.2 million in positive ads, mainly by the [U.S.] Chamber. Outside Republican PACs have already spent $7 million on ads attacking his Democratic challenger, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.”

A running tally of money that “non-profits” have spent on electioneering so far in the 2014 campaign is available here.

—–

More information about grassroots efforts to support the “Democracy for All” amendment is available here.

Tuesday’s NHLN story about the amendment is here.

Local Union Activist Confronts Scott Brown On The Minimum Wage

IMG_4548.JPG

From the NH Union Leader “Brown moves quickly on U.S. Senate campaign trail, making Portsmouth, Manchester stops”

Wayne Alterisio, 67, of Manchester, a U.S. Postal worker and U.S. Army veteran who was appointed to Shaheen’s Veterans for Shaheen Leadership Committee, was sitting up front, near the door. He asked Brown why the minimum wage can’t be increased to a living wage to get the economy going.
He wasn’t happy with Brown’s answer, which was, in part, that there is a need to get businesses at the table to discuss it.

“No, no,” Alterisio said of Brown’s answer. Alterisio said there are companies paying low wages and having employees watch videos showing them how to apply for food stamps and other government hand-outs.
Increasing the minimum wage, he said, is a way to get the economy roaring because it’s money that gets spent.

He said he paid off a 30-year mortgage in 25 years and put two children through college on one income because of the wages he earned at the U.S. Postal Service, where he has worked for 25 years.
A Democrat, Alterisio said he will not vote for Brown come November.

Way to go Wayne. Keep up the great work!

Governor Hassan: “If you continue standing with me, we’ll keep NH moving in the right direction”

Governor Addresses Crowd of Supporters at General Election Kick-Off Rally in Manchester, Presents Vision for Building a Brighter Economic Future

Manchester—Outlining her vision for building a brighter economic future, Governor Maggie Hassan addressed a crowd of supporters at her general election kick-off rally, calling for continued bipartisan cooperation to keep the state moving forward.

The Governor told the packed house, “If you continue standing with me, we’ll keep New Hampshire moving in the right direction,” and discussed her efforts to bring together Republicans, Democrats and independents to expand middle class opportunity and help innovative businesses create jobs.

“Because we have stood with the people of New Hampshire and listened to their priorities, we have put our state back on the right track,” said Governor Hassan. “We have brought together Democrats, Republicans and independents to help innovative businesses create jobs, to expand middle class opportunity, and to move our economy forward.”

The Governor outlined how far New Hampshire’s people, families, and communities have come over the past twenty months, highlighting how she worked across party lines to balance the budget without an income or sales tax, to freeze in-state tuition at our colleges and universities, to broker agreements to end expensive lawsuits that threatened our state’s finances and bond rating, reach a bipartisan compromise to expand health care to 50,000 working people, and to develop a plan to fix our roads and bridges, including finishing the completion of I-93.

“I am proud to stand before you as your Governor and say, that with your support, we have been able to restore the New Hampshire tradition of bipartisan, common-sense problem solving,” said Governor Hassan. “Since I entered office, I’ve focused on following the example of the people of New Hampshire, who come together to solve problems every day – and they expect their elected leaders to do the same.”

The Governor also emphasized what’s at stake this November, and how her opponent and his Koch Brothers agenda would be a disaster for middle class families and take New Hampshire’s economy backward to the devastating cuts to higher education, health care and public safety made by the Bill O’Brien legislature.

“By signing his name to the Koch Brothers pledge and pushing an anti-middle class agenda right out of their playbook, my opponent has already shown us his roadmap, and it takes New Hampshire in the wrong direction,” said Governor Hassan.

The Governor added, “He signed his name to taking access to health coverage away from 50,000 hard-working Granite Staters.”

And she said, “When it comes to women’s health care, he simply can’t be trusted. He told his far-right backers that he supports restrictions on a woman’s right to make her own health decisions. And he has publicly applauded the Hobby Lobby decision that allows an employer to deny health insurance that covers contraception.”

In her speech, Governor Hassan stressed that “we need to continue working to keep our economy moving forward.”

To build an even brighter economic future, the Governor outlined that we must continue working to help innovative businesses start and grow in New Hampshire, make higher education, health care and energy more affordable, and help working families make ends meet by restoring and increasing the state’s minimum wage.

“I know we have more work to do, and I know we can continue to do it the New Hampshire way – by bringing people together to get things done,” said Governor Hassan.”

See below for full text of Governor Hassan’s primary night address, as prepared for delivery:

Thank you.

Thank you to all of you here tonight – you are the force that powers this campaign and that allows us to make progress for the people of our state.  

And thank you Executive Councilor Chris Pappas for that introduction and for once again hosting us here tonight, but most of all, thank you for being a steadfast advocate for our communities on the Executive Council.

Thank you as well to our United States Senator, the incomparable Jeanne Shaheen, who always puts New Hampshire first.

I want to take a moment to tell my family – Tom, Meg, Liz and my mother Peggy who are here with me tonight, and my son Ben who’s following along at home – how much I appreciate the support and love you give me.

And I want to thank the people of New Hampshire, who work together every day to strengthen their families, their communities, and the state we all love.

Because we have stood with the people of New Hampshire and listened to their priorities, we have put our state back on the right track.

We have brought together Democrats, Republicans and independents to help innovative businesses create jobs, to expand middle class opportunity, and to move our economy forward.

And we have come a long way together over the last twenty months.   

Two years ago, instead of working to solve our state’s problems, many elected officials had become the problem – because they were pursuing a radical agenda instead of looking out for the priorities of our small businesses and our middle class families.

On any given issue, the only question that seemed to matter to Bill O’Brien’s legislature was simply: what would the Koch Brothers do?

The O’Brien legislature slashed funding for higher education in half, defunded Planned Parenthood, and cut critical services for children and families.

Under that legislature, our roads and bridges were crumbling, our mental health services were severely strained, and our economy was heading in the wrong direction.

Worse than that, the O’Brien legislature turned its back on the traditions that make the Granite State strong: cooperation, bipartisanship and common-sense problem solving.

It got so bad they were starting to make Washington look reasonable and civil.

And so we all stood together in 2012 to say “enough.”  

Now, I am proud to stand before you as your Governor and say, that with your support, we have been able to restore the New Hampshire tradition of bipartisan, common-sense problem solving.

Since I entered office, I’ve focused on following the example of the people of New Hampshire, who come together to solve problems every day – and they expect their elected leaders to do the same.

By working with independents, Republicans and Democrats, we’ve made progress to expand opportunity for middle class families and support innovative businesses so they can create good jobs here in New Hampshire.

We reached out across the aisle and passed the most bipartisan budget in over a decade – with no income or sales tax.

It’s a budget that is making it a bit easier for hard-working people around this state to send their kids to college – because we were able to freeze in-state tuition at our university system, and at our community colleges this fall, tuition is actually five percent less.

That’s helping our families, and helping build the workforce we need to grow New Hampshire’s economy.

To better prepare our young people for jobs in the 21st century economy, we’re working to modernize science, technology, engineering, and math education in schools across our state.

To ensure fiscal responsibility, we came together to tackle the big challenges that were threatening our state’s financial outlook and bond rating.

We ended costly lawsuits by working with both parties to replace our shamefully outdated women’s prison, reach a fair agreement with hospitals to resolve the Medicaid Enhancement Tax issue, and rebuild community mental health services across our state.

To support our businesses, we’re helping them sell their products across the world, we re-invested in keeping New Hampshire a top destination for tourism, and we doubled the research and development tax credit.

And through our “Live Free and Start” initiative, we’re helping make it easier for small, innovative businesses to open in New Hampshire.

In addition, to strengthen our economy, we came together to pass a bipartisan transportation plan, and now we’re fixing roads and bridges across the state and finally finishing the expansion of I-93.

And of course, right now, more than 13,000 hard-working Granite Staters have new health and economic security – because of our bipartisan Medicaid expansion plan.  

While the far right has focused on trying to repeal health coverage, we found a way to bring both parties together to develop a fiscally responsible, New Hampshire solution that will strengthen our families, businesses and economy.

But what good is our work to support middle class families and to get our economy moving in the right direction if a young woman at her first job isn’t paid fairly or if she can’t access the basic health care she needs?

That’s why we passed the bipartisan New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act to ensure that women can receive equal pay for an equal day’s work.

And while we saw the Supreme Court rule that employers can deny women health insurance that covers their full health needs, including contraception – here in New Hampshire we’ve fought to ensure that women and families can access critical health services by restoring funding for Planned Parenthood.

In the last year and a half, we’ve put New Hampshire back on the right track.

And we have come too far to let my opponent take us backward.  

By signing his name to the Koch Brothers’ pledge and pushing an anti-middle class agenda right out of their playbook, my opponent has already shown us his roadmap, and it takes New Hampshire in the wrong direction.

He signed his name to repealing our bipartisan plan to fix our roads and bridges.

He signed his name to taking access to health coverage away from 50,000 hard-working Granite Staters.

He pledged to the Koch Brothers that he’d support so-called “right to work” legislation – which we all know really means “right to work for less” – while he opposes restoring and improving our minimum wage.  

And when it comes to women’s health care, he simply can’t be trusted.

He told his far-right backers that he supports restrictions on a woman’s right to make her own health decisions.

And he has publicly applauded the Hobby Lobby decision that allows an employer to deny health insurance that covers contraception.

And if all of that isn’t bad enough, he has criticized our bipartisan budget that reinvests in higher education, and said that he opposes additional state funding for our universities.

In his debate just last week, he actually praised Bill O’Brien and his devastating budget cuts.

It’s clear that my opponent would simply be a rubber stamp for Bill O’Brien and the Koch Brothers.

We can’t afford to return to that disastrous agenda.

 

We’ve worked together. We’ve reached across party lines to get things done. We’re moving in the right direction.

Working together, we’ve set in motion an innovation plan that is strengthening the foundation of our 21st century economy.

Unemployment has dropped to the lowest level since 2008 and the private sector has created 10,000 jobs in the last year.  

But we need to continue working to keep our economy moving forward.

We need to continue to focus on holding down the cost of higher education, on keeping our young people here, and preparing our workforce for good 21st century jobs.

We need to do more to help innovative businesses start up and thrive in New Hampshire, and to make it easier for our existing companies to grow.

We need to build on the new competition in our health insurance marketplace to continue making coverage more affordable and more accessible for all of our people and businesses.

We need to reduce energy costs while protecting our beautiful natural resources that drive our tourism economy and define us as a place and as a people.

And we need to give working families a better opportunity to make ends meet by restoring and improving the minimum wage.

That’s why I’m running for another term as your Governor.  

I know we have more work to do, and I know we can continue to do it the New Hampshire way – by bringing people together to get things done.

New Hampshire is a rugged, inclusive and beautiful place where we combine a sense of community and individualism like nowhere else.

No story exemplifies this New Hampshire spirit better than the story of Rustic Crust in Pittsfield.

In March, the company lost their old facility in a devastating fire.

But rather than despair, within minutes, Rustic Crust founder and CEO Brad Sterl took a deep breath and said, “OK, we have to rebuild.”

“These employees rely on this business,” he said, as he pledged to rebuild better and stronger, while paying his workers the whole time.

His employees have told me how much that generosity meant to him.

Through the company’s perseverance, ingenuity and commitment to its workers, and with the strength and support of their community, Pittsfield and Rustic Crust rallied together, and just last month, broke ground to rebuild at the same location.

This is the kind of story I see all across New Hampshire.

We are an all-hands-on-deck state. When we face a challenge, the people of New Hampshire roll up our sleeves and we come together to get things done.

That’s how the Pittsfield community is helping to rebuild Rustic Crust.

That’s how we’ve worked to put our state back on the right track over the past 20 months.

And that’s how, if you keep standing with me, we’ll keep New Hampshire moving in the right direction toward an even brighter economic future for all Granite Staters.

Thank you. I ask for your vote. Let’s keep New Hampshire moving forward.

New Web Video Highlights Sen. Shaheen’s Support For NH Workers And Opposing Outsourcing

Manchester — Today, Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s campaign is releasing a new web video titled “Backbone,” that highlights the clear difference between Senator Shaheen’s record and commitment to helping create jobs in New Hampshire, and Scott Brown’s support for companies and policies that ship U.S. jobs to China and Mexico.

As Massachusetts’ Senator, Scott Brown voted to protect tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas. Since leaving the Senate, Brown joined the board of a Massachusetts company that sent American jobs to China to increase its bottom line. Brown collected more than a quarter of a million dollars serving on the company’s board and even signed legal documents just two days before he entered the race for the U.S. Senate that endorsed the company’s outsourcing practices.

“New Hampshire workers have been hard hit by the outsourcing of jobs to foreign countries,” Shaheen says in the video. “In November, there will be a very clear choice about who supports sending jobs overseas. Scott Brown wants a tax code that rewards companies for sending jobs overseas. Scott Brown wants to help pay for companies to build plants overseas. We need leaders who understand that working families are the backbone of this country.”

Jeanne Shaheen has worked tirelessly to strengthen New Hampshire’s middle class and help create jobs throughout the state. She voted to close tax loopholes for companies that ship jobs overseas, and fought to invest in our state’s roads and bridges by securing funding to expand I-93 and rebuild the Portsmouth Memorial Bridge, both of which created hundreds of new jobs. She took on her own party and opposed a new round of base closures to protect the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and the people who work there.

Senator Shaheen also wrote provisions in the Small Business Jobs Act that established programs like the STEP grant, which provides key support to businesses across the state trying to sell their products overseas. She was the first New Hampshire Governor to lead a trade mission outside of North America, and has been a strong advocate for Trade Adjustment Assistance grants, which help train workers for new jobs when their previous jobs have been outsourced.

“I want to sell New Hampshire products overseas; I want to invest in rebuilding our roads and bridges, and create good jobs here in New Hampshire; I want a tax code that encourages companies to bring jobs back to the United States,” Shaheen says in the video.

NH’s Midterm Primaries Are Tomorrow, Do You “Know Your Candidates?”

Editor’s Note: This years elections are very important and there is a lot of competition for spots on the party tickets.  It is very important to get a full picture of who is running. Susan Bruce originally wrote this editorial for the Conway Sun Times, and she has granted us permission to republish it here. If you like this post, you can also follow Susan on here own blog “SUSAN THE BRUCE,” which is very straight forward and edgy.   

Most of all, do not forget to Vote tomorrow!

voting-20

 

Know Your Candidates

By Susan Bruce.

The midterm primary elections are coming up on September 9. In a state where most of the media skews to the right, getting an accurate picture of candidates can be challenging. One must go beyond the conventional (newspaper and TV) sources and dig a little deeper. Candidate research is crucial in order to avoid electing people who will be a huge embarrassment right out of the gate. With a 400 member House, there will be others who will require more time to maximize their embarrassment potential.

The highest profile primary contest is for the GOP nominee for US Senate. The winner will go on to face popular Senator Jeanne Shaheen in November. The three top candidates are Scott Brown, Jim Rubens, and Bob Smith. Brown and Smith are both former US Senators, Smith from NH and Brown from MA. Brown’s campaign has been strange. In Colebrook he knocked on the doors of supporters and called that “campaigning.” In N. Conway he ran away from a reporter and hid in the bathroom. Days ago on the radio in Massachusetts, he urged folks to come to NH and use our same day registration policy to vote for him. He has a lot of money, the party establishment has lined up behind him, and he looks pretty. Will that carry the day?

Rubens is a Dartmouth grad who has made a boatload of money. He once had a public blog called oversuccess.com. When some of the content from that blog went public, the blog went private. No longer can we peons read about the perils of being wealthy: “I have bathed in camera light during press conferences, political opponents skulking in the rear of ballrooms, forced to tolerate my applause lines, sycophants and well-wishers beaming and waiting in line to shake my hand or offer their help.” Rubens also ran afoul on that same blog by suggesting that the increasing number of women in the workplace has resulted in mass shootings. The implication being, of course, that those women are taking men’s jobs away from them. Rubens signed on to the campaign finance reform bandwagon and won the support of Lawrence Lessig and his MayDay PAC. He’s also jumped on the libertea bandwagon, and has attempted to be photographed in every gun store in NH.

Former Senator Bob Smith lost his bad toupee in Florida. He may have updated his hair, but not his ideology. Smith is working overtime to appeal to the farthest right fringe, but they seem more interested in Rubens. He’s unlikely to do well in the primary.

In the GOP primary for governor, the contest comes down to Walt Havenstein and Andrew Hemingway. Havenstein was the CEO at BAE Systems. BAE is a defense contractor. Walt boasts about the jobs he created there. He may have hired people, but those jobs were actually created by US taxpayers. The obscene US military spending is made possible by folks like you and me. Without the public teat to suckle from, Walt wouldn’t have been hiring.

Havenstein also entered the race with some confusion about his residency. He claimed that he’s always lived in NH, but he signed a homestead deduction in Maryland that stipulated he lived there in order to save a few thousand a year. The NH ballot commission ruled that he is a NH resident, and Maryland sent him a bill for the tax money he defrauded them for. He’s “considering” whether or not to pay it, a luxury not available to the rest of us.

Andrew Hemingway is the darling of the libertea crowd. A look at his website reveals he’s promoting the same old “solutions” that have been failing NH for decades. Neither Havenstein nor Hemingway mentions the word “infrastructure” on their campaign websites.

In Congressional District 1, the race comes down to former Congressman Frank Guinta and former Dean of the former Whittemore School of Business at UNH, now renamed the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics.

Frank Guinta slid into Congress during the red tide of 2010. He stayed for one term. Guinta “found” a bank account that provided his campaign with a $350,000 infusion of cash in 2010. That “find” didn’t match up with his income. The FEC investigation appears to be moving at the speed of the tectonic plates. Frank also distinguished himself by campaigning loudly about Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter’s alleged abuses of the Congressional franking system. In 2011, he spent more on franked mail than any other Congressperson. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) rated him one of the most corrupt legislators.

Dan Innis became the Dean of the business school at UNH in 2007. In 2008, the business school received a big wad of cash ($25 million) from alumnus Peter T. Paul. The school built what his now known as the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics. Peter T. Paul amassed a fortune selling subprime mortgages, and later devising ways to package and sell mortgage debt to investors – a practice that has been cited as a key factor in the economic meltdown of 2008. In 2013, Innis stepped down from his position as Dean to explore a run for Congress. In 2014, Peter T. Paul created a Super Pac to help his friend Dan Innis beat Guinta in the primary. If Innis gets to Washington what kind of regulatory oversight will he be providing? Will he protect voters or his benefactor?

This is why it’s important to know the candidates. Do they already have a record of corruption? Where do their loyalties lie? Are they bought and paid for?

On the local level, we’ll also be electing House and Senate candidates, and various county positions. Last biennium, the House and Senate were both filled with rabid ideologues and obstructionists who did their best to subvert the process. Anyone who tells you that cutting taxes and eliminating regulations is the key to job growth in NH is lying. NH has failed for decades to invest in our state and the results of that failure are now hobbling our economy. The GOP inability to be honest about that is a shameful and deliberate failure.

In order for the NH legislature to accomplish anything, there has to be some bipartisan cooperation and compromise. Electing people who claim government is bad and broken leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s up to voters to decide whether they want to elect serious people who are interested in working to fix some of NH’s very real problems, or if they want bellicose obstructionists trumpeting the usual slogans.
*                                *                                       *
This was written as my regular column in the Conway Daily Sun newspaper, in NH’s First Congressional District, which is why I didn’t include the CD 2 race.

I’ve been encouraged to add in information about the GOP primary in CD 2, to determine who will run against Congresswoman Ann Kuster.

There are 3 Republicans in the race.

Marilinda Garcia is a former state representative. She was one of former Speaker Bill O’Brien’s acolytes. She’s also distinguished herself by being heavily funded by the Koch brothers. A young attractive woman with a Latino surname who espouses the beliefs of the far right libertea fringe doesn’t come along every day for the GOP. She wants to repeal Obamacare and replace it with the same GOP plan that has failed us all for decades – the marketplace! She mentions Bowles Simpson which is a coy way of saying she wants to privatize Social Security. She wants to cut gummint spending.

Garcia’s inexperience showed at the debate last week when she refused to shake opponent Gary Lambert’s hand, because he “lied about her positions.” Time to toughen up Buttercup. This isn’t the 400 member NH House, this is hardball.

She’s also made the classic rookie mistake of airing all this on her campaign blog. Repeating what he’s said in his ads is giving him double the advertisement space. Former Rep. Garcia is not ready for prime time.

Gary Lambert wants to force women to serve as involuntary incubators, secure our borders, repeal Obama care, and give us MOAR GUNZ! He has a Wake Up Washington Pledge on his campaign website, full of promises of term limits and not taking a pension or a pay raise! Funny how these guys who claim to hate career politicians are desperate to become career politicians.

Jim Lawrence promises to Win Back NH for NH. He’s going to repeal Obamacare and replace it with the same old market “solutions.” He’s going to secure our border! He’s going to fix the IRS! He’s going to give us a strong foreign policy! He’s going to prevent NH from having wind turbines! He’s going to eliminate regulations and give everyone MOAR GUNZ!

Three far right fringe candidates with no new ideas. Welcome to today’s GOP.

© sbruce 2014

published as an op-ed in the Conway Daily Sun newspaper, Sept. 5, 2014

republished with permission

Jeanne Shaheen And Professional Fire Fighters Of New Hampshire Host Chili And Chat In Dover

PFFNH Endorse Shaheen 3

Image from PFF-NH Endorsement of Senator Shaheen

Dover — Today, Senator Jeanne Shaheen joined Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire and voters at the Elks Lodge in Dover for an afternoon of chili and conversations about the issues at stake in this election. Ahead of the event, campaign volunteers went door to door talking to their neighbors about how Jeanne Shaheen makes a difference for New Hampshire.

“As our Governor, and now in the U.S. Senate, Jeanne Shaheen has stood up for New Hampshire’s families and small businesses,” said Shaheen for Senate Campaign Manager Mike Vlacich. “This election is a clear choice between Jeanne Shaheen and her record of putting New Hampshire first and someone who puts himself and the Big Oil special interests funding his campaign first in Scott Brown.”

Senator Shaheen is running a grassroots, people powered campaign. Every day, volunteers across the state are knocking on doors, making phone calls and talking to voters about the choice in this election. Jeanne Shaheen stood up to members of her own party to protect the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, and helped secure funding to expand I-93 and rebuild the Portsmouth Memorial Bridge, both of which helped create New Hampshire jobs. Shaheen also reached across the aisle to open a Veterans clinic in Keene, as well as a new job corps training center in Manchester.

Scott Brown’s Big Oil and Wall Street Super PAC allies have spent millions of dollars in negative ads attacking New Hampshire’s Senator Shaheen. They want to buy the Granite State’s Senate seat for Scott Brown to get him back in the Senate voting to protect their interests, not New Hampshire’s.

Join Merrimack County Democrats’ For A Harvest Supper

Merrimack County Democrats will celebrate their unity for the November 4 elections during the party’s traditional Harvest Supper on Saturday Sept. 20, at the Carter Hill Orchards in Concord, between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

“We plan a family friendly afternoon celebrating Democratic candidates, including U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster and State Sen. Andrew Hosmer, who will be keynote speakers,” said Jon Bresler, county party chairperson.

Others invited to take part in the celebration are U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen; Gov. Maggie Hassan; Executive Councilors Colin Van Ostern and Christopher Pappas; State Sen. Sylvia Larsen; House Majority Leader Steve Shurtleff; State Party Chairman Ray Buckley; and candidates for the State Senate, House of Representatives and County offices.

The menu includes smoked turkey, pulled pork, desserts and a vegetarian table for a suggested donation of $25.  The donation is $20 for those who bring a dish to share; children under age 12 free.

“In addition to the usual political fare of speeches by public office holders and seekers, there will be food, BYOB, wagon rides, raffles, apple picking, cider and music,” Bresler said.

The event coincides with the New Hampshire Audubon Society’s Fall Hawk count from the Raptor observatory at Carter Hill Orchard, 73 Carter Hill Road. 

You can contribute online. Order tickets at: http://bit.ly/WlkOnr

Mail checks to:                                    
Merrimack County Democrats
P.O. Box 1741
Concord, NH 03302

Sponsorships available: Please call 724-5715   

Meet The Candidate: Diane Sheehan For Executive Council District 5

Diane SheehanI am Diane Sheehan, and I am a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Executive Councilor in District 5.

As a three-time Alderman in Nashua, the largest city in our Executive Council District, I have always been supported by our Firefighters and Teachers Unions, and won each time.  I have been proud to receive their support in recognition to the fact that I place a high priority on our employees, our families, and the value that hardworking employees bring to our community.

I am endorsed by the Professional Firefighters of NH and the Teamsters for the Executive Council.

PFF SheehanMy Dad, who now lives with us, is a retired Teamster.  My Mom, now deceased, worked for the US Post Office, which was a blessing when she was struck with terminal breast cancer.  She didn’t have to worry about losing her health insurance while she was going through her illness, or going bankrupt to pay for her care.

My husband, Patrick is now retired from the city, but was our AFSCME Local 365 president when I was first elected. My home has been union.

I have a deep understanding of the morale impact of working under an expired contract – or worse, working to contract, or even striking. As a kid, there was strike for my Dad, and I remember the impact on our family, the stress my Dad went through, and the sacrifices that had to be made because there was no paycheck.

Just before I ran for office, I marched with the Nashua teachers in their rally before the near-miss strike.

Once I was elected, one of my first legislative actions was requiring a first contract reading to have all costs outlined. Previously, that was rarely done, and our 30 day window would expire. This obstruction was often stalled the process and triggered renegotiations. That is now a thing of the past. It passed the Board unanimously, and our process has been much smoother as a result.

I have gone to Concord to speak against Right to Work (for less).

Professionally, I have management experience, and I understand that is it better for an organization to work with a contract, and that working together to align goals in a contract drives good outcomes for both parties. As an executive, I negotiated contracts, and as Alderman At-Large in Nashua, I vote on labor contracts.

I have passed 35 pieces of legislation in my first two terms as Alderman. Most passed nearly unanimously.  My process includes working with others: finding common ground to make solutions makes it easier to get to “yes.”

Coming from a labor-based family gives me a labor-based perspective.  Small issues are slippery slopes to incremental erosions of bigger issues that affect consumers, labor, and families.

Union-busting attempts are easy to recognize when you have grown up with them. Right to Work (for less) is bad for New Hampshire. We have had an excellent ranking of economies in our country, but when you look at the Right to Work states, you see they are the bottom. We’re the model for them to follow, not the other way around.

We need to look out for our middle class, strengthening and expanding it — not lining the pockets of the 1%.

I am the voice that understands and speaks up for the middle class, and I ask for your support on September 9th.   

Vote Sheehan for the best chance of standing up to the anti-labor candidate who will seek to dismantle our New Hampshire way.