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Planned Parenthood Action Fund PAC Proudly Endorses Kevin Cavanaugh for State Senate

Granite State’s Largest Women’s Health Organization Cites Cavanaugh’s Strong Commitment to Women’s Health and Access to Care

CONCORD, NH – Today, Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund PAC proudly endorses Kevin Cavanaugh, candidate for State Senate, District 16. The special election, following the death of first term Democratic state Senator Scott McGilvray, will take place July 25, 2017. Senate District 16 includes the towns of Dunbarton, Bow, Hooksett, Candia and Wards 1, 2 and 12 in Manchester.

Kevin’s priorities include working to ensure that all Granite Staters have access to affordable, quality health care, including speaking out strongly to support Medicaid expansion. As a State Senator, he will fight for ensuring that Planned Parenthood remains a place for women, men, and young people to seek quality, affordable care in the Granite State.

“Kevin Cavanaugh has pledged to be a champion for women’s health, and Senate District 16 deserves to have a strong advocate to preserve reproductive health and rights,” said Jennifer Frizzell, Chair, Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund PAC. “As a community leader in our state’s largest city, Cavanaugh recognizes the importance of safeguarding access to quality reproductive health care services. As a State Senator, we know that women and families in District 16, and across New Hampshire, will have a strong voice and advocate in Kevin Cavanaugh.

“I’m honored to receive the endorsement of the Planned Parenthood NH Action Fund PAC,” said Kevin Cavanaugh.  “I’m proud to fully support the work that Planned Parenthood does in advancing reproductive rights and protecting access to quality, affordable health care services for the 11,000 women, men, and young people of the Granite State who depend on this care. The work that Planned Parenthood does in our community is essential in keeping us healthy and safe.  As a State Senator,  I look forward to supporting Planned Parenthood patients, and I will always fight to protect access to care.”

Gatsas Files For 5th Term As Mayor Of Manchester, Joyce Craig And Firefighters Respond

Today, Mayor Ted Gatsas filed his paperwork to run for a fifth term as Mayor of Manchester.  The Manchester Mayoral race is shaping up to be a rematch between Joyce Craig and Ted Gatsas.  Craig lost the last election by only a few votes.

“Over the last eight years Manchester has stumbled from crisis to crisis and Mayor Ted Gatsas keeps claiming he doesn’t know when there are problems in the city,” said Joyce Craig.

“In just the last two weeks, Mayor Gatsas claimed he didn’t understand the “severity” of a violent crime in a school, claimed he didn’t know that the City Solicitor’s office was failing to prosecute domestic violence cases, and he didn’t realize his budget would result in the closure of fire stations. Mayor Gatsas is responsible for effectively managing the city and claiming he doesn’t know what is going on is not an acceptable excuse.”

“I’m ready to have an honest conversation about the challenges our city is facing and get to the hard work of making Manchester a better place for all families. Manchester has endless opportunities, but is being held back by a Mayor who doesn’t understand and doesn’t address problems until they are crises,” Craig concluded.

In his statement, Mayor Gatsas claimed he “saved a fire station from closing,” however local Firefighters disagree.

“The people of Manchester are tired of Teddy’s tall tales. Mayor Gatsas’ claim to having ‘saved a fire station from closing’ skirts the fact that the Mayor’s proposed budget underfunded the Manchester Fire Department from the start. Chief Goonan and his administration warned the Board of Mayor and Aldermen repeatedly that restricting his budget would result in station closures,” said the Manchester Professional Fire Fighters Association and the Manchester Association of Fire Supervisors in a joint statement.

“Not until the final warning came and sufficient plans were presented did the Board act to keep Station 9 open in an emergency meeting. Mayor Gatsas’ careless delays and ignoring public safety professionals’ warnings put lives at risk, and now he wants the credit for fixing a problem he created. Enough is enough,” the firefighters added.

Yesterday, a group of women from Manchester wrote an open letter to Mayor Gatsas highlighting his failed leadership surrounding the rape of a girl at West High School.

“As women of varied ages and backgrounds who are mothers, sisters, daughters and residents of Manchester, we are writing to express our shock over your clear misunderstanding of the severity of any incident of sexual assault and why we expect better from the Mayor of our city,” the women wrote.

The people of Manchester deserve better than two more years of Gatsas’s failed leadership.

Women Of Manchester Send Scathing Letter To Mayor Gatsas Over 2015 Rape At West High

Manchester, NH– Women of Manchester release an open letter to Mayor Ted Gatsas expressing shock over recent incidences.  For other women who wish to sign on please visit: www.ipetitions.com/petition/dear-mayor-gatsas.  Full letter text included below.

The Hon. Mayor Theodore Gatsas

1 City Hall Plaza

Manchester, NH 03102


Mayor Gatsas,

As women of varied ages and backgrounds who are mothers, sisters, daughters and residents of Manchester, we are writing to express our shock over your clear misunderstanding of the severity of any incident of sexual assault and why we expect better from the Mayor of our city.

On June 23rd, 2017, when asked by a Union Leader reporter about the rape of a student at West High School on September 30, 2015, you stated that you “didn’t know the severity of it.”

Police Chief Nick Willard and former Deputy Superintendent David Ryan have each publicly stated that they personally informed you on the day of and in the days immediately following the incident that a female student had alleged she was the victim of a rape at West High School.

When asked on June 26, 2017 by WMUR whether you knew about the rape, you replied that you “had been informed by email of a sexual assault, but at no point did anyone tell me of the severity of it. It could be a minor thing, a sexual harassment. It could have been someone forcing a kiss on someone or someone touching someone.”

While it is impossible to imagine that Chief Willard and former Deputy Superintendent Ryan are all mistaken or lying about their recollections of what they told you, please know that for the over 55,000 women who live in the city of Manchester, any form of sexual assault is severe. For you, the Mayor of our city, to think and say otherwise demonstrates an appalling lack of understanding and empathy that is unacceptable.

We can’t help but notice that the decision to keep this sexual assault hidden from the parents of West High students was made just a few weeks before the 2015 election for Mayor.

In the wake of any incident of sexual assault, it is critical that the Mayor of Manchester send a message that unwanted sexual contact of any kind is serious. It is a crime. There is no excuse. And there are no acceptable levels or degrees of sexual assault.

Respectfully,

  • Beth Hamilton
  • Samantha Ruth
  • Erin Kerwin
  • Mary Heath
  • Joan Reische
  • Liz Wester
  • Martha West Lyman
  • Anna Caron
  • Christine Stevens
  • Kerry Greene
  • Virginia Theo-Steelman
  • Marion Conery
  • Ashley Marcoux
  • Elizabeth Marcoux
  • McKenzie St. Germain
  • Jennifer Share
  • Patty Cornell
  • Sarah Duffley
  • Kari Thurman
  • Laurie DiCenso
  • Patricia Lynott
  • Corey Doherty
  • Laura O’Neil
  • Christy Slavik
  • Campbell Harvey
  • Marissa Chase
  • Kristen Bannister
  • Jan Sutcliffe
  • Lauren Smith
  • Mary Lynn Edwards
  • Jacqueline Chretien
  • Erin Martin
  • Alyssa Lynough
  • Amanda MacLellan
  • Laura Aronson
  • Voula Annas
  • Kathy Sullivan
  • Cheryl Carten
  • Marcia Garber
  • Susan Thompson
  • Patricia Findlen
  • Amy Kennedy
  • Elizabeth MacLellan
  • Elsie Raymer
  • Meredith Shevitz
  • Virginia Smith
  • Maria Law
  • Pam Jorgensen
  • Devon Dunn
  • Kathleen Goulet
  • Jill Teeters
  • Tara Chynoweth
  • Allison B. Nussbaum
  • Anne Armstrong
  • Phoebe Stone
  • Marcia J Lorang
  • Judy Reardon
  • Debbie Ashby
  • Debra Brown
  • Emily Ragsdale
  • Sue Corby
  • JoAnn Smith
  • Karen Rosenberg
  • Debbie Howe
  • Susan McKeown
  • Judith Pence

1) http://www.wmur.com/article/gatsas-acknowledges-receiving-email-phone-call-on-2015-sexual-assault-from-school-official/10224115

Lawsuit Filed By Civil Rights Lawyers To Stop Election Commission

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Files Lawsuit To Halt Commission Hearing for Failure to Comply With Federal Law

Lawsuit Also Demands Release of Information About the Commission Under Key Government Transparency Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee) on Monday filed a lawsuit against the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity for its failure to operate in a transparent manner under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA).

The suit comes after the Commission failed to respond to a Lawyers’ Committee request sent one week ago for documents regarding the Commission’s upcoming July 19th meeting—a meeting that will not be open to the public.  In its suit, the Lawyers’ Committee alleges the Commission’s failure to disclose communications and make its meetings open to the public violates FACA.

“We filed today’s lawsuit because the so-called Election Integrity Commission has been operating covertly and its actions, to date, have been shrouded in secrecy,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.  “Through the Federal Advisory Committee Act, we are using an important statutory tool to expose and curb the illegitimacy of this Commission and to bar the commencement of any meetings before they make materials available for our inspection.  In our view, the Commission must not conduct any meetings before complying with our request.  We will continue to fight to expose all of the Commission’s illegitimate actions.”

Monday’s lawsuit filed with co counsel Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP in the United States District Court for District of Columbia addresses the Commission’s lack of transparency on several fronts.  It notes that the Commission’s upcoming July 19thmeeting will not be open to the public, and exposes the Commission’s lack of oversight and accountability given that its unprecedented request for personal voter data was not accurately directed at statewide officials nor was it in compliance with many state privacy laws.  The lawsuit additionally notes that the Commission failed to provide public notice or disclose details regarding its June 28th telephone conference meeting, during which the commission, led by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, approved a plan to request an unprecedented amount of voter data from statewide election officials.

The suit seeks a temporary restraining order mandating the production of records before the July 19th meeting, blocking the July 19thmeeting until the Commission fulfills its obligations to disclose its documents, and ordering that all commission meetings be open to the public.

“Federal law demands that the President’s Commissions operate in an open and transparent manner.  That principle is of paramount importance when, as here, the Commission seeks to impact the fundamental right to vote.  We are proud to stand with the Lawyers’ Committee in this fight,” said Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer partner John A. Freedman.

On Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a corresponding FACA lawsuit in the D.C. District Court.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law has undertaken a series of comprehensive actions to challenge the Pence-Kobach Commission.  This includes: the launch of a hotline for the public to report instances of voter suppression (866-OUR-VOTE); letters sent to Secretaries of State demanding they not comply with Mr. Kobach’s request for voter roll data; filing a Hatch Act complaint against Mr. Kobach regarding his repeated exploitation of his Commission role to solicit campaign contributions and promote his candidacy for Governor of Kansas; requesting documents regarding the Commission made pursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA); and urging Secretaries of State to adopt a bipartisan resolution condemning the so-called Election Integrity Commission.

To read the complaint filed Monday, click here.

Concerned Citizens Confront Secretary of State Gardner Over Information Provided To Election Commission

Today a group of concerned citizens traveled to Concord to have a frank discussion with New Hampshire’s Secretary of State, Bill Gardner.  The group had serious concerns about the information being provided to the President’s “Election Integrity Commission” and what the information would be used for.

The commission sent a letter to all 50 states last week requesting them to release personally identifying voter information, which it will then make public. Gardner serves on the commission and last week stated he will give the voter file to the commission. The NH ACLU filed a lawsuit for a temporary injunction on the matter earlier today to prevent him from doing so.

Today when asked Gardner provided some new details into what the commission is doing and that he does not want to make this information public.

First, Gardner explained that Kobach issued a retraction letter, though he has not seen it yet.

 

Gardner went on to say that he does not approve of the ‘Election Integrity Commission’ plan to publicly distribute personal voter data.

“I will make sure that that information is not gonna be put in the public domain,” said Gardner.

It is clear that Gardner shares the concerns of these fellow Granite Staters.

 

The big question is: What does Kris Kobach want to do with this information?  Does Kobach plan to give this information to President Trump?

One Granite Stater asked, “Can you guarantee the current administration won’t be using that database in any way, shape, or form?”

Gardner responded, “We’ll have these discussions when there’s the first meeting,” implying he still does not know what the information is being gathered for.

Mo Baxley of Laconia then asked, “And you won’t turn over the information until those conversations.”

Gardner stated, “I want to make sure that this is not in the public domain, and what the guarantees are for that, and I expect that that is the case, and before it gets turned over, I will make sure that I’m satisfied that, that, that’s the case.”

 


Special Thanks to Granite State Progress for capturing all of this exchange on video.

Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems. Press releases online at www.GraniteStateProgress.org.

Concord Lawyer And Executive Councilor Says ‘It Is Illegal To Give Voter Information Away’

Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky pens letter to Governor Sununu and Secretary of State Gardner citing New Hampshire law that prohibits the State from divulging the personal information requested by the Election Integrity Commission.

Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky

“The stakes are too high for state office holders of good conscience to remain silent in the face of this action,” said Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky. “As you know, claims of rampant voter fraud are baseless and defame the good people of New Hampshire.”

Many states have already rejected the Election Integrity Commission’s request to hand over personal information on every voter in the state, including: party registration, voter history, and the last four digits of the voter’s social security number.

Governor Sununu stated that New Hampshire would “comply” with the request from the commission sparking outrage from Granite Staters who are concerned about how this information is going to be used and the security of the data.

Secretary Gardner issued a statement on Friday that said:  “What is public is what has been public for decades. In this state, every town and city clerk must keep every checklist they use in an election for at least five years so that any citizen can go in and look at the checklists,” said Gardner.

Secretary Gardner is absolutely correct: anyone can go to the state’s archives and view the voter rolls, party affiliation, and voting history, but they cannot leave with it.

Lawyer and Executive Councilor, Andru Volinsky explained how a person can view the information in a letter to Gov. Sununu and Sec. Gardner.

“Pursuant to RSA 654:31, III, may view the statewide centralized voter registration database only during normal business hours at the state archives building, but may not print, duplicate, or transmit the data.”

“…While RSA 654:31-a makes some voter information public, it is subject to significant restrictions as, for example, law enforcement personnel may access information for investigative purposes.”

Volinsky also confirmed the fears of many Granite Staters.

“Once the Commission makes our voter information public, it will be subject to commercial exploitation.  No voter has given you permission to share voting information with commercial concerns.”

The Secretary of State’s office should be closed for the 4th of July holiday but that does not mean you cannot leave them a message.  Call them at 603-271-3242 (3243) and tell them you do not want your personal information shared by the state.

A full copy of Councilor Volinsky’s letter is attached below.

Volinsky Letter

NH Rebellion To March And Rally For Clean Elections

Kittery, ME – At 2:00 pm on Sunday, July 9, more than 100 committed “Granny D” walkers will gather at the John Paul Jones Historic Site (on US-1 in Kittery, Maine) to call for Clean Elections in New Hampshire.

The walkers will march one mile across Memorial Bridge to a rally in Market Square, Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Speakers include:

  • Deane Rykerson: Maine State Representative and Clean Elections participant

  • John Rauh, founder of Americans for Campaign Reform and long-time federal and state advocate of Clean Elections

  • Rev. Eric Jackson, pastor of Brookside Congregational Church (Manchester, NH)

  • Liz Iacobucci, for Take Back Our Republic (www.takeback.org)

“We are marching to bring Clean Elections from Maine to New Hampshire.  Maine has had a system of clean elections since 1996, and it’s time for campaign finance reform in the Granite State,” said Olivia Zink, Executive Director of Open Democracy.  “Last year, political donors spent more than $62 million on New Hampshire elections — and that’s not even counting the presidential race.  With so much money being thrown at campaigns, how can individual constituents expect to have their voices heard?”

“Our NH Rebellion walks are a legacy of ‘Granny D,’” Zink said.  “We are continuing her work to restore democracy and ‘escort the bullhorns of big money from the room.’ This walk will put a spotlight on the success of Maine’s Clean Elections public financing system.”

“Campaign finance reform will happen because the public will demand it,” said John Rauh, the founder of Americans for Campaign Reform and a former Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate.

Founded by scholar-activist Lawrence Lessig, the NH Rebellion march project also draws inspiration from the “rebellion clause” of the New Hampshire Constitution, which empowers citizens “to reform the old or establish a new government” when laws serve a privileged few rather than “the common benefit, protection, and security of the whole community.”

Over the last three years, hundreds of reform-minded citizens have braved the elements and walked more than 40,000 miles in a “New Hampshire Rebellion” against big money in politics.

Reformers continue the work of the late New Hampshire activist Doris “Granny D” Haddock, whose historic cross-country walk for campaign finance reform at the age of 90 helped spark a citizens movement to pass the McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002.

NH Rebellion is a project of Open Democracy, the Concord-based nonpartisan reform organization founded by Granny D. http://www.nhrebellion.org/about_doris_granny_d_haddock

To learn more about the NH Rebellion, please visit: nhrebellion.org.

To register for the walk, please visit http://www.nhrebellion.org/walk_and_rally_for_clean_elections

For details about the planned events, follow us on Twitter @nhrebellion and on Facebook at: facebook.com/nhrebellion.

Election Integrity Commission Wants Access To Our Personal Voter Information, Sununu Agrees

The Presidential Advisory Committee on Election Integrity, led by Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach just sent a letter to all 50 Secretaries of State to gain access to personal information on registered voters.   Kocach is also inquiring from the Secretaries of State to provide details of possible voter fraud cases, law changes to “protect voter integrity,” and how the commission can do to “support local and state election administrators with regard to information technology security and vulnerabilities.”

The letter, made public by the Connecticut Secretary of State, Denise Merrill, shows exactly what “personal information” Kobach is requesting.

“In order for the Commission to fully analyze vulnerabilities and issues related to voter registration and voting, I am requesting that you provide to the Commission the publicly- available voter roll data for Connecticut, including, if publicly available under the laws of your state, the full first and last names of all registrants, middle names or initials if available, addresses, dates of birth, political party (if recorded in your state), last four digits of social security number if available, voter history (elections voted in) from 2006 onward, active/inactive status, cancelled status, information regarding any felony convictions, information regarding voter registration in another state, information regarding military status, and overseas citizen information.”

The biggest catch is that “any documents that are submitted to the full Commission will also be made available to the public” warned Kobach.

This idea is not sitting well with many people, including Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

“We fully condemn actions taken today by the President’s Election Integrity Commission seeking disclosure of data and personal information on virtually every voter across the country.  This meritless inquisition opens the door for a misguided and ill-advised Commission to take steps to target and harass voters and could lead to purging of the voter rolls.

We urge Secretaries of State who received a letter from Kris Kobach to reject this request and discourage state and local officials from participating in this Commission’s dangerous activities.

Today’s action underscores the fact that the Election Integrity Commission is operating in a reckless manner and its activities threaten to have a chilling effect on minority voters

We encourage the public to contact 866-OUR-VOTE to report complaints or any suspicious activity regarding the activities of the Election Integrity Commission.

We know that voting discrimination and voter suppression are the real threats to American democracy and we will resist the Commission’s attempt to divert federal resources and attention away from these problems.”

 

Multiple reports have concluded that in-person voter impersonation is extremely rare.  There have only been four cases in the last ten years of confirmed voter fraud with hundreds of thousands of votes cast. However this did not stop President Trump from claiming that millions voted illegally.

NH’s Secretary of State Bill Gardner has made clear—as recently as the February 14, 2017 edition of the Concord Monitor—that he has found no proof supporting President Trump’s baseless allegation that thousands of Massachusetts residents were bused to New Hampshire to cast ballots against him.  Secretary Gardner’s office also has repeatedly said—correctly—that there is no widespread voter fraud here.

Today on MSNBC, NH’s Governor Sununu said he would “comply” with the federal government’s Presidential Commission on Voting Integrity’s request for voter information.

 

The act of handing over certain confidential voter information is illegal under New Hampshire state law, specifically RSA 654:31-a. Since no individual instances of voter fraud are being investigated by the commission, state law prohibits Governor Sununu or Secretary of State Bill Gardner from disclosing birthdates or social security information, as Kobach requested. This information is maintained by the Secretary of State’s Office and the governor has no authority under state law to authorize its release.

“It is disappointing that Governor Sununu has chosen the Trump administration’s unwarranted request over the privacy of Granite Staters. He is once again falling in line behind President Trump and pledging to hand over our highly personal information to a federal government commission created at best to soothe the President’s ego, and at worst, undermine the integrity of our elections and disenfranchise millions of voters,” said NHDP Chair Ray Buckley. “It is outrageous that Governor Sununu is characteristically shooting from the hip rather than taking the time to understand what is best for the citizens of New Hampshire. Granite Staters will hold Sununu accountable for putting the privacy of our most personal information at risk to once again cozy up to the Trump administration and its dangerous effort to combat a problem that doesn’t exist.”

Gilles Bissonnette, legal director of the ACLU of New Hampshire, told the New Hampshire Union Leader, “there are strict state laws limiting how much information about voter files can be turned over or made public.”

“We expect that the secretary of state will not honor any request to produce information that is private and confidential. Any transfer of information must be in full compliance with all state disclosure laws. The Commission should not be able to obtain information that is unavailable to any ordinary member of the public.

Unfortunately, this Commission likely will be a pretext to enact new restrictions on the right to vote. Led by Mr. Kobach1, it is based on the false premise that there was widespread voter fraud last November. Yet New Hampshire conducts fair, honest, and democratic elections, and there is no evidence of significant voter fraud here. The Secretary of State’s Office2 and the Governor3 have both repeatedly acknowledged that there is no widespread voter fraud in the Granite State. Once again, our expectation is that, while on this Commission, Secretary Gardner will only join conclusions in the Commission’s final report that support voting rights and are based on actual proven facts.”

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) today urged New Hampshire to deny the Trump Election Commission’s request for personal voter data. In a letter to Governor Chris Sununu and to Secretary Gardner, who is a member of the Commission, Shea-Porter asked the state to join five others that have already denied the frivolous and intrusive request.

Shea-Porter wrote:

“I write to urge you to deny the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity’s request for the personal information of every registered New Hampshire voter. In a letter addressed to you, the Commission requested the name, last four Social Security digits, birthdate, political affiliation, address, military status, and voting history of nearly one million Granite Staters. Secretary Gardner, as a member of the Commission, it is imperative that you both deny this request and inform your fellow members that this misguided effort is unacceptable and deeply troubling.

“As you know, we Granite Staters greatly value our privacy rights. We are the “Live Free or Die” state, and this request is undoubtedly an assault on our freedom. This request violates the privacy of our state’s residents and represents an unprecedented intrusion by the federal government into our state’s electoral data. California, Connecticut, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma, and Virginia have already refused this request. The New Hampshire Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has indicated that full compliance with this request would violate our state’s laws governing the public disclosure of voter information.

“In closing, I urge you to shield New Hampshire voters from this historic federal intrusion into law-abiding Americans’ right to privacy whose only “offense” was exercising their Constitutional right to vote. This could further dampen participation in our elections. Therefore, it is necessary for you both to publicly reassure our state’s voters that you will not comply with the Trump Commission’s demand.”

Contact Governor Sununu and urge him not to comply with Kobach’s request and to keep our personal information, private.

Kobach’s full letter to Connecticut Sec of State is attached below.


UPDATE 7-1-17

NHPR reports that Sec Gardner will comply with the request made by Kobach and the Election Integrity commission.

Faced with a flurry of questions from the press and the public about the state’s response, Gardner said he wanted to emphasize that some of the information mentioned in the letter — like social security numbers — won’t be provided to the commission because it’s not part of New Hampshire’s public voter checklists.

“What is public is what has been public for decades. In this state, every town and city clerk must keep every checklist they use in an election for at least five years so that any citizen can go in and look at the checklists,” Gardner said in an interview Friday afternoon in his office, where staffers spent the day fielding calls about the state’s plans to participate in the request.

“Checklists have always included names, addresses and party affiliation, if there is a party affiliation. So that’s all that’s being asked of us.”

PEIC Letter to Connecticut

The NH AFL-CIO Endorses Kevin Cavanaugh For NH Senate

New Hampshire AFL-CIO President, Glenn Brackett, released the following statement on the organization’s endorsement of Kevin Cavanaugh in the District 16 State Senate Special Election scheduled for July 25.

“I am proud to announce the New Hampshire AFL-CIO’s endorsement of Kevin Cavanaugh in his effort to become the next New Hampshire State Senator from District 16. Having known Kevin for 30 years, I know he will bring a fresh perspective to the Senate and will work for common-sense solutions that benefit hard working families. He has shown this kind of leadership as an Alderman in Manchester where he has focused on combating his city’s opioid crisis, supporting workers, and improving public schools.

We were all stunned and saddened by the loss of State Senator Scott McGilvray earlier this year. Scott was a fellow union member and a steadfast champion of New Hampshire working families. The New Hampshire AFL-CIO knows that Kevin will take up Senator McGilvray’s mantle, and bring the concerns of middle-class Granite Staters to Concord. As a career union worker, Kevin understands the importance of protecting workers’ rights and providing opportunities for our working families to get ahead. The New Hampshire labor community has a true ally in Kevin Cavanaugh.

No one in this race understands the struggles of working families more personally than Kevin Cavanaugh, and no one will work harder for them. Kevin is, without question, the best choice for the working people of Senate District 16.”

Trump Renegs On Campaign Promise To Lower Prescription Drug Prices, Progressives Push Back

Image from healthmindandlife.com on FLIKR

Group Urges President to Support Landmark Proposal to Address Skyrocketing Drug Prices, A Major Driver of Health Care Costs

WASHINGTON –It appears that Donald Trump is preparing to give a massive gift to the pharmaceutical industry with an executive order that reportedly favors the industry over consumers,

The New York Times reports that the report “is light on specifics but clear on philosophy: Easing regulatory hurdles for the drug industry is the best way to get prices down.”

This is just more “free market” mythology: If you remove regulations, business will thrive.  The executives and hedge fund managers that own all the stock in these pharmaceutical companies may thrive, but at what cost? Is it acceptable that a few wealthy executives make even more money or that millions of Americans see relief from the ever climbing cost of prescription drug prices?  The worst part is that all of those newly found profits will come from the taxpayers like you and me who pay into the Medicare system will now be forced to pay even higher rates for the same medications.

The New York Times further explains:

“The document directs the United States trade representative to conduct a study of price differences between the United States and other countries, and to review trade agreements that may need to be revised “to promote greater intellectual property protection and competition in the global market.”

If you read between the lines, the pharmaceutical industry wants to force other countries, who are already paying drastically lower drug prices, to bring prices more in line with the prices here in the United States.

The order specifically targets low income families in an effort to boost Big Pharma’s exorbitant profits.

“The draft order targets a program, 340B, that requires the drug industry to give discounts to hospitals and clinics that serve large numbers of low-income patients. The industry has complained that the program is being abused, while hospitals say they would have to cut services without it.”

Yes, the proposed order would take away the “requirement” to provide low income families with low cost medications and allow the pharmaceutical industry to jack up the prices on those drugs at the same time.

On Friday, Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined progressive Democrats from the Senate and House in urging President Donald Trump to get behind real solutions to bring down the skyrocketing price of prescription drugs, one of the central reasons why health care costs are rising.

Senator Hassan recently helped introduce the Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act, a comprehensive piece of legislation that the group pressed President Trump to support in a letter sent Friday (attached below). This commonsense legislation would help ensure that drug companies put patients before profits and bring much-needed relief to families and seniors, including many who have had to make the impossible choice between paying for a life-saving drug and putting food on the table.

“We hear time and time again from our constituents across the country about how high prices for life-saving and life-sustaining treatments force patients to choose between their health and their economic security,” the lawmakers wrote to President Trump. “Now is the time to address the American people’s concerns in a meaningful way. We urge you to stand up to the pharmaceutical corporations and put the needs of patients first and to support a comprehensive approach that offers real solutions that will make a real difference in peoples’ lives.”

The Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act has already gained the support of a broad range of organizations and patient advocacy groups and runs in contrast to the executive order that’s being prepared by the White House.

These legislators are also holding Trump accountable for his campaign promise to reduce prescription drug prices.

On the campaign trail, then candidate Trump said, that the pharmaceutical industry is “getting away with murder.”  He implied that the pharmaceutical industry is gouging people and gouging federal programs like Medicare and Medicaid with outrageously high drug prices.

Trump also promised to change the law to allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices as they do in other countries around the world.”We are going to start bidding. We are going to save billions of dollars over time,” he said.

Between the newly proposed cuts to Medicare and Medicaid in the Republican’s new healthcare proposal and President Trump’s proposed Executive Order to reduce regulations on the Pharmaceutical industry, it is abuntantly clear that Trump has no intention of upholding his campaign promise.

 


The letter to the president was led by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), was also signed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Tom Udall (D-N. Mex.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.),  Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).

It also was signed by Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Raul Grijalva (D-Ari.), Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Kathy Castor (D-Fl.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Sanders Levin (D-Mich.), and Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio).

You can also read the open letter of support from groups like Public Citizen, the Alliance for Retired Americans, The National Center for Health Research, and many more, here


170623_TrumpRXLetter
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