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Labor Leaders Speak At The Democratic National Convention (VIDEO)

The Democratic National Convention is in full swing and there is so much going on it is easy to miss something.

On Day 1 of the DNC labor leaders from a variety of national unions spoke in support of Hillary Clinton and in opposition to the possibility of a Donald Trump presidency.

Labor unions have stood in strong opposition to Donald Trump since he first announced his campaign when he attacked immigrants and threatened to tear apart families by deporting 11 million aspiring Americans.

Hillary has garnered strong support from labor unions throughout out the primary.  She gained more labor support when she came out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership and announced her bold infrastructure investment plan.

Nearly all of the labor leaders who spoke highlighted that the choice this election could not be clearer. Do we want a champion for working families or a shameless billionaire who has always been there to make a quick buck off the suffering of working people?

Here are just a few quotes from the video below as transcribed by C-Span:

AFSME President Lee Saunders
“HILLARY CLINTON NEVER QUITS EITHER. SHE UNDERSTANDS THAT COLLECTIVE BARGAINING RIGHTS STRENGTHEN ALL OF US. WE NEED A PRESIDENT WHO GETS THAT AND UNDERSTAND THAT BUSTING UNIONS AND CUTTING SERVICES MEANS FAMILIES SUFFER.”

“I WAS IN LAS VEGAS AT THE TRUMP HOTEL LAST WEEK AND THEY VOTED TO FORM A UNION. BUT DONALD TRUMP WILL NOT MEET WITH THEM.”

“I KNOW WHAT SIDE I AM ON. I AM WITH HER. ELECT HILLARY CLINTON THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.”

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka
“WORKING PEOPLE ARE STRONG AND DONALD TRUMP IS WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. LISTEN, HE THINKS HE IS A TOUGH GUY. DONALD, I WORKED IN THE MINES WITH TOUGH GUYS. I KNOW TOUGH GUYS. DONALD, YOU ARE NO TOUGH GUY. YOU ARE A PHONY. DONALD TRUMP HAS REPEATEDLY OUTSOURCED JOBS TO LINE HIS OWN POCKETS. HE ROOTED FOR THE HOUSING COLLAPSE. HE SAID WAGES ARE TOO HIGH — NOT JUST ONCE, BUT REPEATEDLY. “

“WE ARE BUILDING A MOVEMENT FOR A BETTER LIFE, NO MATTER THE COLOR OF OUR SKIN, WHERE WE WERE BORN, FOR WE LOVE, OR HOW WE WORSHIP. HILLARY CLINTON ANSWERED OUR CALL. SHE IS FIGHTING TO REWRITE THE ECONOMIC RULES FOR ALL OF US. SHE HAS A BOLD PLAN TO INVEST IN MANUFACTURING, INFRASTRUCTURE, AND JOBS. SHE OPPOSES THE JOB KILLING TRANSPACIFIC PARTNERSHIP.”

NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia
“HILLARY CLINTON BELIEVES IN KEEPING FAMILIES TOGETHER. SHE BELIEVES IN OUR DREAMERS. SHE BELIEVES THAT EDUCATORS SHOULD BE FOCUSED ON EDUCATION, NOT DEPORTATION.”

“DONALD TRUMP SEES IMMIGRANTS AS CRIMINALS, DRUG DEALERS ,RAPISTS? HE SAYS HE WOULD ROUND UP FAMILIES AND UP THEM AND BUILD A WALL — DEPART THEM AND BUILD THE WALL.”

SEIU President Mary Kay Henry
“WE NEED A PRESIDENT WHO WANTS TO RAISE WAGES IN THIS COUNTRY, NOT ONE THAT SAYS WAGES ARE TOO HIGH AND THERE SHOULD NOT BE A FEDERAL MINIMUM WAGE. THAT IS WHY WE ARE WORKING TO ELECT HILLARY CLINTON AND CHAMPIONS UP AND DOWN THE BALLOT WHO WILL RAISE WAGES AND HEALTH WORKERS JOINED TOGETHER IN UNIONS.”

“WE MUST ELECT HILLARY CLINTON AND THE CHAMPIONS LIKE HER WERE GOING TO PUT FAMILIES FIRST AND STOP THE CANDIDATE OF HATRED AND GREED.”

North American Building Trades Unions President Sean McGarvey
“TRADE UNION MEMBERS HAVE HELPED OF THIS GREAT NATION. THE SUPER DOME, THE GOLDING GATE BRIDGE, THE FREEDOM TOWERS, THE ARENA WE ARE IN TONIGHT. YOU NAME IT, WE BUILD IT. WE ARE PROUD OF OUR WORK. BUT WITH COLLAPSED BRIDGES, COMING ROADS AND STRESS ENERGY SYSTEMS, WE NOTICED HAVE TIME TO REBUILD OUR NATION’S INFRASTRUCTURE. BUILDING TRADE NUMBERS ARE READY TO DO THEIR PART.”

“HILLARY CLINTON HAS THE BOLDEST INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN WE HAVE SEEN IN GENERATIONS. SHE WILL HELP US REPAIR ROADS AND BRIDGES AND MAKE BROADBAND UNIVERSAL. BUILD NEW AIRPORTS AND MODERNIZE THE ENERGY GRID. SHE WILL DO IT ALL WHILE CREATING GOOD, FAIR PAINT JOBS WITH STANDARDS THAT SUPPORT REAL PARTNERSHIP PROGRAMS WHICH THE BUILDING TRADES PIONEER.”

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten
“DONALD MADE MILLIONS WHILE HE RIPPED OFF WORKERS AND SMALL BUSINESSES WITH HIS UNFAIR BUSINESS PRACTICES. REMEMBER, HE ENDED UP BANKRUPTING NOT ONE, NOT TWO, NOT THREE, BUT FOR OF HIS COMPANIES — BUT FOUR OF HIS COMPANIES. AND HIS ECONOMIC IDEAS WILL MAKE MILLIONAIRES LIKE HIM RICHER AT THE EXPENSE OF THE MIDDLE CLASS.”

“[Donald Trump] IS COMPLETELY UNQUALIFIED TO BE IN THE OVAL OFFICE.  
THANKFULLY, WE HAVE A DIFFERENT CHOICE AND IT IS A GREAT ONE. HILLARY CLINTON. SHE HAS WORKED HER ENTIRE LIFE TO LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD FOR WORKING FAMILIES. THAT’S US OF PUBLIC EDUCATION FROM PRE-K TO COLLEGE. A PLAN FOR UNIVERSAL EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION.”

CWA Praises Nomination of Hillary Clinton for President

CWA-blue-line

Following is a statement by Chris Shelton, president of the Communications Workers of America, on the nomination of Secretary Hillary Clinton for President of the United States. 

“The nomination of Secretary Hillary Clinton for President of the United States is a historic step forward for our nation, and the Communications Workers of America is proud to work with her as together we build an America that works for working families. 

“Hillary Clinton is smart, thoughtful and experienced. She brings decades of commitment on behalf of working families, and for economic and social justice for all. 

“She doesn’t just talk, she delivers. Her record of public service shows a leader who stands up for workers’ bargaining and organizing rights, for family and medical leave and other programs that help working families.

“Secretary Clinton has pledged to ‘do everything in my power to defend American jobs and American workers. Any trade deal must meet three tests to earn my support: It must create good American jobs, raise wages, and advance our national security. I do not believe that the Trans-Pacific Partnership meets this high standard. That’s why I oppose the TPP — and that means before and after the election.’   

“CWA has a large number of members and retirees in all the battleground states, and activists will be mobilizing and engaging to elect Hillary Clinton the next President of the United States.” 

Leo W Gerard: Voters Can Choose U.S. Forecast: Bright Or Falling Skies

The dark and treacherous skies Donald Trump invoked at the Republican National Convention last week have lifted as Democrats begin their meeting in Philly today with a healthy dose of optimism.

The Hillary Clinton team sees America differently. They recognize problems like stagnant wages, unfair trade closing American factories, insufficient support for working mothers, terrorism, and conflict between cops and communities of color. And they have concrete plans to deal with those.

-Hillaryphoto.jpg

Photo by DonkeyHotey on Flickr

The Clinton team has a unifying vision calling for Americans to work together to solve problems and build a better future for everyone. Hillary Clinton believes a good president inspires the best in Americans and motivates them to display their cherished qualities of community, fairness, and equal opportunity.

And the Clinton team believes Americans should have the choice about whether to join her team. That is why her slogan is: “I am with her.” A person who decides to support her can announce it by wearing that slogan.

The Trump clan is different. He insists, “I am with you.” That’s a shadow cast over voters whether they want it or not.

And it’s a dark, dark shadow. His convention was designed to frighten. It was stoked by hate, rancor, loathing, and condemnation. His own hour-long, yell-fest was filled with horror, venom, gloom and egotism. It is not morning in Trump’s America. It is the eve of absolute destruction.

Trumpstorm.jpg

Photo by DonkeyHotey on Flickr

Be afraid, he said, be very, very afraid. The sky is falling. The world is collapsing. And only Donald Trump, an egomaniacal billionaire reality TV star, can save the country.

Be afraid of terrorists apparently everywhere in our midst, he warned. Then he demonized marginalized groups: refugees desperate for safety and a better life in America, unarmed black people seeking more cops willing to serve and protect them too, undocumented immigrants who pick America’s crops and make its hotel beds, and who, statistics show, have a lower crime rate, including violent crime, than native born Americans.

He said the country is threatened by crumbling infrastructure – without mentioning that GOP majorities in Congress have repeatedly refused money to repair it. And he slammed the economy, though it is rising steadily from the depths of the Bush-era Great Recession.

This occurred at a GOP convention with the lowest number of African-American delegates in a century, about 1 percent. On the first night of the meeting, U.S. Rep. Steve King, a Republican from Iowa who keeps a confederate flag on his desk, went on MSNBC and defended the lack of diversity asking, “where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization” than white people?

It occurred at a GOP convention where the platform committee refused a gay delegate’s request for support for LGBT people’s right not to be murdered by terrorists, as in Orlando. And though much was made of openly gay Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel speaking at the conclave, the billionaire threw transgender people under the bus during his talk by insisting no one cares about GOP laws discriminating against them by restricting their use of restrooms.

It also occurred at a GOP convention where the party gave a speaking slot to an actor who tweeted a photo of Hillary Clinton with a vulgar sexual word in the background and a former candidate for the GOP presidential nomination who linked her to the devil because she wrote a thesis in college – 50 years ago – about an author who referred to the devil in an introduction to one of his books.

It also occurred at a convention where Trump’s hatefulness during the primary came back to him. Trump mocked opponent Carly Fiorina’s face; he called Marco Rubio, “Little Marco,” Jeb Bush, “Low Energy Jeb,” and most memorably, Ted Cruz, “Lyin’ Ted.” Trump also ridiculed Ted’s wife in a tweet and suggested Cruz’s father was involved in the JFK assassination.

In return, Cruz used his time on the convention stage to make what amounted to an acceptance speech instead of a Trump endorsement. This provoked a situation so volatile that Cruz’ wife, Heidi, had to be rushed out of the stadium by guards for her own safety as delegates aggressively heckled her.

It was a dark and nasty convention, with an ominous and overcast finale. Trump declared in his valedictory that he, and only he, a politically inexperienced reality TV star who gained fame for firing people, could solve everything. “I alone,” he said, “can fix it.”

He promised to be an iron-fisted, law-and-order, one-man savior, a superman who has utterly no qualifications for the job. Everything is completely horrible, inside the country and out, he asserted. He is a billionaire who lives in a golden tower and who has never in his life had to worry about a lay off or a mortgage bill, who, in fact, repeatedly stiffed working guys and small contractors during his bankruptcies, but, he insisted, he alone would solve everything for the middle class.

When asked what he hoped voters would take away from his convention, Trump said, “The fact that I’m very well liked.”  He did not hope they would take away a specific Trump plan for on-shoring the manufacturing of Trump signature clothing now made with foreign labor overseas, or, more importantly, bringing back thousands of factories and millions of jobs from low-wage countries like China.

He didn’t hope they’d take away a specific Trump policy for dealing with ISIS or conflict between cops and communities of color. He knew they would not take away an overriding Trump philosophy for governing. Because he didn’t offer any of that.

No. Donny just wants to be liked. And to do that, he told Americans they should be terrified and look only to a reality TV star as the slick solution, a guy who insisted, “I am with you,” whether Americans want a name-calling bully shadowing them or not.

National Union of Healthcare Workers Members Endorse Hillary Clinton for President

Elected rank-and-file NUHW leaders vote 75 percent  to endorse the Democratic nominee

EMERYVILLE, CALIF. — Three hundred  and  fifty elected rank-and-file leaders representing 12,000 members of the National Union of Healthcare Workers voted 75 percent  to endorse Hillary Clinton for president of the United States. 

Last October, NUHW leaders voted 72 percent  to endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination, while Sec. Clinton garnered 17 percent. With Sanders out of the race and having endorsed Clinton, NUHW leaders have thrown their support behind Clinton. 

Green Party candidate Jill Stein received 7 percent  of the vote. Republican Donald Trump earned 6 percent . The remaining votes were divided among other candidates and “no endorsement.”

“Our members believe a Hillary Clinton administration is the best vehicle for advancing the progressive values and goals that were expressed by Sen. Sanders and embraced by NUHW members over the past year,” said NUHW President Sal Rosselli. “Sanders and his supporters succeeded in establishing the most progressive platform in the party’s history. Now it’s time to come together with Clinton and her supporters to implement that vision. The first step is defeating Donald Trump in November.”

NUHW’s endorsements are part of a bottom-up democratic process. Last year, the union’s Executive Board, consisting of elected rank-and-file members, sent questionnaires to every Republican and Democratic candidate. Union stewards reviewed the questionnaires and discussed the election at monthly steward council meetings at each NUHW-represented hospital, clinic and nursing home, and discussed the candidates with their constituent members in each facility. 

Our Revolution Continues As Sanders Encourages Support For Clinton (VIDEO)

Senator Bernie Sanders Screenshot

Screenshot of Senator Bernie Sanders from the DNC on July 25th

“Enough is enough. This country and our government belong to all of us, not just a handful of billionaire,” wrote Bernie Sanders in a email to supporters last night. 

A little over a year ago we started a revolution to take back our government from the oligarchs who have corrupted it.  With our fearless leader, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders at the helm, we pushed back against the rigged system.  We knocked on doors. We walked the streets. We talked to our friends and neighbors. We utilized the power of social media to send shockwaves throughout the political system.

Together we helped to make a self proclaimed “Democratic Socialist” a household name and a real contender for President of the United States.

Sadly, Senator Sanders did not win the Democratic Primary contest, but this does not mean that we failed.   We started something that will go down in history as the moment “We the People” took back our government.

Last night, Sanders made one of the best speeches I have ever seen at the Democratic National Convention in support of Secretary Hillary Clinton.  He talked about how we, Sanders supporters and Clinton supporters, created “the most progressive party platform in history.”  We helped to shape this platform that focuses on working people.  This platform continues to push for universal healthcare, a $15 minimum wage, and stopping the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are just a few of the things we helped to get into this progressive platform.

Our political revolution continues even as Bernie is ending his candidacy from President. We will continue to encourage new voters to support candidates who will fight for working families and will fight to take back our government from the billionaire oligarchs.  With the help of millions of new active voters we will change the system but this will not happen overnight.

I encourage you to watch Senator Sanders full speech from the DNC last night. Listen to the man who inspired us, who led us, and who has always been fighting for us, as he makes the case for us to now support Hillary Clinton and defeat Donald Trump.

Dan Weeks lauds Durham solar array and urges Executive Council to support clean energy economy

Dan Weeks Durham SolarDURHAM, NH – Executive Council candidate and government reformer Dan Weeks attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the $2.1 million, 651-kilowatt Oyster River Forest Solar Array, the second-largest solar project in New Hampshire. Weeks praised the project developers, ReVision Energy, IGS Solar, and the Town of Durham, and urged his opponent to allow New Hampshire municipalities to follow Durham’s lead in building the state’s clean energy economy.

Weeks is challenging District 5 incumbent Councilor David Wheeler, who opposed the Durham array and has consistently voted to block municipal solar systems as recommended to the Executive Council by the Public Utilities Commission. Funding for such projects is provided, in part, by the NH Renewable Energy Fund, which receives payments from private utilities for non-compliance with the state’s clean energy requirements. No tax funds are included in the fund.

“New Hampshire is on the verge of a new clean energy economy, with the potential to generate thousands more middle-class jobs and put our environment on a more sustainable course for future generations,” Weeks said. “It is time for Executive Councilors to stop their senseless denial of climate science and allow the New Hampshire Renewable Energy Fund to do its job.”

The Oyster River Solar Array was made possible through a $500,000 grant from the Renewable Energy Fund after Republican Councilor Joe Kenney switched sides and joined the two Democratic Councilors in approving the project last June. Councilor David Wheeler, who is backed by the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity which rejects climate science, was one of two Republicans who voted to block the project. Republican Councilors have succeeded in blocking similar municipal clean energy projects in the past.

According to project developer Revision Energy, the Durham solar field will generate over 850,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year for an annual CO2 reduction of nearly 1.5 million pounds. With an estimated payback period of 5-10 years and minimal maintenance, the system is expected to generate free energy and considerable cost savings for the town of Durham for the next 30-50 years.

New Hampshire currently ranks near the bottom of northeastern states in adoption of renewable energy and second highest in per-capita carbon consumption, despite the fact that the state’s nascent renewable energy sector has already seen over 70 startup companies and thousands of jobs created to meet the burgeoning demand from residential and business consumers. Weeks and his family generate the bulk of their energy from a 17-panel rooftop solar array.

“As New Hampshire’s highest elected body charged with approving state spending and appointments, it is the Executive Council’s job to make smart investments for the good of future generations,” Weeks concluded. “I respectfully urge my opponent to rethink his ideological opposition to renewables and support the clean energy economy for the good of our citizens and the natural environment.”

Letter: Al Baldasaro Represents Londonderry, Not New Hampshire

Dear Journalist Friends,

Please don’t file any more stories about Al Baldasaro without describing him as “Londonderry representative Al Baldasaro,” or “Londonderry’s Al Baldasaro,” or “Rep. Al Baldasaro (R-Londonderry).”

Unless and until the people of Londonderry are publicly humiliated and shamed by their idiotic choices, he will continue to get re-elected and the rest of NH will appear responsible for his brain-dead ideas.

Keith McCrea

Labor Reacts to Selection of Tim Kaine

https://www.flickr.com/photos/bnwklr/16038546189

Richard Trumka photo by Ben Wikler via Flickr Creative Commons

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka

“The AFL-CIO supports Hillary Clinton’s selection of Tim Kaine as her running mate. Tim Kaine is the son of an ironworker and a teacher, and is grounded in the values of working people.

“He has a strong record on workers’ issues, ranging from raising the minimum wage to securing equal pay for equal work.  He has always been a strong leader and will be an asset to the ticket. He is moral and honest and true to the values he espouses. Clinton – Kaine is a winner for America.”


Mary Kay Henry by The Leadership Conference via Flickr Creative Commons

Mary Kay Henry photo by The Leadership Conference via Flickr Creative Commons

SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry:

“For working families, the 2016 election is the most consequential of our lifetimes. The stakes couldn’t be higher – nor the contrast starker – on all of the issues our families need to get ahead. In choosing Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton has tapped as her running mate the right partner to move our country forward and build a better future for all families by rebalancing our economy and democracy to work for everyone, not just greedy corporations and wealthy special interests.

“Tim Kaine is an experienced leader with a proven track record on issues from raising wages to immigration reform and racial justice. He has voted and fought for higher wages, and ensured home care workers had the ability to stand together in a union. His Senate record shows that working families have been his priority as he has worked to expand child care, protect voting rights, address mass incarceration, preserve the Affordable Care Act, and promote opportunities for women and immigrants. He was the first person ever to deliver a speech on the Senate floor entirely in Spanish, and it was to demand action on commonsense immigration reform with a path to citizenship.

“Above all, we know what is in Tim Kaine’s heart. He is someone who is the son of an ironworker and a teacher, who served as a Catholic missionary, whose first case out of law school was representing at no cost a Black woman who had been the victim of housing discrimination. Tim Kaine’s convictions are rooted in justice for all.

“Together, Clinton and Kaine will stand with working families who have come together in the broadest modern grassroots movement to raise wages and protect opportunities for people to join together in 21st-century unions; increase access to affordable care for our children and aging parents; and advance racial, immigrant and environmental justice for all communities across our country.  SEIU members will continue to come out in record numbers across the country to elect Clinton and Kaine as the next president and vice president of the United States.”


Randi Weingarten

Randi Weingarten

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten:

“The choice of Tim Kaine, the son of a welder who has lived middle-class values and has a long track record of progressive accomplishments, reiterates Hillary Clinton’s commitment to building a government that will level the playing field for working families. While the GOP ticket masks irrational ideas behind a morally bankrupt message of fear, bigotry and hatred, a Clinton-Kaine ticket will be focused on helping people see higher wages, lower student debt, good jobs, successful public schools, and safety and security here and abroad.

“The contrasts between a Clinton-Kaine ticket and a Trump-Pence ticket couldn’t be more stark. Donald Trump, the narcissist, believes that he alone can fix our nation’s problems and peddles fear in a campaign devoid of facts, plans or humanity. Clinton and Kaine choose to confront fear and solve problems, and they will use their vast experience to help ensure the American dream is within reach for everyone.

“Strong public education runs deep in the Kaine household. In the U.S. Senate, he took the lead on supporting career and technical education programs in the new federal education law, and he has fought for funding to modernize public school buildings. And as Virginia’s governor, he expanded pre-K programs by 40 percent. His wife, Anne Holton, has been dedicated to fighting for great public schools for decades—she helped integrate Richmond, Va., public schools as a child and today is Virginia’s secretary of education.

“Our nation and the world can feel confident that the Clinton-Kaine ticket will be a great leadership team that will work to break down walls, disarm hate, and make educational and economic opportunity a reality.”

Clinton-Kaine is an Excellent Fit for Retirees

Ticket is Ultimate Antidote to Worries that Trump-Pence would cut Social Security, Medicare

Robert Roach, Jr., President of the Alliance for Retired Americans, released the following statement regarding Hillary Clinton’s selection of Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as her Vice Presidential nominee:
Alliance For Retired Americans

“Senator Tim Kaine is a superb choice to be Vice President. The Alliance for Retired Americans was already energized about a Hillary Clinton presidency, and Senator Kaine is the icing on the cake. His 93% lifetime score from the Alliance for his pro-retiree votes is proof that he is the right person for the job.

“Secretary Clinton has been a champion for retirees throughout her distinguished career, and Senator Kaine has been throughout his. As a Governor and as a Senator, he has always had retirees’ best interests in mind. He has stated plainly that ‘we shouldn’t embrace radical reforms like the Ryan Plan or the privatization of Social Security,’ and that is music to our ears. Senator Kaine clearly opposes efforts to cut, privatize or shift Medicare costs to retirees.

“If you go down the list of what retirees want the most, Tim Kaine checks all the boxes. He has pledged to protect Social Security. Like Secretary Clinton, he would rein in prescription drug costs by allowing the Medicare program to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for better prices, just as the Department of Veterans Affairs does.

“His life’s work exemplifies the Alliance’s mission to enhance the quality of life for all Americans. He will protect our traditional pension plans from attack.

“On the other hand, Donald Trump’s choice of Governor Mike Pence as his running mate locked in place a team that endangers the things that retirees care about the most: the protection and expansion of their earned Social Security and Medicare benefits. The contrast could not be starker. We are confident that the Clinton-Kaine team will give us the retirement security we need.

“The Alliance’s 4.4 million members and 1600 chapters will do all they can before Election Day to educate seniors on the differences between the Trump-Pence plans for seniors and the Clinton-Kaine plans. We look forward to working with a Clinton-Kaine Administration to expand our earned Social Security benefits.”

Nuns on the Bus Stop in Concord for Rally to “Mend the Gaps”

2016-07-22 Nuns on the Bus Sr Simone Campbell

Sr. Simone Campbell addresses the crowd, while some of the Nuns on the Bus take shelter from the heat under umbrellas.

About 125 Granite Staters braved today’s heat to meet Sister Simone Campbell and the Nuns on the Bus at a State House rally to “Mend the Gaps” between us that weaken society, including gaps in income, healthcare, housing and access to democracy.

Campbell and nearly 20 Catholic sisters from around the country are visiting 13 states and both major party conventions on a tour that began July 11.  The tour’s goal is “to bring a politics of inclusion to divided places, change the conversation to mending the vast economic and social divides in our country, and counter political incivility with our message of inclusion.  NETWORK’s 44 year-old faith-filled political message is an alternative to the anger, fear, and polarization of this election cycle.  We believe in faithful citizenship, which compels us to travel the country to listen to the lived experiences of people in their communities and hold elected officials accountable to the promises they have made to legislate for the common good.”

The sisters are caucusing with local advocates in Manchester tonight, and will hold a rally in Boston tomorrow starting at 10:00 am on the front lawn of Boston College High School, 150 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston, MA 02125.  The full tour schedule is available at www.nunsonthebus.org.

At today’s rally, the sisters distributed brochures comparing candidates’ positions on “Mending the Gaps.”  Download the brochure comparing Kelly Ayotte with Maggie Hassan here and the brochure comparing Hillary Clinton with Donald Trump here.

Granite Staters shared their stories about the growing gaps in our economy which are making the American dream unattainable for too many families.

  • Jazmine Langley and Olivia Zink of Open Democracy signed the Bus before it left Concord, on the way to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

    Jazmine Langley, a Democracy Fellow with Open Democracy/NH, spoke about the challenges facing her as a biracial woman. “I have seen oppression up close. I have witnessed the gaps woven into the fabric of our country that are very much racially and socioeconomically based. From drug addiction to poverty. From police brutality to mass imprisonment. From strict voter ID laws to felon disenfranchisement. Our elected representatives and ourselves need to be held accountable for mending this gap. Whether that is by trying to spark legal reform in getting big money out politics, registering more voters, or fighting voter suppression laws, doing non-profit work dedicated to some aspect of this issue, or just educating yourselves, families, friends, and children about the issue at hand – it all makes a difference. This is our democracy, so this is our fight!”  You can watch Jazmine’s speech here.

  • Amy Shaw, a mother of two living in Rochester spoke about the challenge of finding affordable childcare. “Even with both my husband and I working, we couldn’t afford to send our kids to daycare. I had to quit my job because my monthly income wasn’t going to cover my childcare costs.” Watch Amy’s remarks here.
  • Jen Cole, of Pittsfield, said “Low wages make it challenging to pay the bills week to week but nearly impossible when life throws you a curveball. My husband was diagnosed with cancer four years ago and could not work for several months. We had to survive off of my income and rely on family and friends to help us through what was already a difficult time. If someone is working full time they should be able to make ends meet and not have to fear they’ll lose everything if they get sick.”
  • Sister Eileen Brady, of Nashua, is a Social Worker and Advocate at the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter. As a Sister of Mercy, she has been a staunch advocate for peace and justice for decades.  “The Sisters of Mercy have been trying to ‘Mend the Gaps’ since 1858,” Sister Eileen said.  She shared stories of people she has met through the Nashua Soup Kitchen, “My friends who have no place to live tonight.”  You can watch her remarks here.

“Pope Francis challenges all people to come together to work for the common good,” said Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, executive director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, which launched the first Nuns on the Bus tour during the 2012 presidential campaign. “On our journey as Nuns on the Bus we will talk to those Pope Francis voters and, hopefully, inspire them to make mending the gaps the defining issue of the 2016 election.”

2016-07-22 Nuns on the Bus crowd2

Part of today’s crowd on the State House lawn.

“Every New Hampshire family deserves a fair shot at the American dream but rising costs, stagnant wages and unfair workplace policies are putting that dream out of reach for too many working people,” said Amanda Sears, director of the Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy, a co-sponsor of the Concord rally.  “The visit from the Nuns on the Bus today highlights the need for family friendly policy solutions that lift workers and make our communities stronger.”

Today’s program was emceed by Gail Kenney of the United Church of Christ Economic Justice Mission Group.  Jack Bopp and Arnie Alpert led everyone in a rousing rendition of “We’re All Riding with the Nuns on The Bus.”  Opening prayers were offered by Rev. Gary M. Schulte, the Conference Minister of the New Hampshire Conference of the United Church of Christ, and Woullard Lett, president of the Manchester, NH branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Today’s rally was cosponsored by organizations including AFSC’s NH Program, NH Voices of Faith, Granite State Organizing Project, United Church of Christ Economic Justice Ministry, NH Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy, NH Sisters of Mercy, and Stamp Stampede.

 

 

 

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