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Republicans Brings Shame On New Hampshire By Voting To Take ‘No Action’ On Rep Fisher Before He Resigns

How many Granite Staters feel right now

Once again the NH Republican Party has brought shame to our great state.  

Today, the NH Legislative Administrative Committee met to vote on whether any action would be taken against Rep Robert Fisher for his comments promoting rape and Rep Sherry Frost for her personal tweets that were deemed inappropriate due to her use of “foul” language.

“The actions by House Republicans on the Legislative Administration Committee today were an embarrassing abdication of our duties as Representatives,” said House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff.

Republican Dick Hinch (Merrimack), chair of the committee, wanted to have one vote covering both Representatives implying that the tweets made by Rep Frost were somehow equal to the years of rape promotion by Rep Fisher.

“Decisions made by the majority today were clearly designed to provide cover for Representative Fisher and deny the ability to take any action against him. Dictating that the committee consider the actions of both Representatives Fisher and Frost in a single motion violates both legislative process and common sense, and violates the legislature’s right to discipline its members as it sees fit,” Shurtleff added.

“The NH GOP is sending a loud message that it will work to provide political cover for individuals like Rep. Fisher who promote rape culture and misogyny. There should have been no hesitation in calling out Fisher’s action and no hiding behind false equivalences.  The NH GOP didn’t want to hold Fisher accountable, so they chose instead to target a female legislator who speaks her mind. This is the same playbook that encourages rape culture in the first place – blame the woman,” said Zandra Rice-Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress in a May 4th statement.

Just prior to the committee vote, Rep Tim Smith (D- Manchester) highlighted how Rep Fisher is still moderates the Red Pill Reddit under another alias.  Rep Fisher, under oath, denied having any continued involvement with the Red Pill Reddit, however the evidence provided indicates that he was lying under oath, a fact the Republican leadership did not seem to care about.

In his statement today, Rep Shurtleff announced the he personally would “ask the Attorney General to investigate the allegations that he still runs the Red Pill forum.”

Rep Smith also noted that the committee had received over 40,000 petitions to have Rep Fisher removed from office.

“Robert Fisher is a rape promoter who has no place serving in government,” explained Shaunna Thomas, co-founder of UltraViolet one of the advocacy groups behind the petition drive.“Comments like Fisher’s contribute directly to America’s rape epidemic by normalizing and excusing violence against women. Fisher’s promotion of this repulsive ideology puts women’s lives at risk and undermines trust in the New Hampshire state legislature to protect all citizens.”

The vote came out as expected, straight down party lines 8-6 to take no action on Rep Fisher or Rep Frosts.  The crowd was outraged, yelling “Shame, Shame.”

Democrats on the committee wanted to submit a minority report to all members of the House before the entire House votes as early as next week. Rep Hinch, rejected their request and ruled that no minority report would be accepted.

“The most egregious action by the Republican majority today was the denial of the minority to submit a report. How ironic that the majority recommendation of ‘no action’ was made under the guise of supporting free speech, while simultaneously denying the minority the long established tradition to formally oppose majority action by including a minority report,” Shurtleff added.

After the vote today, Rice-Hawkins said, “The NH GOP sent a loud message that it will work to provide political cover for individuals like Fisher who promote rape culture and misogyny. House Speaker Shawn Jasper, Republican Majority Leader Dick Hinch, and the entire Republican caucus of the Legislative Administration committee undermined the trust placed in them by constituents by putting party politics ahead of the women and children of our state and voting for no action to be taken on then-Rep. Fisher. There is absolutely no question this was about politics, since the Republicans required the motion on Fisher to be combined with a motion regarding actions of another elected official, leaving the committee with only the option to approve or condemn them both. It is hard to imagine a jury being ordered to issue a joint ruling on two different individuals charged with two very different offenses, but that is exactly the partisan game the NH House GOP played today. Furthermore, they refused to even allow a minority report.”

After the despicable action by the GOP voting to take no action, effectively justifying his rape comments, Rep Fisher officially resigned his position effective at noon today.

Prior to the committee session, members of UltraViolet, Granite State Progress and Action Together spoke out against Rep Fisher’s rape comments and once again called for his resignation.

“Action Together New Hampshire is pleased to learn Robert Fisher tendered his resignation following the executive session on his actions. While seeing Fisher out of a position of power was the outcome we were seeking, we are deeply disturbed by the extreme partisanship and blatant misogyny that this process exposed in the House,” said Action Together New Hampshire Executive Director Emily Morgan.  “Action Together New Hampshire remains committed to holding elected officials accountable regardless of party affiliation, and we expect honorable public servants to also hold their colleagues to a higher standard of behavior than Mr. Fisher demonstrated.”

“We are pleased that Rep. Fisher finally resigned, though we note his resignation only came after House Democrats threatened to take his statements under oath to the Attorney General for investigation. From start to finish, Robert Fisher has not been honest and transparent regarding his viewpoints that women are of a lesser class than their male counterparts,” Rice-Hawkins added.

“We welcome Robert Fisher’s resignation from the New Hampshire state legislature. Fisher’s repulsive ideology and cultivation of a pro-rape forum put women’s lives at risk–he directly contributed to America’s rape epidemic by normalizing and excusing violence against women.  It is deeply concerning that New Hampshire’s Legislative Administration Committee did not recognize what the rest of us did – that brand of dangerous misogyny simply has no place our government,” said Karin Roland, Chief Campaigns Officer of UltraViolet.

Ultimately the goal of removing Rep Fisher from the House was accomplished but not until after the committee brought shame our state by justifying his comments and actions by voting to take “no action.”

Activists Rally And Hold Press Conference Addressing Rep Robert Fisher’s Comments Promoting Rape

Rep. Debra Altschiller, members of UltraViolet, Action Together New Hampshire, and Granite State Progress take on rape promoter with joint rally and press conference

CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE — Prior to the committee voting  to take “no action” on Rep Robert Fisher, members of UltraViolet, a national women’s advocacy organization, joined Action Together New Hampshire, Granite State Progress, and Rep. Debra Altschiller for a small rally, where participants appeared in costumes from the popular book and TV show A Handmaid’s Tale to address Rep. Robert Fisher’s online comments promoting rape. The group also held a press conference urging a New Hampshire State legislature committee to make an official recommendation that would expel Rep. Fisher from office. The full State House of Representatives will then vote on Fisher’s potential expulsion from the legislative body on June 1st.

The move to expel state representative Robert Fisher from the New Hampshire legislature came after a report last month from The Daily Beast, discovered that the two-term Republican was the creator of an online community dedicated to promoting violence against women. Fisher’s actions on the online forum included comments deriding women’s intelligence, and recommending ways for men to dodge rape accusations, as well as statements arguing that rape had specific benefits – especially for the rapist. Since the comments were discovered, Fisher has doubled down and publicly defended the idea that most women lie about rape and that men should put cameras in their bedrooms to protect themselves.

More than 42,000 members of UltraViolet have signed onto the petition calling on the New Hampshire State Legislature to discipline Fisher and expel him from office. State lawmakers and New Hampshire’s Governor have also called for Fisher to resign.

VIEW THE PETITION HERE: https://act.weareultraviolet.org/sign/pro-rape_nh_legislator/

“Robert Fisher is a rape promoter who has no place serving in government,” explained Shaunna Thomas, co-founder of UltraViolet.“Comments like Fisher’s contribute directly to America’s rape epidemic by normalizing and excusing violence against women. Fisher’s promotion of this repulsive ideology puts women’s lives at risk and undermines trust in the New Hampshire state legislature to protect all citizens. We urge the Legislative Administration Committee to recommend that the House expel Fisher from their ranks – and demonstrate to all New Hampshire residents that misogyny will not be tolerated.”

“Trivializing this horrific crime or minimizing it through pseudo intellectual arguments does not deserve respect or celebration,” said Rep. Debra Altschiller. “Representative Fisher’s actions deserve condemnation, and we should not try to make them go away by patting ourselves on the back for having a hearing. We need to take clear and concise action that speaks to our state and to the nation whose eyes are upon us because of the shameful behavior of Representative Fisher.”

Zandra Rice-Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress said, “The actions of Rep. Fisher rise to an unprecedented situation in the House. There should be no statute of limitations in considering how his rape culture comments and the misogynistic forum he created are detrimental to women. There should be no looking the other way when a politician promotes the false narrative that rape victims are liars. And we know from new information that Rep. Fisher has not reformed, and that he has continued to participate in the Red Pill despite his claims otherwise.

Emily Morgan, Action Together New Hampshire said, “The women of New Hampshire are not safe with men like Representative Fisher making laws and it’s a disservice to all of New Hampshire that the leaders of his party are going out of their way to protect him”

After the press conference, the Legislation Administration Committee led by Republican Dick Hinch argued over whether or not any action should be taken against Rep Fisher.  Rep Hinch recommended “no action” and straight down party lines, in a vote of 8-6, the committee agreed that the committee would take no action against Rep Fisher.

After the vote, female members of the audience began to shout “shame” to those members who voted to condone Rep Fisher’s actions.

Video caught by David Meuse on Twitter.

UPDATE 2PM: Rep Fisher has resigned his position in the NH House. 

Thousands Join Women’s Group in Demanding NH Legislature Expel Rape Apologist Rep Robert Fisher

UltraViolet Says Fisher’s Promotion of Violence and Misogyny Online Puts Women at Risk, Undermines the Credibility of NH’s Government

NEW HAMPSHIRE — A new petition from UltraViolet, a leading women’s advocacy organization, is demanding that the New Hampshire State Legislature immediately move to expel state representative Robert Fisher, after a report last month from The Daily Beast discovered that the two-term Republican was the creator of an online community dedicated to promoting violence against women.

Fisher’s actions on the online forum included comments deriding women’s intelligence, and recommending ways for men to dodge rape accusations, as well as statements arguing that rape had specific benefits – especially for the rapist. Since the comments were discovered, Fisher has doubled down and publicly defended the idea that most women lie about rape and that men should put cameras in their bedrooms to protect themselves.

More than 36,000 members of UltraViolet have signed onto the petition calling on the New Hampshire State Legislature to discipline Fisher and expel him from office. With state lawmakers and New Hampshire’s Governor calling for Fisher to resign, the New Hampshire State Legislature is set to vote on Fisher’s expulsion on June 1st.

VIEW THE PETITION HERE: https://act.weareultraviolet.org/sign/pro-rape_nh_legislator/

“Rape apologists have no place in our government,” explained Shaunna Thomas, co-founder of UltraViolet. “Extreme anti-woman comments like Fisher’s directly contribute to our national rape culture epidemic – one where our society normalizes and excuses violence against women. Fisher’s promotion of this repulsive ideology puts women’s lives at risks and undermines trust in the New Hampshire state legislature to protect all citizens. The New Hampshire State legislature must immediately move to expel Fisher from their ranks – and demonstrate to all New Hampshire residents that this kind of dangerous anti-women ideology has no place in our society.”


UltraViolet is an online community of over 1,000,000 women and men who want to take collective action to expose and fight sexism in the public sector, private sector and the media. Find out more at WeAreUltraViolet.org.

Shaheen Reintroduces Legislation To Protect Pregnant Workers From Workplace Discrimination

Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which is closely modeled after the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), would address legal ambiguities and help ensure that pregnant women are treated fairly on the job

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Bob Casey (D-PA) and Dean Heller (R-NV) reintroduced bipartisan legislation that would protect pregnant workers from workplace discrimination. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would address legal ambiguities and help ensure that pregnant women are treated fairly on the job. The legislation, which is closely modeled after the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), would require employers to make reasonable accommodations—such as a minor job modification—that would allow pregnant workers to continue working and prevent them from being forced out on leave or out of their jobs. The bill also prohibits employers from denying employment opportunities to women based on their need for reasonable accommodations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. A companion bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressmen Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Mike Coffman (R-CO).

“No expectant mother should have to choose between giving up her job or jeopardizing the health of her pregnancy,” said Senator Shaheen. “Congress must work together to safeguard the important role of women in our workforce and prevent employer discrimination. This bipartisan legislation will ensure that pregnant workers are afforded reasonable on-the-job accommodations and protected from unfair retaliation.”

“Women make up almost half the workforce, but all too often they’re forced to make an impossible choice: risk their own health and pregnancy to keep a job, or lose their income at the moment they can least afford it,” said Emily Martin, NWLC General Counsel and Vice President for Workplace Justice. “Pregnant workers are ready, willing and able to work but they are often pushed out by employers who refuse to make even minor temporary changes to their jobs to accommodate pregnant workers’ medical needs. We applaud today’s bipartisan action and urge Congress to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act – because no woman should have to choose between her job and her pregnancy.”

Sixty-two percent of pregnant women and new moms are in the labor force, yet under current law, pregnant workers can be placed on unpaid leave or forced out of their jobs because of a pregnancy.

Shaheen and Casey first introduced this legislation in the 112th Congress. The legislation is supported by: A Better Balance, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), American Association of University Women (AAUW), American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, California Women’s Law Center, Equal Rights Advocates, Hadassah, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center, Legal Momentum, Main Street Alliance, March of Dimes, National Organization for Women, National Partnership for Women & Families, National Women’s Law Center, Physicians for Reproductive Health, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce.

Progressives In The Senate Push To Expand Employee-Owned Companies

Senator Hassan Joins Senator Sanders, Lahey, and Gillibrand To Introduce Legislation To Encourage and Expand Employee-Owned Companies 

WASHINGTON – Today, building on her efforts to expand middle class opportunity and support innovative businesses in New Hampshire, Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined in introducing two pieces of legislation to help encourage and expand employee-owned companies.

Senator Hassan joined Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) in introducing the WORK Act and the U.S. Employee Ownership Bank Act.

“Studies have shown that employee-owned companies have more productive workers, better working conditions, and greater shareholder returns,” said Senator Hassan. “New Hampshire has innovative businesses that are setting a great example of the benefits of employee-owned companies. I am proud to support these two bills that will help encourage these efforts, boost economic growth and expand opportunity for hard-working Granite Staters.”

Broad-based employee ownership has been proven to increase employment, increase productivity, sales, and wages in the United States. Employee ownership boosts company productivity by 4 percent, shareholder returns by 2 percent and profits by 14 percent, according to a Rutgers University study. Nationally, there are already nearly 10,000 employee-owned businesses which employ roughly 10 million people.

The WORK Act would provide more than $45 million in funding to states to establish and expand employee ownership centers, which provide training and technical support for programs promoting employee ownership. The bill is also co-sponsored by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

The U.S. Employee Ownership Bank Act would create a U.S. Employee Ownership Bank to provide $500 million in low-interest rate loans and other financial assistance to help workers purchase businesses through an employee stock ownership plan or a worker-owned cooperative.

NFL Players Association Endorses Shaheen Bill To Prevent Opioid Misuse Among Student Athletes

Shaheen and Former NFL Player Jeff Hatch Welcome NFL Players Association Endorsement of Shaheen’s Bill to Prevent Opioid Misuse Among Students and Student Athletes 

(Washington, DC) — This morning, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Jeff Hatch, a former NFL player and resident of Manchester who fought prescription opioid misuse, welcomed the NFL Players Association’s (NFLPA) endorsement of Shaheen’s legislation aimed at preventing opioid misuse among students and student athletes. In a letter addressed to Shaheen, the NFLPA echoed Shaheen’s concerns about the increased non-medical use of prescription opioids among student athletes, particularly in high-impact sports.

The letter from NFLPA President Eric Winston and Executive Director DeMaurice F. Smith reads in part, “Student athletes are uniquely at risk for opioid misuse and overdose… Additional federal resources and guidance to support prevention efforts regarding the dangers of unsafe opioid use for student athletes would greatly benefit our members ongoing work. To that end, we strongly support the Student and Student Athlete Opioid Misuse Prevention Act, and look forward to working with you to raise awareness of this important issue.”

“It’s very encouraging to have the NFL Players Association’s support for my legislation to help prevent substance misuse among students and student athletes,” said Senator Shaheen. “The NFLPA and its members know firsthand how at-risk athletes, particularly in high impact sports, are to prescription opioid misuse. This is also born out in studies that show that students and student athletes have a higher risk of substance misuse, yet there hasn’t been a concerted national effort to protect these young people through prevention. My bill would bring together an entirely new community including coaches, parents, athletic trainers, along with student athletes, to inform them of the risk of substance misuse and create a support system for student athletes at risk for addiction. I look forward to working with the NFLPA to draw attention to this important issue and advance my legislation in Congress.”

“The NFL Players Association has always been supportive of player-first initiatives and is keenly aware of the risks opioid medications pose for athletes of all ages, pro and amateur alike.” said Jeff Hatch, a former New York Giants player who fought substance misuse following an injury and now lives in Manchester. “It’s very exciting to see the Association endorse Senator Shaheen’s legislation that will help educate students and student athletes of the dangers of substance misuse. I know how devastating misuse of prescription opioids can be and it’s hard to overstate how important it is to provide access to prevention programs before it’s too late. These prevention programs will save lives and help students avoid the harrowing struggle that I went through. I encourage other professional league organizations to take a look at Senator Shaheen’s bill and join the NFLPA in supporting this important legislation.”

The Student and Student Athlete Opioid Misuse Prevention Act would allow schools, communities, and youth athletic associations in the Granite State and around the country to provide prevention programs to reduce the risk of opioid misuse among students and student athletes. Specifically, the bill would authorize $10 million annually to support programs for students and student athletes, as well as training for teachers, administrators, athletic trainers, coaches and athletic directors specifically targeted at mitigating the risk of opioid misuse and overdose. Research shows that students, and student athletes in particular, are at risk of opioid and heroin misuse. Senator Shaheen’s bill is the first major legislative effort to target the youth, high school, and collegiate sports communities across the country in the effort to combat the opioid epidemic.

Activists To March Against Monsanto May 20th

Protester against Monsanto. Image by Die Grünen Kärnten FLIKR

NH March Against Monsanto Rally and March at the NH State House

WHAT: A Peaceful March through downtown Concord and a rally with speakers to provide information about a Global Call to Action at informing the public about genetically engineered food and calling it into question. There will be information about saving our Bees, Monarchs and much more. Tyler Road, a local band, will kick off the rally for the third year in a row with their organic themed song, “You Can’t Bio-Engineer Love” by Dave Carroll. Experts and speakers will be followed by the march through Downtown Concord. An organic seed swap table will feature generously donated High Mowing Seeds, as well as, a collection of organic, non-GMO food for the McKenna House. Free. Family Friendly.

DATE: Saturday: May 20, 2017

TIME: 11:00AM-2:00PM

LOCATION: Concord City Plaza, in front of the NH State House, 107 N Main St. Concord NH 03301

March Against Monsanto Concord, NH Rally and March! May 20, 2017 11:00 a.m.
Rain or Shine! ~ City Plaza, Next to the Famer’s Market ~ Concord, NH

Join a world-wide event with millions of people marching in solidarity. The peaceful rally intends to educate with speakers and information tables to call into question the long term health risks of genetically engineered food for the protection of our food supply and pollinators. Tyler Road, a local band, will kick off the rally with their organic themed song, “You Can’t Bio-Engineer Love” by Dave Carroll. Speakers include bee keeper Ann Antonucci, NH State Rep Jim McConnell, Marty Michener, PH D Ecologist, Laura Wolfner, M.A. Molecular Biologist & M.A. Archealogist, and Bonnie Wright, from Non-Toxic NH, NH Right to Know GMO. The march will follow through Downtown Concord.

The goal of the day is to identify the risks to pollinators, promote organic solutions, supporting local farms and will share information about Monsanto’s herbicide Round-up, which has been declared a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization. We support food and seed sovereignty. You, your family and friends are invited. People are encouraged to bring posters, costumes and noise makers. There will be excellent opportunities for photos and interviews. This is for our present and future seven generations to come. Our time is now to stand united and create positive change. We would like to thank NH Sierra Club and NH Peace Action for co-sponsoring this event.

We will collect donations of GMO-Free or organic foods for the McKenna House Homeless Shelter in Concord, NH.

Event Organizers: Fawn Gaudet~NH March Against Monsanto Community, MAM NH, Catherine Corkery~NH Sierra Club, Doreen Desmarais~NH Peace Action, NH Rebellion, Carline Carpenter~NH March Against Monsanto Community, MAM NH

List of speakers: 

Amy Antonucci, Local Bee Keeper
State Representative, James McConnell
Marty Michener, PH D Ecologist
Laura Wolfner,  M.A. Molecular Biologist & M.A. Archealogist
Bonnie Wright, Activist~ Non-Toxic NH, NH Right to Know GMO

Tables and Supporters:

NH March Against Monsanto Community
March Against Monsanto NH
Bees and Pollinators Against Monsanto
NH Right to Know GMO
NH Sierra Club
NH Peace Action
Non-Toxic NH
NH Rebellion
Rights and Democracy
League of Conservation Voters
“Half Hour to Health” Crossroads Chiropractic radio show on WTPL “The Pulse 107.7 FM”
“Queen City Chronicles” hosted by Jon Hopwood on Manchester Public Access Television WMNH
NH Organic Farmers Association
Peppercorn Natural Foods Plymouth, NH
Kearsarge Gore Farm Certified Organic Produce in Warner
Others

Hanover Becomes First New Hampshire Town To Commit To 100 Percent Renewable Energy

HANOVER, N.H.. – The Town of Hanover, New Hampshire last night voted to establish a goal of transitioning to 100 percent clean and renewable energy by 2050. The article approved at Tuesday’s town meeting sets a community-wide goal of transitioning to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030 and a 2050 goal of transitioning heating and transportation to run on clean, renewable sources of energy.

Tuesday’s vote makes Hanover the 29th city in the country to commit to 100 percent renewable energy and the first in New Hampshire to establish this goal. The vote comes after the Sustainable Hanover Town Committee in December endorsed a transition to 100 percent renewable energy in Hanover for electricity, heat and transportation by 2050. Earlier on Tuesday, the Town of Southampton, New York similarly established a goal to transition to 100 percent renewable energy.

“As Town Manager for the Town of Hanover, I am overjoyed that the Town Meeting voted unanimously to support a goal of 100 percent renewable energy. We look forward to working with Sierra Club and Sustainable Hanover to achieve this goal,” said Hanover Town Manager Julia Griffin.

Town meetings like Tuesday’s Hanover town vote have long been a form of direct democracy across New England. Unlike the other 28 cities and towns that have committed to 100 percent clean energy, Hanover represents the first municipality in the United States to have a goal of 100 percent renewable energy voted on and approved by the residents of that community.

Tuesday’s vote builds on Hanover’s growing investment in renewable energy.In 2014, Hanover was named the EPA’s first Green Power Community in New Hampshire. The town is currently at 22 percent renewable electricity through partnerships with Dartmouth College and other businesses and institutions and town residents.

​”​This is a great day for Hanover. I am so proud to be a resident of Hanover​ — the first town in New Hampshire to make a commitment to 100% renewable energy and the first municipality in the country to have done it by a vote of its citizenry,” said Judith Colla, a member of the Sierra Club Upper Valley’s Executive Committee. “I look forward to supporting next steps here in Hanover and helping to spread this campaign to our neighbors throughout the Upper Valley​.”

Other cities to commit to 100 percent clean and renewable energy include major metropolises like San Diego and Atlanta, along with small towns including Abita Springs, Louisiana and Moab, Utah. Burlington, Vermont is the first city in the United States to run entirely on clean, renewable energy.

Hassan And Shaheen Vote Against Scott Gottlieb’s Confirmation To Head The FDA

Today, prior to the confirmation vote, Senator Maggie Hassan spoke on the Senate floor, voicing her opposition to President Trump’s nominee for Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Scott Gottlieb. (Video below)

“Gottlieb, a physician and venture capitalist with long ties to the pharmaceutical industry, served as a deputy FDA commissioner and a high-ranking official at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services during the George W. Bush administration,” wrote the Washington Post. 

“It is the responsibility of the Food and Drug Administration – starting with its Commissioner – to protect consumers and stand up for public health. I have serious concerns about Dr. Gottlieb’s record… [and] his stances on critical priorities for people in New Hampshire and across the nation,” Senator Hassan said on the floor today.

In her remarks, Senator Hassan highlighted the heroin, fentanyl, and opioid epidemic that is devastating communities and the economy in New Hampshire, stemming in part from the overprescribing of opioids. The Senator emphasized the importance of the FDA in helping to combat substance misuse through the creation of risk evaluation and mitigation strategies (REMS), which include prescriber training. Senator Hassan voiced concern with Gottlieb’s opposition to the creation of REMS, raising questions about what strategies the FDA would support under his leadership if confirmed.

“[The] FDA should be making REMS stronger and make sure that all opioid medications have REMS – we don’t need a Commissioner who opposed the very creation of the REMS program…In the midst of a public health challenge as serious as this epidemic, we should be taking – and we have to take – an all-hands-on-deck approach,” Senator Hassan added.

Additionally, Senator Hassan expressed concern with Gottlieb’s record of “putting politics ahead of science when it comes to women’s health,” noting that during his time in the Bush administration, Gottlieb was involved in a controversial and unscientifically-based delay in approving the emergency contraceptive Plan B for over-the-counter use.

“Unfortunately, [the Trump] Administration has made clear that it is focused on an agenda that restricts women’s access to critical health services, including family planning. Dr. Gottlieb’s record has demonstrated that he supports this backwards agenda… I am concerned that under his leadership, the FDA will play political games with women’s health once again,” Senator Hassan said.

Noting Gottlieb’s troubling record of neglecting science at the expense of protecting public health and consumer safety, Senator Hassan concluded, “Mr. President, Dr. Gottlieb’s nomination raises too many questions about whether he will put political interests ahead of science and ahead of the safety of consumers… In voting today, I cannot overlook that record, so I will vote against his nomination, and I urge my colleagues to do the same.”

Senator Jeanne Shaheen also opposed Gottlieb’s nomination and followed through by voting no on his confirmation.

“It’s the job of the FDA, at the direction of the commissioner, to protect American consumers and ensure our food and drugs are safe. After reviewing Dr. Gottlieb’s record, I am not confident that his policies and vision for the FDA align with the needs of my constituents in New Hampshire,” said Senator Shaheen. “When Dr. Gottlieb enters the FDA as its commissioner, he will bring with him a complex web of conflicting interests with the pharmaceutical industry. Just as alarming, he holds antiquated beliefs about contraception and family planning based on politics, not science.”

“Dr. Gottlieb has advocated for a pharmaceutical company to obtain additional fentanyl for a consumer product and has voiced strong opposition to the Affordable Care Act, which has helped tens of thousands of Granite Staters receive treatment for substance misuse. His troubling negligence towards America’s opioid crisis confirms that I cannot in good conscience support his nomination.”

The Senate did vote to confirm Dr Gottlieb with a vote of 57-42, largely along party lines.

Income Inequality Grows As CEO Pay Jumps 6 Percent To 347 The Average Worker

Image courtesy of the AFL-CIO

A new report and searchable database from the AFL-CIO’s Executive Pay Watch highlights the lavish compensation executives receive while workers wage remain stagnant.

Income inequality has become one of the largest economic issues facing America.  As workers wages remain stagnant, corporations continue to rake in massive profits and pay their executives lavish salaries.

According to the new AFL-CIO Executive PayWatch, the average CEO of an S&P 500 company made $13.1 million per year in 2016 – 347 times more money than the average rank-and-file worker. CEO pay for major U.S. companies has risen nearly 6 percent, as income inequality and outsourcing of good-paying American jobs have increased.

“This year’s report provides further proof that the greed of corporate CEOs is driving America’s income inequality crisis,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Big corporations continually find ways to rig the economy in their favor and line their CEOs’ pockets at the expense of the workers who make their businesses run. Too often, corporations see workers as costs to be cut, rather than assets to be invested in. It’s shameful that CEOs can make tens of millions of dollars and still destroy the livelihoods of the hard-working people who make their companies profitable.”

The Executive PayWatch website showed that in 2016, the average production and nonsupervisory worker earned approximately $37,600 per year. When adjusted for inflation, the average wage has remained stagnant for 50 years.

Take for example, Raymond Barrette, CEO of White Mountain Insurance Group LTD of Hanover, NH.  Barrette raked in $8.1 million in salary and stock options.  That is 270 times the average rank and file worker.

Another example comes from Patrick T. Ryan, CEP of Press Ganey Holdings in Wakefield, Massachusetts. He collected a whopping $28.9 million in compensation, 769 times the average worker.

The report allows viewers to search their comprehensive database of CEO pay by industry or state.

Screenshot from Executive Pay Watch

The PayWatch site also highlights U.S. corporations that don’t pay taxes on their offshore profits. By “permanently reinvesting” these profits overseas, they can forever defer paying federal income taxes and reinvesting back into the community.

According to the report, Massachusetts based General Electric is holding $82 billion in “Unrepatriated Profits” overseas in tax havens.  That is only one-third of the amount of money Apple is shielding overseas ($230 billion).

The report also highlights the growing trend of corporations offshoring good American jobs at the expense of hard working people.

“Avoiding corporate income taxes is one way CEOs boost their companies’ profits and thereby increase their own pay. This corporate tax avoidance reduces the amount of money that is available for public goods like roads and schools. As a result, our economy increasingly has become out of balance,” wrote the AFL-CIO in their report.

Image courtesy of the AFL-CIO

Mondelēz International, highlighted in this year’s PayWatch, represents one of the most egregious examples of CEO-to-worker pay inequality. The company, which makes Nabisco products, including Oreos, Chips Ahoy and Ritz Crackers, is leading the race to the bottom. Last year, it closed the Oreo cookie line at the iconic Nabisco factory in Chicago, sending 600 family-sustaining jobs to Mexico, where workers face poor labor and safety standards. Mondelēz CEO Irene Rosenfeld made more than $16.7 million in 2016 – about $8,000 per hour.

“Greedy CEOs are continuing to get rich off the backs of working people,” said Michael Smith, who was among hundreds of Nabisco workers from the South Side of Chicago laid off in March of 2016. “I loved working at Nabisco, and I took pride in the work I did to make a quality product. It’s not as if the company isn’t profitable. The Oreo alone brings in $2 billion in annual revenue, and the CEO makes more in a day than most of us made in a year. I just don’t understand the disrespectful attitude toward working people.”

While companies are continuing to put profits over people, working people are fighting back. The AFL-CIO has endorsed the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers’ International Union (BCTGM) boycott of Nabisco products made in Mexico.

These corporations are just examples of the insatiable greed that has taken over Corporate America.  The never ending race to the bottom continues to punish worker, shipping their jobs overseas.  To begin to address the growing income inequality in America, we must first address the outrageous pay ratios between CEO’s and rank and file workers.

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