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Governor Sununu Praises New Healthcare Bill That ‘Defunds’ Planned Parenthood

Amid Federal Uncertainties, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England Marks National Women’s Health Week by Emphasizing Importance of Wellness Visits and Preventive Care

“May 15-21 is National Women’s Health Week, Our Doors Remain Open”

Concord, NH — During National Women’s Health Week (May 15-21), Planned Parenthood of Northern New England is highlighting the need for regular wellness visits and preventive health care as a critical part of staying healthy for women of all ages. Regular checkups and screenings are essential to good health; and early detection and treatment of illnesses could save your life. A survey released last year, however found that the vast majority of women do not know when or how frequently they should be screened for breast and cervical cancer, and many — especially women of color — aren’t getting screened often enough.

However, Women’s Health Week comes two weeks after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the worst bill for women’s health in a generation. This legislation “defunds” Planned Parenthood, which will block Medicaid patients in New Hampshire from accessing birth control, cancer screenings, and STI testing at Planned Parenthood. This disastrous legislation will make it harder for women in New Hampshire to prevent unintended pregnancy, harder to have a healthy pregnancy, and harder to raise a family.

Yesterday, during an interview on NHPR’s The Exchange, Governor Sununu proposed that states should be able to opt out of covering women’s health care, substance abuse treatment and mental health treatment. Referring to the opt out as “flexibilities” for the states, Sununu rationalized his stance on substance abuse treatment and women’s health by saying flexibility is needed because those issues may not be as important in other states as they are in New Hampshire.

“As the nation’s leading provider and advocate of women’s health care, Planned Parenthood encourages all women to make their health a top priority by scheduling a checkup and getting regular screenings,” said Molly Cowan, Planned Parenthood of Norther New England’s Communications Manager. “Annual well-woman visits help providers learn more about your health and family history to help you stay healthy, and are an opportunity to make sure that you’re getting the screenings you need, as well as using the birth control method that best fits your needs.”

“In New Hampshire, Planned Parenthood is calling on our leaders: Governor Sununu, and budget writers in the House and the Senate to fund reproductive health programs and ensure New Hampshire’s quality public health outcomes, such as low teen pregnancy rates and strong maternal health outcomes, remain enviable.These results are no accident, and we urge our leaders stand with women, and put their votes where results clearly are. Planned Parenthood is an expert and cost-effective source of preventive care for women, and our doors remain open to answer any questions that women and young people may have about their health,” Cowan added.

Sununu’s support for allowing New Hampshire and other states to opt out of women’s health coverage would undermine coverage for those with preexisting conditions, maternity care, and reproductive rights. This continues Sununu’s tenuous relationship with women’s health, as he voted to defund Planned Parenthood as an Executive Councilor in 2015 before being pressured to vote for it in the midst of his run for Governor.

“It’s outrageous that Governor Sununu would support allowing New Hampshire and other states to deny coverage for women’s health care, substance abuse treatment and mental health treatment,” said NH Democratic Party Chair, Raymond Buckley. “His excuse is pathetic, saying that different states have different needs, but no one should be denied coverage because of their gender. Just because a lower volume of people suffer from substance use disorder in other states doesn’t mean those who are suffering don’t deserve care. And just because Governor Sununu is a man doesn’t mean he doesn’t have to worry about women gaining the coverage they need. New Hampshire needs a governor who stands up against Trumpcare, not one who supports outlandish proposals that would undermine a promise to provide affordable health insurance to those with preexisting conditions.”

For those who may be uncomfortable or unfamiliar with a well-woman visit, Planned Parenthood’s online resources walk through the process and provide a clear sense of what to expect.

One in five women has turned to Planned Parenthood at some point in her life for affordable, high-quality health care and compassionate, confidential information and advice. Additionally, the Affordable Care Act strengthened women’s preventive health  coverage; the ACA requires 100 percent coverage of cancer screening costs, with no copay for insured women.

Last year, Planned Parenthood saw 11,000 patients in New Hampshire alone.

Planned Parenthood health centers provide high-quality, confidential, affordable health care and our doors are open to everyone. Visit plannedparenthood.org to find a health center and make an appointment.

Yesterday Was Big Day In Concord For The Future Of Education In NH

Senate Stops Edelblut’s Power Grab, House Kills Voucher Bill And Funds Full Day Kindergarten

Governor Sununu’s Education Commissioner Edelblut requested broad new authority to make unilateral decisions impacting the future of education in New Hampshire 

Concord, NH – The NH State Senate Education Committee voted 3-2 yesterday to reject an amendment requested by Governor Sununu’s Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut. The amendment to otherwise non-controversial bill HB 356 would have given the new Commissioner broad authority to make unilateral decisions impacting education in the Granite State.

Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins applauded the Senate’s actions:

“We applaud the Senate Education committee for rejecting the attempted power grab by Governor Sununu’s Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut. Much of the public opposition to Frank Edelblut’s nomination and confirmation highlighted concerns over how he would operate within the Department of Education, and actions like this confirm Governor Sununu and the Executive Council should have listened to their constituents. This amendment was not the routine organizational realignment Commissioner Edelblut tried to characterize it as but a naked power grab for political purposes. Since taking office Edelblut has consistently used his Commissioner status to act in a unilateral manner to try to implement the strongly held beliefs he downplayed during the confirmation process.”

Just two months into his position as Education Commissioner, Edelblut has already made waves for trying to re-open the Next Generation Science Standards that were just approved last year; he initially refused to come clean about making a donation to a school privatization lawsuit against the Department he now leads; he forwarded an internal job posting to one of his Free State Project friends and then sent that individual’s resume to the HR director (that individual is also on the Board of an off-shoot group organizing for New Hampshire to secede from the rest of the country); he is using his position to lobby for SB 193, school vouchers/privatization; and he tried to usurp the State Board of Education’s rule-making responsibilities by injecting himself between the State Board and JLCAR – all without informing the State Board.

The NH Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley said the Senate made the right move:

“After promising to be ‘an implementation guy’ who wouldn’t create policy, Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut went back on his word in an attempted agency power grab. Edelblut would have taken this massive increase in power to radically transform the education system in his distorted image and seriously damaged education for children in the Granite State.

Edelblut is anti-transgender rights, supports conversion therapy, and opposes full-day kindergarten on the basis of a crackpot theory that it would increase misdiagnoses of ADHD.  Most recently, Edelblut broadcast his views that climate change is mentioned too often in science classes, openly disagreeing with the state Board of Education, in an interview with NHPR. The Senate Education Committee’s vote rightly prevents Edelblut from implementing these destructive policies.”

On the other side of the Capitol, the House was making some big decisions as well.

Yesterday, the House Education Committee voted to retain SB 193, a bill that sought to establish taxpayer-funded vouchers for religious schools, private schools, and home school parents. The bill was defeated amidst backlash from concerned Superintendents, School Boards, teachers, and parents throughout New Hampshire.

Governor Sununu and former Governor Jeb Bush both penned op-eds in favor of exactly the type of legislation House Republicans retained today, supporting public money for private schools and home schoolers. The bill also appears to violate the New Hampshire Constitution. The Committee’s vote to retain SB 193 effectively kills its prospects for another year.

“No matter how quietly Governor Sununu tries to back away from this bill, the defeat of SB 193 is a big blow to his education agenda. Sununu’s own party effectively killed legislation that he campaigned on, and that he and former Governor Jeb Bush penned op-eds in favor of. Governor Sununu and his unqualified Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut are trying to reshape the education system in their image and Edelblut, a homeschool parent, would have been eligible to receive taxpayer dollars had this bill passed,” said NHDP Chair Ray Buckley.

“New Hampshire parents are breathing a sigh of relief with SB 193’s bipartisan retention. This ill-conceived bill would have cost taxpayers an additional $25 million dollars to remove students from our public schools. SB 193 would have violated the New Hampshire Constitution in the name of benefits for private and religious schools with no mandate to comply with education standards, decreased funding towards public schools, and limited options for families in rural towns,” added Buckley.

Lastly, The House Education Committee also moved forward on SB191 a bill to fund full day kindergarten for all New Hampshire children.

Governor Sununu who campaigned on Full Day Kindergarten surprised many when his budget only funded the program for a select few areas in the state.

SB191 would set aside $14 million to fund full day kindergarten for all students in New Hampshire.

Governor Sununu is said to be in support of SB191, but did not advocate for the to provide all children in NH access to full day kindergarten. The bill will move to the full house soon.

Environment New Hampshire Says Trump’s New EPA Policy Is “Reckless,” Calls On Governor To Take Action

“Calling climate change a ‘hoax’ won’t stop temperatures or sea level from rising. We can tackle the climate crisis by investing in science and clean, renewable energy, but only if we move boldly and quickly. Defunding science, undercutting clean energy, and doubling down on fossil fuels is sheer reckless folly.”
Madeline Page, outreach director, Environment New Hampshire.

President Trump speaks before signing Executive Order undoing climate change regulations. Video here.

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Trump signed an executive order rolling back climate progress. The executive order instructs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to rewrite the Clean Power Plan, the single largest step the U.S. has taken to limit climate change. The order also lifts the moratorium on federal coal leasing and limits on methane from fracking operations. The administration also initiated a process to reconsider the Social Cost of Carbon and the National Environmental Policy Act guidance on climate pollution. Madeline Page, outreach director, Environment New Hampshire issued the following statement:

“Calling climate change a ‘hoax’ won’t stop temperatures or sea level from rising. We can tackle the climate crisis by investing in science and clean, renewable energy, but only if we move boldly and quickly. Defunding science, undercutting clean energy, and doubling down on fossil fuels is sheer reckless folly.

“2016 was the hottest year on record, beating 2015 which was the hottest year before that.  The climate and clean air safeguards that President Trump is proposing to block would increase pollution and threaten our health and the planet. If fully implemented, the Clean Power Plan alone would have reduced our power plant emissions 32% by 2030 with huge health and environmental benefits for granite staters. 

“Instead of accelerating this progress, the administration is proposing to endanger our health and threaten our children’s future. Blocking the Clean Power plan will lead to 3,600 additional premature deaths, 90,000 more asthma attacks in children, and 300,000 more missed work and school days by 2030.

“Millions of Americans have called for strong climate action, submitting more than 8 million comments asking the EPA to take action to cut carbon pollution from power plants. More than 600,000 of these comments came from Environment America’s members and supporters.

“More than 1100 health professionals sent a letter urging the President to support the Clean Power Plan, to limit carbon pollution, phase out drilling and mining on public lands, increase electric vehicles and set higher fuel economy standards for cars. 

“We need to stop President Trump’s rollbacks of our environmental protections that will make us more dependent on dirty fossil fuels. Today’s actions by the administration threaten our health, our environment, and our treasured places. 

“Despite the President’s dangerous and backwards energy agenda, the fact is the clean energy revolution can’t be stopped. Clean energy solutions like solar, wind and efficiency will reduce carbon pollution and clean up our air, protect our health including reducing asthma attacks, and promote energy independence. 

“At a time when the federal government is stalling progress, we are calling on Governor Sununu to keep leading the charge on and double the strength of America’s most successful regional climate and clean energy program. New Hampshire is one of nine in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative which has helped cut power plant pollution in half and invested more than $2.5 billion in clean energy over the last decade. We need Governor Sununu to act swiftly and boldly to double the strength of this successful climate program.”  

ICYMI: UNH Student Body Sends Clear Message to State House, But Get Ignored

CONCORD, NH –Attracting and retaining a young, millennial workforce is critical to the our state’s economic and cultural future.  Paramount to accomplishing this goal is supporting our university system and encouraging college students to stay in the state to work after they graduate.

That is why it is so troubling that Republican leadership and Governor Sununu have made numerous attempts to disenfranchise young people and ignore the issues most important to the thousands of students at our state’s largest millennial workforce pipeline, the University of New Hampshire. 

In fact, over the past month, students at the University of New Hampshire have spoken loud a clear against efforts to restrict their ability to vote and have raised concerns about a state budget that would raise tuitions, and other important issues. 

Please see below for a wrap up of actions taken by UNH students:

UNH Student Body President, Student Senators, and Students Invite Gov. Sununu to UNH But Get Ignored

Almost a month has passed since John DiStaso reported that UNH students, including the student body President and numerous Student Senators sent an open letter to Governor Sununu asking for him to come to UNH to discuss their concerns with his budget, including the rising cost of tuition, election law reforms that aim to disenfranchise student voters, and other issues most important to attracting and retaining New Hampshire college students.

Governor Sununu and his office have either ignored the letter or deemed it not worth of a reply. Ether way, Gov. Sununu has clearly shown it is not his priority to engage in a conversation with the student’s on our state’s largest campus. 

UNH Student Unanimously Passed Resolution Opposing Bills, like SB3, That Threaten to Suppress Voting Rights of College Student.

Executive Editor of  The New Hampshire, Pens Op-Ed Opposing Efforts to Restrict Student’s Right To Vote and Voter Fraud Lies.

Following the vote by the student senate to voice their opposition to any bill that will disenfranchise or restrict a college student’s ability to vote, the executive editor of the student newspaper, The New Hampshire, penned a hard hitting op-ed exposing republican lies about wide spread voter fraud and partisan attempts to restrict young people from voting.

Our state, our vote, our home

By Allison Bellucci

The New Hampshire workforce is aging, and the majority of students from UNH aren’t staying in the state. Want to know how to get even less out-of-state students to stay and work here? Don’t have them invested in state issues and take away their ability to make a choice for a place they call home. If we truly want UNH graduates working in New Hampshire, making them feel included and invested in the community is key to keeping these young, educated people in the state.

NH Democrats File Ethics Complaint Over Governor’s Tweet Promoting Sununu Family Owned Ski Resort

NHDP files Executive Branch Ethics Committee Complaint against Governor Sununu

Concord, N.H. – Yesterday, The New Hampshire Democratic Party filed a complaint with the Executive Branch Ethics Committee concerning Governor Sununu’s use of his official Twitter account to promote his family business.

In a Tweet from the Governor’s official account, as opposed to his personal one, Sununu mentioned and promoted Waterville Valley. This free advertising from the platform of the governor is a privilege not given to any other ski resort, and could have led to increased revenue for the business. 

The Executive Branch ethics code mandates that “no executive branch official…use his or her position within the state to secure privileges or advantages for himself…or advantages for others.” Since taking office, Governor Sununu has filed a Financial Interest form, indicating financial interest in Waterville Valley that is relevant to his position as governor. Sununu’s family is also reported to have a stake in the company, maintaining positions on the Board of Directors, with a spokeswoman refusing to reveal which family members serve on the board. 

“Using an official platform to promote a family business is precisely what the ethics code attempts to prevent.” said NHDP Chair Ray Buckley. “Whether it’s Governor Sununu promoting Waterville Valley, Donald Trump defending his daughter’s products against Nordstrom, or Kellyanne Conway hawking Ivanka Trump’s wares from the White House press room, promotion of a business from a position of power is a serious abuse.” 

Buckey continued, “Governor Sununu has been coy about his business dealings in the past. Giving his family business free advertising isn’t exactly the way to dispel concerns about his conflicts of interest. This violation would be a good opportunity for Governor Sununu and Waterville Valley to disclose more information about the company’s funding and remaining Sununu connections.”

Right To Work Goes Down In The NH House, New Hampshire Labor Rejoices

To the great “disappointment” of Governor Sununu, SB 11, the so-called “Right to Work” for less bill, goes down in flames.  By a bi-partisan vote of 200 to 177 the members of the NH House voted to kill the bill.  “I am deeply disappointed today by the House’s failure to pass Right to Work,” stated Governor Chris Sununu.

“Today’s vote was a confirmation of what we determined in the House Labor Committee, where Democrats and Republicans worked together to recommend defeat of so-called ‘right to work,’” said Representative Doug Ley (D-Jaffrey), the Ranking Democrat on the House Labor Committee. “With a strong economy and the lowest unemployment rate in America, legislation that reduces wages and interferes with the employer/employee relationship is the last thing our state needs.  I am very pleased that the full House agreed with the bipartisan Labor Committee recommendation, and that we can finally put this issue behind us.”

“Today a bi-partisan majority confirmed that ‘Right to Work’ is still wrong for New Hampshire, and this vote should be the final nail in the coffin,” said NH AFL-CIO President Glenn Brackett. “Across the Granite State, working people stood together against this corporate-backed legislation that would cripple our ability to speak up on job. We thank the legislators who let workers’ voices rise above special interests’.” 

AFT-NH, that represents 4,000 teachers, school support staff, city and town employees, police officers, library employees, and higher education faculty, was “extremely pleased” with Right to Work’s defeat.

“We are extremely pleased that the NH House defeated Right to Work by a 200-177 vote today,” said Doug Ley, President of AFT-NH. “The defeat of this bill was the result of cooperation across party lines and hard work by our members, fellow union brothers and sisters in the labor movement and community allies. The actions by the NH House today puts to bed this divisive legislation for at least another 2 years. We thank legislators who stood with working families.”

NEA-NH, the state’s largest public employee union, representing over 17,000 members, praised the vote.

“Educators’ working conditions are our child’s learning conditions,” said Megan Tuttle acting NEA-NH President. “By weakening the ability of educators to advocate for students, kids across New Hampshire stood to lose things like smaller class sizes, safe classrooms and drinking water, up-to-date resources, and expanded curriculum choices. Our ability to advocate for every public-school student was preserved today.”

“When out-of-state interests with pre-written legislation and lots of money try to set legislative priorities in New Hampshire, kids lose. Today’s vote prevented that from happening.”

“The 17,000 members of NEA-New Hampshire extend our thanks to those voting against SB11 today, especially those members who stood strong against the pressure applied by the majority leadership on this issue. Their resolve helped ensure that kids and educators across the state will continue to have a strong voice,” concluded Tuttle. 

Richard Gulla, President of the NH State Employees Association was “proud” of the legislators who stood with working families.

“Today, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted SB 11 Inexpedient to Legislate. We are proud of the legislators for standing with Granite State workers today and putting the so-called Right to Work bill behind us, where it belongs. The New Hampshire House recognized that there was no constituency supporting this legislation and proved out-of-state special interests have no place in our politics. It took courage to stand against the constant stream of pressure from outside funding – and Granite State families can now celebrate this accomplishment.”

“We are incredibly grateful to our elected officials for continuing to stand up for what is important. We look forward to working with Governor Sununu and the legislature to continue helping New Hampshire families,” Gulla added. 

Democrats also rejoiced as Sununu’s highest priority piece of legislation was defeated.

“New Hampshire proved once again that it’s a friend to workers’ rights. Despite Governor Sununu and NHGOP Chair Forrester’s brazen attempts, Republicans and Democrats in the State House stood together and made clear that this issue is above partisan politics,” said NHDP Chairman Ray Buckey. 

“Today’s defeat of the so-called Right to Work for Less legislation is a great victory for New Hampshire’s working families,” said Jeff Woodburn, NH Senate Minority Leader.  “Right to Work for Less makes it harder for people to earn a living, harder for people to make ends meet, and harder for people to support a family. I congratulate the bipartisan coalition in the House that recognized the damage it would have caused and came together to defeat this harmful legislation.”

Democracy Fails As Executive Councilors Vote To Confirm Edelblut, Against Constituents Overwhelming Objections

Today our elected representatives have failed us and took another step toward the destruction of our democracy.

With a party line vote of 3-2, the NH Executive Council voted to confirm, the completely unqualified Frank Edelblut, as Commissioner of Education against the wishes of their own constituents.

“Republicans on the Executive Council let down Granite State students and young families today by confirming Frank Edelblut, despite overwhelming grassroots opposition, a vote of no confidence by the State Board of Education, and a remarkably unqualified resume for this important position,” said Granite State teacher Matthew Gerding.

“As a school teacher and a young LGBT Granite Stater hoping to raise my family here, I find it incredibly disheartening to see Republican leaders chose to confirm someone who opposes full-day kindergarten, refuses to oppose the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy, and calls education a ‘product’ not a public good.”

“Governor Sununu has taken every opportunity in his short time in office to turn young people away from our state. From nominating Mr. Edelblut, to raising tuitions at our state and community colleges in his budget, Governor Sununu is sending a clear message that he values politics over people,” concluded Gerding.

“Like DeVos, Edelblut has no experience or inter­action with the public education system of New Hampshire. Overseeing a state department of education requires an in-depth knowl­edge of how public schools are governed, how they are man­aged, and the challenges employees in public schools face. Mr. Edelblut possesses no such knowledge or experience. Other than overseeing the management functions of the employees under his direct supervision, the business skills Mr. Edelblut possess are not transferable to ensuring our children’s educational experi­ence is exceptional. Our chil­dren’s futures are too important to rely on someone who cannot hit the ground running on day one,” stated NEA-New Hampshire.

“Educators throughout New Hampshire strive to reach every child in their classroom, develop effective and engaging lesson plans, spend hours correcting papers and encouraging students to keep persevering. Every day for educators the theory and practice of pedagogy becomes real in the lives of the young people entrusted to their care. To have the highest ranking education official in the state bring only system level management and communication skills to the job threatens the future of every public school student in New Hampshire,” continued NEA-NH.

“The fundamental promise of a great public education for all students is under attack here, and across the country,” said Megan Tuttle, NEA-NH Vice-president. “We’re not just arguing over budget questions any longer; we’re in a full-on ideolog­ical battle with people who do not believe that every child deserves the same opportunity to succeed.”

“We are disappointed that a majority of the Executive Council did not listen to voices of thousands of parents and educators across the state or to the concerns expressed by the NH Board of Education about the appointment of Frank Edelblut as our next Commissioner of Education,” stated Doug Ley, President of AFT-NH. “We remain gravely concerned about a Commissioner of Education who, when running for governor, supported further diverting much needed funding and resources from our public schools.   There still has been presented no evidence, after a lengthy public hearing, to suggest Mr. Edelblut either has the experience or qualifications in education to lead NH schools and serve more than 180,000 students, our State’s most precious resource.”

“Our teachers and school district employees pour their hearts into the education of NH’s students, are highly trained and have dedicated a lifetime to serving NH students. They deserve a Commissioner who cares deeply about public education.”

“AFT-NH will remain vigilant in protecting our public schools and our cherished public education system in NH. We will always extend a hand to anyone, including Mr. Edelblut, willing to strengthen and support public schools but we will speak up and act in fierce opposition to any extreme agenda or attack on our schools. We sincerely hope that Mr. Edelblut will retreat from his past positions and start anew by listening to NH parents, educators and stakeholders in our schools,” concluded Ley.

“During the confirmation process, Frank Edelblut demonstrated he lacks both experience with and support for our state’s public schools,” wrote Executive Councilor Chris Pappas just after the vote. “It is clear that Mr. Edelblut is unable to be the type of non-partisan, consensus-building commissioner that our education system deserves. He holds political views on a range of issues that place him outside the mainstream, from his opposition to full-day kindergarten to support for gay conversion therapy. We do not need a commissioner who will interject ideology into the role, and I didn’t receive assurances that he would abandon past positions or steer clear of political activities after he is confirmed.”

It is plainly clear that the confirmation vote for Edelblut was purely partisan politics as usual. Two of the Executive Councilors openly admitted that they would vote to confirm despite overwhelming opposition to Edelblut’s nomination.

“Executive Councilors Joseph Kenney and Russell Prescott told us all about the concerns they heard from parents and educators about Frank Edelblut. Instead of listening to their constituents, they decided to put in earplugs and vote to confirm him in a blindly political move,” said NHDP Chairman Ray Buckley. “It’s shameful that Governor Sununu didn’t consult the Board of Education before he made the pick. Instead, he followed the Trump model by appointing an unqualified businessman rather than looking out for the future of New Hampshire.”

“We are disappointed that Executive Councilors Russ Prescott, Joe Kenney, and David Wheeler decided to rubber stamp Governor Sununu’s blatantly unqualified nominee despite widespread opposition from the State Board of Education and their constituents,” stated Zandra Rice-Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress. “Councilors Kenney and Prescott specifically mentioned that their constituents were overwhelming in opposition to Frank Edelblut before going on to say that they would vote for him anyway.

“Community members should be on notice that Prescott and Kenney fully acknowledged that they were voting against their constituents on this nomination,” Rice-Hawkins added.

It is obscene that our elected representatives are completely ignoring the will of the people in a partisan political vote. It takes a lot to get people to engage in politics, especially when it comes to political appointments like this. Yet hundreds if not thousands of Granite Staters took the time to write letters, emails, and call their Executive Councilors asking them to oppose Edelblut’s nomination.

To Councilors Prescott and Kenney, those constituents do not matter.

This is where democracy dies. When our elected leaders only do what is good for their political careers and reject the will of the people we can no longer say we live in a democracy. The people spoke out and overwhelmingly opposed Frank Edelblut’s nomination, yet they confirmed him anyway.

This is a sad day for the future of our public schools and our democracy.


I would like to join Granite State Progress in saying:

“We thank Councilors Andru Volinsky and Chris Pappas for standing with the majority of constituents and experts who voiced concern over Governor Sununu’s unqualified nominee.”

(Featured image of Russ Prescott by Granite State Progress on Twitter)

NH Board Of Education Sends Letter Of No Confidence In Edelblut As Commissioner Of Education

Letter cites gaps in qualifications and overwhelming concern from “a broad and extensive cross-section of the public” that “virtually all have expressed concerns about the appointment”

Concord, NH – The NH State Board of Education released a letter of no confidence in Governor Sununu’s Education Commissioner nominee. The letter was sent to the Governor and Executive Council yesterday afternoon after the Governor’s late consultation with the Board; the Executive Council is scheduled to vote on the nomination this morning.

“The State Board of Education has a statutory responsibility to ensure the Department of Education is staffed with qualified individuals and that all children in our state receive an adequate education. We applaud the members for doing their due diligence on the nominee,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, Executive Director ofGranite State Progress. “We strongly urge the Executive Council to vote down this nomination and urge the Governor to find a candidate better suited to the position.”

“After discussions with the public and among board members, we have to say, Governor, that we share the public’s concern about Mr. Edelblut’s qualifications for the role of New Hampshire Education Commissioner. The high level of concern parents have voiced about this nomination that is so important to them puts the State Board of Education on notice. We owe parents the Board’s full commitment to our statutory responsibility as the board of directors of New Hampshire public education.  We are prepared for that role and will exercise it with full transparency,”  stated Tom Raffio, Chairman of the State Board of Education.

Along with the letter from the Board, Raffio included 57 pages of individual messages, emails, and communications “from concerned citizens, mostly parents in opposition to this nomination.”

Full Letter here and below.

State Board of Education Consultation Letter to Governor Sununu

Breaking: Governor Sununu Considered Free State Project Member Jody Underwood for NH Education Commissioner*

*According to Free Stater Jody Underwood, she was under consideration for NH Education Commissioner 

New Hampshire deserves to know if Frank Edelblut will consider her for any division director openings at Department of Education – at the same time her family is pushing for New Hampshire to secede from the rest of the country

From Wikipedia CC

MANCHESTER, NH – Free State Project member Jody Underwood claims she was considered for the position of NH Commissioner of Education. Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins: 

“Governor Sununu should answer whether he considered Jody Underwood for the position of NH Commissioner of Education, and whether he or current nominee Frank Edelblut plan to consider her for any open division director appointments. Underwood is part of an extreme political movement with a stated mission to take over state government and dismantle it, and her husband is actively organizing for New Hampshire to secede from the rest of the country. Governor Sununu is playing dangerous games with New Hampshire’s future. Did Governor Sununu actually consider her for the role and does Frank Edelblut plan to work closely with her as he has in the past? Both Jody Underwood and her husband testified in support of Frank Edelblut for Education Commissioner at the Executive Council public hearing.”

Free State Project member Jody Underwood claims she was considered for NH Education Commissioner. Underwood made the claim in the description for a workshop she gave at the Free State Project’s NH Liberty Forum in Manchester this past weekend. The workshop “We don’t need no stinkin’ leaders: Getting things done in the world of NH Education” (sic) was held Saturday, February 4th at 4:00 PM. The last line of the workshop description – which was likely written before Sununu announced Edelblut – states: “I now find myself being considered for the position of NH Commissioner of Education. How does that happen, especially to someone who isn’t particularly political? Maybe I am a leader. Come find out.” http://nhlibertyforum.com/schedule/ Sat Feb 4 4:00 PM 

According to the Free State Project, the Underwoods moved to New Hampshire with the Free State Project in 2007 as “early movers” – the FSP’s most ardent supporters who moved early. Jody Underwood served on the FSP board of directors until last summer. She is currently a school board member in Croydon and brought a lawsuit against the NH Department of Education.

https://freestateproject.org/blogs/mover-stories/early-movers-education 

Underwood’s husband Ian – who also testified in support of Frank Edelblut – also hosted a workshop at the event. Title: “A Case for New Hampshire Independence.” Description: “The goal of the Foundation for New Hampshire Independence, a 501c3 nonprofit, is to educate Granite Staters about the benefits of the ‘Live Free or Die’ state peacefully declaring its independence and separating from the federal government of the United States. Join FNHI board members Ian Underwood of Bardo Project and Carla Gericke, president of FNHI, to discuss what the future of New Hampshire could look like as an autonomous state.” http://nhlibertyforum.com/schedule/ Fri Feb 3 10:00 AM (Carla Gericke is the former President of the Free State Project – she also testified in support of Frank Edelblut) 

Frank Edelblut has a history of involvement with the Free State Project. As recently as last summer, Edelblut participated in a panel at the Free State Project’s annual PorcFest. The workshop was titled “Exploring Your Child’s Educational Fit” and the description read: “This group of experienced parents have directed their children’s educations. Come hear their experiences with homeschooling, charter schools, private schools, and online education.” The workshop notably does not include traditional public education as a potential educational fit, nor does it include any perspectives from a traditional public education family. The panel was moderated by Jody Underwood and Frank Edelblut participated as a panelist.

https://freestateproject.org/blogs/education-activism-track-porcfest-xiii-exceptional-dont-miss-it

About the Free State Project. A decade ago, the ultra-extreme Free State Project voted on a state to move 20,000 libertarians to, with the stated purpose to take over state government and dismantle it. New Hampshire was unfortunately the unlucky recipient of that vote. The Free State Project seeks to create a libertarian “utopia” void of public infrastructure and common laws, and to use their numbers to dramatically change New Hampshire. The Free State Project even threatens to secede from the rest of the country once it meets its initial goals: 

“Once we’ve taken over the state government, we can slash state and local budgets, which make up a sizeable proportion of the tax and regulatory burden we face every day. Furthermore, we can eliminate substantial federal interference by refusing to take highway funds and the strings attached to them. Once we’ve accomplished these things, we can bargain with the national government over reducing the role of the national government in our state. We can use the threat of secession as leverage to do this.”

          Announcement:
The Free State Project
 by Founder Jason Sorens

Granite State Progress has monitored the Free State Project since 2008, particularly its attempts to field candidates and disrupt public policy.

Math Teacher And Member Of The NH Young Democrats Implores Council To Reject Edelblut

Concord, N.H. – Following  today’s Executive Council hearing on Frank Edelblut’s nomination to be Education Commissioner, Granite State math teacher Nathan Manna issued the following statement:

“After hearing overwhelming testimony against Mr. Edelblut’s nomination, I implore the Executive Council  to vote against  Frank Edelblut’s nomination. As a school teacher and young Granite Stater hoping to raise my family here, I find it unacceptable that a man who has zero experience in education and didn’t even educate his children in public schools has been chosen to run our state’s public school system. Mr. Edelblut believes he can  magically come in from the outside and improve our students’ lives, I can tell you as a professional that he will not.

“What is even more disturbing were the statements from Edelblut today where  he expressed his opposition to full-day kindergarten citing the ‘risks’ for children, refused to oppose conversation therapy, refused to oppose gun free school zones, and called education a “product”, not a public good. It is too great a risk to our young students to have a Commissioner who has no idea what he’s talking about.

“Councilors, I encourage you to go to teachers and students and ask them the ways in which we can improve our schools. Solutions will come from them, not from Frank Edelblut.”

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