• Join the NH Rebellion

    Take the PLEDGE to Fight Big Money in Politics

NH House Kills Planned Parenthood Investigation And Defunding Bill

Planned_Parenthood_logo.svgBipartisan majority rejects HJR 3, which called for an investigation into Planned Parenthood and defunding for all health centers providing abortion services

87 Republican Representatives join Democratic Colleagues in Rejecting Attacks on Reproductive Health Provider

Today, a bipartisan majority in the New Hampshire House rejected HJR 3, a bill that called for a state investigation into a variety of inflammatory and disputed allegations directed at Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.  The bill also would have blocked funding for women to get basic preventive services at Planned Parenthood health centers across the state — including affordable birth control, cancer screenings, HIV testing and other essential care. The measure was soundly defeated on a vote of 227 – 100.

“Planned Parenthood has been a trusted source of high-quality, compassionate and affordable health care in New Hampshire for 50 years — and that’s not going to change, no matter what our opponents throw at us,” said Jennifer Frizzell, vice president of the Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund.

“Today we saw our elected leaders from both parties stand up for New Hampshire women and families and reject the false and fraudulent attacks that are coming from a group of extreme legislators. That’s because despite what some politicians and pundits might say — access to reproductive health care is not a partisan issue in the Granite State,” continued Frizzell.  

“New Hampshire is a solidly pro-choice state and we applaud the House for standing up for their constituents to reject HJR 3. HJR 3 relied on the edited videos and claims of extreme, ideologically driven organizations that seek to interfere in a woman’s access to the full range of reproductive health options. We continue to stand with our allies at Planned Parenthood and other community health centers as they face a barrage of attacks from extreme politicians and organizations. Instead of protecting outdated workplace policies that discriminate against women and limiting reproductive rights, our priority in New Hampshire should be to guarantee fair opportunities for women to succeed and to take care of their families, and this vote is a step in the right direction,” said Kary Jencks, executive director of NH Citizens Alliance.

“Having children has huge personal, health, and economic impacts on women and their families, so guaranteed access to reproductive health care, including birth control, abortion, pre-natal and maternity care, is tied inextricably to a woman’s economic security,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress & Education Fund. “We thank Planned Parenthood and other community health centers for their dedication to ensuring women and their families, particularly those in medically underserved areas, have access to quality health care. Today’s vote against a nationally orchestrated smear campaign was the right one.”

Today’s vote comes just days after a 3-month investigation wrapped up in Texas, where the grand jury cleared Planned Parenthood of breaking any law. Of note, that same grand jury did hand down indictments for two individuals who were involved in making the allegations against Planned Parenthood public via covert recordings and illegal tactics. These findings and the similar exoneration of Planned Parenthood affiliates in more than 10 other state investigations in recent months has led to a national call for the GOP to give up its crusade against Planned Parenthood and the reproductive health care services it provides.

“The citizens of our state want their elected officials to keep us moving forward – not backward – on women’s health. Today’s vote demonstrates that legislators from both parties reject these coordinated attacks that seek to end access to safe, legal abortion, ” concluded Frizzell.

More than 14,000 women, men and young people rely on Planned Parenthood health centers in New Hampshire for high-quality, affordable health care. With 33 percent of Planned Parenthood health centers providing care in rural or medically underserved areas statewide, Planned Parenthood serves as an essential source of primary and preventive health care in New Hampshire.

On 43rd Anniversary Of Roe v. Wade, NH Health Providers Push Back On War On Women’s Health

Women Protesting Roe vs Wade

NH’s Women’s Health Providers and Advocates Push Back
Against Assault on Women’s Health in 2016
Sixteen Separate Bills Form Broad Agenda to Ban Abortion

Concord, NH — Women’s health providers, patients and advocates from across the state gathered in Concord this afternoon to sound an alarm about the unprecedented number of attacks on women’s health introduced in the 2016 legislative session. “As women’s health providers and advocates for reproductive health and freedom we are united to defeat this broad agenda to ban abortion and eliminate reproductive care,” stated Jennifer Frizzell of Planned Parenthood, on behalf of the group of allies.

This week marks the 43rd anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. Extreme anti-women’s health lawmakers are using the occasion to kick off public hearings for a package of legislation that would make the constitutional protections of Roe meaningless for New Hampshire women and families.

“For more than forty years, the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed that under Roe v. Wade, the constitution protects every woman’s right to make her own personal medical decisions about abortion. Yet some politicians in New Hampshire have made it clear with this year’s legislative agenda that they will stop at nothing to end access to safe, legal abortion,” said Devon Chafee Executive Director of the ACLU of NH.

This agenda is at odds with recent polls that show support for access to safe, legal abortion is higher in New Hampshire than any other state in the country and that more Republicans here consider themselves pro-choice than pro-life on issues like abortion and funding for Planned Parenthood.

Despite the views and values of their constituents, a handful of extreme Republicans continue their assault on women’s health care. They have introduced a legislative package consisting of 16 bills that aim at dismantling women’s preventive care and ending access to safe, legal abortion.

 “Planned Parenthood of Northern New England will not back down from these ruthless political attacks. The extremist legislators forcing this agenda are putting women’s lives and health in danger. The stakes for women’s health and rights are higher than ever this year.  These restrictions are part of a broader national agenda to end access to safe, legal abortion. And this is not what the people of New Hampshire want from their elected officials,” stated Jennifer Frizzell, VP for Public Policy at the Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund.  “At Planned Parenthood, we will stand up to this dangerous legislation on behalf of the women, men and young people whose health and well-being is at stake and we will not shut our doors,” continued Frizzell.

According to new data from Guttmacher, politicians across the country have enacted 288 restrictions on safe, legal abortion at the state level since the 2010 midterm elections–despite the public’s overwhelming support for women’s access to safe, legal abortion. In New Hampshire, a group of extreme politicians have introduced a devastating legislative package consisting of 16 bills that aim at dismantling women’s health.

New Hampshire has a strong tradition of respecting women and doctors, not politicians, to make personal, private decisions about pregnancy and childbearing. Additionally, the Granite State currently has some of the best public health outcomes in the country for women, including the lowest teen pregnancy rate, and the best perinatal and maternal health outcomes. The anti-women’s health legislation introduced in 2016 would jeopardize care for New Hampshire women and reduce access for New Hampshire communities.

“Having access to the tools necessary to support choices around childbearing reduces unintended pregnancies, helps women space their childbearing, and leads to healthier babies and women.  By taking those services away, New Hampshire legislators would be creating substantial risk that women will face the serious mental and physical health risks of being forced to carry unwanted pregnancies to term, or resort to unsafe abortions,” stated Katie Robert, President of the NH Public Health Association.

“On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, providers like the Concord Feminist Health Center are speaking out against politicians who would take us backwards and make it impossible to get safe and legal abortion. We simply can’t let that happen in New Hampshire,” concluded Dalia Vidunas, Executive Director.

Polls consistently show that the majority of Americans support access to safe and legal abortion and Planned Parenthood health centers. Since July, there have been 14 national polls measuring support for Planned Parenthood–and every single one of them show strong support for Planned Parenthood and access to reproductive health care. A recent Bloomberg Politics national poll found that 67 percent of Americans surveyed said the Supreme Court was right to rule that women have a constitutional right to abortion and agree with the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade. A VOX/PerryUndem poll found that more Americans now consider themselves pro-choice than pro-life. Sixty-eight percent of Millennials don’t want to see Roe overturned, and 72 percent of Republicans think abortion should be available.

The landmark Roe v Wade decision issued on January 22, 1973.

(Featured image is from today in history)

Local Community Groups Host Women’s Economic Roundtable January 12th

African American waitress serving lunch --- Image by © Matt Hess/Golden Pixels LLC/Corbis

African American waitress serving lunch — Image by © Matt Hess/Golden Pixels LLC/Corbis

ROC (Restaurant Opportunities Centers) United, along with Granite State Progress Education Fund, New Hampshire Citizens Alliance and other national and local allies, invite you to join us for a roundtable discussion on economic security for women and their families. This discussion will particularly focus on key issues that women in the restaurant industry face, including: low wages, lack of paid family leave and earned sick time policies, and virtually no access to affordable childcare. 

Tuesday, January 12th
10:00 am to 2:00 pm
to be held at|
Puritan Conference Center, 245 Hooksett Road, Manchester 

Background: The restaurant industry is the fastest growing industry in the nation. Nearly 70% of tipped restaurant workers are women. Not only does the industry reflect the same antiquated and limited workplace policies we see across low-wage industries, but the restaurant industry presents particularly egregious challenges when it comes to earning a living wage because of the tiered wage system that denies tipped workers the same right to minimum wage that other workers receive. Because these workers are paid only $2-3/hour, tipped workers are often forced to live off tips from their customers rather than wages from the employer. In this industry, like elsewhere in the service sector, the customer is always right. Therefore, without one fair wage for all workers, many tipped employees must endure disrespect and mistreatment from customers in order just to make a living.

The roundtable discussion will follow short presentations from Presidential candidate surrogates on what they plan to do to address fair wages, antiquated leave policies and affordable childcare in order to advance gender equity.  Following the candidate presentations and the moderated roundtable discussion attendees will participate in a lunch discussion. 

Speakers for the event include Saru Jayaraman, Co-Founder and Co-Director of ROC United; Ellen Bravo, Executive Director of Family Values at Work; State Representative Jackie Cilley, sponsor of the One Fair Wage bill in New Hampshire; State Representative and childcare provider Mary Jane Wallner; Nina Mujakovic, owner of Old Europe in Concord; and Executive Councilman and small business owner Chris Pappas.

Please RSVP to Sheila Vargas at sheila@granitestateprogress.org or (603) 848-3229.

New Hampshire Issue Advocacy Groups Join Forces, Rally Ahead of Democratic Presidential Debate

Rally and Downtown March Called on Democratic Candidates to Articulate Vision for a Clean Energy Future, Invest in Economic Security for Families and Small Businesses, and Put Voters Ahead of Special Interests

2015-12-19 march 1MANCHESTER, NH – Today, more than 20 issue advocacy groups gathered in Manchester to share a collective vision for a better future in advance of the New Hampshire Democratic Primary Debate.  The march and rally, titled “The Future We Want,” made its way down Elm Street in a show of unity. The march began at the Radisson Hotel, where leaders from across the region discussed how the activist community is coming together to demand action on the issues that matter to New Hampshire and the nation.

“There are so many great organizations doing important work in the state,” said Mike Padmore, State Director for NextGen Climate New Hampshire. “Every group here is working together for justice and progress, by protecting our planet, restoring democracy through campaign finance reform, supporting reproductive rights, investing in economic security for working families and defending the refugees seeking safety and a better life.”

Close to 200 people attended the event. Participants discussed how their work supports a unified vision to move our state and country forward and the importance of working together to ensure a fairer and more just future for all Americans. New Hampshire has a long tradition of using its First-in-the-Nation Primary status to vet candidates on the issues that matter most to Americans and for months Granite State “bird dogs” – issue advocates that follow the candidates and pin them down on the tough questions – have worked the Democratic Primary field. Rally speakers pointed to tonight’s Democratic Primary Debate, happening just two miles away at St. Anselm College’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics, calling it an opportunity for candidates to be champions of justice and progress.

“In New Hampshire, we have a unique opportunity to be in the spotlight of the national conversation in the months leading up to the First in the Nation primary” said Will Hopkins, Executive Director of New Hampshire Peace Action. “With that opportunity comes an important responsibility to engage with the candidates and articulate a vision for the future that demands strong leadership on the issues that matter to Granite Staters.”

The participating organizations from today’s rally and march will continue to work together to articulate and demonstrate a fair, just, and progressive vision for America during the Presidential Primary.

2015-12-19 march 2


NextGen Climate NH is a non-profit, non-partisan dedicated to averting climate disaster and promoting prosperity for all Americans. NextGen is calling on our elected leaders to get America to 50% renewable energy by 2030.

350 Action is pushing presidential candidates during the New Hampshire Primary to keep fossil fuels in the ground. It empowers New Hampshire residents to use creative direct action and bird dogging to influence our leaders.

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

People For the American Way is dedicated to making the promise of America real for every American: Equality. Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. The right to seek justice in a court of law. The right to cast a vote that counts. The American Way. Our operational mission is to promote the American Way and defend it from attack, to build and nurture communities of support for our values, and to equip those communities to promote progressive policies, elect progressive candidates, and hold public officials accountable.

Moms Clean Air Force is a community of parents working together to combat air pollution, including the urgent crisis of our changing climate – to protect our children’s health.

The American Friends Service Committee’s “Governing Under the Influence” project is a non-partisan, educational effort to raise awareness about the excessive power held by the ultra-wealthy and major corporations, especially those that profit from militarism and incarceration.  To date the project has trained more than 1000 NH people to be effective “bird dogs,” brought its giant GUI banners to dozens of political events, sponsored educational programs with hundreds of participants, and engaged all major presidential candidates in substantive discussions about nuclear weapons spending, the immigrant detention mandate, the influence of the military industrial complex, and other issues.

The cross-partisan NH Rebellion has mobilized thousands of citizen rebels to #FightBigMoney in politics by walking the talk for democracy all across the Granite State – 30,000 miles and counting. #NHRebellion educates candidates and voters on how our democracy could be fixed through its We the People pledge,  including overturning Citizens United, ending the Legislator to Lobbyist revolving door, requiring donation transparency, and other reforms. #NHRebellion is part of Open Democracy, the nonpartisan organization founded by legendary reformer Doris “Granny D” Haddock.

The New Hampshire AFL-CIO is a strong statewide voice for all working people, bringing together the unions of New Hampshire under one banner to fight for economic and social justice in our workplaces and communities.

Rights and Democracy is bringing people together to take action to build healthy communities and make the values of our communities guide the policies of our government. Together, we create change through grassroots organizing, educating and mobilizing around the issues that affect our communities, recruiting and training candidates to run for office, and working through the political and electoral process to advance progressive policies that lead to happy, healthy, and just communities for everyone.

New Hampshire Sierra Club represents over 15,000 Members and Supporters who care about the environment and the future of the Granite State. NHSC supports pollution-free clean energy future that can benefit the local economy and create jobs, like energy efficiency, wind and solar energy. Our goal is to have a zero carbon polluting economy by the year 2050.

The members of New Hampshire Peace Action are dedicated to making a contribution to world peace. We envision a world in which nuclear disarmament, mutual security, global understanding, international cooperation and respect for human rights create social, economic, and environmental benefits for all humanity.

Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England in New Hampshire. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including legislative education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy. Follow us on Twitter.

After nearly 40 years NH Citizens Alliance continues to lead the movement for social and economic justice in the Granite State. We focus on creating a more engaged electorate through issue education, leadership development and voter engagement and mobilization. Central to our work is a women’s economic justice framework. We must take action now to ensure that women have equal rights and receive fair treatment on the job, in health care and in the new economy.

Better Future Project works to build powerful grassroots movements to address the climate crisis and advance a rapid and responsible transition beyond fossil fuels in Massachusetts and beyond.

350 Massachusetts for a Better Future is building a powerful statewide social movement to confront the climate crisis, hold our politicians accountable and undermine the destructive influence of the fossil fuel industry.

 The UNH Peace and Justice League is a social justice advocacy group.  We have worked on issues ranging from the student debt crisis at UNH to the nationwide issue of money in politics.

Divest UNH is pressuring the University of New Hampshire to divest their endowment from fossil fuels.  No one, especially universities, should be profiting of the devastating effects of climate change.  Our goal is not just to push the University of New Hampshire to divest but to create a long lasting student movement to fight for climate justice.

At the Organic Garden Club we manage an organic farm on campus.  Our goal is to provide a place for students to learn how to garden and to educate our community on where their food comes from.

The UNH Student Environmental Action Coalition is a collaborative of sustainability initiatives and committees seeking to promote a better environment and a stronger community

350NH is a climate movement of neighbors. We work as a community to turn off new fossil fuel infrastructure and turn on New Hampshire’s potential for a renewable energy future.

NH Campaign For Voting Rights Launches Three-Pronged Platform To Innovate Voting

NH Coalition(1) 

Concord, NH — New Hampshire advocacy groups and legislators announced a three pronged plan to strengthen integrity and build transparency into the voting process and improve access to the ballot box. The New Hampshire Campaign for Voting Rights currently includes America Votes-New Hampshire, Open Democracy, New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union, League of Women Voters-New Hampshire, NextGen New Hampshire, New Hampshire Citizens Alliance, People for the American Way, NAACP New England Area Conference, Granite State Progress and Fair Elections Legal Network.

The campaign’s platform includes three state legislative bills being introduced in the 2016 session:

  1. Implementing a statewide online voter registration system in 2017;
  2. Ensuring every voter has the same opportunity to vote on Election Day by standardizing polling hours from 6AM until 8PM;
  3. Creating an innovation grant system administered by the New Hampshire Secretary of State to support towns and cities to ensure they have the supplies, voting equipment for voters with physical impairments, absentee ballot envelopes and technical support to implement streamlined polling place and registration processes.

Former New Hampshire Charitable Foundation President and Open Democracy Advisory Board Member Lew Feldstein noted, “As the First-in-the-Nation primary state, New Hampshire has a strong reputation for voter participation. Nonetheless we have seen just one in five eligible voters consistently cast ballots in local elections, as documented in the Open Democracy Index. This campaign believes New Hampshire can become a model for the nation to administer inclusive, transparent and high integrity elections. We believe voting must be equally accessible to all citizens regardless of their income, race, gender, age or zip code. We support a voting system that is accessible and consistent for all.”

Plymouth State student and native New Hampshire voter Craig Cavanaugh explained, “I register for school, pay my taxes, cell phone bill and credit cards online. It just makes sense that the state would find a way to update the voter rolls year round so that when I graduate and update my mailing address, I can also go online and update my voter registration.”

Durham Town Council member and State Representative Wayne Burton (Strafford 6) suggested that, “the biggest barrier to working people, who are often taking care of aging parents and helping their children at the same time, is finding the time to vote before or after work.” He continued, “It all boils down to accessibility. If we want to prioritize civic engagement, we must equalize the playing field and support towns like Durham to keep their polling places open and work to reduce long lines with advance online registration. Your voting experience shouldn’t depend on your zip code or ward.”

State Senator David Pierce (District 5) closed the press conference by noting, “Cities and towns are the incubators of democracy. New Hampshire has a unique system where we elect volunteer Supervisors of the Checklist, Moderators and Town Clerks who have so many other responsibilities on their plates. The state legislature and Secretary of State must work together to bring New Hampshire online and ensure our elections processes are accessible to everyone – including people with physical impairments.”

Twenty-three states currently use online voter registration. Five more states will implement it this year, bringing that number to 28 by 2017 – the year when the proposed New Hampshire online voter registration bill would be implemented if passed this legislative session. Furthermore, 38 states have standardized polling hours for statewide elections. New Hampshire is also the only New England state that does not ensure that voting equipment is made available for those with physical impairments for every election, including municipal elections.

Pregnant Or Returning To Work? Know Your Rights Learning Session In Nashua Dec 15th

Stand With Women Logo

Recently the New Hampshire Citizens Alliance and Granite State Progress launched a new campaign, Stand With Women or Stand in the Way.  The campaign is focused on advancing Freedom, Family Values, Opportunity, and Fairness for women.  Either you stand with women or you are standing in the way.

Tomorrow, December 15th, The Stand With Women campaign will be hosting a learning session in Nashua from 6-7pm at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Nashua.  Below is a short description of what they will be focusing on at this event and a flyer to share with friends and co-workers.

Dealing with morning sickness or returning to work after the birth of your child are hard enough, don’t let workplace non-compliance with your rights make it more difficult. Come learn about the three major acts – Pregnancy Discrimination Act, Family and Medical Leave Act, and Fair Labor Standards Act – that protect you in the workplace and what to do if they are not being met. Then hear an update on other state and federal legislation in the works to strengthen economic security for women and their families.

Pregnant or Returning to Work After a Baby, Know Your Rights - Nashua Flyer

Support Our Local Community Non-Profits: The NH Labor News’s Suggestions For #GivingTuesday

giving_tuesday_logostackedToday is Tuesday, December 1st, 2015.  Not only is it my birthday – Thank You – but it is #GivingTuesday.  #GivingTuesday is a relatively new tradition following #BlackFriday, #SmallBusinessSaturday, and #CyberMonday.

#GivingTuesday is intended to inspire you to give something back this holiday season.  There are millions of great organization out there doing amazing work on a variety of issues.  These organization tend to be very lean because as non-profits they do not have a boatload of funds to fuel their agenda.

Donations to a Non-Profit are also tax deductible. Double bonus.  Unfortunately the NH Labor News is not a non-profit charity so if you choose to make a donation to us you cannot write it off on your taxes.

To help narrow down the monstrous list of possible places you can donate to I have compiled a short list of NH based non-profits, with links to their websites.  I have worked with each and every one of these groups on different campaigns over the last six-years.  (In no particular order.)

Special Note: Some of the groups listed below have sent out emails stating that if you act today, #GivingTuesday, your donation will automatically be matched by an anonymous contributor.  If you miss the double matching, it is ok, they will still be happy to receive your donation.

Granite State Progress: An all encompassing organization that monitors the NH Legislature.  Led the fight against ALEC in our state house, transparency in our legislative process, higher minimum wage, blocking Right To Work and more. (CLICK HERE TO DONATE)

The NH Citizens Alliance: A champion of low-wage workers, women’s rights and all Granite Staters.  Pushing for equal pay, higher minimum wage, paid sick time and more. They have also launched a new campaign #StandWithWomen to guarantee full and fair opportunities for women to succeed and take care of their families. (CLICK HERE TO DONATE)

The AFSC- New Hampshire: For 40 years Arnie Alpert has been fighting Right To Work in the NH Legislature. This Quaker organization is dedicated to helping working families as well has making the world a better place.  Fighting for social and economic justice and bringing back the founding principles of our democracy. If you have not already you must sign up for their State House Watch! (CLICK HERE TO DONATE)

MIRA: The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) is the largest organization in New England promoting the rights and integration of immigrants and refugees. Eva Castillo is the NH director and together with help from the NH Labor News and other community activists we hosted a welcoming vigil for refugee children last year. (CLICK HERE TO DONATE)

League of Women Voters: The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. (CLICK HERE TO DONATE)

The NHFPI: the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute (NHFPI) is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to exploring, developing, and promoting public policies that foster economic opportunity and prosperity for all New Hampshire residents, with an emphasis on low- and moderate-income families and individuals. (CLICK HERE TO DONATE)

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England: PP offers low-cost or even free healthcare to thousands of Granite State women. Preventative medicine is the best medicine.   (CLICK HERE TO DONATE)

Every Child Matters Education Fund of NH: ECMEF is a non-partisan, non-profit focused on improving the lives of our future generation by ensuring they get a quality education.  They lobby for early childhood education and expanding public school.  Along with education, ECM pushes back against cuts to programs designed to help combat poverty. ECMEF-NH Director MaryLou Beaver is also a feature commentator on the NH Labor News with her weekly Granite State Rumblings update.  (CLICK HERE TO DONATE)

Second Wind Foundation for Pulmonary Fibrosis: A charity organization to help people suffering with the little known, life threatening disease, Pulmonary Fibrosis.  The organization was started when my good friend Ron Geoffroy’s wife, Marylou, was diagnosed with PF. After her passing, Ron continues to lead the organization and help others who are suffering with PF. (CLICK HERE TO DONATE)

Whether you give $5 or $500 dollars, every dollar is appreciated.  

Please make a contribution to any or all of these great groups and let them know that Matt from the NH Labor News sent you

Activists Rally at #KochProblem Event at St. Anselm College

Top Koch Industries PR officer visits New Hampshire
to spin about the Koch agenda that hurts everyday Granite Staters

Koch Problems Picture 1, 11.10.15MANCHESTER, NH – Granite State Progress and People For the American Way rallied outside of the St. Anselm Institute of Politics this morning against the Kochs’ latest PR event, a talk titled “Beyond the Political Spin: How Koch is Driving Freedom, Fairness, and Prosperity” given by Koch Industries Inc. chief communication and marketing officer Steve Lombardo.

“Faced with opposition from a growing number of concerned Americans over their big dollar contributions to politicians and campaigns that hurt working families, the Koch brothers have been on a public relations blitz this year to improve their image,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “This speaking tour is nothing but a public relations stunt to whitewash their bad practices.”

“More than two-thirds of New Hampshire voters want to limit big money in politics, regardless of party,” said PFAW New Hampshire Campaign Organizer Lindsay Jakows. “The Kochs’ PR events won’t change the fact that they are shamelessly attempting to buy political influence across the country. New Hampshire students and voters won’t support the big-money takeover of our democracy no matter how many publicity events the Kochs put on.”

Activists spoke out against the political activity of Koch front groups – like the LIBRE Initiative and Generation Opportunity – as well as the outsized influence the billionaires are able to buy on the federal, state, and local level. The LIBRE Initiative attempts to attract Latinos to the GOP’s base, yet advances policies—like opposing raises to the minimum wage—that disproportionately hurt Latinos. Similarly, Generation Opportunity reaches out to students while opposing policies—like the Affordable Care Act and student loan reform—that would make education and healthcare more affordable for millions of young people.

 The Koch network plans to spend nearly $900 million this election cycle.

Koch Problems Picture 2, 11.10.15

Granite State Progress Applauds NH State Senate for Sustaining Governor’s Veto of SB 116

Bill Would Have Allowed Dangerous People to Legally Carry Hidden, Loaded Guns

In party-line vote, Democrats stand with NH Association of Chiefs of Police, public safety advocates to keep 92 year old New Hampshire law in place

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire State Senate voted on party lines today to sustain Governor Maggie Hassan’s veto of SB 116, which sought to repeal a 92 year old concealed carry licensing law that requires an individual to be a suitable person to carry a hidden, loaded firearm in New Hampshire. Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins:

“Requiring a license to carry a concealed weapon has worked well for New Hampshire for more than 90 years. These licenses are very easy and quick to obtain and do not place an unreasonable burden on law abiding citizens. SB 116 was a radical piece of legislation that would have jeopardized public safety. New Hampshire does not require people to have a specific reason to conceal carry but it does require that the applicant be a suitable person. This common sense law allows local police departments to deny a license when there is reason to believe a person is a danger to themselves or others. New Hampshire is one of more than 40 states that currently require a license to carry concealed weapons and we should not weaken our public safety laws now.”

The New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police testified against SB 116, and in 2004 Senate President Chuck Morse and several Republicans voted against a similar repeal bill. This year’s version was introduced by Senator Jeb Bradley; a House version was retained in committee.  A copy of Granite State Progress testimony in opposition to SB 116 is available by request, along with more information about how concealed carry laws work.


World Breastfeeding Week Kicked Off at NH State House With Calls for Family-Friendly Workplace and Public Policies


New Hampshire event part of Stand With Women campaign to secure public policy advances for women and their families

CONCORD, NH – Elected leaders and advocates for women and their families kicked off World Breastfeeding Week at the New Hampshire State House today with calls for family-friendly workplace and public policies. The theme of this year’s World Breastfeeding Week is “Breastfeeding and Work – Let’s Make It Work.”

“More women than ever are working outside the home, heading households and leading in the workplace,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress & Education Fund. “Though times have changed, policies and rules have lagged behind. We must work to prioritize laws to guarantee that women have full and fair opportunities to succeed and raise healthy families. One way to do that is to stand with women and support workplace policies that protect women from discrimination, harassment, and maternity penalties on the job.”DSC_4223

Speakers at the press conference highlighted SB 219 as an example of one of those polices. The bill would ensure all working nursing mothers have reasonable break time and a sanitary, private location – other than the bathroom – to express breast milk.  Federal law currently only covers hourly workers. SB 219 successfully passed in the Senate earlier this year, but was retained in House Commerce.

“We stand with New Hampshire women in support of their right to breastfeed where and when their babies need and their right to work place friendly lactation policies that allow them to express their milk during work breaks so that their children may continue to receive the proven benefits of breastmilk even when Mom is not nearby,” said Kary Jencks, executive director of NH Citizens Alliance. “As a mother who breast fed all three of my children I personally know the importance of creating breastfeeding supportive communities and workplaces.”


State Senator Martha Fuller Clark

Bill sponsor, Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, stated that, “SB 219 has my support, the support of the full Senate, and the support of the BIA because the bill will reasonably accommodate breast feeding families and support the businesses who employ them, improving New Hampshire’s productivity and making it an even better state to live and work.”

Prime bill sponsor, Senator Martha Fuller Clark, stated that, “SB 219 is an attempt to address the fact many working women never undertake breastfeeding  or stop nursing their children upon returning to work because they have no access to decent accommodation at their place of employment. Nationally when women stop breastfeeding prematurely, a total of $126.1 million in indirect costs is incurred in time away from work for sick employees and babies. Women make up half the workforce and are the primary breadwinners in 41% of families with children. And of the more than 350,000 working women in New Hampshire today, nearly half are between the ages of 20 and 44 – prime years for giving birth to children. Passage of SB 219 would encourage working mothers to breastfeed their children. It would help to ensure healthy and prosperous families and save New Hampshire businesses many thousands of dollars in sick days and the loss of able and skilled women employees.”


State Senator Martha Fuller Clark

On the federal level, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte are working on legislation to protect pregnant women and nursing mothers in the work place. Representatives from each office issued a statement for the “Breastfeeding and Work – Let’s Make It Work” press conference:

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen: “As Governor, I was pleased to sign into law the Breastfeeding Bill which protects the rights of mothers in New Hampshire to breastfeed in public. I was also proud to support the breastfeeding provisions in the Affordable Care Act, which requires insurance plans to cover breastfeeding support, supplies and counseling with no co-pay. I continue to work with the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure that these provisions are implemented as Congress intended. Women should have every right to reasonable workplace accommodations as they provide for their families and contribute to the economy. That’s why I introduced the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. This legislation would ensure that expectant mothers are not forced out of their jobs simply because they need minor adjustments to their duties to continue working during pregnancy. As more womenwork longer into their pregnancies, they should have the confidence that their safety, health and financial security are not at risk. And when they return to work following childbirth, they deserve every opportunity to provide for their child without retaliation or interference.”

U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte: “As someone who worked during both of my pregnancies and also breastfed, I understand the challenges facing pregnant women and new mothers in the workplace. To ensure that pregnant workers and nursing moms are treated equally in the workplace, Senator Shaheen and I recently introduced the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), bipartisan legislation that would require employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees and new moms. The PWFA is modeled on the legal standard in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and would ensure that pregnant workers and nursing moms are able to continue working while protecting them from being forced to take unpaid time off or leave their jobs altogether. 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.”

Also at the press conference was Christine Dodson, co-founder of Mamava which creates lactation and breastfeeding stations, including the one at Fenway Park.

“When the idea for Mamava first struck, we were nursing mothers working for a breastfeeding friendly employer, and benefiting from Vermont’s progressive breastfeeding laws. At work we had a place to pump and the break time to do it. It was when we traveled for business that we ran in to challenges, often having to pump in restrooms, cars, and storage closets. We thought about all the other moms in other states, with less supportive employers and challenged ourselves to find a way to make it easier for mamas to meet their breastfeeding goals, and employers and communities to support them. So our free standing lactation suite was conceived from a place of empathy by nursing mothers who had to hit the road with our breast pumps. As it takes hold as an amenity for pumping and nursing we think of it as a billboard communicating that there are many, many breastfeeding moms who could use all the help they can get, actually bringing the discussion into the open – not hiding it in a bathroom stall or under a blanket.”

Following the press conference, Terie Norelli, President of the NH Women’s Foundation, led a count-down to the Big Latch On, a synchronized worldwide breastfeeding event at 10:30 am on July 31st and August 1st to raise awareness during World Breastfeeding Week.

DSC_4212The New Hampshire World Breastfeeding Week kick-off and day of events were hosted by NH Citizens Alliance, Granite State Progress & Education Fund, the NH Breastfeeding Rights Coalition & The Rustik Baby Project, with sponsor support.

About World Breastfeeding Week

On the 1st – 7th of August every year, to raise awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding and the need for global support, the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action organizes World Breastfeeding Week. World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated in 120 countries and marks the signing of the WHO/UNICEF Innocenti Declaration, which lists the benefits of breastfeeding plus global and governmental goals. To mark the occasion, on Friday July 31st and Saturday August 1st at 10:30 am thousands of breastfeeding women and their babies/children across the world gather in their own communities to take part in the Global Big Latch On, a synchronized breastfeeding event in multiple locations. Breastfeeding contributes to the normal growth and development of children, and children who are not breastfed are at increased risk of infant morbidity and mortality, adult obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and premenopausal breast cancer and ovarian cancer (both mom and baby.) The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months of a baby’s life to optimize these benefits, continuing to breastfeed for 2 years and as long thereafter as is mutually desired by a woman and her child. The New Hampshire Statewide Big Latch On took place during the kick-off and press conference at the NH Statehouse; additional Big Latch On’s were scheduled in Dover, Littleton, and Meredith.


About the Stand With Women Campaign

Times have changed. Today, women are central to our families and our economy. More women than ever are working outside the home, heading households and leading in the workplace. We must take action now to ensure that women have equal rights and receive fair treatment on the job, in health care and in the new economy. The Stand With Women campaign in New Hampshire is led by NH Citizens Alliance and Granite State Progress Education Fund.

  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement