• Advertisement

Hassan And Senate Democrats Push “Bump Stock Ban,” However This Cannot Be The End Of The Conversation

By WASR (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

“Thoughts and prayers from politicians are not going to stop the next shooting,” said Zandra Rice-Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress. “What we need to do is focus on preventative measures. We know that reasonable, common sense gun laws and regulations work. Closing the automatic weapons loophole is a small but critical step in preventing another mass shooting tragedy.”

Earlier this week, Senator Maggie Hassan helped introduce the Automatic Gun Fire Prevention Act, a bill to close a loophole that allows semi-automatic weapons to be easily modified to fire at the rate of automatic weapons, which have been illegal for more than 30 years.

“As we continue to mourn the victims of the horrific attack in Las Vegas and their loved ones, we must finally act to address the gun violence that plagues our nation,” Senator Hassan said. “While automatic weapons have been illegal for decades, some firearm accessories allow shooters to fire at similar rates to that of automatic guns, and we know that the shooter in Las Vegas possessed such accessories. There is no reason to have weapons that can fire at such high rates other than to inflict massive harm, and we should take the common-sense step of closing the loopholes that allow dangerous individuals to mimic the effect of deadly, fully automatic weapons.”

Under the National Firearms Act, the sale, manufacture and transfer of automatic weapons are illegal. However, bump stocks, slide fire devices and other similar accessories can be attached to semi-automatic weapons, allowing them to reach fully-automatic rates of fire.

Semi-automatic rifles typically have a rate of fire between 45 and 60 rounds per minute. A bump stock, or other similar devise increases the semi-automatic rifles rate of fire between 400 and 800 rounds per minute.

This bill would ban the sale, transfer, importation, manufacture or possession of bump stocks, trigger cranks and similar accessories that accelerate a semi-automatic rifle’s rate of fire. The bill also makes clear that its intent is to target only those accessories that increase a semi-automatic rifle’s rate of fire.

I applaud Senator Hassan for signing on to this important legislation. At the same time, I believe we should be doing more than prohibiting “bump stocks.”

This legislation to ban bump stocks is a good place to start the discussion but it cannot end there.

Congress should be pushing for a ban on “assault” style rifles, that were make to inflict massive damage on the battlefield and have no practical use for civilians. Congress should be pushing for background checks on all gun sales, closing the “gun show” loopholes that allow people to sidestep the current background check laws. Congress should be pushing for the registration and licensing of all guns. Congress should be pushing for mandatory safety and technical testing prior to approving a license for a gun.

We regulate everything from our drinking water to the cars we drive yet when it comes to guns it is “laissez faire.” We are quick to make changes when a man attempts to take a bomb onto an airplane in the sole of his shoe.  Yet after 60 people died and hundreds more are injured, no real changes are being suggested.

What will it take before all of the members in Congress take against against the gun lobby and do what is right for the health and safety of the American people?  How many more innocent people have to die before they take meaningful action to stop the gun violence epidemic that has grown over the last decade?

No Word On Who Will Be On Sununu’s ‘Millennial Advisory Council’ One Day Before 1st Meeting

Sketchy timeline for Sununu’s new “Millennial Advisory Council” draws concerns it is just a pretense to promote Sununu’s latest pet projects 

Concord, NH – Governor Chris Sununu first announced a Millennial Advisory Council just last Thursday, along with information on how to apply. The first meeting is scheduled for this Wednesday, September 27th at 6:00 PM in the Executive Council chambers – begging the question about who would have had an opportunity to apply, be selected, and set aside time to participate in the supposedly open and non-political 25-member advisory council in less than a week’s time.

Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins:

“If Governor Sununu was truly interested in hearing from young leaders and creating a functioning Millennial Advisory Council, he would take the time to gather applications and make thoughtful, balanced appointments. How can you ask people to apply one week and have the first meeting the next? This appears to all be a pretense for Governor Sununu to stack the advisory council with appointees who will serve as rubber stamps for his latest pet projects.”

“A Millennial Advisory Council could be a wonderful tool for New Hampshire. A key first step to engaging millennials would be to acknowledge their contributions and good ideas. We encourage Governor Sununu to stop playing politics and instead really invest in the diverse opinions of young adults in our state.”

Sununu’s policies have thus far been antithetical to millennial priorities, from signing a voter suppression law that makes it harder for young people to vote, to his failure to freeze USNH tuitions as costs skyrocket, to denying climate change, to saying he has “no personal opinion” on transgender rights, to allocating zero dollars to workforce development, to opposing a rail project to connect Manchester to the Greater Boston area. Sununu ignored a letter from UNH students, including the student body president, requesting to meet with him in February.

New Hampshire Young Democrats’ Executive Director Amelia Keane issued the following statement:

“It’s troubling that, just one day out from Sununu’s millennial council meeting, no council members have been announced. The first step to engaging young people productively is to be transparent, open, and bipartisan about the process, and Sununu’s council has been anything but. It’s unclear why Sununu is in such a rush or how members are being selected, but young people deserve time to consider and submit their applications and clear their schedules to attend.”

In his proclamation and media statement, Governor Sununu did not give any credit or thank you to the young leaders behind his new Millennial Advisory Council. Back in June, graduates of the Class of 2017 Leadership Mount Washington Valley Community Connections first urged Governor Sununu to form just such a council, even calling it the Millennial Advisory Council.

The Governor’s Millennial Advisory Council is to consist of 25 members, all selected by the Governor. The first report is due on December 1st.

NH GOP Is Divided Over Free Staters Moving On In Manchester City Elections

A Dozen Free State Project Candidates Advance to Manchester Municipal General Election Amid NH GOP Divide Over Secession  

Free State Project members running for political office often hide or deny their FSP affiliation; Granite State Progress’ Free State Project Watch exposes those connections; In response to report, WMUR NH Primary Source covers NH GOP divide over whether to support Free State Project candidates, some of whom are openly organizing for secession 

Concord, NH – At least a dozen Free State Project candidates will advance to the Manchester municipal general election in November, according to Granite State Progress’ Free State Project Watch. Andre Rosa, the only Free State Project member candidate with a contested primary, narrowly lost his primary bid to represent Ward 11 on the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. Granite State Progress highlighted Rosa’s participation in the Free State Project in a press release last week; Rosa subsequently lost placing on the ballot by only 14 votes [148-162].

Meanwhile, WMUR NH Primary Source reported today that prominent members of the New Hampshire Republican Party are clashing over Granite State Progress’ report on Free State Project candidates.

“Free State Project candidates running for state house or municipal office don’t openly share their extreme views when campaigning for office, which is why Granite State Progress created Free State Project Watch to better educate voters and constituents. Free Staters moved to New Hampshire as part of a group with the stated purpose to take over state government and dismantle it, and to use the threat of secession once they meet their initial goals. Members of the media and public are strongly encouraged to ask Free State Project candidates whether they disclose their FSP affiliation in campaign materials and, if not, why,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “It is heartening to see Republican leaders in the state join their Democratic counterparts in raising serious concerns about the Free State Project and its goals. We urge NH GOP Chair Jeanie Forrester to listen to the concerns of leadership and rank and file members, and to stop recruiting Free Staters as candidates for office.”

The Free State Project candidate list is part of the Free State Project Watch of Granite State Progress, and can be found online at https://freestateprojectwatch.org/. Granite State Progress released similar candidate lists during the 2012, 2014, and 2016 general elections, and reviews municipal candidate filings periodically.


Previous press releases:

Granite State Progress Releases List of 13 Free State Project Candidates Running for Municipal Office in Manchester, Thursday, September 14, 2017

Breaking: House Speaker Shawn Jasper Condemns Free State Project Electeds, Manchester Candidates Calling for Secession, Friday, September 15, 2017

Free State Project member candidates in Manchester general election by ward and office, including links to Granite State Progress’ Free State Project Watch profile on each candidate:

Ward 3: Selectman candidate Phillip Harris

Ward 3: School Committee candidate Phillip Harris

Ward 4: Moderator candidate Colin Gibson

Ward 4: Clerk candidate Holly Beene Seal

Ward 5: Aldermanic candidate Cameron Barr*

Ward 5: Selectman candidate Cameron Barr*

Ward 5: Selectman candidate Michael Garcia*

Ward 6: Clerk candidate Chandler Blair Gabel*

Ward 8: Selectman candidate William Cerf*

Ward 10: Aldermanic candidate Tammy Simmons (Honorary FSP member)

Ward 10: Clerk candidate Merav Yaakov

Ward 11: Selectman candidate Andrew Vermiglio*

Ward 11: Selectman candidate Alexander Avery

Ward 11: School Committee candidate Alexander Avery

Ward 12: Selectman candidate Clarence Gardner*

* Free State Project members with additional roles or volunteer lead assignments with NH Exit or Foundation for New Hampshire Independence, Free State Project off-shoot groups specifically dedicated to organizing for New Hampshire to secede from the United States, in addition to the Free State Project itself threatening secession. See full candidate profiles for more details.

 

Is Frank Edelblut Playing Partisan Politics In His Official Capacity?

Governor Sununu’s Handpicked Education Commissioner Still Engaging in Partisan Politics, Keynote Speaker at Strategy Meeting to “Further the Right’s Agenda Within the State”

Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut is keynote speaker at “Right of Center” political strategy meeting in September; public has a right to know if Edelblut has been participating all along – and whether any other members of Governor Sununu’s leadership team are participating in partisan politics in their official capacities 

Concord, NH – Governor Chris Sununu’s handpicked Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut is still using his Commissioner position to engage in partisan politics, this time as the scheduled keynote speaker for the September 13th Right of Center political strategy meeting where “Brainstorming how to further the Right’s agenda within the state is at the forefront of conversations.”

The bi-weekly meetings are organized by former House Speaker Bill O’Brien and the Hon. Stephen Stepanek under the banner of Liberty Tree Consulting Services, and hosted at the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity office. According to the hosts, the meetings are “for elected officials and political activists, centering around how to improve communication in NH through a center right agenda” and “create ‘Right of Center’ political progress” in New Hampshire. Commissioner Edelblut is not an elected official and New Hampshire commissioners typically don’t engage in partisan politics in their official roles – although Commissioner Edelblut has frequently done so with Governor Chris Sununu’s blessing.

See meeting announcement advertising Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut

Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins:

“It’s high time for Governor Sununu to tell his handpicked Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut to stop using his official position for partisan political purposes. Commissioner Edelblut’s participation in political strategy meetings is inappropriate, and his actions in office demonstrate how far he will go to enact his far-right political ideology. Commissioner Edelblut continues to put his personal politics over the best interests of Granite State students and families, and Governor Sununu is endorsing his behavior by not putting an immediate stop to it.”

Just months into his position as Education Commissioner, Edelblut has 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 education department 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 literally 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.

“While Education Commissioner Edelblut is the keynote speaker for the upcoming meeting, it is unclear whether he has been participating in the bi-weekly meetings all along or if any other members of Governor Sununu’s leadership team are participating in their official capacities as well,” Rice Hawkins said. “Administrative Services Commissioner Charlie Arlinghaus ran similar political strategy meetings himself in the past before his current post. The Governor and Executive Council should check which Commissioners are abusing taxpayer time and money by engaging in partisan politics in their official capacities. Governor Sununu has a responsibility to keep his leadership team focused on addressing the real issues facing Granite Staters, instead of attending meetings designed to advance a particular political ideology.”

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

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

Senator Hassan Joins Effort To Improve The Affordable Care Act And Lower Costs To Granite Staters

Legislation Improves Affordable Care Act &
Would Help Lower Costs for Older Granite Staters
 

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Kamala Harris (D-CA) in introducing a bill to help make health care coverage more affordable for hard-working, middle class Granite Staters.

The common-sense legislation helps improve the Affordable Care Act by eliminating the cliff that currently blocks many middle-class individuals and families from receiving financial help to purchase insurance through the marketplace.

“We need to work together to strengthen the Affordable Care Act and bring health care costs down for hard-working people,” said Senator Maggie Hassan. “This bill is a common-sense step that will help to bring down the cost of premiums for middle class Granite Staters on the exchange, allowing more people to access affordable coverage and making our people and our communities stronger.”

Under current law, individuals and families making just one dollar more than 400 percent of the federal poverty level ($47,520 for an individual, $80,640 for a family of three) receive no financial assistance in purchasing health insurance in the marketplace. This sharp cut-off contributes to affordability issues in individual markets nationwide.

This legislation would make it so no individual or family in New Hampshire would pay more than 9.69 percent of their monthly income toward health insurance premiums. Currently, 9.69 percent of monthly income is the maximum contribution households are required to make toward their health plan if they make between 300 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level.

“While President Trump and Congressional Republicans seek to take away health care from 23 million Americans, real health care champions like Senator Maggie Hassan are seeking ways to strengthen the Affordable Care Act and make coverage more affordable for Granite State families,” said Zandra Rice-Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress. “We need more elected officials like Sen. Hassan seeking solutions instead of the politicians promoting a failed Trumpcare 2.0 agenda that targets those with pre-existing conditions and puts at risk coverage for our families and small businesses.”

“We thank Senator Hassan for her work to ensure all Americans have access to the quality, affordable health care coverage they need to be healthy and economically secure,” Rice-Hawkins added.

The senators’ proposal would be particularly beneficial to individuals aged 50 to 64, given that plans are more expensive for older individuals.

America Votes Coalition And NH Democrats Praise Win in Special House Election

Coalition members engaged members and voters in today’s
special 
House election in Wolfeboro

ConcordNH – America Votes New Hampshire is a permanent progressive coalition including some of New Hampshire’s most powerful advocacy organizations working together to increase issue majorities and secure public policy advancements for working families across the state. Tonight, the coalition celebrates the special election win by Edith DesMarais in the New Hampshire House District Carroll 6 special election. The election saw extremely high turnout, around twenty-six percent, emphasizing the importance of comprehensive voter education and communication. 

“Our partners represent a broad economic and social justice agenda,” said Paula Hodges, America Votes NH State Director. “They fight for good jobs, quality healthcare, a clean environment, a strong public education system, voting rights and civil and human rights.  We are proud to have supported Representative-elect DesMarais, who supports these values and worked very diligently in her campaign to secure her position in the House to move New Hampshire forward.”

The America Votes coalition reached out to an estimated total of 1,969 members and voters in the district via phonebanks, canvasses, direct mail, and digital outreach.

Founded in 2003, America Votes-New Hampshire and coalition partners have played a major role in identifying voters and engaging them in civic participation based on their top issue concerns. Partner organizations who participated in the special election programs this May include America Votes New HampshireGranite State ProgressLegislative Majority PAC (The Independent Expenditure arm of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee ), Let America Vote, and SEA/SEIU Local 1984.


The NH Democratic Party also praised the win in Wolfeboro citing grassroots organizing and the rejection of the Sununu / Trump agenda.

New Hampshire House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff issued the following statement:

“We are pleased to see that Democrats are showing up, working hard, and turning out with a renewed sense of purpose. As Democrats, we will continue to fight for every seat in every district of the state. We congratulate and welcome Representative-elect Edie DesMarais to the New Hampshire House.”

NHDP Chair Ray Buckley issued the following statement:

“This is an important night for Democrats in New Hampshire and across the country. With hard work at the grassroots level and a positive message about Democratic ideals, we took back a seat previously held by a Republican. Democrats showed tonight that, in 2017 and beyond, we will reject the reckless and irresponsible policies of Donald Trump and Chris Sununu. It is only appropriate that New Hampshire, the home of the first in the nation primary, would deliver the first seat in the country to flip from red to blue in a working class town like Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.”

DNC Chair Tom Perez released the following statement:

“To rebuild the Democratic party, we need to win from the school board to the Senate. No seat is too small, and to be competitive we have to get back to the basics of grassroots organizing as a party. Last night, two Democratic women won upset victories in down-ballot races where Trump won by a large margin, and held on to a key Democratic seat in New York. They did it by talking to every voter. As President Trump and Republicans across the nation push budgets and policies that help the rich get richer at the expense of the rest of America, Democrats are focused on lifting people up and on the issues that matter to working families. As we saw last night, the Democratic Party continues to turn this moment into a movement and this movement into votes.”

 

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. 

NH Elected Leaders, Community Groups, And Healthcare Providers Speak Out Against Trumpcare Passage

Republicans Push Trumpcare Through House Despite Huge Opposition

Today the Republicans in the U.S. House pushed through their “repeal and replace Obamacare” legislation.  The bill passed with a four vote margin at 217-213.

“Today Republicans in the House put politics ahead of the wellbeing of millions of Americans and thousands of people throughout New Hampshire,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster (D-NH). “The American Health Care Act threatens access to healthcare for hardworking families, removes protections for those with pre-existing conditions, increases costs for seven million veterans and Americans over 50 years old, and jeopardizes our response to the opioid addiction epidemic that is impacting communities nationwide. I’m extremely disappointed that my colleagues were so steadfast in their determination to appease the most extreme elements of their party that they disregarded the voices of their constituents. I’ve consistently expressed my willingness to work with Republicans and Democrats to improve our healthcare system for all Americans, but this misguided legislation is not the answer. I hope that as the seriously damaging elements of this bill become more clear the Senate will come together in bipartisan opposition to the AHCA.”

“The House just passed a terrible bill that will devastate so many of our citizens. I am disappointed that so many Congressional Republicans voted to take health care away from millions of Americans and to allow insurers to once again discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions,” said Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH). “While today’s vote was a setback, I will never stop fighting for the people’s right to health care. Now, I urge my colleagues in the Senate to send this bill where it belongs: history.”

Minutes before the vote, Shea-Porter spoke on the House floor to oppose the bill, saying:

“I oppose this cruel bill on behalf of my constituents, especially those it would hurt the most: people with pre-existing conditions, older Americans, veterans, and lower-income people. If this bill passes, we will go back to the days when people with pre-existing conditions could be denied coverage or charged more, when insurers could decide whether or not to cover basic care like hospitalization, and when sick babies might hit their insurer’s lifetime coverage limit before they could even walk.”

Both NH Senators spoke out against the bill and indicate they will oppose it in the Senate.

“There is nothing in Trumpcare that helps hard-working Americans. This dangerous Trumpcare bill would lead to higher costs for less care for people across New Hampshire and the entire country,” Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH). “If you have a preexisting condition – which under Trumpcare includes cancer, asthma or diabetes – you could once again be discriminated against with higher costs. And if you are between the ages of 50 and 65 you would face a new age tax, which is among the reasons the AARP strongly opposes this bill.

“Trumpcare would also dramatically hurt our ability to combat the heroin, fentanyl, and opioid crisis by ending Medicaid expansion and undermining the requirement that insurance companies must cover substance use disorder and behavioral health services. By cutting and capping traditional Medicaid, Trumpcare would also hurt people from students who experience disabilities to older Americans in nursing homes. And Trumpcare would defund Planned Parenthood, which provides critical health services to thousands of New Hampshire women and families,” Hassan concluded.

“President Trump and Republican leadership have recklessly rushed legislation through the House that would be devastating to the health and wellbeing of New Hampshire,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). “This bill dramatically reduces healthcare coverage across the country, increases costs for patients, and eliminates protections that prevent insurance companies from discriminating against patients with pre-existing conditions. Under this bill, insurance companies could discriminate on a wide-range of conditions and circumstances, including history of cancer, heart disease, C-sections, postpartum depression and even being the victim of sexual assault or domestic violence. It also eliminates funding for Planned Parenthood, jeopardizing access to vital preventative care services that more than 12,000 Granite State women rely on to live healthy lives, care for their families, and lead in the workforce.”

“The vote to take away health care from millions of Americans is a shameful display of partisan politics at its worst,” said Zandra Rice-Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress. “House Republicans voted to take health care away from tens of thousands of Granite Staters, abandon Americans with pre-existing conditions, slash Medicaid, and raise health care costs for all families to give over $600 billion in tax breaks to the very wealthy and the big insurance and drug companies.”

“Trumpcare will take us back to the days when insurance companies made all the rules. It will eliminate any requirement that insurers cover basic health benefits like prescription drugs, preventive services, and maternity care. It lets insurers charge people with pre-existing conditions whatever they want and it radically restructures Medicaid, over time cutting services to seniors, children and people with disabilities and shifting huge financial burdens to the state budget.”

“For years Granite Staters donned ‘I’m a Health Care Voter’ stickers and called on candidates to fix our country’s broken health care system. President Obama delivered on that promise and health care advocates were continuing efforts to improve coverage while bending the cost curve. During all that time opponents to health care reform failed to offer any meaningful ideas and instead continued their partisan path of obstruction. Now they have blown up every opportunity American families had to gain the coverage we all need to be healthy and economically secure,” Rice-Hawkins concluded.

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England highlighted some of the devastating cuts to women’s health in the new American Healthcare Act.

  • Take away health coverage for 24 million people.
  • “Defund” Planned Parenthood — by blocking people with Medicaid from accessing preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers — including birth control, cancer screenings, and STD testing and treatment.
  • Eliminate protections that restrict insurance companies from charging people with pre-existing conditions unaffordable rates. Under this bill, health insurance companies could once again charge people tens of thousands of dollars a month because they had cancer.
  • Undermine Essential Health Benefits standards, including maternity coverage and prescription drugs, which disproportionately affect women.
  • Gut the Medicaid program, which approximately 1 in 4 women of reproductive age rely on to access no-cost, critical reproductive health care such as birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, and maternity care.
  • Reduce access to no-cost preventive services, including birth control.
  • Impose a nationwide ban on private insurance coverage of abortion.

“This is the worst bill for women’s health in a generation. It makes it harder for women to access birth control to prevent unintended pregnancy, harder to obtain maternity care to have a healthy pregnancy and harder to meet the health needs of children and families,” said Jennifer Frizzell Vice President for Public Policy, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. “Alarm bells should be ringing in every house across New Hampshire.”

“If enacted, this legislation would block thousands of New Hampshire patients who rely on Medicaid from accessing the reproductive care that Planned Parenthood health centers provides. New Hampshire has some of the nation’s lowest rates for teen pregnancy and STI incidence and has been recognized for the best maternal health outcomes in the country. Under the terms of the House bill all of this progress will come undone.”

The NH AFL-CIO spoke out against the passage of Trumpcare and thanked NH’s Congresswoman for opposing the bill.

“The New Hampshire AFL-CIO was disappointed to see that the Republicans in the House of Representatives voted to pass a health care bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act and confiscate health care benefits from millions of people, handing a big tax break to the wealthy few while taxing working people’s health benefits.

This new effort by Republicans in Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act would be a disaster for all working families. This bill will gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions, take away health care from millions of people, raise health care costs for millions more and put money in the pockets of the superrich and corporate CEOs.

Our country needs a health care plan that expands coverage for all Americans, not one that cuts it. The New Hampshire AFL-CIO and its allies will continue to fight to protect and expand health care for all. We would like to thank Congresswoman Kuster and Congresswoman Shea-Porter for continuing to stand in Solidarity with New Hampshire working families and opposing this effort to roll back the progress we have made in providing health care to millions of our Brother and Sisters across the country.”

NH Healthcare providers also condemned the passage.

“Using Affordable Care Act repeal and replacement as a pretext, the vote today was a devastating attack upon traditional Medicaid funding that predates the ACA by decades,” said Brendan Williams, President and CEO of the New Hampshire Health Care Association. “The so-called American Health Care Act cruelly rations Medicaid funds for seniors and those with disabilities. It’s a real ‘death panel’ bill. I can’t imagine how care in New Hampshire ultimately survives this blow. We already have the nation’s second-oldest population and third-worst nursing home funding crisis.”

“We are deeply disappointed in the vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA) today in the House of Representatives, as it will result in millions of Americans and tens of thousands of Granite State residents losing the health insurance coverage that they depend on to help them get the right care, at the right time, at the right place,” said Steve Ahnen, President of the New Hampshire Hospital Association.

“The AHCA will continue to cut more than $1.5 billion in Medicare reimbursements from hospitals in New Hampshire through 2026 that would be devastating to their ability to serve the patients and communities who depend on them. It downshifts costs to the states through the imposition of Medicaid block grants, which underfund the cost of providing care to Medicaid patients and undermine New Hampshire’s successful Medicaid expansion program.  And it puts at risk important consumer protections, which could leave patients without access to critical health services and increase their out-of-pocket spending.

“This bill is a significant step backwards on the commitment to ensure coverage and we cannot support it.  We will continue to work with Congress as this bill moves over to the Senate to ensure that any final legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act improves our health care system in a thoughtful and responsible way, rather than dismantling coverage for our most vulnerable residents,” Ahnen concluded.

  • Subscribe to the NH Labor News via Email

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 12,447 other subscribers

  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement