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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.

NH House GOP Jeopardize Voter Privacy And Force Towns To Pay For Equipment In Voter ID Mandate

NH House Finance Republicans Vote to Pass Costly
Unfunded Voter ID Mandate on to Cities and Towns;
Jeopardize Voter Privacy

CONCORD, NH – In a party line vote yesterday afternoon, Republicans on the House Finance Committee voted to pass a costly and unfunded mandate on to cities and towns to implement the camera provision of the voter ID law. Amendment 2015-1103h eliminates the requirement that the Secretary of State provide each city and town the photography and printing supplies to implement the voter ID law. Each municipality will now be responsible for purchasing a camera, color printer, photo paper, and any other supplies necessary to comply with the provision of the law set to go into effect in September 2015.

“The House Republicans are passing a costly and unfunded mandate on to local towns and cities to implement an unnecessary camera provision of an already unnecessary voter ID law,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “It is clear from the hasty introduction of this amendment that sponsor Rep. Dan McGuire and the other Republicans who voted for it did not even take the time to read the current statute. McGuire told the committee that the state does not need to provide the equipment because cameras and electronic communication are already so common, implying that election moderators should just take a photo with a smart phone and email it to the SOS. However, the voter ID law specifically says the photo must be printed out in color and then the electronic copy immediately deleted.”

“If House Republicans want to change the voter ID law to an electronic record-keeping version, this raises real concerns over privacy. Under that scenario, moderators could use private phones and email accounts to transfer or store images of the electorate with no data protections whatsoever,” Rice Hawkins said.

Granite State Progress and other election protection advocates are calling for the New Hampshire legislature to eliminate the costly camera provision of the voter ID law, saving taxpayer dollars and preventing long delays at the polls.

Transcript of Rep. Dan McGuire (R-Epsom) remarks available here.

Video link 

After 5 Years Data Shows The ACA Is Working For Granite State Families

On 5th Anniversary of Affordable Care Act, Landmark Health Law is Covering More Families, Lowering Health Care Costs

CONCORD, NH – Today marks the fifth anniversary of the landmark health care law, the Affordable Care Act – otherwise known as Obamacare. Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins:

“The Affordable Care Act has provided New Hampshire families and small businesses with the security and stability they need in health care coverage. More than 53,000 Granite State consumers have enrolled for private health care coverage through the ACA marketplace, and an additional 37,000 of our neighbors have signed up for expanded Medicaid and can now access preventive care instead of relying on emergency rooms which drives up health costs for everyone. The ACA, or Obamacare as it is known to some, is achieving its goal of providing quality, affordable health care coverage to more Americans and bending the health care cost curve that was previously wildly out of control.”

According to HHS, 70 percent of New Hampshire consumers who signed up on the marketplace qualified for an average tax credit of $244 per month. Reporters can access more information on the impact of the Affordable Care Act in New Hampshire here. HHS also announced that the ACA has reduced hospital uncompensated care costs across the country by an estimated $7.4 billion in 2014. A report detailing the economic impact of Medicaid expansion and the overall accomplishments of the Affordable Care Act over the past five years are available on the HHS website.

New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley released the following statement on the 5th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act:

“Five years after the President signed the Affordable Care Act into law, it’s clear that the ACA is working here in New Hampshire.”

“To date, over 53,000 Granite Staters have enrolled in private coverage on New Hampshire’s Health Insurance Marketplace, not to mention the 37,000 Granite Staters and counting who have gotten covered through New Hampshire’s Medicaid expansion plan.”

“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, New Hampshire’s workforce is healthier and stronger and we’re already seeing a decline in the costs of uncompensated care, saving money for individuals and businesses.”  

“It is unconscionable that five years later, Kelly Ayotte and Frank Guinta are still fighting to take away health coverage from tens of thousands of Granite Staters and repeal critical new consumer protections that are not only saving money, but also saving lives. In 2016, voters across New Hampshire will hold them accountable for their backwards health care policies and elect Democrats who will fight for middle class families and small businesses.”

Koch Brothers Helping To Fund Free State Movement 

Koch Brothers Funding Effort to Move 20,000 Libertarians to New Hampshire to Take Over, Dismantle State Government


At least (4) Koch-funded groups – including Americans for Prosperity and The Josiah Bartlett Center – are allocating money or staff time to extreme Free State Project effort


MANCHESTER, NH – Billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch are helping sponsor an effort to move 20,000 libertarians to New Hampshire to take over and dismantle state government.

“Moved by Liberty” the 2015 NH Liberty Forum hosted by the Free State Project, is being held in Manchester, NH this week March 5th to 8th.The event is designed to expose libertarians to the Free State Project movement – an effort to move 20,000 people to New Hampshire and create a libertarian “utopia” void of public infrastructure and common laws. The Free State Project cites secession from the country as a possible tactic once they reach critical mass. To date, the Free State Project has recruited 16,498 people to sign the pledge and more than 1,700 have already moved.


At least (4) Koch-funded groups – including Americans for Prosperity Foundation-New Hampshire and The Josiah Bartlett Center – are allocating money or staff time to the extreme Free State Project effort this week:


“The billionaire Koch brothers are once again subverting democracy, this time funding and supporting an effort to move 20,000 libertarians to New Hampshire for the stated purpose to take over and dismantle state government,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “The ultra-extreme Free State Project seeks to radically change the way of life in New Hampshire, and Koch-funded groups like Americans for Prosperity and The Josiah Bartlett Center are working to pave the way for them. AFP-NH and the Josiah Bartlett Center should be ashamed for being in bed with individuals who harass meter attendants, believe we should abolish all public services including public roads and bridges, and who seek to encourage a violent uprising in response to democratic decisions that differ from their own.”


*** More Information ***


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


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

–          Announcement:
The Free State Project by Founder Jason Sorens


To date, the Free State Project has recruited 16,498 people to sign the pledge to move to New Hampshire, and once they hit the goal of 20,000 that will “Trigger the Move.” More than 1,700 people have already moved. The Free State Project regularly hosts tours of the state for prospective movers, offers temporary housing for those in transition, and has a network for job, social, and political opportunities once someone makes the move to New Hampshire.


The Free State Project has also successfully fielded candidates for local and state government, and each year those members introduce proposals to slash local and state budgets, undermine public education, and overturn common sense community priorities that ensure our people and our communities remain safe and secure. It is not surprising that so many Free Staters run for office. Free State Project members uproot their families and move to New Hampshire purely to enact a political agenda; running for office only further helps them reach that goal.


About the NH Liberty Forum: The annual forum organized by the Free State Project is designed to encourage more libertarians to learn about “the most successful migration movement for liberty in the world” and how to “make New Hampshire the hub for liberty in our lifetime.” NH Liberty Forum website, accessed 3.6.15, http://nhlibertyforum.com/


About The Josiah Bartlett Center and Koch funding: The Josiah Bartlett Center has received direct funding from the Koch family fortune despite their claims in the media otherwise. See Granite State Progress & The Center for Media and Democracy Report “Bad Bartlett: The Josiah Bartlett Center and NH Watchdog Answer the Call of the Koch Brothers” November 2013 (pages 8, 13-14, 32-35); http://granitestateprogress.org/blog/2013-12-12/new-report-%E2%80%9Cbad-bartlett-josiah-bartlett-center-and-nh-watchdog-answer-call-koch


Granite State Progress has been tracking the Free State Project and its influence since 2008, paying particular attention to Free Stater activity in elections and legislation.

Granite State Progress Statement on NH House Voting Down HB 404, Ballot Selfies

 Concord, NH – The New Hampshire House voted inexpedient to legislate 233-131 today on HB 404, relative to showing a ballot. Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins

“Granite State Progress congratulates the New Hampshire House on this strong vote in favor of voter protection. HB 404 would have opened a slippery slope to voter intimidation and harassment, as well as social pressure to vote for a particular candidate or cause. New Hampshire’s current law protects an individual’s right to vote for the candidate or issue they feel most strongly about, without feeling accountable to anyone else. There are already several other ways for a voter to publicly show their support for a candidate – they can attend rallies, sign petitions, hold signs, distribute information, and publicly declare their intent to vote for or state that they actually did cast a ballot for a particular candidate. All New Hampshire’s law does is protect the privacy and secrecy of an individual’s actual vote by making it illegal to show or distribute pictures of one’s actual ballot.”

“This is not a freedom of speech issue as some may try to suggest as there are limitless other ways to demonstrate support for a candidate. There is one – and only one – thing that ballot selfies provide that other forms of democratic expression do not, and that is proof of your vote. New Hampshire should not endorse methods of proving who you voted for to others, and the House made the right decision with this vote.”

A copy of Granite State Progress testimony in opposition to HB 404 can be found online at http://www.granitestateprogress.org/press-release/statement-nh-house-voting-down-hb-404-ballot-selfies. It includes seemingly innocent examples of social pressure that could unfortunately harm the democratic process if ballot selfies were allowed.

About GSP and voter protection: Granite State Progress and its sister organization Granite State Progress Education Fund provide several forms of voter education and voter protection in New Hampshire – including publishing easy to access and understandable vote records of state legislators, hosting a website with information on how to register and rights at the polls, and manning a voter protection hotline on Election Day. Granite State Progress opposed both HB 404 and similar legislation HB 228, which will have a floor vote later today.

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 and other information available online atwww.GraniteStateProgress.org.


ICYMI: Coalition of NH Taxpayers Once Again Found Making False Accusations of Voter Fraud

Ed Naile and the Coalition of NH Taxpayers have no idea how to read a voter file, continue to make false accusations based on shoddy research 

Concord, NH – In an unsurprising development, Ed Naile and the Coalition of NH Taxpayer’s latest “voter fraud” allegation has once again been soundly debunked. For the last month, Naile, CNHT, and the NH Tea Party have relentlessly alleged fraud by a former New Hampshire voter, using social media graphics and posts on Granite Grok and Girard at Large to defame an American citizen who did his civic duty to vote in every election. An in-depth article in The Cabinet this week, pasted below, gives the real story.

Quote from Zandra Rice Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress:

“It’s clear that Ed Naile and the Coalition of NH Taxpayers have no idea how to read a voter file, and that they have once again based false accusations on shoddy research. Any allegations they make should continue to be scrutinized carefully, because even the simplest fact check quickly debunks their statements.”

The Cabinet story is below.


The Cabinet: Illegal voting allegations out of Wilton

Thursday, November 6, 2014


WILTON – According to an organization called Coalition of New Hampshire Taxpayers, and as shown on their website www.cnht.com, resident Jared Cram voted twice in presidential elections in 2008 and 2012, both in Wilton and near Philadelphia.

The website refers to Cram as a “Democratic Philly Lawyer,” and displays a picture apparently taken from a Facebook page. It offers no proof of the charge.

The accusation was also made at a recent candidates’ forum by Frank Edelblut, a Republican candidate for the state house of representatives, in answer to a question from the floor about voter fraud. He used Cram and his alleged voting record as proof there is a problem in the state.

He said, “Right here in the town of Wilton.”

Selectman Kermit Williams rebutted that accusation then, and is still doing so, pointing out that the accusations are false, that Cram had moved to Wilton well before the election.

On Monday, Oct. 29, Town Clerk Jane Farrell outlined what she had done in response to the case for the Board of Selectmen.

After the accusations were made, she said she had received a call from the Secretary of State’s Office asking for copies of the checked voter lists for the primary elections in those years in order to verify Cram’s voting history.

“Unfortunately, 2008 was a year we purged the checklist (as required periodically by state law).”

Checklists are scanned for the archives, and one appeared to show that Cram had voted twice.

However, further checking found that the scanned copy was of Cram’s father’s name and that Jared had not voted.

“We corrected that record,” she said.

As for 2012, she said, “It was alleged that he had voted in two state primaries, and he actually did, but Pennsylvania holds their primary in April in connection with municipal elections.” Cram was living there at the time and voted.

During the summer, he moved back to Wilton, where his parents live, to recuperate from a medical problem, and voted in the primary and general election here.

“None of the three races (in 2012) covered the same people,” Farrell said. She noted that New Hampshire state statutes allow for voting in different states if the elections are held on different dates.

“This is casting aspersions on us and on our secretary of State’s office,” Farrell said, and the “Secretary of State is very annoyed.”


Andy and Laurie Sanborn Failed to Pay Their Property Taxes At Least 25 Times in 20 Years

Sanborns have a steady history of failing to pay their taxes on time, with at least 25 tax liens against their private homes and businesses over the last 20 years 

Concord, NH – State Senator Andy Sanborn and State Representative Laurie Sanborn failed to pay their property taxes at least 25 times over the past twenty years, according to research by Granite State Progress. The Sanborns have had dozens of tax liens placed against their private homes and businesses over the past two decades.

“Andy and Laurie Sanborn failed to pay their property taxes at least 25 times over the past twenty years,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “Those numbers are from Merrimack and Cheshire County alone as we have yet to even look at other areas of the state where they lived and worked. The Sanborn’s record of business bankruptcy, district hopping to run for political office, close relationships with the Free State Project, and now at least 25 tax liens in twenty years calls into question whether they are fit to represent New Hampshire.”

Not only have the Sanborns been delinquent on their taxes numerous times, they have feigned ignorance on at least two occasions when media outlets pointed it out. In May 2012, when questioned about tax liens against the Concord Monitor, Andy Sanborn said: “Honestly, I don’t know how we missed them, but we missed them. . . . We made a mistake and we corrected it today.”  Laurie Sanborn used the same line in February 2012 about a tax lien on a parking lot she owns, telling the Concord Monitor that she was unaware of a tax lien they questioned her about: “’I don’t know anything about that. Obviously, I’ll be taking care of that right away.” [Concord Monitor, “Tax liens peppered across city Unpaid taxes for 2011: $1.67 million.” 5.29.12;]

A 26-page list documenting examples of when the Sanborns failed to pay their property taxes is here.

Marilinda Garcia Says Marriage Equality Does Not Matter to Millennial Voters

Screen shot 2014-10-14 at 5.51.30 PMSo-Called “Millennial” Candidate Marilinda Garcia Says Marriage Equality Does Not Matter to Millennial Voters Despite Polling, Evidence to the Contrary

Garcia, a 31-year old candidate for Congress, voted against marriage equality, voted to repeal marriage equality, and voted to keep gay couples from adopting

*** Also: Video of Garcia’s extreme House floor remarks on marriage equality *** 

Concord, NH –Congressional candidate Marilinda Garcia (NH-02) says same-sex marriage and other issues of equality for gay and lesbian couples do not matter to millennial voters, despite widespread polling to the contrary.  On NHPR’s Morning Edition, Garcia recently told host Steve Inskeep that marriage equality is not an important topic for millennial voters, saying that “… it doesn’t really come up, you know, in elections and campaigns anymore because it’s just not an issue that they’re fighting about in the legislature anymore.”

But marriage equality and equal rights have been a topic of conversation, both in New Hampshire and nationally, and Garcia knows it. She voted against protecting or expanding LGBT rights as long ago as 2007 and as recently as 2014. In 2009, Garcia voted against passing marriage equality, and in 2010 and 2012 she voted to repeal it. National polls indicate that marriage equality is a priority for millennial voters. A Pew Research Center report in September 2014 found nearly 70% of millennial voters support same-sex marriage; a March 2014 report found 61% of young Republicans favor same-sex marriage. 

“Marilinda Garcia may be a young candidate but she is by no means a voice for the values of millennial voters,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress, and a millennial voter. “Garcia opposes same-sex marriage and voted to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples seeking to adopt. Nearly 70 percent of millennial voters nationwide support marriage equality and see equal rights as an important foundation, but if elected Marilinda Garcia will vote to discriminate against gay and lesbian individuals.”

“Garcia also defines marriage as solely about procreation, a belief that is out of touch with many young couples today who are waiting to start families or who have chosen not to have children at all,” Rice Hawkins said.

GSP Video: Marilinda Garcia’s House Floor Statement Against Marriage Equality


(includes statements regarding Garcia’s definition of marriage)

Excerpt: “Thank you Mr. Speaker, honorable colleagues. I rise in support of this amendment merely to voice support for the traditional definition of marriage. The case for marriage is based on the facts of biology and sociology. Marriage was not established to validate emotional and romantic love, sexual attraction, and the promise of commitment in heterosexual relationships. That conception of it is a modern luxury. Instead, marriage exists to solve a problem. That problem is a societal problem that rises from sex between men and women, but not from sex between partners of the same gender. That problem is what to do about its generativity.”

Other choice lines: “Your concern, as a state and a society, is with my gender-based reproductive capability when men are involved.” and “[Same-sex marriage is] illogical and invasive, while completely missing the biologically specific point of marriage in the first place.” Garcia also calls marriage “an institution that makes no sense for them.” [NH State Rep. Marilinda Garcia, NH House Floor Speech Against Marriage Equality, 3/21/2012]

Background: Garcia’s Record on Marriage Equality, LGBT Rights

  • In March 2007, Garcia voted against allowing unmarried adults – including gay and lesbian couples – to adopt children. While New Hampshire law at the time already allowed gay individuals to adopt, same-sex couples faced discrimination in adoption due to different interpretations of the law across the state. [HB 51, Roll Call #37, 3/21/2007; Portsmouth Herald, Gay adoption passes House, 3/22/2007]
  • In May 2009, Garcia voted against the historic passage of marriage equality in New Hampshire. [HB 436, Roll Call #148, 5/6/2009]
  • In February 2010, Garcia voted to repeal marriage equality. [HB 1590, Roll Call #82, 2/17/2010]
  • In March 2012, Garcia again voted to repeal marriage equality in New Hampshire. Garcia argued at the time that repealing marriage equality would strengthen New Hampshire families. [HB437, Roll Call #188, 3/21/2012]
  • In April 2014, Garcia voted against a New Hampshire bill to clarify New Hampshire’s marriage equality law to ensure that all married couples in New Hampshire receive the fair and equal treatment under the law that they deserve. [SB 394, Roll Call #217, 4/30/2014]

Additionally, in September 2014, the NH GOP revised platform strongly called on New Hampshire to only “recognize marriage as the legal and sacred union between one man and one woman as ordained by God, encouraged by the State, traditional to humankind, and the core of the Family.”

Granite State Progress Renews Call For Senator Ayotte To Host Town Hall On Gun Violence Prevention

477 Days and Counting: Advocates Renew Call for Sen. Ayotte to Host Town Hall Specifically on Gun Violence Prevention

It’s been 16 months since Sen. Ayotte voted against criminal background checks and 477 days since she first refused to meet with New Hampshire gun violence prevention advocates

CONCORD, NH – Gun violence prevention advocates are renewing the call for U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte to host a town hall or forum specifically dedicated to the pressing issue of reducing gun violence. It’s been 477 days since the request was first issued and Senator Ayotte’s office has still refused to sit down and meet.

“Constituents have made phone calls, sent letters, signed petitions, and invited the Senator to coffee, but Senator Ayotte has repeatedly denied meeting requests from gun violence prevention advocates ever since she voted against background checks and the 89 percent of her constituents who support them,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director, Granite State Progress. “We renew our call for Senator Ayotte to host a town hall solely focused on gun violence prevention. In the sixteen months since Senator Ayotte voted against common sense background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, domestic abusers, and the seriously mentally ill, more shootings and more national tragedies have occurred. Senator Ayotte needs to stop hiding behind NRA lobby talking points and meet directly with her constituents. She has a responsibility as a U.S. Senator to participate in open town halls on these important topics instead of cherry-picking the issues she wants to discuss.”

In a letter to Senator Ayotte, Granite State Progress renewed the call for a town hall on gun violence prevention that would include participation from survivors of gun violence and the family members of victims, in addition to gun violence prevention advocates, faith leaders, law enforcement officials, mental health advocates, and responsible gun owners.  Members of the organization are being asked to contact the Senator and call on her to engage in a community conversation about how we can work together to protect more children and families.

Background: In April 2013, Senator Ayotte voted against the Manchin-Toomey background check bill – the only bill that would have required background checks for commercial gun sales and improved the background check system. Instead, Senator Ayotte voted for an amendment created by the gun lobby and sponsored by Senators Chuck Grassley and Ted Cruz that would actually weaken the system and put more guns in the hands of the seriously mentally ill. Ayotte’s public approval ratings plummeted after her vote.

Granite State Progress first issued the call for a town hall specifically on gun violence prevention on April 30, 2013 after Ayotte hosted three poorly publicized town halls where moderators such as former Congressman and current State Senator Jeb Bradley publicly admitted to screening out questions regarding Sen. Ayotte’s vote against background checks and the 89% of her constituents who support them. Granite State Progress, OFA-NH, and Project for Safer Communities re-issued the call during the August 2013 Congressional recess, and Granite State Progress members additionally held coffee sit-ins in the Senator’s district offices to highlight her absence. Sen. Ayotte responded with a generic form letter stating she would hold general town halls later in the year – but for 16 months has ignored constituent requests for a conversation on gun violence prevention.

In contrast, during the national health reform debate in the Summer of ‘09, the New Hampshire Congressional Delegation held town halls specifically focused on the pending health reform legislation – also an issue of national debate and interest.

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