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AFT-NH Announces Their Endorsement Of Andru Volinsky For Executive Council

Public School Advocate And Claremont Decision Lawyer Receives Big Endorsement From AFT-NH

Andru Volinsky CroppedConcord, NH—Yesterday, Executive Council candidate Andru Volinsky received the endorsement of the American Federation of Teachers of New Hampshire after years of dedication to public employees and supporting public education.  

Volinsky an attorney and most widely known for being lead counsel in the historic Claremont School District v Governor of New Hampshire case.  Volinsky was one of the three lawyers who represented the Claremont School District in their fight against the State for adequate school funding.  The Claremont decision forced the State to reevaluate how they disperse state funds to local schools and increased the stated contributions by over 8%.

WMUR reports that “[Volinsky] is currently representing the City of Dover in its lawsuit against the state contending that the cap on state adequacy money to school districts violates the state constitution.”

Volinsky also served as lead special counsel for the New Hampshire Bureau of Securities Regulation in its administrative prosecution of the Local Government Center.  That proceeding resulted in an Order requiring the return of over $50 million to local communities which will serve to reduce local property taxes and support the employment of teachers, firefighters and other public employees.

aft sqaure“From his work as the lead attorney on the Claremont School Funding suit to his continued involvement in fair public education funding and preserving the integrity of New Hampshire’s retirement system—issues of vital interest to the members of AFT-NH—Andru has proven his dedication to the working people of our state,” said AFT-NH President Doug Ley. “AFT-NH is proud to endorse Andru Volinsky for the Executive Council in District 2.”

“AFT-NH’s endorsement, and the support of New Hampshire’s education community, is a great honor,” said Volinsky. “As Executive Councilor, I will continue to fight to ensure that every New Hampshire child receives a quality education, regardless of their zip code and every New Hampshire retirement system member, including educators, first responders, and state employees, is supported.”

Local Education Leaders Endorse Jeanne Dietsch In NH Senate District 9 Primary

District 9 State Senate candidate Jeanne Dietsch and State Rep. Ivy Vann burned the Americans for Prosperity (AFP) “pledge” in front of Peterborough’s historic Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Hall on Grove Street on August 3rd.

District 9 State Senate candidate Jeanne Dietsch and State Rep. Ivy Vann burned the Americans for Prosperity (AFP) “pledge” in front of Peterborough’s historic Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Hall on Grove Street on August 3rd.

Educators tout Dietsch’s commitment to quality education for all children, keeping the state’s promises to students and teachers 

Peterborough, NH—The Jeanne Dietsch for NH Senate campaign released endorsements this morning from education leaders who have worked in the local schools and live in Senate District 9.

Said Dietsch, “If we want to build companies with good-paying jobs, if we want young people to live in New Hampshire, we must provide educational excellence, which requires that we fulfill our responsibilities to our teachers and our students. I will work to ensure that our teachers have the freedom and the resources to actually teach, not just prep their students for standardized tests. And I’ll work to ensure that our students are challenged, empowered and equipped to pursue their dreams in the 21st Century.”

Local education leaders endorsing Dietsch gave these statements explaining their support:

May Clark, former Chairperson, ConVal School Board, Dublin:

“Jeanne Dietsch served with me for three years on the ConVal School Board during the time that I was the chairperson. She was then, as she is now, level-headed, energetic, and committed to making the best decisions to further the quality of education for all of our children. Jeanne was an asset to the School Board in those days, and I know she will be an effective leader in the New Hampshire state Senate.”

Greg Scerbinski, ConVal High School economics teacher for 34 years and former ConVal Education Association president, Peterborough:

“As a retired teacher and lifelong member of NEA-NH, I’ll be voting for Jeanne Dietsch for state Senate in District 9 because I know Jeanne will fight for good schools and for keeping the state’s promises to our students and our teachers. She’ll work to restore teachers’ freedom to actually teach, give our youth a top-notch education, restore state aid to schools to help lower property taxes and honor the commitments the state has made to retired educators. I’ve known Jeanne for over 20 years, and I know she’ll be there for us.”

Mary Lou O’Neil, School to Career Coordinator at ConVal High School, Hancock:

“As the School To Career Coordinator at ConVal High School for nearly 20 years, I know we need to find jobs for our graduates and we need more young people to ‘stay, work and play’ in NH. Jeanne gets that – and that’s important to me – and to the economic development of our region. Of all the candidates running for NH state Senate, I’m supporting Jeanne because she has a vision for how to keep and attract young families and entrepreneurial people who will start home-grown New Hampshire-based businesses. As a successful business person herself, Jeanne knows how to help start-ups thrive here while protecting New Hampshire’s quality of life. Her business background will also be a big plus in the general election. In short, I believe in Jeanne’s vision for how to reinvigorate the local economy, I respect her business expertise, and I admire the passion and energy she is bringing to her campaign for the NH state Senate.” 

Dietsch is running for state Senate in District 9, which includes Bedford, Dublin, Greenfield, Fitzwilliam, Hancock, Jaffrey, Lyndeborough, Mont Vernon, New Boston, Peterborough, Richmond, Sharon, Temple and Troy. Her website is www.JeanneDietsch.org.

NEA-NH Endorses Maggie Hassan For US Senate Over Kelly Ayotte

CONCORD – Today, National Education Association-New Hampshire (NEA-NH), the state’s largest educator and public employee union, announced its backing of Governor Maggie Hassan for United States Senate.

“I am proud to receive the endorsement of the National Education Association-New Hampshire and to stand with them as we continue working to advance educational opportunities for all of our students,” said Governor Maggie Hassan. “When our young people are equipped with a strong education, we are able to expand opportunity and ensure that our workforce can to compete in our changing global economy. And it is unacceptable that politicians in Washington like Senator Kelly Ayotte have put their special interest backers ahead of our students. Every student, no matter their zip code, deserves to have access to a quality education, and in the United States Senate, I will continue fighting to support all of our students and educators.”

“Throughout her time in office, Maggie Hassan has consistently stood up for students, educators, and their families,” said NEA-NH President Scott McGilvray. “As our Governor, Maggie has fought to protect funding in our K-12 schools and has worked tirelessly to make college more affordable, and we know she’ll continue fighting for us in the Senate. Unlike Senator Kelly Ayotte, who has consistently put her political party and special interest backers before Granite State students, Governor Hassan will always put New Hampshire first. Governor Hassan understands that our state and nation are better off when students have access to a quality education, and we are proud to recommend her to be our next United States Senator.”

At the K-12 level, Governor Maggie Hassan has fought to protect funding levels for New Hampshire’s public schools, launched a Science Technology Engineering and Math Task Force to modernize STEM education, developed a new program to partner manufacturing companies with local schools and led efforts to reduce standardized testing in favor of more locally managed assessments – a model that is expanding nationally based on New Hampshire’s success. Governor Hassan has also fought to make college more affordable for students and families while building a 21st century workforce pipeline for our businesses. Under Maggie’s leadership, New Hampshire froze in-state tuition at our universities for the first time in 25 years and reduced tuition at community colleges.

In the Senate, Governor Hassan will fight to expand early childhood education, focus on STEM and encourage more participation by girls and young women, give New Hampshire schools the flexibility to put federal dollars to the best possible use and continue the Granite State’s leadership in empowering local school districts, students and teachers. Maggie will also fight to expand Pell Grants, lower interest rates on student loans, allow borrowers to refinance at today’s lower rates and work toward the goal of debt-free public college for all. She will also work to expand apprenticeship opportunities and make federal higher education grants and loans more flexible to support adult workers who are learning new skills.

Meanwhile, Senator Kelly Ayotte has put her party leaders and special interests backers ahead of Granite State students. Senator Ayotte has said she would eliminate or drastically cut the Department of Education, and has supported reckless Paul Ryan budgets that included steep cuts to K-12 education. Ayotte has also voted for deep cuts to Pell Grants while voting against allowing students to refinance their student loans

Gov Hassan Ceremonially Signs Net-Metering Increase

Governor Hassan shows national leadership as state studies clean energy future

CONCORD, NH – Governor Maggie Hassan joined local businesses and solar advocates today for a ceremonial signing of New Hampshire’s net metering bill, HB 1116, and to continue pushing for energy choice and clean energy job growth to help make the Granite State a national leader.

The event took place at the Throwback Brewery in North Hampton, where ReVision Energy recently installed a 48-kilowatt rooftop array, making it New Hampshire’s largest solar-powered brewery. Governor Hassan demonstrated tremendous leadership by officially signing HB 1116 into law earlier this year and doubling the state’s net metering cap — net metering is a policy that enables the right to self-generation and fair credit for power sent to neighbors. The bill also initiated a 10-month study by the state’s Public Utility Commission (PUC) to explore the future of clean energy policy in New Hampshire.

“I am proud of our bipartisan work this year to raise the cap on net metering, which will help our clean energy industry continue to grow and thrive,” Governor Hassan said. “Solar and other small scale clean energy resources are creating good-paying, high-quality jobs, spurring economic development and helping combat climate change, which we see firsthand here in the state’s largest solar-powered brewery. I am confident that the PUC process will result in a fair net metering tariff that will encourage energy diversification and clean energy job growth, and I look forward to continuing to work with members from both parties and the business community to support our growing clean energy economy.”

Recent statewide polling shows that New Hampshire voters–both Republicans and Democrats–favor solar as an energy source, and a clear majority support net metering. Moreover, national polls have found solar energy to be an issue that could sway independent voters in key swing states like New Hampshire.

Solar energy is an exciting and growing sector that can help accelerate the state’s economy. Local businesses like ReVision Energy depend on strong, stable energy policy to allow them to create jobs throughout the state.

“Today New Hampshire has the second highest per capita fossil fuel consumption and carbon pollution in New England,” said Phil Coupe, Co-Founder of ReVision Energy. “We are honored to stand beside strong clean energy leaders like Governor Hassan who is taking decisive action to unleash the powerful job creation opportunity represented by the transition to solar energy. But to maximize the creation of solar jobs and to bring solar savings to more individuals and businesses, we need certainty and a well-defined time horizon on clean energy policy so that we can invest with confidence in a sustainable energy future for New Hampshire.”

What’s Next

The PUC has already kicked off their study process that will determine New Hampshire’s future around renewable energy and advancing clean jobs throughout the state. It’s critical that smart energy policies — like net metering — are upheld by the Commission to encourage energy choice and clean energy job growth across the state.

“Governor Hassan demonstrated great leadership by taking action to protect energy choice in New Hampshire, and we are hopeful regulators will do the same going forward,” said Chris Rauscher, Director of Public Policy for Sunrun and spokesperson for TASC. “We appreciate the opportunity to work with the Commission and collaborate with other stakeholders to find customer-focused policy solutions that will protect the ability of energy consumers to generate and use affordable solar power from their rooftops.

InZane Times: Offshore Wind–Alternative to Fossil Fuels, Nukes

By Arnie Alpert at InZane Times

After delivery of a couple thousand petitions to Governor Maggie Hassan, supporters of offshore wind energy development held a rally today at the State House in Concord.

Doug Bogen, Executive Director of the Seacoast Anti-Pollution league, who has been P8250059promoting the concept for several years, believes there is so much potential for energy from wind in the Gulf of Maine that it would be possible to “phase out fossil fuel and phase out nuclear power and replace it with this.”

Offshore wind projects already in operation in Europe, and one about to be put online off Block Island, show the technology is already available, he said.  “We know how to do this,” Bogen stressed.   

One important step is for Governor Maggie Hassan to make a formal request to the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to form a Task Force and stakeholder process to plan for regional offshore wind development.  That’s the point of the petition.

P8250069

P8250079The Federal Department of Energy has determined that the Gulf of Maine has a total potential wind power capacity in excess of 200,000 Megawatts within 50 miles of the coasts of New Hampshire, Maine and northeast Massachusetts,” the petition states. 

“Utilizing just a small percentage of this potential, combined with other renewable resources, could provide most of the future power needs of these states,” says Kaity Thomson of 350NH, which organized today’s rally. 

Representative Renny Cushing, who lives almost in sight of the Seabrook nuclear plant, chaired a legislative study of offshore wind already.  Now, he says he is “wildly enthusiastic about the potential.” 

Stephanie Scherr of Fossil Free 603 says she was energized by the successful struggle against the NED Pipeline proposed by the Kinder Morgan Corp.  After months of saying “no” to fracked gas, she emphasized how important it is to have something to say “yes” to.  Scherr gave an ironic “thank you” to Kinder Morgan for pushing people to think seriously about alternatives.

After the rally, participants went up to Governor Hassan’s office, where they wrote additional messages.

P8250094

If you haven’t signed the petition yet, you can find it here or sign below. 

P8250103P8250101P8250099

 

American Nurses Association Endorses Gov. Maggie Hassan In Senate Race

Image from Hassan Campaign (All Rights Reserved)

Image from Hassan Campaign (All Rights Reserved)

SILVER SPRING, MD – The American Nurses Association (ANA) and its Political Action Committee (ANA-PAC) announced today the endorsement of Gov. Maggie Hassan in her race to represent the residents of New Hampshire in the U.S. Senate. Each election cycle, ANA-PAC endorses candidates who have demonstrated strong support for nursing and health care issues and will best serve the interests of nurses and their patients.

Elected in 2012, Gov. Hassan has worked across party lines to successfully pass New Hampshire’s bipartisan Medicaid expansion plan, which is already providing quality, affordable coverage to nearly 50,000 residents of the Granite State, and reducing uncompensated care that shifts costs to individuals and businesses.

“I am honored to accept the endorsement of the American Nurses Association, which represents our country’s 3.6 million registered nurses,” said Gov. Maggie Hassan. “Ensuring that our citizens can live healthy, productive lives is essential to their freedom and well-being, and critical to our economy. As governor, I have worked to make health care more accessible and affordable for all of our people and businesses, including successfully passing and reauthorizing our bipartisan Medicaid expansion plan. I have worked with nurses and others on the front lines to combat the heroin and opioid crisis. And I have also worked to address our state’s health care workforce challenges. In the Senate, I will continue to fight to increase access to affordable health care and strengthen our health care workforce.”

“Gov. Hassan believes we need to move toward a system that rewards health outcomes and puts quality over the quantity of services that nurses provide. She is also an advocate of children’s health and safety. We know she will continue to support the work of nurses and patient safety in the Senate,” said Judith Joy, PhD, RN, executive director of the New Hampshire Nurses Association. “We applaud her leadership as governor and look forward to continuing to work with her to ensure nurses’ voices are heard on Capitol Hill.”

ANA-PAC works to ensure that nursing’s perspective is considered in policy decisions made on Capitol Hill. Endorsement decisions are based on several criteria including, but not limited to, candidate interviews, communication with ANA’s constituent and state nurses associations, campaign information, and the candidate’s voting record on ANA’s priority issues.

For more information, please visit ANA-PAC.

Dan Weeks Reports Record Small Donations and Total Fundraising for NH Executive Council

NASHUA, NH – Executive Council candidate and good-government reformer Dan Weeks (D-Nashua) announced Thursday that his campaign raised a record 1,035 individual donations totaling $154,173 from March to August, while rejecting corporate special interest support and voluntarily capping contributions far below the legal limit of $7,000.

According to the report – the first official filing of the 2016 election cycle – more than half of Weeks’ campaign contributions came in amounts of $50 or less and nearly 80% in amounts of $100 or less. Both the number of individual donations and total amount raised are records up to this point in a NH Executive Council campaign, according to past reports filed with the NH Secretary of State. The report followed an earlier voluntary filing at the end of June (the only such filing by an Executive Council candidate), in keeping with Weeks’ longstanding advocacy for transparent and accountable campaigns. Weeks’ opponent, incumbent Councilor David Wheeler, refused to follow suit.

Report Summary, March-August 2016 (campaign to-date)

Donation Size

Donations Count

Percent of Donations

$50 or less

577

55.7%

$100 or less

813

78.5%

$250 or less

911

88%

$500 or less

978

94.4%

Total Donations

1,035

100%

Total Amount

$154,173

100%

“When I announced my candidacy in March, I asked the voters of District 5 to join me in practicing a different kind of politics, free from the undue influence of big money contributors,” Weeks said. “I am honored that thousands of fellow citizens have stepped forward already – as small donors, ballot petition signers, or volunteers – to make this a people-powered campaign. I believe today’s official fundraising report, showing record individual donations and not a dime in corporate support, is evidence that voters value democracy and want candidates who practice it in their campaigns.”

Weeks, who stepped down in March as Executive Director of the nonpartisan government watchdog group Open Democracy, has long advocated for increased transparency and campaign finance reform. Among his reform proposals, reiterated in a letter to Secretary of State Bill Gardner in July, are capping contributions to state candidates at $1,000 for the primary and general elections by removing the political committee loophole (whereby candidates may accept up to $5,000 per contributor prior to filing their candidacy); prohibiting direct corporate contributions to campaigns; requiring all state candidates with receipts over $500 to file their fundraising reports online on a minimum quarterly basis; and enacting citizen-funded elections via voucher or matching funds for qualifying candidates who voluntarily accept only small donations. Weeks has sought to voluntarily model these reforms in his campaign.

“Strengthening democracy and stopping big money politics has been the central focus of my professional life since attending ConVal high school here in District 5 and meeting Granny D,” Weeks said. “Although more work needs to be done at the legislative level to increase disclosure and implement citizen-funded elections, I believe that candidates can and must ‘walk the talk’ by voluntarily capping and disclosing their donations, and saying no to corporate support. That’s what I have done, and will continue to do, throughout my campaign. I urge my opponent to do the same.”

Governor Maggie Hassan Celebrates Women’s Equality Day with Women Business Leader Roundtable

Maggie Hassan Business Roundtable

PORTSMOUTH – Today, Governor Maggie Hassan celebrated Women’s Equality Day with a roundtable discussion at Brown & Company Design on the importance of expanding economic opportunity for Granite State women and families. Women’s Equality Day commemorates the 19th Amendment taking effect and calls attention to women’s continuing efforts toward full equality. 

“We know that when we include more people in our shared economic success, we all do better – and that includes ensuring that our women and families have the opportunity to thrive,” said Governor Maggie Hassan. “In New Hampshire, we have worked together to ensure that women have the same opportunities as their male counterparts, and I will continue this critical work in the United States Senate.”

Governor Hassan has always fought to expand economic opportunity for women and families. As Governor, she was proud to sign New Hamsphire’s Paycheck Fairness Act to help ensure that women receive equal pay for an equal day’s work. And she has laid out her priorities for supporting New Hampshire’s women and families in her Innovate NH 2.0 economic plan, including passing the federal Paycheck Fairness Act, expanding paid family leave to ensure that workers are able to support their families during times of need at home and supporting women-owned businesses.

“It was an honor to host Governor Hassan at Brown & Company Design and hear more about her priorities for expanding economic opportunity for Granite State women and families in the United States Senate,” said Mary Jo Brown of Brown & Company Design. “We have made real progress in New Hampshire toward ensuring that all women earn equal pay for equal work and encouraging women-owned businesses, but unfortunately there is still more to do on the federal level. I know that in Washington, Governor Hassan will continue fighting for us and work to make progress on crucial priorities like expanding paid family leave.” 

“Governor Hassan has been a strong advocate for New Hampshire’s women and families, and we need her common-sense problem solving in the United States Senate,” said former New Hampshire Speaker Terie Norelli. “As Speaker of the House, I saw Governor Hassan’s bipartisan leadership firsthand as we got things done to expand economic opportunity for Granite Staters, including signing New Hampshire’s Paycheck Fairness Act and expanding health coverage to nearly 50,000 Granite Staters. And that’s exactly the kind of leadership we need in the United States Senate.”

NEA-NH Recommends Lee Nyquist In Senate District 9 Primary

CONCORD – Community leader, town moderator, and attorney Lee Nyquist received the recommendation of the National Education Association of New Hampshire (NEA-NH), New Hampshire’s largest public sector union. 

“Lee Nyquist knows first-hand how a high quality public education can change a student’s life for the better,” said Scott McGilvray, NEA-NH President. “That’s one of the many reasons why we are excited to recommend him. We know that as a state senator, Lee will work tirelessly to ensure that our educators and support staff have the resources they need to help every child reach their full potential.” 

“As the first in my family to attend a four year college, thanks in very large part to dedicated public school teachers, the recommendation of NEA-NH is an honor I am very grateful to have,” said Lee Nyquist. “As a state senator I look forward to working to build partnerships between school districts and employers for vocational training programs, continuing the tuition freeze in the UNH system, and to working to ensure that our educators and support staff have the resources they need to help so many children have brighter futures.” 

Nyquist and other candidates go through a vetting process that includes a education and labor questionnaire that is then reviewed by the Government Relations Committee. The committee is made up of  “teachers, education support professionals and retired members appointed by the NEA-NH president and approved by the Executive Board,” explained NEA-NH spokesman George Strout.  

A recommendation is the fullest and most complete level of support NEA-NH can give a candidate.  

“The process is designed to find out, face-to-face, where candidates stand on our issues, and then recommend to our members the candidate who the Committee believes would best serve our students, our members and public education.  The Committee does not look at issues beyond public education and public sector collective bargaining rights,” Strout added.

Nyquist is currently in a contested primary against businesswoman Jeanne Dietsch who recently made headlines on the NHLN for burning the AFP’s Right to Work Pledge.

The winner of the primary with then go on to face Senator Andy Sanborn who referred to raising the minimum wage as a “war on employers,” voted against the medicaid expansion and is a strong proponent of Right to Work legislation.

New Hampshire Women Are Speaking Out Against Kelly Ayotte

Women across New Hampshire are speaking out against Kelly Ayotte and her long record of voting to restrict their health care access. From her votes to defund Planned Parenthood and repeal the Affordable Care Act to her lack of her support for equal pay legislation, multiple women have written letters to the editor to denounce Kelly Ayotte and her terrible record of not standing up for women in the Granite State.

Letter: Ayotte doesn’t represent me–– Keene Sentinel

From her time as attorney general of New Hampshire and throughout her term in the U.S. Senate, Kelly Ayotte has systematically worked to restrict the reproductive rights of American citizens.

She has voted six times to defund Planned Parenthood in an attempt to block the people of New Hampshire from accessing STD testing, cancer screenings, contraception and abortion services.

Recent polling indicates that 66 percentage of Granite Staters are opposed to this agenda. Yet, Sen. Ayotte continues to pursue legislation that is out of step with the majority of New Hampshire voters.

Women deserve the right to make their own decisions about their bodies, their health care and their families. Sen. Ayotte has actively pushed for policies that would take that right away. Is this who you want representing you?

-Inga Hansen, Keene

Letter: Not Happy With Representation- Nashua Telegraph 

I will not be voting for Kelly Ayotte because since she was elected to U.S. Senate, she has not had my interests in mind.

Kelly Ayotte has brought the DC Republican leadership’s anti-abortion agenda to New Hampshire. She defied Granite Staters to vote six times to defund Planned Parenthood and block millions of women from getting birth control, cancer screenings and STI testing at Planned Parenthood health centers.

In New Hampshire, Ayotte is alone in this fight. 66 percent of Granite Staters are opposed to this — including New Hampshire Republicans. Even the Republican-controlled Executive Council and the Republican-controlled legislature opposed Ayotte’s defunding agenda. Yet she keeps going.

It’s important for women and families in New Hampshire to know this. It’s why I’m voting for Maggie Hassan. She’ll truly represent Granite Staters in the Senate.

-Sabrina Straub

Letter: Sen. Ayotte is no advocate for women, Seacoast Online

To the Editor:

Kelly Ayotte claims that she is an advocate for women, but the truth is she’s completely out of touch with the everyday lives of women in New Hampshire.

Here in the real world, outside of the D.C. beltway, we rely on Planned Parenthood for low-cost preventative health care; we continue to make 79 cents for every dollar men earn; and we appreciate that for the first time in history our health insurance doesn’t cost more than a man’s just because of our gender — thank you, Affordable Care Act.

As senator, Kelly Ayotte has ignored the voices of New Hampshire’s women by voting to restrict access to family planning, keep our wages unequal, and return to a time when insurance companies could claim being a woman is a preexisting condition.

Kelly Ayotte’s misguided priorities are clear. She’d rather cozy up Mike Pence and keep her D.C. pals happy than serve the needs of the women who live in her community and elected her to be their champion. She had her chance to prove she’s an advocate and failed us all miserably. We deserve a senator who will listen to us over her Washington party bosses.

-Denisha Dobbs, Portsmouth

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