Activists Hold Portsmouth “Democracy is For All” Rally

Activists from National Organizations Will Urge Sen. Ayotte to Back Constitutional Amendment Curbing Money in Politics – Vote Is Sept. 8

Portsmouth, NH — Activists representing nationwide organizations, including Public Citizen, MoveOn.org Political Action, People For the American Way, CREDO Action and Common Cause, will deliver 10,500 petitions from New Hampshire’s residents to U.S. Sen. Ayotte (R – NH) office on Sept. 3 asking her to back a constitutional amendment to curb the flood of money in politics.

Fifty U.S. senators support the Democracy For All constitutional amendment (S.J. Res 19), which would establish that Congress and the states have the power to regulate and limit election spending. However, Ayotte has yet to add her name to the list, and is the only New Hampshire congressional delegate to not already pledge support for such an amendment, although just this year 54 New Hampshire towns, mostly in Republican areas, have officially declared their support and asked her to do the same. Activists will urge the senator to become the 51st supporter and to support the amendment on September 8 when the Senate considers it.

The amendment is in response to the U.S. Supreme Court rulings in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (FEC) and McCutcheon v. FEC. In Citizens United, the court gave corporations the green light to spend unlimited sums to influence elections. As a result, spending by outside groups – those not affiliated with campaigns – skyrocketed. In McCutcheon, the court struck down the aggregate campaign spending limits, allowing the super-wealthy to contribute millions of dollars directly to candidates, political parties and joint fundraising committees.

Dozens of organizations nationwide have collected approximately 3 million signatures calling for Citizens United to be overturned. Sixteen states, approximately 550 cities and towns, and more than 160 former and current members of Congress and President Barack Obama have indicated support for the amendment. It’s time Ayotte gets on board.

WHEN:          11:00 am, Wednesday, Sept. 3

WHERE:       Kelly Ayotte’s Portsmouth office, 14 Manchester Square, Portsmouth, NH 03801

VISUALS:     Leftist Marching Band, Signs, Boxes containing the petitions

Nashua Locals Hold “A Vigil for Tolerance, Acceptance and Welcoming”

This week, I had the privilege of helping to organize and attend a great event in Nashua. The vigil was to show support for all of the refugees and immigrants coming to New Hampshire and many of our southern states.

Over the past few months, a group led by Jerry Delemus and the “912 project” have been traveling around our state, opposing immigration reform and using the thousands of child refugees as a backdrop to promote their hate-filled agenda.

After seeing their gathering on the Exit 6 overpass on one Saturday afternoon, I was personally outraged. Yes, there is a lot of political controversy surrounding the unaccompanied minors at the US border. But these children are not coming to America as immigrants – they are surrendering themselves to US Border agents as refugees from war torn countries, where oppressive governments and gangs are literally murdering children in the streets.

The sad fact is that some of these children are killed within a week of being deported back to their home country.

I connected with Representative Sylvia Gale (Nashua Ward 1) who gathered a group of immigration advocates to organize an event to show that real Granite Staters are not bigots using children for political purposes – but that, instead, we are a truly welcoming community.

 

The Vigil for Tolerance, Acceptance and Welcoming

Vigil 8

At the vigil, guests were asked to leave their own message on the sign.

“Bring us your tired…Your poor…Your huddled masses yearning to be free”
— Emma Lazarus

These are the immortal words inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty. For many immigrants, like my great-grandparents, the Statue of Liberty symbolizes that America is truly a welcoming country.   No matter where you come from, or why you chose to come here, the United States welcomes you to seek your own version of the American Dream.

Around 50-60 people gathered on the steps of Nashua’s City Hall, directly under the ever-waving State of New Hampshire flag, to let the people of Nashua’s bustling downtown area know that we are tolerant and welcoming.

Rev. Bertha Perkins of the New Fellowship Baptist Church

Rev. Bertha Perkins of the New Fellowship Baptist Church

The plaza was filled with a variety of people including labor leaders, immigration activists, and elected representatives. Dozens of people came with their own hand-made signs with phases like, “No human is illegal” and “Immigration rights are civil rights”.

The vigil was opened with a prayer from Rev. Bertha Perkins of the New Fellowship Baptist Church.   She talked about how “God made us all in his own image” and that we are all humans.

Rep Sylvia Gale

Rep. Sylvia Gale

Rep Sylvia Gale gave a wonderful speech explaining why we need to show that New Hampshire and the United States are open and welcoming.

We will raise our voices so that all will know that here in Greater Nashua, here in the State of New Hampshire, and that all throughout this land we embrace and celebrate our differences. From Portland, Maine, to Maricopa County, Arizona, to Ferguson, Missouri, to Murietta, California, to Brownsville, Texas, to Miami, Florida, and beyond, from border to border, and from sea to shining sea, we are a Welcoming Community and we are a Tolerant Nation.”

(Rep Gale’s full speech is included below)

Eva Castillo

Eva Castillo

Eva Castillo of the Immigrant and Refugees Coalition and Janeth Orozco of Welcoming NH spoke about how we need to change the political messaging surrounding immigrants and refugees. Castillo said, “We are all human” and that “We should be open and welcoming of people and their cultures that have shaped our nation”.

Ray Ealey, a member of the New Fellowship Baptist Church, led the group in a rousing version of “We Shall Overcome.” All of the attendees gathered in a circle, held hands and sang out.

Rev. Tom Woodward gave the closing prayer and “Call to Action.”

While our elected leaders fight to overcome the gridlock in Washington D.C to pass meaningful immigration reform, we want everyone to know – despite what others may say – New Hampshire is a tolerant, welcoming community.

The differences in all of us are what make America the great nation it is today.

And New Hampshire has always welcomed people – no matter what color, what language, what religion, what circumstances – to come here and “Live Free.”

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Full Speech by Rep. Sylvia Gale

Thank you all for joining us this evening.   This event was conceived and came about as a result of the thoughts and actions of many of us who are gathered here, along with many others who are unable to join us.

We have been distressed and dismayed with the news of what has been happening at our nation’s southern most borders…..that of more than 60,000 children, many of them unaccompanied by any legal parent or guardian, making the dangerous and overwhelmingly difficult journey to find safety and comfort which can no longer be assured in their home countries of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.

These children, some as young as 4 or 6, are literally fleeing for their lives and have been sent by their families with the last desperate hope of being reunited with other family members who may already be somewhere in the United States.   They and their families know that there is no guarantee that they will be able to stay here, but yet they come, fleeing for their very lives. 

No longer, as in the past, are they only fleeing to escape the devastating poverty in their home countries, but now they come seeking protection and safety from the unimaginable violence in their homes and schools, with murder rates raging out of control due to the seemingly unstoppable drug cartels that appear to have exerted their rampant violence into every aspect of civic and community existence in those countries. 

And, as news of this flood of young and desperate refugees has spread across this great nation, we have been further alarmed and dismayed by the reactions of some of our fellow countrymen and women who have raised signs and slogans steeped in racism and bigotry and have loudly shouted, “Not Welcome Here……GO HOME…..

We are here tonight to lend our voices, our messages, and our commitment to carry on a dialogue for PEACE through Understanding which needs to once again become loud enough so that all members of our community can hear it.

We will raise our voices so that all will know that here in Greater Nashua, here in the State of New Hampshire, and that all throughout this land we embrace and celebrate our differences. From Portland, Maine, to Maricopa County, Arizona, to Ferguson, Missouri, to Murietta, California, to Brownsville, Texas, to Miami, Florida, and beyond, from border to border, and from sea to shining sea, we are a Welcoming Community and we are a Tolerant Nation. 

We will drown out the voices of those who cling to hatred and bigotry, and we will continue to work…together…to achieve Peace through Understanding.

In order to honor all who have come before us, and all of those who have lost their lives struggling to find safety and freedom, we will now hold a time of silence for reflection, and to strengthen our resolve to do all that we can to exert our collective influence upon local, state, and national leaders to address the needs of not only these children, but of all of this nation’s newest arrivals……

(Moment of silence) 

To borrow from the poetic words of Emma Lazarus that are inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty, we say: “Give US your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free…..Here they should find safety and comfort, and be Welcomed…..

 

NH – APWU Endorse Jeanne Shaheen For US Senate

APWU logo LRG

NH Postal Workers Union Proud to Announce Endorsement of Jeanne Shaheen On Labor Day Weekend

Manchester–Today, the New Hampshire Postal Workers Union is proud to announce their endorsement of Jeanne Shaheen for re-election, citing her work protecting the postal service, creating good paying jobs and standing up for New Hampshire workers and their families. Union leaders and members made clear that their decision to endorse was an easy one due to the stark contrast in this race between Jeanne Shaheen and her likely opponent when it comes to putting New Hampshire jobs first.

 “Senator Shaheen supported every postal worker in New Hampshire when she personally urged members of the Appropriations Committee to protect the USPS service standards, helping to preserve a vital public service,” said NH APWU President Dana Coletti. “Jeanne Shaheen looks out for the people of New Hampshire and has always put the families of this state first.

“Meanwhile, Scott Brown is against increasing the minimum wage and supports tax breaks for companies that send jobs overseas.” noted Janice Kelble, NH APWU Legislative Director.  “Now, he’s cashing in as a board member of a company that has offshored American jobs. That’s not the New Hampshire way. Scott Brown is wrong for the state, which is why we will work to reelect Senator Jeanne Shaheen.”

 Jeanne Shaheen has fought to strengthen the economy and create jobs for New Hampshire workers. This month, she signed a letter urging the leadership of the Appropriations Committee to protect the postal service standards, which is critical to maintaining the USPS as a public service. She’s supported investments in the state’s roads and bridges, which postal workers travel on every day, securing funding to rebuild the Portsmouth Memorial Bridge and expand I-93. Shaheen is also fighting to raise the minimum wage and voted to close tax loopholes for companies that ship jobs overseas.

Meet The Candidate: Jennifer Daler, A Strong Opponent Of Right To Work

Editor’s note: To continue our effort to inform voters about candidates running for office in NH this is a special guest editorial from Jennifer Daler, candidate for New Hampshire’s Executive Council in District 5.

Jennifer DalerIt is almost Labor Day. I would like to introduce myself to readers of NH Labor News who might not know me. My name is Jennifer Daler and I am running for the Democratic nomination for Executive Council, District 5. You can find out more about the Executive Council here.

I live in Temple, NH with my husband and 3 children, the oldest of whom experiences a developmental disability. I served in the New Hampshire House from 2006-2008 on the Health and Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee. I know the effort that goes into creating and passing the state budget, and I am familiar with the Department of Health and Human Services, which is the largest department in New Hampshire state government.

In the race for this seat, I stood with Labor during the dark days when Bill O’Brien was Speaker of the NH House.

I was there when Rep. Ken Weyler refused to move a crowded hearing to Reps Hall and forced union members to sit on the floor or stand in the hallway and stairwell. I stood in the stairwell in solidarity.

I was at the rally in front of the State House when 5000 New Hampshire citizens demonstrated against O’Brien’s budget.

I was in the House Gallery the day O’Brien threw union  members and everybody else (including the parents of the young man who sang the national anthem) out, the first time this was done in living memory.

When things were at their worst for labor and the Democratic Party in NH, I stepped forward and ran for the seat vacated by Bob Mead, who resigned to become O’Brien’s Chief of Staff the day after being sworn in.  We won that seat with hard work and shoe leather and the support of labor, for which I am very grateful. I won every town in the majority Republican district.

The day I was sworn in was a great day of hope and we managed to turn the tide, winning the House majority for Democrats in 2012.

Serving as a Democrat and supporter of labor in the House of O’Brien was not easy. We faced constant incivility, unfair treatment and an onslaught of bills that tore at the fabric of the state. One thing they were not able to do was to override Governor Lynch’s veto of their Right to Work for Less bill.

I am honored and thankful to have the endorsement of the SEA/SEIU1984.

I am proud to have stood with labor during the toughest times in recent memory, and will continue to listen to your concerns and priorities.  I hope working men and women will stand with me and vote for me in the Democratic primary on September 9.

Thank you.

 

Granite Staters Ask Senator Ayotte To Take The Minimum Wage Challenge

Image from NH Alliance For Retired Americans

Image from NH Alliance For Retired Americans

This week members of the New Hampshire Alliance for Retired American, New Hampshire Citizens Alliance, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) challenged Senator Kelly Ayotte to live on minimum wage for a week.

The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour that leads many to make choices between feeding their families and filling their gas tanks. This is why millions of Americans support raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.

Senator Ayotte supported the GOP filibuster that blocked an “up and down” down of raising the minimum wage.

Activists argued that Senator Ayotte should spend a week in the shoes of a minimum wage worker by joining Reps. Jan Schakowsky, Tim Ryan, Barbara Lee, Mark Takano, and former Gov. Ted Strickland in taking the Minimum Wage Challenge and living on $77 for a week, the take home pay of a minimum wage worker.

“In 1992, my family and I fled our country, the former Yugoslavia, due to the civil war,” said Nina Mujakovic, small business owner. “Since 1998, my family and I have worked very hard to 77 dollars a weekgain back what we lost. We have obtained our American Dream and others need to have the opportunity to achieve theirs. An increase in minimum wage will help them along that path.”

Activist displayed what the reality of a $77.00 food basket looked like.

“Raising the minimum wage is a no-brainer in so many ways,” added Lucy Edward, a member of the Alliance for Retired Americans. “Better incomes lead to a better standard of living, and better health, reducing health care costs. Better incomes lead to better funding for schools, leading to more educated young people who will again have better jobs and even start their own businesses. Raising the minimum wage, and other policies that support working families, are a positive feedback economic engine.”

At the event, Lucy Edwards highlighted how raising the minimum wage will help strengthen our Social Security system.

“Once you understand that the Social Security benefit is calculated on lifetime earnings, and that the Trust Fund is funded from current earnings, you can immediately see that if a person makes more money, not only do their benefits on retirement increase, but the amount they pay into the Social Security Trust Fund increases today. Raising the Federal minimum wage, passing the Paycheck Equity legislation through Congress, and funding projects that create jobs all bring immediate returns to the Trust Fund, extending its ability to pay full benefits into the future.”

You can read Lucy’s full statement at the NH Alliance For Retired Americans Blog.

Activists vowed to watch and wait to see if Senator Ayotte would accept the challenge to live on minimum wage for a week. They are hopeful that she will then understand the difficulty of getting by on $77 a week.

Will Senator Ayotte accept the Minimum Wage Challenge and take one week to see what it is like for the millions of Americans struggling to survive on the minimum wage?   Odds are against it, but with pressure from people like you, that could change.

U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce Endorses Carol Shea-Porter in NH-01

Shea-Porter Awarded 100% Rating for Supporting Women Workers and Business Owners

ROCHESTER, NH– The U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce this week endorsed Carol Shea-Porter for New Hampshire’s First District, citing her support for women in the workplace and woman-owned small businesses.

“I worked in my mother’s small business and I understand the challenges small business owners and their families face, so I‘ve introduced and supported legislation that helps them launch and grow. I have also advocated for them for six years on the Make it in America Working Group, so I am grateful for this recognition and endorsement by the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce,” said Shea-Porter.

The Women’s Chamber rated Shea-Porter as a 100% champion of women’s economic priorities for her actions to “support the economic vitality and security of her community,” according to Women’s Chamber CEO Margot Dorfman.

Dorfman added, “Carol Shea-Porter is a cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act, the Fair Minimum Wage Act and the FAMILY Act. She will always work to support and stabilize Social Security funding to protect our seniors and will work to assure that small business gain access to the capital they need to grow and fuel American job growth. The U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce is proud to endorse Rep. Shea-Porter for re-election to Congress.”

When making its endorsement decision, the Women’s Chamber also considered Shea-Porter’s commitment to strengthening small businesses, her active support for the “Make it in America” manufacturing initiative, and her work to keep jobs in New Hampshire instead of shipping them overseas.

Governor Hassan, DRED Launch What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? Video Contest

Contest Partners Middle School Students with Local Manufacturers to Produce Video Exploring Career Opportunities in Advanced Manufacturing

CONCORD – In order to engage New Hampshire’s students as the new school year begins and help them understand that there are exciting and interesting career opportunities at manufacturing companies across the state, Governor Maggie Hassan and Department of Resources and Economic Development Commissioner Jeffrey Rose launched today the What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? Video Contest.

Aimed at introducing middle school students to advanced manufacturing, the What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? Video Contest partners participating schools with a local manufacturer to produce a video that explores career opportunities in manufacturing, how the industry has changed and its importance to New Hampshire’s economy as the state’s largest industry.

“As our state’s largest industry, manufacturing is critical to keeping our economy moving in the right direction and expanding middle class opportunity,” Governor Hassan said. “By creating partnerships between job-creating manufacturing companies and local schools, the What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? Video Contest will help our students understand that they can stay in New Hampshire and find jobs here that are interesting and exciting. This contest will also help build relationships that can lead to a stronger workforce pipeline to fill the jobs that growing businesses are creating here in New Hampshire, helping this critical industry continue to thrive.”

Students and their advisers can begin working with a local manufacturer on the video at the start of the 2014-2015 school year and must submit their projects by December 1, 2014. A winner will be selected in early 2015.

“This video contest is a great introduction for students  to meet their local manufacturers – manufacturers they may pass on their way to school every day,” said Commissioner Rose. “The contest brings both of them together so that these companies can showcase exciting opportunities to the students, some of whom may well become employees in a few years. Advanced manufacturing and our middle school students are the future in New Hampshire and this is a way for them to connect.”

The What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? Video Contest is part of an effort that the Governor announced in February’s State of the State. Working with an advisory committee from the Divison of Economic Development coordinating the contest, students at Nashua High School South partnered last spring with manufacturer Johnson Precision in Hudson to produce the pilot project.

The pilot video is available at the contest website, http://www.nheconomy.com/manufacturing-in-nh/videocontest.aspx

Teachers interested in taking part can get more information on partnering with a local manufacturer, as well as video contest rules, at www.nheconomy.com/manufacturing-in-nh/videocontest.aspx or by contacting Christopher Way, deputy director, Division of Economic Development at 271-2341.

Linda Tanner A Real Candidate For Working Families

One of the goals of the NH Labor News is to help Granite Staters get to know the candidates who are running for office in New Hampshire. We focus on candidates who support working families, particularly those candidates who are working to rebuild the middle class and strengthen our rights as workers.

This week’s focus is on State Senate District 8 candidate Linda Tanner.

Linda Tanner NH Senate Candidate District 8
Background Information for Rep. Linda Tanner

Linda is longtime community activist, teacher, and coach. Linda has dedicated her entire life to helping others and improving her community. For over 30 years as a teacher and coach at Kearsarge Regional High School, Linda worked tirelessly to help her students succeed in and out of the classroom. During her career at Kearsarge, she served as a Department Chair, worked with the School to Work program and developed a state championship tennis program. She was honored by the NH Interscholastic Athletic Association for her years of service and elected to the NH Coaches Hall of Fame for Girls Tennis. She received her Bachelor of Science in Health Education from East Stroudsburg University and her Masters from Dartmouth College. In 2012 she was elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives from Sullivan County, District 9.

 

As a public school teacher, were you involved with your local union?

I was president of my local association, the Kearsarge Regional Education Association for three terms. I participated on many negotiation teams, worked with members on issues at the local level, and worked with management towards better working conditions. I am a lifetime member of the NEA NH and have their endorsement for this campaign.

 

As a former teacher, I am sure you have a lot to say about the current public education system. Can you give me two things you would like to see changed?  And are these changes that you can enact from the NH Senate?

Public education has been under attack by those who would privatize education, eliminate compulsory education, and eliminate teachers’ unions. I ran for my House seat because I wanted to stop these political maneuvers that were undermining what, I feel, is the most valuable institution for maintaining democracy.

I think there is a great deal we could do to promote and fund our public education system in New Hampshire. I definitely feel the move from the punitive No Child Left Behind to the Common Core is a move that will help students. The Common Core sets standards but does not dictate pedagogy, deals with progress instead of achievement or failure and is the right course towards improvement and consistency. Just like other programs, it needs to be tweaked and re-visited. I would like to see educators who are working in the schools as teachers have a larger input into programs and initiatives.

As a high school teacher, I worked with a school-to-work program for the average student to encourage them towards further education and give some basic instruction in job skills. I taught Health Occupations Co-op for several years. I feel this is a very valuable program that should be expanded to teach not only content but job skills such as being on time, being able to speak to people, shake hands, show respect for co-workers and your product.  Recently I visited the Job Corps Training facility in Vermont. We are currently building a facility in Manchester. This type of program, which targets low income youth, is vital to providing vocational training in a setting that also emphasizes those job skills. It gives an opportunity for young people to better their position and at the same time provide workers for key jobs in our State.

As a Senator I will work to help New Hampshire schools become a model system that supports innovation, is relevant to the world of work and careers, and maintains rigorous standards for all school children.

 

You are running for the NH Senate Seat in District 8 that is currently held by Sen. Bob Odell. In what ways are you similar or different from Sen. Odell?

I found my voting aligned in many areas with Senator Odell.  I voted to repeal the death penalty, expand Medicaid, and deal with the issues around the Medical Enhancement Tax. However, Senator Odell voted against returning the period for teachers to be fired without cause or hearing from 5 to 3 years, voted against medical marijuana, and voted for the repeal of automatic continuation requirement for public employees’ collective bargaining agreements. These are three examples of bills he opposed that I would have supported.

IMG_0067This Senate seat has been, under Senator Odell, a moderate vote in a 13 to 11 Republican majority. My election to the seat will balance the parties at 12 all, which would make a major shift – especially on Labor issues. Medicaid expansion has a clause that requires renewal during this next session. Both Republican candidates have stated that they will try to repeal the Medicaid expansion, fight ‘Obama Care,’ and make NH a ‘Right to Work State’ as a priority. If either of the candidates opposing me wins this seat: Medicaid will be repealed, leaving thousands without medical insurance; and ‘Right to Work” for less will be passed along with other legislation that will hurt working men and women.

 

The current minimum wage is $7.25 and the GOP-led legislature repealed the NH Minimum Wage law. What would you do as Senator to help push NH toward a real living wage? Last year, one proposal was to raise the state minimum wage over two years to $9.00/hour. Do you think $9.00 is the right number? Or do you think it should be $10.10 as the POTUS is pushing, or even higher? 

First, we need to reinstate a NH Minimum wage that was repealed under the Republican leadership of Speaker O’Brien. I served on the House Labor Committee in this past term. The bill that was introduced should be reintroduced in this next term. This bill offered modest increases over time and originally had a provision for further increases based on economic indicators. I think we need to have a bill that will pass both The House and Senate. I hope to be one of those Senators to move this piece of legislation forward.

Do you have any legislation that you would like to see or have ideas on proposing if you are elected?  

I want to defend against the so called ‘right to work’ bills. If those bills pass it will let non-union workers benefit from our hard work in negotiations without paying their fair share. It’s a union-busting tactic.

I want to ensure fairness in workers’ compensation laws for those hurt on the job – so if they can’t work, they will still be able to keep their homes and survive. At the same time, I want to see how we can reduce the rate for employers. I want to establish a minimum wage and increase it above the present $7.25 so everyone has the dignity of a decent wage. I want to protect workers from pay cards and title loans that are stripping away hard earned money with excessive fees and astronomical interest rates. I want to offer solutions for the current lack of affordable and accessible elderly and work force housing.

 

If you could pick one issue from your campaign to highlight, what issue would that be?  

I am a person who is running for this Senate seat not to be someone special or advance a radical agenda but to work on legislation that will help the working men and women of this State. I taught for 35 years in the NH public schools and over that time, you see the communities, the State, through the lives of your students. I know the successes, the struggles, and the heartbreaking issues many of our citizens face. I want to be their voice in the Legislature.

 

Why should the labor community support your campaign?  

I am a lifelong union member. As a teacher for 35 years and continuing through retirement, I have been a member of the National Education Association. During my years at Kearsarge Regional High School, I was President of my local for three terms. I served on many negotiations and collective bargaining teams working for high quality education, good working conditions, livable salaries and benefits.  I proudly served as a State Representative for Sullivan County and as a member of the House Labor Committee.  I have the experience, knowledge and the political will to help the working men and women our State.

 

What can people do to help your campaign?

I can’t win this election alone. The opposition is well-funded and as committed to winning this seat as we are. I need your help to win this election. I need your vote and I need you to talk with family, friends, co-workers and neighbors to urge them to vote for me. Also, with this large, rural district, we need funds for mailings, ads, and signs. Any amount you can send to us will help us get our message out.

Please see our website lindatanner.org for more information

 

 

 

 

NH Dems Seek Investigation Into Havenstein’s Campaign Finance Violations

NHDP Asks Attorney General to Launch Immediate Investigation into Failed CEO Walt Havenstein’s Multiple Campaign Finance Violations

Serious Violations Found in Havenstein’s August 20th Filing Come in the Wake of Havenstein’s Ongoing Maryland Tax Evasion Scandal 

walt havensteinManchester, NH—The New Hampshire Democratic Party today requested that Attorney General Joseph Foster launch an immediate investigation into the multiple campaign finance violations committed by failed CEO Walt Havenstein and several of his major contributors. The serious violations found in Havenstein’s August 20th filing come in the wake of Havenstein’s ongoing Maryland tax evasion scandal, which is now in its 57th day.

“Given failed CEO Walt Havenstein’s history of doublespeak, tax evasion, and scandals, no one should be surprised by his hypocrisy when it comes to campaign finance,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Raymond Buckley. “Havenstein’s multiple violations of New Hampshire campaign finance law are just the latest example of his scandal-ridden failed leadership and lack of integrity. The only question now is: what will Havenstein say to try to avoid accountability this time?”

As detailed in the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s letter to the Attorney General, “the Havenstein campaign violated New Hampshire campaign finance law by accepting improper PAC contributions; by spending $24,000 on campaign activities prior to registering with the Secretary of State’s office; and providing inadequate contributor information contrary to New Hampshire campaign finance law disclosure requirements.”

“From pledging to repeal health coverage from 50,000 Granite Staters despite cashing in on contracts to implement the law as CEO, to his failure to stop a fraud scandal that cost taxpayers $500 million under his watch at SAIC, and now his multiple campaign finance violations, Havenstein has proved again and again that he can’t be trusted to look out for the priorities of the people of New Hampshire,” added Buckley.

The New Hampshire Democratic Party’s full letter to the Attorney General is included below or here:

August 26th, 2014

Dear Attorney General Foster:

            I write to bring to your attention three serious potential violations of New Hampshire campaign finance law by Republican gubernatorial candidate Walter Havenstein and several of his major contributors, and ask that you launch an immediate investigation.

            It appears, the Havenstein campaign violated New Hampshire campaign finance law by accepting improper PAC contributions; by spending $24,000 on campaign activities prior to registering with the Secretary of State’s office; and providing inadequate contributor information contrary to New Hampshire campaign finance law disclosure requirements.

            Specifically, the New Hampshire Democratic Party (NHDP) urges that the Attorney General’s Office find contributions by two, unregistered out-of-state Federal PACs to be in violation of RSA 664:4.The NHDP also requests that Mr. Havenstein’s campaign be ordered to comply with campaign finance disclosure requirements and for your office to find a violation on account of the strict prohibition on unregistered campaign spending, along with calling for an appropriate remedy to that violation.

            Mr. Havenstein’s campaign finance violations fall into three categories and each is summarized below:

1.     Acceptance of Contributions from Unregistered Out-of-State PACs.

                  Mr. Havenstein’s campaign report states that he has benefitted from unlawful contributions made by Rogers for Congress – a Federal PAC apparently belonging to a Michigan Congressman, and an entity called Fund for American Opportunity, a Federal leadership PAC affiliated with former Michigan U.S. Senator Spencer Abraham. See Attachment 1 – Havenstein for Governor Statement of Receipts and Expenditures dated August 20, 2014 at pages 5, 13.  Under New Hampshire law, both of these contributions by PACs that are not registered in New Hampshire are prohibited, and therefore the Attorney General should find these contributions in violation and issue a cease and desist order barring further unlawful contributions by these out-of-state PACs.

RSA 664:5 prohibits political committees from promoting candidates with expenditures and contributions unless they are registered with the Secretary of State under RSA 664:3, I.  “Political committee” is defined as any two persons who are working to influence elections and the law is not limited just to New Hampshire persons or PACs.  Out-of-state PACs must register if they are going to make contributions or expenditures here.  Neither Rogers for Congress nor the Fund for American Opportunity have registered as required.

2.     Unlawfully spending $24,000 Before Registering a Political Committee.

                  Mr. Havenstein violated the campaign finance laws of New Hampshire when his campaign began to spend money without registering his political committee.  According to Mr. Havenstein’s report, the first installment of nearly $1.5 million of his own money which Mr. Havenstein has dumped into his campaign was made on March 1, 2014.  See, Attachment 1 at page 7.  Four days later, Mr. Havenstein’s campaign spent $24,000 for “strategic consulting.”   See, Attachment 1 – Expenditures at page 1.  According to the Havenstein for Governor registration at the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s Office, Mr. Havenstein’s political committee was not registered until April, almost a month after his campaign began spending tens of thousands of dollars on political activities in violation of the law.

            Under RSA 664:3, political committees such as Mr. Havenstein’s “shall register with the secretary of state not later than 24 hours after receiving any contribution in excess of $500 or before making any expenditure in excess of $500, but in no event later than 14 days after formation of the committee.”  While a contribution under New Hampshire law does not include spending a candidate’s personal wealth, political committees must register once they start expending any funds to influence an election — no matter the source of those funds.

            The voters of New Hampshire have a right to know who is spending money to get elected to public office and when.  Registration within 24 hours of spending is required so voters know almost immediately when a candidate begins to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a race. Mr. Havenstein’s covert campaign spending violates New Hampshire law.

3.     Repeated Failure to Document Required Information on Campaign Contributors in Violation of New Hampshire’s Campaign Finance Disclosure Law.

            Mr. Havenstein has violated New Hampshire campaign finance law by not disclosing the occupations or employers of dozens of his contributors or any information at all about the employment location of contributors who have made contributions of $100 or more.  See, Exhibit 1.  RSA 664:6 requires political committees to “file with the secretary of state an itemized statement, signed by its chairman and treasurer showing each of its receipts exceeding $25 with the full name and home post office address of the contributor in alphabetical order and the amount of the contribution, the date it was received, and the aggregate total for each election for each contributor of over $100.” For contributors who give more than $100, New Hampshire law also requires:

      Any listing which exceeds an individual’s aggregate total of $100 for each election             shall be accompanied by the contributor’s occupation including official job title, the name of the contributor’s employer, and the city or town of the contributor’s principal place of business, if any.

            In the first five pages of his report alone, Mr. Havenstein fails to report employers or occupations and in most instances, both, of 45 contributions out of 135 that exceed the 100 dollar threshold for the more detailed reporting. This is just over a third. The numerous omissions go on for many pages.  Mr. Havenstein should be ordered to immediately resubmit his report in compliance with New Hampshire law.

            While admittedly even campaigns exercising due diligence will not be able to obtain on a timely basis the required disclosure information by the date of filing, the sheer scope of the Havenstein campaign’s omissions is indicative of massive neglect in following up with contributors and complying with the letter of the law.  The disclosure requirements are not empty formalities. The requirements are intended to insure transparency by providing information on where contributors work and what they do. The statute requires specificity for a reason.  Mr. Havenstein has shirked the disclosure requirements and he should be ordered to comply immediately so voters have a better picture of just who is funding Mr. Havenstein’s campaign.

            The NHDP looks forward to your investigation and rulings.

Sincerely,

Raymond Buckley

Chair, New Hampshire Democratic Party

Dozens Of Activists Gather To Walk In “Granny D’s” Footsteps For Change

Daniel_Weeks

Daniel Weeks speaks to the crowd

Over 50 NH reformers Walk in “Granny D’s” Footsteps from Dublin to Hancock to celebrate “Revive Democracy Weekend”

Dublin, NH — On Saturday, August 23rd, dozens of activists converged on Dublin, NH near the former home of legendary reformer Doris “Granny D” Haddock (1910-2010) to continue her long walk democracy. The 6-mile walk was the latest in a series of Granny D marches across the state being spearheaded by the nonpartisan Coalition for Open Democracy and its NH Rebellion campaign to inspire public action for reform.

The walk was led by NH Rebellion founder Professor Lawrence Lessig of Harvard Law School, who on Friday night delivered the final Amos Fortune Forum lecture of the season to a packed hall in Jaffrey, NH to launch the “Revive Democracy Weekend.” Lessig’s theme was the cause to which Granny D devoted the final decade of her life, including a cross-country walk at the age of 90: campaign finance reform.

Professor Lawrence Lessig speaks to the crowd.

Professor Lawrence Lessig speaks to the crowd.

In his address, Lessig cited recent polling data showing that 96 percent of Americans believe that private funding of elections has a corrupting influence on politics, while 91 percent have little hope the system will ever change. He called on attendees to join the walk and “give hope” to fellow citizens who have all but given up on Washington.

The walk concluded with a public celebration in Hancock center, where over 60 walkers and onlookers from NH, MA, VT, NJ, DC, and TX were treated to Ben & Jerry’s ice cream donated by the company’s co-founder, Ben Cohen. At the celebration, Lessig and Daniel Weeks, Executive Director of the Coalition for Open Democracy, addressed the crown about the importance of democratic reform to end the system of corruption in Washington.

Family_of_walkers“Today more than ever, American democracy is under assault from wealthy special interests spending billions of dollars to fund campaigns and lobby the government to advance their own self-interest,” said Daniel Weeks. “We may not have the money to match them, but can put on our walking shoes and take the streets and peacefully demand a government that is of, by, and for the American people,” Weeks said. He also shared how Granny D inspired him to join the reform movement as a student when he heard her speak at ConVal High School in 2000.

Former state senator Jim Rubens, a contender for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, was also on hand to signal his support for citizen-funded elections as a means of ending the corruption of special interest money in Washington. Rubens is facing a difficult primary contest against former Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts and former Senator Bob Smith.

The aptly-named “Granny D Memorial Walk” was also an opportunity for citizens to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Monadnock Region and reflect on the personal sacrifice made by previous generations of reformers in pursuit of a stronger democracy for all. After conducting high-profile walks across the state in January and along the NH seacoast on July 5th, Open Democracy and the NH Rebellion decided to walk the very same route from Dublin to Hancock that Granny D herself often walked while “training” for her cross-country trek in 1999-2000.

Revive Democracy Weekend was sponsored by PACE, Coalition for Open Democracy and its NH Rebellion campaign, and by Stamp Stampede. For more information, visit www.opendemocracy.me

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