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

Young_walker

AFSCME To Call On Senator Ayotte To Take The Minimum Wage Challenge

AFSCME_Logo-2Color

Stand For Working Families

Rally/Press Conference

Urge Senator Ayotte to vote to increase Federal Minimum wage to $10.10  

We will call on Senator Ayotte to take the Minimum Wage Challenge – see what it is like to live on $77.00 per week. Perhaps, this will help her understand the importance of raising the Federal Minimum Wage to give working families a fighting chance to get by.

WHAT:      Press Conference calling on Senator Ayotte to take Minimum Wage Challenge featuring a typical basket of necessities that $77 would buy.

WHERE:     Senator Ayotte’s Manchester Office, 1200 Elm Street, Manchester, NH 03101

WHEN:      Wednesday, August 27 at 12:00 p.m. (noon)

Below is an image you can share with friends or share it on Facebook from here.

Stand for Working Families- August 2014 Call to Action Flier (2)

 

Concord Fire Fighters: Feltes best to respond & protect middle class families

Editor’s Note: This is a guest editorial from Jim Duckworth of the Concord Fire Department.

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Dan Feltes at endorsement by the Professional Fire Fighters of NH

As Fire Fighters and Paramedics, we are charged to respond and protect the citizens, workers, and visitors here in the Capital City. We do this 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We see each and every part of our city at all hours of the day and night. And when we are called, we do not ask if someone is rich or poor, old or young, or what neighborhood they are from. We just respond to the situation using our training and talents, and try to leave the situation better than when we found it.

We are supporting Dan Feltes in the Senate District 15 race, because he has made it clear that he will legislate with this same outlook when he is our State Senator. He understands that it doesn’t matter who the citizen is, their background, or socioeconomic status; if they need help, he must do his best to help them. Dan not only has the same prospective as we do, but he has the training and talent to back it up. As a State Senator you must bring to that position your life experiences, vision, and passion to make sure that our government is there to help people and is responsive to their needs.

Dan Feltes has made it clear who he will stand up for when he is elected to the Senate, and that is the people of Senate District 15. Dan’s track record has shown that he works for, and supports, the people who need him. That is the reason the Concord fire fighters are supporting Dan. We understand that in emergencies people count on us, and nothing else matters to us besides getting people out of danger. That’s Dan Feltes’s priority as well; respond to people in need.

As an attorney for New Hampshire Legal Assistance for the last eight years, Dan Feltes has impacted and made better the lives of countless low to middle income families, seniors, and veterans. Most of these people did not have the resources to take care of the situation themselves, but he responded to their circumstance regardless. Dan Feltes was their advocate. Dan Feltes was their voice.

As fire fighters we are never really sure what the next emergency will bring us or how challenging it will be. Challenges that face our state are no different: from our infrastructure, to educating our children, to caring for our seniors, and to ensuring a growing and thriving middle class. These challenges require the best and brightest to work together to achieve positive results and help move everyone in this city, and our state, forward. As our Senator, Dan Feltes will go to work every day with the people of this district as his motivation to do better by them, because that is what they deserve from those that represent them.

Dan is the progressive candidate that will be the voice of our citizens. We know Dan will advocate passionately for the values, programs, and policies that will make a stronger middle class in New Hampshire. He is ready to respond, and we know he will fight tirelessly to protect the people of our district. We know that Dan will not leave anyone behind. And we know that he will leave New Hampshire better than he found it.

Respectfully submitted,

Jim Duckworth President, Concord IAFF L#1045

Teachers And Postal Workers To Protest At STAPLES In Boston On 8-27-14

Hundreds of Postal Workers, Supporters to Protest on Steps of City Hall and at Adjacent Staples in Downtown Boston Wednesday

‘Don’t Buy Staples’ Campaign Picks Up Steam
In Home Market 
of Troubled Retailer 

Staples Sign 1 (Mike Mozart Flikr)

BOSTON – Postal Workers and supporters will protest a sweetheart deal between the U.S. Postal Service and Framingham-based retailer Staples at a rally in downtown Boston on Wednesday, August 27.

Who:      Postal workers and supporters

What:    Protest against outsourcing of postal services to Staples

When:    Wednesday, August 27, at 5 p.m.

Where: Steps of City Hall and Staples at One Washington Mall, Downtown Boston (Southside Steps of City Hall Plaza)

With the back-to-school season in full swing, postal workers are urging parents and teachers not to buy school supplies at Staples. School supplies account for approximately 30 percent of Staples’ revenue.

Since January, APWU members and supporters have staged hundreds of rallies in front of Staples stores around the country to protest a no-bid deal with the U.S. Postal Service that established postal counters in office-supply stores.  Last week, protesters rallied in downtown Boston and joined members of the Lynn Teachers Union for a rally at a Staples store in Saugus, Massachusetts.

An internal USPS document makes clear that the goal of the deal is to replace the jobs held by postal employees with low-paying jobs at Staples.

“But this isn’t just about postal jobs,” said John Dirzius, Northeast Region Coordinator for the APWU. “It is about protecting the public Postal Service. Many people are outraged that a cherished public asset is being used to prop up a struggling private company.” The company recently announced another quarter of declining sales, and confirmed plans to close 140 stores in 2014.

“Staples makes business decisions based on the bottom line, not service to the people of the country,” he said.

“A failing private company doesn’t belong in the postal business,” said Bob Dempsey, Vice President of the APWU’s Boston Metro Local. “Postal consumers want reliable service from highly-trained workers who have taken an oath to protect their letters and packages. Staples can’t offer that.”

“The Boston Teachers Union and its 11,000 members strongly support the postal workers who provide an excellent service to the American public,” said BTU President Richard Stutman. “Contracting that service out to a third party will diminish that service and weaken a great American institution. We stand behind our postal workers 100 percent and will urge our members to boycott Staples.”

In the middle of the crucial back-to-school season, Seeking Alpha, a leading investment website, reports that Staples is so “desperate” to win sales that it is offering a 110 percent price-match guarantee on school supplies. “The retailer is admitting that the only way that it can get customers in the door is to practically give some of its products away,” the website reported.

“If Staples wants to give away products, that’s their business,” said Dirzius. “But when the U.S. Postal Service tries to give away a public resource, that’s everybody’s business.”

Staples 8-27-14 FlyerStaples 8-27-14 BACKGROUNDLeft is a complementary flyer to use to invite your friends.

Right is a flyer with background information about the USPS and STAPLES.

In The Steps Of “Granny D” (via InZane Times)

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A quiet country road from Dublin to Hancock, New Hampshire was the site of the New Hampshire Rebellion’s latest “Granny D Walk” to end the influence of money in American politics.P8230046 (2)

Granny D was the public moniker for Doris Haddock, a long-time Dublin resident who set out from California a few days short of her 89th birthday to walk across the USA and publicize the need for campaign finance reform.  She had just turned 90 when she reached the nation’s capital on February 29, 2000. 

The path of today’s walk was one she used to train for her historic pilgrimage, which ended at the US Capitol on February 29, 2000, a month after she turned 90.

Few people reflect the strength of conviction demonstrated by Granny D, observed Larry Lessig, the writer and Harvard Law School professor who launched the Rebellion last year.  The group conducted a winter march from Dixville Notch to Nashua in P8230054January and another along the New Hampshire seacoast in July. 

Today forty people, aiming to make breaking the money-politics link a central issue of the 2016 presidential nominating contest, continued Granny D’s quest.  Walking through a wooded area with no pedestrians and barely any cars, there weren’t many people to educate and convince.  But perhaps that wasn’t the point. P8230045

There’s a long history of walks, marches, and pilgrimages intended to bolster movements for social change.  Gandhi’s march to the sea, the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, the United Farm Workers Union’s 300-mile march from Delano to Sacramento, and the regular peace walks led by the Nipponzan Myohoji monks come to mind as examples.  Yes, they are expressions of political views, but they also embody spiritual power. 

When we sing “we won’t let nobody turn us around,” we aim to capture that same spirit.  When musicians Leslie Vogel and Fred Simmons treated us to “Just a P8230063Walk with Granny D” before the march, I felt the spirit in motion. 

Part of the point was also to get to know new people, Dan Weeks said at the walk’s outset.  Dan, who was recently appointed as Executive Director for theNH Coalition for Open Democracy (NH COD), says his own activist inclinations began when Granny D visited his high school.  At that time the impressionable 15-year old learned from his elderly neighbor that companies which profited from selling tobacco had a heavy hand in writing the nation’s laws through their political involvement.  Children were dying because of the nation’s twisted approach to campaign finance, Granny D explained.  Dan was hooked, not on cigarettes, but on money & politics activism.  “The systemP8230109excludes so many of our people,” he says. 

To put it another way, if money is speech, then those with the most money get the most speech.  And as the distribution of wealth becomes increasingly skewed, inequality of speech becomes a profound political problem for a country where government of the people, by the people, and for the people is supposed to be imperishable.

From Dan’s perspective, a walk in the steps of Granny D is a statement that we have not given up hope.

Two hours after setting out, clusters of walkers arrived in the center of Hancock, a town with a population of fewer than 2000 people.  There we were greeted by volunteers and treated to ice cream donated by Ben & Jerry’s.  The crowd had grown to about P823011760 people, now including Jim Rubens, a Republican candidate for the US Senate who has made campaign finance reform a plank in his platform (and who says he’s the only Republican in the race who is speaking out against the third Iraq war).  

When the ice cream had been eaten, Dan Weeks introduced Professor Lessig for a short speech by the gazebo on the Hancock Common.  Lessig apparently didn’t feel a need to educate the assembled dozens about the corruption caused by the billions of dollars in the political system, nor did he choose to restate the strategy of the NH Rebellion.  He chose instead to exhort the small crowd about the importance of action, something he says our country has become unaccustomed to taking. 

“We’ve just gotten through a century of very passive politics, where we were told to shut up and listen to the commercials and just show up to vote,” Lessig said.

“That’s the only thing we were to do. We weren’t to organize or to get people out in P8230104the streets.  We weren’t about ordinary citizens trying to lead.  We weren’t practiced in that kind of politics.”

“But that’s the kind of politics this will take,” he continued.  “Neither the Republican nor the Democratic Party leadership like this issue.  Neither of them are going to make this transition happen on their own.  It will only happen if we force them.”

Plans are already being hatched for another walk next January, timed to coincide not only with Granny D’s birthday but also with the fifth anniversary of the Citizens United court decision.

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Does Scott Brown Even Know There is a Primary in New Hampshire in Two Weeks?

Image by DonkeyHotey on Flickr

Image by DonkeyHotey on Flickr

What was the #1 take-away lesson from the 2010 Massachusetts special election for US Senate?

Don’t assume voters are just going to give you the election.

The #2 lesson? Voters really don’t like arrogance.

One would think that, after beating Martha Coakley to serve as Massachusetts’ Senator for a couple of years, Scott Brown would have learned those lessons.

It would be a reasonable assumption. BUT. Over the past month or so, the Brown campaign has been acting like it has already won the Republican nomination.

As if Brown is already campaigning against Democrat Jeanne Shaheen – rather than against Republican candidates Bob Smith, Jim Rubens, Walter W. Kelly, Gerard Beloin, Robert D’Arcy, Miro Dziedzic, Mark W. Farnham, Bob Heghmann and Andy Martin.

As if neither the press nor the voting public has any interest whatsoever in the Republican primary that is scheduled for September 9th.

As if the results are already in.

Yesterday, this reached a new level of ridiculousness. Yesterday, there was a Breitbart story – quoting emails that appear to have been provided to Breitbart by someone inside Brown’s campaign – suggesting that former Nashua Telegraph reporter Kevin Landrigan was involved in some sort of conspiracy with Shaheen’s campaign, against Brown.

First thing: Landrigan is a good reporter.   Anyone who has ever worked with him knows he does his research, and he is fair. He doesn’t have any ideological axe to grind. Nobody in New Hampshire politics has ever, ever called him a “friendly reporter”… just “a good reporter.” He has a longstanding, hard-earned professional reputation as “a good reporter.” Everybody with any history in New Hampshire politics knows Landrigan as “a good reporter.”

But Scott Brown’s campaign manager, Colin Reed, doesn’t have that history. Reed spent 14 months as Deputy Communications Director for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie; and before that, he worked for Brown’s Massachusetts Senate campaign against Elizabeth Warren.

And yes, Reed was working for Gov. Christie during the famous (infamous?) “Bridge-gate” incident in September 2013. And yes, in February 2014 – not long before Reed left Christie’s press office – Breitbart did try spinning the idea that “Bridge-gate” was some sort of liberal media conspiracy to benefit Hillary Clinton in the 2016 elections.

And now that Reed is working for Scott Brown again, Breitbart is spinning the idea that Landrigan is somehow “carrying Shaheen’s water” by reporting that Brown received $270,000 income from a Massachusetts company which has exported jobs.

Hey, we don’t know whether or not these things are actually connected. We’re just wondering.

Mostly, we’re wondering why – at this point in the electoral process – anybody in their right mind would imagine a conspiracy between Landrigan and Shaheen’s campaign.

Brown isn’t running against Shaheen in the election that will be held two weeks from Tuesday.

Brown is running against Bob Smith, Jim Rubens, Walter W. Kelly, Gerard Beloin, Robert D’Arcy, Miro Dziedzic, Mark W. Farnham, Bob Heghmann and Andy Martin.

And, GOP voters still have to weigh in on the question of whether Brown will get through the primary.

Our opinion of yesterday’s shenanigans? Trying to tarnishing a reporter’s professional reputation is a big mistake.

But treating voters as if they don’t matter is a really, really big mistake.

Landrigan’s story, BTW, is definitely worth reading: Brown’s $270K income from Mass. company exporting jobs overseas belies campaign promises.

Congresswoman Shea-Porter and Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-3) Host Roundtable on Multimodal Transportation

CSPPortsmouth, NH – Yesterday, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter and Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-3) hosted a roundtable on the future of multimodal transportation and livable communities.  The event brought together State and Federal Department of Transportation staff, regional planning officials, business owners, and bike-walk activists.  

“I was proud to help secure TIGER grant funding that made the Memorial Bridge possible.  In order to rebuild our infrastructure and create a transportation system for the 21st Century, we need a public-private partnership. Federal investment in infrastructure spurs economic development. I support creating a National Infrastructure Development Bank and I am working in Congress to help states, communities, and businesses with transportation and infrastructure challenges.” Shea-Porter said.

“Congresswoman Shea-Porter is a leader in Congress in working to ensure that America’s infrastructure remains world class. New Hampshire has always been a trailblazer in searching for new, innovative ways to face our country’s challenges, and I’m happy to see that tradition continuing. This roundtable shines a spotlight on the reasons we need multimodal transportation options if we want to build communities that are healthier, secure, livable, and economically viable. It’s a pleasure to spend time with Carol and other experts and leaders who understand that,” said Blumenauer.

In Congress, Congresswoman Shea-Porter was instrumental in securing TIGER Grant funding to rebuild the red-listed Memorial Bridge in Portsmouth. The Memorial Bridge was successfully awarded $20 million in federal funding. The Congresswoman has repeatedly supported increased funding for transportation alternatives, and has fought to bring federal transportation funds to New Hampshire.  She is also a cosponsor of HR 2553, the National Infrastructure Development Bank Act, which would leverage private investments to create billions of dollars in infrastructure investment.

 

Congressman Earl Blumenauer is a leading advocate for rebuilding and renewing America – from repairing the nation’s roads and bridges, to modernizing our water and electrical infrastructure. Blumenauer is a member of the Ways and Means Committee, where he works to strengthen long-term infrastructure finance.  Since being elected to Congress in 1996, he has traveled to hundreds of communities across the country, supporting economic development and sustainable transportation options.

Participants at yesterday’s roundtable included Paul Yarossi, President HNTB Holdings; Roger Bowers, VP Government Relations HNTB; Larry Major, Government Relations Pike Industries; Rad Nichols, Executive Director COAST Busses; Rick Taintor, City of Portsmouth Planning; Juliet Walker, City of Portsmouth- Bicycle coordinator; Mark Nelson, City of Portsmouth Public Works; Jeff Latimer, Owner of Gus’ Bike Shop; Bob Spiegleman, Bike Walk Activist; Tim Blagden, Executive Director NH Bike-Walk Alliance; Rebecca Harris, Director Transport NH; David J. Preece, CEO Southern NH Planning Commission; Scott Bogle, Senior Transportation Planner, Rockingham Planning Commission (also the head of Seacoast greenway); Eric Weiss, Trail Coordinator for the East Coast Greenway Alliance;  Patrick McKenna, Deputy Commissioner NH DOT; Patrick Bauer, FHWA NH Division Administrator.