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Ahead Of Labor Day, NH AFL-CIO And NH Democratics Blast GOP Candidates Anti-Worker Agenda

RAND PAUL (Stump Source FLIKR CC)

RAND PAUL (Stump Source FLIKR CC)

Ahead of the holiday weekend dedicated to honoring the sacrifices made by workers, the NH AFL-CIO and the NH Democratic Party, blast Republicans over their failed and out of touch policies that harm working families.

Labor Day is the annual holiday to “celebrate the progress of American workers,” said NH AFL-CIO President Glenn Brackett. “American workers are what make our country great.”

Labor Day honors the decades of progress gained through the blood, sweat and tears of American workers who fought for policies like weekends, paid time off, sick days, maternity leave, social security, on the job safety programs like OSHA, and dozens of other policies that would never have been without American workers standing up for them.

Earlier this summer, Jeb Bush told the Union Leader that people just need to “work longer hours” showing just how out of touch he really is.

Americans are still suffering the effects of the Great Recession that stemmed from the failed policies of the George W Bush presidency and the deregulation of Wall Street.

Not to be outdone, Senator Rand Paul recently said, “Income inequality is from people not working hard enough,” and also said, “if you work all day long, you don’t have time to do heroin.”

American workers have pushed their productivity to the highest levels in history, yet all of those gains have gone to the wealthy instead of working families.

Many Americans have been forced to work two or even three jobs just to pay the bills as wages have declined over the last thirty years (adjusted for inflation). I highly doubt Jeb Bush has ever had to take on a second or third job to pay his bills.

NH Democratic Party Chair, Raymond Buckley, said that it is “Democrats who are fighting for working families.” Democrats are pushing for a higher minimum wage, equal pay for equal work, and protecting Social Security to ensure that workers can retire with dignity.

“Jeb Bush wants to “phase out” Medicare and John Kasich wants to change Social Security for those close to retirement age, jeopardizing their future. Not to mention failed Republican policies of the past that favor the wealthiest few and leave the middle class behind,” said Buckley.

In New Hampshire it is Republicans who blocked a minimum wage increase and now are holding the state hostage with their draconian budget that would repeal healthcare for 50,000 hard working Granite Staters, to preserve tax breaks from wealthy corporations.

Brackett highlighted that under President Obama’s leadership “America has had 64 straight months of private sector growth.’

“The GOP economic plan seems to be demanding that middle class workers work even longer, while refusing to do anything to help middle class workers and their families get ahead. If they keep this up, it won’t be difficult for hard-working Granite State families to see that putting the White House back in GOP hands would be a disaster for our middle class,” concluded Brackett.

America Votes NH Is Looking For Strong Progressives To Take Part In “Emerging Leaders Boot Camp”

America Votes is proud to partner with New Leaders Council to host the
1st Annual Emerging Leaders Campaign School
Saturday September 26 and Sunday September 27 at Pembroke Academy.

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America Votes is looking for progressives to build a stronger network of activists and elected leaders in New Hampshire.  Please read the message from America Votes below:

As part of our long term vision to build progressive change and develop opportunities for America Votes partners and allies to build out membership, boards, staff and  policy champions,  we are launching the Emerging Leaders Boot Camp

The goal is to create a recurring training opportunity to pipeline and network our progressive talent. We also hope to on-ramp some of these leaders into our 2nd New Leaders Council Institute which will run from February to June 2016.  Learn more about the 2015 America Votes-New Leaders Council Fellows.   

We encourage those who have run in the past, have never run for office or who wish to become more effective issue advocates to participate.  

If you know individuals  who cannot afford the $50 fee, please contact me  directly.  It is our preference that everyone register online in advance. If you or your organization wishe to sponsor participants, we prefer that you register individuals directly on their behalf.   If this is a problem for your organization, please contact me to work out an alternative arrangement. 

Governor Hassan And Senator Shaheen Call For Full Funding Of Meals On Wheels

Meals on Wheels dinner (image by Roger W, Flickr)

Meals on Wheels dinner (image by Roger W, Flickr)

(SALEM, NH) –  New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan and U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) today called for bipartisan support for full funding of the state’s Meals on Wheels Program, which faces inadequate funding at the federal level and is threatened by unpaid-for corporate tax cuts at the state level. The two participated in a roundtable discussion about the effects of inadequate funding with staff, volunteers and clients of the Rockingham County Meals on Wheels Program at the Ingram Senior Center in Salem this afternoon.           

“Our older citizens have made significant contributions to our communities, our economy, and our high quality of life, and we must maintain our commitment to providing the support that they deserve in order to maximize their ability to continue engagement in our society and economy,” Governor Hassan said. “I have presented a fiscally responsible, compromise budget proposal that protects our ability to support critical priorities like Meals on Wheels now and into the future, and I continue to urge Republicans in the legislature to negotiate in good faith and offer a true counter-proposal that addresses the central issue of our disagreement – unpaid-for corporate tax cuts that create a $90 million hole in future budgets – so that we can reach a fiscally responsible, bipartisan budget agreement as soon as possible.” 

“In New Hampshire, Meals on Wheels delivers food to more than 30,000 seniors, and the demand is only growing, with our state’s over-65 population expected to nearly double by the end of the decade,” said Shaheen. “Meals on Wheels can deliver nutritious meals to a senior for an entire year for less than it would cost for that senior to spend one day in the hospital, potentially saving us billions in Medicare and Medicaid costs. We need bipartisan cooperation in Washington and Concord to keep this program funded and benefiting our seniors. I’m asking my Republican colleagues in the Senate to work with Democrats to adequately fund Meals on Wheels moving forward.”   

In June, Governor Hassan vetoed the Republican budget because it was unbalanced and fiscally irresponsible, including unpaid-for business tax cuts that would create a $90 million hole in future budgets at the expense of critical priorities like Meals on Wheels. The Governor has since presented a fiscally responsible compromise budget proposal that provides Republican legislators with what they have indicated is their highest priority – cutting corporate taxes – in a faster timeframe while addressing concerns about long-term fiscal responsibility and protecting our ability to support critical economic priorities.

In the United States Senate, nearly every Republican Senator voted for a budget that is going to result in drastic cuts to funding for Meals on Wheels over the next decade. In the Senate Appropriations Committee, the Labor-Health-Education Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2016 fails to provide enough funding to Meals on Wheels’ growing needs in New Hampshire and across the country. Shaheen strongly opposed the Republican budget as well as the Appropriations bill.

The Nashua Labor Coalition Endorses Jim Donchess for Mayor of Nashua.

Donchess has the vision and the practical experience to make Nashua a great city again for all of its residents. 

Nashua Labor Coalition LogosNashua – Today, the Nashua Labor Coalition, a chapter of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO that brings together a variety of labor unions, community organizations and community activists, endorsed   Jim Donchess for Mayor of Nashua. 

“Jim Donchess has a proven track record of balancing the need for funding strong city services, which keep Nashua a community where working families want to live, with keeping the tax rate stable so working families can afford to live here,” said Deb Howes, Chair of the Nashua Labor Coalition and member of the Nashua Teachers Union (AFT 1044).  

Donchess was Mayor from 1984-1991. Under his leadership, Nashua was named “The Best Place to Live in America” by Money Magazine. He has served two terms as Alderman-at-Large, most recently from 2011 to the present.  

Nashua Labor Coalition members were impressed by Donchess’ proven track record of supporting fair contracts for city workers. He understands that fair pay and benefits help to attract and retain good quality employees, which means good quality public services. He has also shown willingness to invest in necessary services while still working to keep taxes low. 

“I am proud to have the support of the Coalition. Thank you for everything you do for the economy of our city and our state,” said Donchess. “At the city level, our workers are critical in delivering the high quality services that the people of Nashua deserve.” 

“The Nashua Labor Coalition is proud to endorse  Jim Donchess for Mayor of Nashua. We strongly urge all Nashua residents to vote   for Jim Donchess for Mayor of Nashua in the Primary on September 8th,” concluded Howes. 

More information on Jim Donchess can be found at www.jimdonchessformayor.com.

Joyce Craig Statement on Vote for Teachers Contract

MANCHESTER – This morning, Alderman Joyce Craig released the following statement on her vote for the teachers contract last night.

“Last night, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen again passed the fiscally responsible, bipartisan teachers contract and was again forced to override the Mayor’s misguided veto,” said Craig.  “I voted for this contract, again, because it contains significant healthcare concessions and has creative provisions to improve education in our schools.  Our school year begins today and this contract is good for parents, teachers, students, and taxpayers.  

“Mayor Gatsas attempted to rationalize his second veto by questioning the professional financial assessments of both our city finance director and school district finance director who validated this contract. 

“Our public education is vital to Manchester’s future in so many ways and great schools will spur development and investment.  We have 15,000 students in the Manchester public school system, and we need to ensure they have the resources and support they need to succeed.  During the Mayor’s six-year tenure, the number of teachers in our school district has decreased and many of our classrooms remain too large for our students to receive an adequate education.

“We need to change course and we need a mayor who will protect tax dollars and act in the best interests of our students, parents, and taxpayers. It is easy to vote no, but a true leader must come up with a solution, a compromise, to move our city forward.  This contract was a unique opportunity for our city to save money on rising healthcare costs, and I am proud to vote for it in the best interests of our city.”

Joyce Craig currently serves as the Ward 1 Alderman and is a candidate for mayor of Manchester. 

Granite State Rumblings: New Report Shows Principals Need More Training For Early Grade Students

As the kids head back to school and many transition from child care or Head Start programs to the public school system, it is important to ensure that the administration of the schools have an understanding of developmentally appropriate practice and the skills that these young learners bring with them to the new system. A report from the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) called for more training and professional development for principals to ensure that they’re knowledgeable about the learning needs of their students in these early grades.

The report begins by saying, “Leading Pre-K-3 Learning Communities embraces a vibrant vision that imagines a quality early childhood education for each and every child that is filled with play, creativity, early literacy and numeracy, music and art, physical activity and time to nurture, support and enhance each child’s social and emotional growth. This approach is critical to lay the foundation that fosters intellectual curiosity, personal responsibility and critical life skills.”

But not all principals feel that they were well trained in instructional methods for early learners, as Aaron Loewenberg writes in this EdCentral blog:

Of all the various hats that a principal wears, perhaps none is more important than that of instructional leader. As emphasis on school accountability has grown, expectations for principals have shifted from management functions, such as making sure the buses run on time, toward visiting classrooms and providing real-time feedback on teacher instruction.

Along with this emphasis on principals as instructional leader, comes a concern from many in the early education field about whether principals have the knowledge and skills they need to provide quality feedback to teachers of students in pre-K, kindergarten, and the first, second, and third grade. A 2014 report from the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) called for more training and professional development for principals to ensure that they’re knowledgeable about the learning needs of their students in these early grades. The report identified eight areas for policy action, including the need for increased state investment in principal preparation programs to help new principals understand how to create a learning continuum from PreK-3rd grade.

And just this month, new evidence emerged from NAESP that shows many new elementary school principals don’t feel confident in their knowledge of early education. Last year, the NAESP polled a group of about 1,100 first and second-year principals from across the country on a variety of topics. Some of the poll results were unsurprising: 85 percent of the principals, for instance, reported high stress associated with their job. But consider this: despite the fact that 53 percent of the principals who responded to the survey said they had pre-K programs in their schools, only one in five felt well-trained in instructional methods for early education. In other words, many principals may not feel equipped to give specific feedback to help PreK-3rd grade teachers improve their instruction. This finding reflects comments made by elementary school principals in a series of focus groups that New America held in five cities earlier this year.

As someone who taught kindergarten for four years, I know that this lack of principal knowledge can be a major problem.  While I was lucky enough to teach in a school that had a strong early education focus and administrators well-versed in the learning needs of young children, many of my teaching colleagues were not so fortunate.  A fellow teacher shared with me the frustration she felt when her principal walked into her classroom without a sophisticated understanding of what a well-run early childhood classroom looks and sounds like.  This teacher worked long hours to create developmentally-appropriate learning centers for her students, only to be asked by her principal why students were “playing” instead of receiving the traditional whole-group academic instruction more commonly associated with 1st-5th grade. PreK-3rd grade teachers need knowledgeable principals who not only get the logic behind why students are spending time building with blocks or playing dress-up in a dramatic play area, but who also encourage teachers to teach in the ways that young children learn best.

“More than 60 percent of practicing elementary principals today report that their schools include prekindergarten, or that they are currently leading programs serving three and four year olds. Principals have also shared that little has been developed in the Pre-K-3 leadership space specifically for principals, and that they need additional resources and practical knowledge to improve their leadership practice. Similarly, over half of all elementary principals report they would like to receive additional professional development and resources to address K-3 developmentally-appropriate practice specifically for principals in elementary schools.”

Do the principals in your local elementary schools feel that they have the skills needed for the early years?

GROWING UP GRANITE

Save the Date for ECM-NH’s 8th Annual Step Up for Kids Day!

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Congresswoman Kuster Unveils Working Families Agenda in Nashua

Annie Kuster In Nashua 9-1-15

Rep. Kuster was joined by local advocates and experts who shared their stories and called for Congress to prioritize Kuster’s initiatives to support working families in the Granite State.

Nashua, NH – Today, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) announced her Working Families Agenda, a plan for Congress to prioritize legislative initiatives that help support working families in New Hampshire and across the country.  Congresswoman Kuster was joined for the announcement by a diverse group of community members, and she heard from them about their experiences and about how the challenges they face underscore the need for Congress to support working families in New Hampshire and across the country. 

“We are lucky in many ways to live in a state with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country,” said Congresswoman Kuster, “But as many Granite Staters continue to face underemployment, soaring child care costs, lack of access to family leave, and so many other issues that are vital for the success of our working families, there is still work to be done to improve the quality of the jobs offered, and to ease the burden on working families who are struggling to get by. Today, I was proud to unveil my Working Families Agenda, which outlines a list of initiatives that Congress must pursue in order to support working families in the Granite State and across the country so that they can thrive in the workplace and at home.” 

Kuster’s new Working Families Agenda includes initiatives to address pay equity, family leave time, and access to affordable child care and health care, among other issues. Participants in the announcement include the Executive Director of Nashua’s Adult Learning Center, a Work Readiness Coordinator from Nashua Community College, and the CEO of Lamprey Health Care, and a child care professional, among others. 

“I was so grateful to hear from local advocates and experts who shared their stories today. Despite all the work that must be done to ensure our working families can succeed in this economy. Their stories inspire me and demonstrate the need for Congress to prioritize the initiatives outlined in my Working Families Agenda. When I return to Congress in the coming weeks, I will bring with me today’s conversation, share it with my colleagues, and continue to fight for these issues that are crucial to the success of working families.”

Kuster has long worked to increase accessibility to vital services like child care, health care, and affordable education that can otherwise impose a tremendous burden on working families in today’s climate. Kuster has cosponsored a number of bills to reduce the strain on working families, including the Healthy Families Act, which would require employers to provide one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, and the CARE Act, which allows more families to benefit fully from a valuable child tax credit and afford child and dependent care. During Tuesday’s event, Kuster will discuss new legislative initiatives she’ll be fighting for as part of her Working Families Agenda. Kuster has also held numerous roundtable discussions and other events throughout the district to hear from working New Hampshire families about what Congress can do to better support them, which has additionally helped shape her Agenda leading up to Tuesday’s announcement.

Bernie Sanders, Lincoln Chafee to Headline NH AFL-CIO Labor Day Breakfast

Democratic Presidential candidates Sanders and Chafee will be joined by surrogates representing the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley, as well as Gov. Hassan, Senator Shaheen, Congresswoman Kuster, and numerous NH officials.

Manchester – Today NH AFL-CIO President Glenn Brackett announced the speaking program for the 2015 NH AFL-CIO Labor Day Breakfast.

“The NH AFL-CIO is very proud to welcome these amazing candidates, surrogates, and other officials to the Labor Day Breakfast,” said Brackett. “The 2016 election will be a watershed moment for working people in this country, and I know union members in NH are looking forward to hearing how the Presidential candidates will tackle the issues that matter most to workers and their families: raising the minimum wage, equal pay for equal work, and creating sustainable economic growth.”

Added Brackett, “New Hampshire’s First in the Nation Presidential Primary is a fantastic tradition, and the NH AFL-CIO is honored to be able to host these great candidates. We invited all five declared Democratic candidates, and we were very happy that Sen. Sanders, Gov. Chafee, and representatives of the Clinton and O’Malley campaigns were able to join us.” 

What: 2015 NH AFL-CIO Labor Day Breakfast
When:  September 7th at 9am
Where: St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral
              650 Hanover St.
              Manchester, NH

The program at the 2015 NH Labor Day Breakfast will include the following Speakers: 

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders
  • Gov. Lincoln Chafee
  • Sen. Debbie Stabenow, speaking on behalf of the Hillary Clinton campaign
  • Alexander Sanchez, former MD Secretary of Labor, speaking on behalf of the Martin O’Malley campaign
  • Gov. Maggie Hassan
  • Sen. Jeanne Shaheen
  • Congresswoman Annie Kuster
  • Executive Councilor Chris Pappas
  • Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern
  • Sen. Jeff Woodburn
  • Sen. Lou D’Allesandro
  • Sen. Donna Soucy
  • Rep. Jeff Goley
  • NH Labor Commissioner Jim Craig

Joyce Craig Statement on Sunday night’s shooting in Ward 1

MANCHESTER – This morning, Ward 1 Alderman Joyce Craig released the following statement on the shooting this past Sunday night near the intersection of Ray and Carpenter streets in Ward 1.
“My heart goes out to the Robert family and all those affected by Sunday night’s awful events,” said Craig. “This is a terrible, senseless and heart breaking tragedy. We join together as a city to grieve for Denise and to mourn with all who loved her.
“Mike and I learned of this event when our youngest daughter, Kathryn, was at a birthday party a couple blocks away and was out playing with dozens of her friends in the neighborhood. She came back that night and told us about a car accident. This was an easier version for the parents to handle telling the kids, but I had already heard from several constituents about a shooting in the neighborhood.

“This event was shocking and many were stunned by the news. While the residents wondered what happened and why, the Manchester Police Department and the Office of the Attorney General began their investigation. Chief Willard’s actions to put every detective on this case and increase the amount of police patrol in the neighborhood were swift and appropriate. I am grateful to Chief Willard for keeping in close contact with me and for working with me to organize last night’s community meeting.

“I would also like to thank the Public Works Department for agreeing to install an additional street light in the area immediately after I made the request on behalf of neighborhood residents.

“Parents across the city will be having difficult conversions with their children in the coming days. As a mother, I am wrestling with how to discuss this tragic event with my children. As an alderman, I am concerned about the very serious crime problem in our city, and what impact this incident will have in our neighborhoods in the coming weeks and months.

“Although it has been a difficult few days for Manchester, I am truly inspired by the response thus far. I spoke to dozens of constituents and heard tales of parents looking after each other’s kids, neighbors lending others a helping hand, and residents reaching out to get more involved. I am also thankful for the prompt response we saw from our public safety officials in Manchester. Sunday night was a tragedy that will not soon be forgotten, but I am confident that we will move forward as a city and as an even stronger community.”
Joyce Craig currently serves as the Ward 1 Alderman and is a candidate for mayor of Manchester. 

New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers Adopt Resolutions on Climate Change And Transportation

New England Governors Also Take Action On Opioid Abuse, National Surface Transportation Legislation, and Low Income Home Heating Assistance

ST. JOHN’S, NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR – Governor Maggie Hassan, her fellow New England Governors and the Eastern Canadian Premiers advanced regional collaboration on critical issues at the 39th Annual Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers (NEG/ECP) in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, adopting resolutions on climate change, transportation and mutual emergency aid. 

In addition, the Coalition of Northeastern Governors (CONEG) issued letters to national leaders urging action on the opioid epidemic, national surface transportation legislation and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

“From energy to emergency preparedness, transportation and the opioid crisis, we face a number of shared challenges as a region that we must work together to address so that our people, businesses and communities can grow and thrive,” Governor Hassan said. “Our regional partnerships are critical as we work to expand middle class opportunity, support job-creating businesses, encourage innovation and combat the serious public health and safety challenge posed by heroin and other opioids. This year’s sessions were a valuable part of those efforts, and I am confident that the initiatives we have presented together will help create jobs, protect our natural resources and our communities, and improve the economies of all of our states and provinces.” 

The NEG/ECP adopted three non-binding resolutions on climate change, transportation and mutual emergency aid at this year’s conference.  Every state and province was represented at this year’s meeting, with Governors Malloy (CT), Baker (MA), Shumlin (VT), LePage (ME) and a representative from Rhode Island participating in today’s CONEG meeting.

On climate change, the NEG/ECP resolved today to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 35 percent to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. This is the most recent action in a series of collaborative efforts that began in 2001, when the governors and premiers were the first to adopt an international plan to address climate change in a region and set a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent by 2020 and by 75 percent to 80 percent by 2050 compared to the baseline year of 1990. 

A recent regional inventory showed that the region has surpassed earlier targets and is nearing its 2020 target, and this resolution allows the region to set an interim goal between its current success and its 2050 goal. The NEG/ECP Committee on the Environment will oversee the development of a document presenting possible joint actions to present to the governors and premiers at the 40th NEG/ECP conference next year. 

Recognizing that efficient and effective border security is critical for the economic development and the tourism industry throughout the region, the transportation resolution unanimously calls on Canadian and U.S. authorities to enhance rail infrastructure throughout the region and urges the Canadian and U.S. federal authorities to ratify as soon as possible an agreement negotiated in March regarding preclearance for land, rail, marine and air transport. 

Acknowledging that emergencies and disasters from natural, technology-based and human-induced events do not honor state or international boundaries, the NEG/ECP resolved to continue the use of existing mutual aid compacts and to strengthen partnerships and exchange of information to achieve the strategic implementation of emergency management. They also resolved to build on lessons learned from joint state-province emergency training and to collaborate further to effectively respond to HazMat incidents in the region. 

In a separate meeting on Monday morning, the Northeast Governors met to take action on the opioid epidemic, national surface transportation legislation and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). 

The six New England governors recommended to Dr. Stephen Ostroff, Acting Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), that the FDA require labeling changes for Immediate Release opioid analgesics that effectively communicate to patients and prescribers the serious risks of addiction, overdose, neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), and death associated with the drugs. They also wrote to Canadian Health Minister Rona Ambrose urging accelerated action by the Ministry to align the regulatory approaches of the U.S. FDA and Health Canada on regulations for tamper resistant/abuse deterrent guidelines for controlled-release oxycodone products. (Click here to read the full letter to the FDA and here for Health Canada 

On transportation issues, CONEG members also agreed on language urging Congress to act quickly to ensure continuity and stability of the nation’s highway, transit, rail and safety programs and the Highway Trust Fund. (Click here to read the full Surface Transportation Authorization letter

In a letter to U.S. House and Senate authorization leaders regarding the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), the six governors urged lawmakers to secure the maximum funding level for low-income families within the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill. CONEG members asked Congress to maintain the current language from the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015 so that states can efficiently assist low-income households with the delivery of essential home heating oil or restoration of vital gas or electric utility service as soon as winter weather arrives. (Click here to read the full LIHEAP letter

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