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Hundreds Turn Out To Oppose SB3 An Attack On Voting Rights

Yesterday, over two hundred voters and dozens of Granite Staters testified for hours against Senate Bill 3, which as amended, will disenfranchise thousands of young people across New Hampshire if enacted. Representative Isaac Epstein (D-Dover),  a Young Democrat who serves on the House Election Law Committee, issued the following statement:

“New Hampshire does not have a problem with voter fraud, but as the Speaker and the Secretary of State have said, we do have a problem with perceptions of voter fraud. For years some on the right have stoked fears about phantom fraud, and now that the Governor and the President have repeated absurd allegations about fake buses on the heels of Donald Trump’s false accusations. The NHGOP is using a rhetoric of phantom fraud to altar our unique voting system in New Hampshire.”

“If there really is a problem with our voting system, the best way to address it would be to enact SB197, and give the Attorney General’s office the resources it needs to properly investigate perceptions of fraud and enforce our current election law.”

“New Hampshire’s real problem is attracting and retaining young people. We need young people who move here for permanent and temporary jobs to power our economy and fall in love with everything that makes the Granite State great. Banning thousands of young people from participation in our vibrant civic culture is both counterproductive and unconstitutional.”

After the hearing NHDP Chair Ray Buckley issued the following statement:

“Today we heard arguments in favor of SB3, the election law bill that would, among other things, allow police officers to knock on your door and check your papers after election day to see if you voted legally. This is a wild overreach and a violation of our right to privacy, something the Live Free or Die state holds dear. It is all in service of a broader effort by Republicans across the country to make voting more cumbersome, frustrating, and in some cases, downright impossible.

Here in New Hampshire, Republicans have tried every trick in the book, from spreading the lie that Massachusetts residents were bused over the border to vote, to phone jamming, to falsifying election documents, to voter intimidation tactics like forcing those who forget their ID to sign an affidavit and have a picture taken of them at the polls. These practices create confusion, apathy, and massive lines, depress turnout, and create headaches for poll workers. This will disproportionately affect same day voters and young voters, both of which are groups that historically vote Democrat. That’s exactly what Republicans want.

In Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker passed a voter ID law that left as many as 300,000 without the proper identification to vote. At the DMV, officials gave out false information to voters. In North Carolina, a voter ID law was struck down by the courts for targeting African Americans “with almost surgical precision.” In Florida, Governor Rick Scott stripped formerly incarcerated people of their voting rights. What’s happening in New Hampshire isn’t just an attack on the state, it’s attack on voters across the country. We should recognize it for what it is and stop it before we no longer have a voice.”

Math Teacher And Member Of The NH Young Democrats Implores Council To Reject Edelblut

Concord, N.H. – Following  today’s Executive Council hearing on Frank Edelblut’s nomination to be Education Commissioner, Granite State math teacher Nathan Manna issued the following statement:

“After hearing overwhelming testimony against Mr. Edelblut’s nomination, I implore the Executive Council  to vote against  Frank Edelblut’s nomination. As a school teacher and young Granite Stater hoping to raise my family here, I find it unacceptable that a man who has zero experience in education and didn’t even educate his children in public schools has been chosen to run our state’s public school system. Mr. Edelblut believes he can  magically come in from the outside and improve our students’ lives, I can tell you as a professional that he will not.

“What is even more disturbing were the statements from Edelblut today where  he expressed his opposition to full-day kindergarten citing the ‘risks’ for children, refused to oppose conversation therapy, refused to oppose gun free school zones, and called education a “product”, not a public good. It is too great a risk to our young students to have a Commissioner who has no idea what he’s talking about.

“Councilors, I encourage you to go to teachers and students and ask them the ways in which we can improve our schools. Solutions will come from them, not from Frank Edelblut.”

AFT-NH Says Frank Edelblut Lacks Experience To Be NH Commissioner Of Education

Governor Chris Sununu is reportedly set to tap former one-term State Representative Frank Edelblut as New Hampshire Commissioner of Education. Best known for his divisive statements in the legislature and during his brief run for the Republican nomination for governor last year, Edelblut is one of New Hampshire’s most extreme opponents of a strong public education system.

“Once again following Donald Trump’s playbook, Chris Sununu has decided to put into power an individual bent on undermining our public schools in any way he can,” said NHDP Press Secretary Zach McNamara. “As if this weren’t enough, Mr. Edelblut has absolutely no professional experience in public education and appears determined to force his far-right social views into our classrooms.”

“It’s shocking and dismaying that Chris Sununu, who during the campaign promised to support funding for full-day kindergarten, is now set to tap someone who opposes this crucial initiative to lead our Education Commission,” McNamara added.  

“Just as AFT on the national level has expressed strong opposition to the nomination of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, we are gravely concerned about a Commissioner of Education who, when running for governor, supported further diverting much needed funding and resources from our public schools,” said AFT-NH President Douglas Ley. “Our teachers and school district employees are trained professionals who have dedicated a lifetime to serving NH students. There is no evidence based on Mr. Edelblut’s public record that he either has the experience in education or public service on the local level that demonstrates the requisite knowledge and understanding to lead NH schools and serve more than 180,000 students, our State’s most precious resource.”  

Megan Tuttle, Vice-president NEA-New Hampshire released the following statement:

“We all-parents, educators, officials, community leaders-share the responsibility for the success of students.  We must all ask ourselves what we can do in our respective roles to make our schools better for kids and help to ensure their success. For educators, that means reaching and motivating every student.  For parents, that means instilling values of respect, responsibility and a love of learning.  And for elected and appointed officials, it means providing students and teachers with the tools and resources they need to help all students succeed-regardless of where they live or how much money their parents make.

If we’re serious about every child’s future, let’s get serious about doing what works. The research is clear about what works best for kids: learning opportunities that begin by age 4, safe schools, classes small enough for one on one attention, qualified and caring teachers, and community support services like nutrition and health care for children who need it. Well-resourced and cared for public schools are our best bet for setting every kid in New Hampshire off toward a great future.

We hope that the new Commissioner moves beyond any past statements, positions and rhetoric to support what works best in education, and protect the rights and dignity of every student and educator in the Granit State.”

See below for some of Frank Edelblut’s greatest hits on public education:

Frank Edelblut actively opposes funding full-day kindergarten in public schools.

“He doesn’t support increasing state adequacy aid for the districts that implement full-day kindergarten programs” – Valley News, 8/17/2016

Edelblut has never worked professionally in education in any capacity (not even local school board). His only experience in education has been homeschooling his seven children. – Concord Monitor, 8/30/2016

Edelblut’s conservative views on social issues – like defending conversion therapy on gay minors and trying to outlaw some forms of birth control – could threaten what our students learn in the classroom. – NHPR, 9/8/2016 and NHRTL endorsement, 2016

Edelblut wants to amend the NH Constitution to weaken the state’s obligation to fund schools.

“He supports a constitutional amendment to ensure the Legislature and governor have more control over public education policy, from the way the state fulfills its obligation to school funding to local control.” – Union Leader, 8/15/2016

Edelblut would succeed Dr. Virginia Barry and Lyonel Tracy as Education Commissioner, both of whom had extensive professional experience in education. Also at issue is state law concerning the Department of Education, which states that “The commissioner and deputy commissioner shall be qualified to hold their positions by reason of education and experience.” (Section 21-N:3).

“No matter how you spin it, Mr. Edelblut is a completely inappropriate choice for this role,” McNamara concluded. 

ICYMI: New Hampshire Rallies to Protect the Affordable Care Act Draw Overflow Crowds

Concord, N.H. – Yesterday, overflow crowds came together for rallies in Manchester and Keene to protest efforts in Washington to repeal the Affordable Care Act and New Hampshire’s bipartisan Medicaid expansion plan without a replacement.

Also this weekend, the Union Leader highlighted the story of Gail O’Brien, a teacher from Keene , whose life was saved by the Affordable Care Act. The article also featured staff from Riverbend Community Mental Health in Concord who emphasized that repealing the Affordable Care Act would harm efforts to provide mental health care, and that repealing “the ACA will not cost cut; it will cost shift.”

See below for highlights of coverage:

WMUR:

Democrats across the country organized a day of action on Sunday, holding rallies in support of the Affordable Care Act.

The New Hampshire rallies took place in Keene and Manchester, where overflow crowds gathered to show support for the ACA and expanding health care coverage.

… Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, both D-NH, are holding a roundtable discussion Tuesday on the ACA’s impact on New Hampshire.

Union Leader

The Affordable Care Act now targeted for repeal by President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican-led Congress made Gail O’Brien of Keene an overnight internet sensation.

The federal health care law delivered the gift of insurance to this private school teacher suffering from non-Hodgkin lymphoma who would have died without it.

The internet stardom came with a YouTube video of President Barack Obama calling her after she become one of the first in the nation to be rescued by this law that brought an end to insurers refusing to cover someone who was sick due to a pre-existing condition.

“When that was signed, that just changed my life because it meant I would go and get the treatments that I need and I would be OK,” O’Brien told Obama.

“If it’s not for you, I wouldn’t be here.”

… Today, O’Brien says she’s “back to square one” with Trump vowing to strike the law from the books and replace it with a GOP, market-driven alternative.

“It’s scary right now for me as well as for millions of other people,” O’Brien said Saturday during a phone interview. “It will be back into the same boat for all of us.”

… At Riverbend Community Mental Health in Concord, professionals worry any alternative to the health care law could undo progress such as the 50,000 that got coverage in New Hampshire under Medicaid expansion and 7,000 that got substance abuse services with their insurance for the first time.

“It would be easy to underestimate how vitally important it is for parents to get access for their children to quality mental health care,” said Chief Operating Officer Bret Longgood. 

“The repeal of the ACA will not cost cut; it will cost shift. It just ain’t going away.”

Off the streets

Sara Brown of Riverbend said the law allowed many without means to come out of the shadows.

“We had a 29-year-old female addicted to methamphetamine for two and a half years, finally hit bottom hard enough that she sought help,” Brown said, adding it led to the woman to getting a 28-day residential treatment in Effingham along with follow-up.

“It didn’t cost her a dime and if she didn’t have that insurance, she would still be on the streets in my opinion.”

… Through her illness, Gail O’Brien kept working, only calling in sick on the days she got chemotherapy treatments. Now a Title 1 teacher, O’Brien has never been told she’s in remission.

She’s already preparing for the brave new world of health care that stares her in the face. “It’s been seven years now and I have been fine and at my last appointment at the end of December I said instead of six months I could go for a year before my next screening,” O’Brien said.

But O’Brien hasn’t given up fighting either and she’ll be at one of the two, pro-Obamacare rallies Sunday holding her handmade sign.

“It will read, ‘Take away the GOP’s health care and see how they feel.'” O’Brien said.

(This post was compiled by the NHDP) 

Chris Sununu Is Sworn-In As NH’s 82nd Governor, Pushes For Right To Work, Democrats Respond

Concord, N.H. – Earlier today Governor Chris Sununu was officially inaugurated as New Hampshire’s 82 Governor.  In his inaugural address, Sununu laid out his very generic agenda and priorities for the coming legislative session.

Sununu talked about public education and creating a “work-ready” labor force.  No mention of expanding Kindergarten to Full Day throughout the state.  He also wants to woo more businesses to move to New Hampshire to create more jobs.  Many of the manufactures have openly said they have jobs available but do not have qualified workers to fill those jobs, for the pay they are offering.

Though he did not specifically say he is going to repeal the Medicaid Expansion, though he has said that throughout the campaign, he said we need more competition in the healthcare market. If he plans to repeal Medicaid Expansion he will meet fierce opposition from his fellow Republicans and Democrats who understand that the program is actually saving the state money while ensuring 50,000 Granite Staters have access to healthcare. 

Sununu has also been an outspoken advocate for passing the so-called Right to Work legislation despite never being proven to create jobs or help workers in any way.

“WE ARE GOING TO GIVE EMPLOYEES ONCE AND FOR ALL THE FLEXIBILITY THEY DESERVE IN THE WORKFORCE BY PASSING RIGHT TO WORK,” said Sununu (transcribed by WMUR). “LET’S TELL THESE COMPANIES NEWHAMPSHIRE IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS.”

In fact after Wisconsin passed their own Right to Work legislation, they lost over 10,000 jobs the next year.

Democrats offered their congratulations to the new Governor but also offed some sage advice about dismantling key programs within the state.

NHDP Chairman Ray Buckley released the following statement:

“The challenges New Hampshire families are facing need to be addressed over the next two years, from ensuring that 50,000 Granite Staters retain the healthcare they are receiving through our successful bipartisan Medicaid expansion to how we reduce the cost of college for middle class families.

“Unfortunately, Governor Sununu made it clear he wants to make it harder for NH employees to earn a fair wage by tilting the playing field in favor of big corporations, harder for our kids to get a great education by diverting money away from public schools toward private schools, and harder to advance renewable energy by slowing down investments in solar energy in favor of fossil fuels.

“I hope our newly-elected governor will focus on the issues that matter to New Hampshire families and not get distracted by partisan pet issues.”

Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn released the following statement: 

“Later today, I am meeting with Governor Sununu to congratulate him on his inauguration and get to work making New Hampshire a better place by preserving the bipartisan progress we’ve made over the past several years, expanding opportunity for all people, and building a strong economy from the bottom up.” 

“Senate Democrats are ready to work with the new governor, as we have with our Republican legislative colleagues, to craft compromises. But I’m concerned that, so far, Governor Sununu has focused on a divisive template of policies that make it harder for people to make ends meet and harder for people to get ahead.”

“To meet our constitutional oaths to ‘faithfully and impartially’ serve, I will urge the governor to hold regular, bi-weekly meetings with legislative leadership of both parties so that we can identify the seeds of agreement that can grow into fruits of our labor — things like renewing our successful NH Health Protection Program and bipartisan infrastructure investment plan—as well as priorities that strengthen families that Governor Sununu promised to support during the campaign–  like full-day kindergarten, paid family leave, and reducing the cost of a college education.”

“Granite State working families deserve meaningful policies like these and I’m disappointed we didn’t hear more about these issues today.”

House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff released the following statement:

“I congratulate Governor Sununu for his success in the November election and his inauguration as Governor of our state.”

“I look forward to working with Governor Sununu and our Republican colleagues on bipartisan initiatives. The House Democratic Caucus stands ready to find common ground on any policies that benefit the working families of New Hampshire.”

“I was encouraged by the Governor’s statements during the campaign in which he expressed support for full-day kindergarten, paid family and medical leave and other initiatives that align with the priorities of Granite Staters. It was disappointing that those issues, on which the Governor campaigned, were not mentioned today in his Inaugural speech which provides a roadmap for the Governor’s policy agenda for the next two years.”

“Equally disappointing was that soon after speaking of not being divisive, Governor Sununu indicated a top priority would be the enactment of “Right to Work,” which is among the most politically divisive issues among both Democrats and Republicans the legislature.”

“It is my hope that when Governor Sununu provides more detail on the policies he wishes to advance, that those policies are aligned with Granite State families and the values of our great state.”

 

NH Democrats Launch New Ad Of Sununu Continuing To Support Trump After Video Release

New Web Ad Shows Chris Sununu Defending Trump and Discrediting Trump’s Victims 

As Republicans across the country are scurrying from Donald Trump as he takes his role as their Presidential nominee.  As news over the last week unfolded about Trump’s lewd comments discussing his first hand account of sexually assaulting women. Trump told Billy Bush, “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”

After the Access Hollywood video hit with a thud, even Senator Ayotte could no longer support Donald Trump.  However, Chris Sununu still stands behind his man, Donald Trump.

Today, the New Hampshire Democratic Party is launching their new web ad highlighting that Chris Sununu spent the past week defending Donald Trump bragging about sexual assault and casting doubt on Trump’s alleged victims. 

Watch the ad here

“Not only has Sununu defended Trump bragging about sexual assaulting women, but he’s cast doubt on the ‘validity’ of Trump’s victims,” said NHDP Press Secretary Evan Lukaske. “That Chris Sununu stands with Donald Trump shows he lacks the leadership and judgement to be governor. This new web ad will hold him accountable.” 

Sununu has long supported and endorsed Donald Trump, but the video of Trump bragging about sexual assault has brought the issue new attention.

Colin Van Ostern, citing Trump’s vile attacks on veterans, women and the disabled, challenged Sununu to disavow Trump at the NECN debate, and said Sununu’s continued support for Trump shows he is “failing a leadership test every single day.”

“It’s too late to disavow Donald Trump now,” said Colin Van Ostern, Democratic nominee for Governor on October 8th. “When Chris Sununu stood with Donald Trump long after we learned that Trump called women ‘dogs’ and ‘pigs,’ it made it clear that politics was Councilor Sununu’s first priority. We need to disavow politicians like Chris Sununu who didn’t have the guts to stand up to Donald Trump when they could have stopped him.”

Sununu Will Follow Trump Into Economic Ruin

Sununu Supports Destructive Trump Economics That Would Increase National Debt by $7.2 Trillion and Boost Incomes for the Rich 

Concord, N.H. – Chris Sununu’s steadfast support for Donald Trump and his destructive economic policies directly refute Sununu’s attempts to cast himself as a successful businessman with an understanding of economics.

“Chris Sununu’s support for Donald Trump’s harmful and reckless economic policies demonstrates Sununu would be a job-killer in the corner office,” said NHDP Press Secretary Evan Lukaske. “Chris Sununu has run his family-bought ski resort into the ground—he can’t be allowed to do the same to the New Hampshire economy.”

Tuesday, Sununu joined Concord News Radio to emphasize his support for Trump’s economic plans:

CHRIS RYAN: Is Donald Trump’s economic policy going to do anything to change the trajectory of the path that you’re describing?

SUNUNU: Oh, I think absolutely…on the policy side of things, I think he’s shown himself to have a good understanding of capitalistic economics…and then his ideas on debt control. People forget that we have a massive, massive debt problem in this country nationally…”

Unfortunately, countless budget experts and economists have found the opposite. Trump’s reckless economic plans would add trillions to the national debt to benefit the wealthy and special interests.

Frank Guinta Violates FEC Regulations Yet Again, Triggers New FEC Complaint

The New Hampshire Democratic Party Files
FEC Complaint Against Frank Guinta

Concord, N.H. – On Monday, the New Hampshire Democratic Party filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission regarding Mr. Guinta’s violation of the terms of a Conciliation Agreement he had signed with the FEC just last year, and violation of federal law against using campaign funds for personal use. 

Guinta Is A Damned Liar

Front page editorial from Joseph McQuaid, Publisher of the Union Leader.

In the original FEC ruling, the FEC determined the money Guinta “loaned to his campaign,” was actually his parents money thus making the donation an illegal campaign contribution.

For years, Guinta lied to the people of New Hampshire about where they money came from. He repeatedly claimed he forgot about a savings account with over $350,000 in it. Later he claimed the money was a “family pot” that he was free to use.  The people of New Hampshire did not believe him and the FEC proved through their investigation, that he was lying.

The FEC and Guinta entered an agreement that the Guinta campaign would have to refund the $355,000 dollars to his parents and pay a minimal fine of $15,000.

According to the NHDP’s new complaint, the NHDP is alleging that the Guinta campaign gave some of the money intended to be returned to Guinta’s parents, to himself.

Former State GOP Chair, Fergus Cullen, was the first to highlight that Guinta put the money into an account within his control and listed the money deposited as an asset in his FEC disclosure statement.

“We think it’s important for the voters of New Hampshire to know that Frank Guinta continues to engage in this type of behavior, which is in violation of the law, and a violation of the agreement that he voluntarily entered into,” said former NHDP Chair Kathy Sullivan. 

Noting his vantage point as a former member of Congress, Paul Hodes stressed that “it’s really rule number one” for candidates not to mix campaign and personal funds.

The disturbing nature of these violations is the flagrant disregard for the law over several years and campaign cycles. “This is a pattern,” added NHDP Chairman Ray Buckley. “Frank Guinta and his campaign spokespeople have lied over the past four cycles. Why does anyone believe that the people of New Hampshire can trust anything that Frank Guinta says?”

Please see below for a copy of the complaint filed on Monday.

Link to Dan Tuohy’s Granite Status: Guinta’s most recent financial disclosure raises questions as noted in the complaint.

nhdp-guinta-fec-violation-1

nhdp-guinta-fec-violation-2

Gun Violence Prevention Advocate Barred From Senator Ayotte’s Town Hall

Kelly Ayotte’s Staff Also Barred A Constituent From Attending “Town Hall” Meeting Advertised on Government Website  

Concord, N.H. — Kelly Ayotte held a “town hall” meeting today that was advertised on the town of Amherst’s government website, but her staff barred a New Hampshire resident from attending.

Despite both the Amherst town website making no mention of this event requiring a ticket and the event’s location in a public building, Ayotte’s staff made excuses to bar her constituent from attending this publicly advertised “town hall.”

You can watch video of the citizen being removed from this public event HERE.

“For Kelly Ayotte to bar a constituent from this public event shows a contempt for New Hampshire citizens that’s only matched by her voting record in Washington,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Press Secretary Melissa Miller. “This is just the latest example of Ayotte refusing to do her job and be accountable to the people who elected her to office and pay her salary with their hard-earned tax dollars.”

At another “Town Hall” event in Kingston, Senator Ayotte’s staff refused to allow Deb Howard to enter because she was wearing a “Moms Demand Action” T-shirt.

Granite State Progress and other gun violence prevention advocates having been calling on Senator Ayotte to hold a town hall specifically on gun violence prevention.

Ayotte continues to ignore their requests and now is blocking constituents from attending local town halls.

Gov. Hassan, Boston Mayor Walsh to Address Merrimack County Democrats’ Harvest Supper

 

Gov. Maggie Hassan and Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh will highlight the Merrimack County Democrats’ traditional post-primary unity celebration as they look toward New Hampshire’s Nov. 8 general election.

The party’s annual Harvest Supper will be held on Saturday, Sept. 17, four days after the state primary, at the Carter Hill Orchard in Concord, between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

“We plan a family friendly afternoon celebrating our office-holders and candidates in the Sept. 13 primary,” said Jon Bresler, county party chairperson. “Our state party chairman, Ray Buckley, will be the master of ceremonies.”

Among other prominent Democrats invited to speak are U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, Rep. Annie Kuster; and State Sens. Andrew Hosmer and Dan Feltes. Among gubernatorial candidates invited to take part are Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern, Mark Connolly and Steve Marchand.

Others invited to celebrate with the Democrats are Concord Mayor Jim Bouley; Executive Councilor Christopher Pappas; House Majority Leader Steve Shurtleff; and candidates for Executive Council, State Senate, House of Representatives and County and local offices.

Meanwhile the party’s Coordinated Campaign plans to announce an appearance by a surrogate for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

The menu, by chef supreme Jennifer Buck, includes smoked turkey, pulled pork, desserts and a vegetarian table for a suggested donation of $30. The donation is $25 for those who bring a side dish or dessert to share; children under age 12 free. Sponsorships include $100 Red, $250 White and $500 Blue.

“In addition to the usual political fare of speeches by public office holders and seekers, there will be food, BYOB, face painting, wagon rides, raffles, apple picking, cider and music,” Bresler said.

The event coincides with the New Hampshire Audubon Society’s Fall Hawk count from the raptor observatory at Carter Hill Orchard, 73 Carter Hill Road.

You can contribute online. Order tickets at: https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/bluemerrimack

Mail checks to: Merrimack County Democrats, P.O. Box 1741, Concord, NH 03302

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