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Labor Leader Joe Casey Launches Bid For New Hampshire State Senate Seat

Joe CaseyRochester, NH – Joe Casey, a respected and well-known community leader here in Rochester, announced his plans to seek the open District 6 seat being vacated by Senator Sam Cataldo.

“I am running for the State Senate to make real difference for working families and small businesses in the Granite State. We need to create good jobs by fixing our crumbling roads and bridges, building new clean energy projects like solar, wind, hydro, and improving our education system,” said Casey. “Whether as an advocate for workers, a coach, or as a construction worker and labor leader, I’ve spent my life working hard, fighting for what I believe in, and helping others. In the Senate, I will work to do the same for District 6 residents, and all of New Hampshire.”

Joe has been a passionate advocate for New Hampshire’s working men and women for decades. As a labor leader, Joe partnered with the National Electrical Contractors Association to build New Hampshire’s biggest and most successful state-of-the-art apprenticeship training center for aspiring electrical workers. Thanks to Joe’s leadership, hundreds of local young people have learned a high-skilled, good-paying trade, and are able to provide for their families. Understanding that the Granite State economy is driven by working families, and that a skilled workforce is necessary for our communities to thrive in the 21st century, Joe will focus on building a strong economy that lasts for New Hampshire, along with the specific concerns of his soon-to-be constituents.

“I look forward to continuing to listen to the residents of Alton, Barnstead, Farmington, Gilmanton, New Durham, and Rochester about the issues that concern them the most,” continued Casey. “But at this point, it’s imperative that our next State Senator must work in a bipartisan manner to combat this horrible heroin and opioid crisis, support job-creating businesses and their workers, help to make sure that all hard-working Granite Staters have the skills and education they need to get ahead and stay ahead, fighting for quality education for our children, and prioritizing rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges. ”

Joe Casey was born and raised in Dover, and has lived in Rochester for 13 years. His family has a long history of public service, with his father serving as the state’s Commissioner of Labor. Joe has served on the NH Personnel Appeals Board, Job Training Grant Committee, NH Electricians Board, and Governor Hassan’s Energy Transition Team. He lives in Rochester with his wife Belinda. They have four children.


About District 6

District 6 is comprised of six cities and towns in Strafford and Belknap Counties in the eastern part of New Hampshire. Closely divided politically, it was won by Governor Hassan in her 2012 campaign by six points. With a strong advocate for working people on the Democratic ticket, this seat will be hotly contested as a strong pickup opportunity for the Democratic caucus.

Democrats file for New Hampshire State Senate

An impressive roster of 25 Democrats filed for their candidacies at the Secretary of State’s Office

CONCORD – Twenty-five Democratic State Senate candidates filed their candidacies with the Secretary of State this afternoon.

“This year’s exceptionally strong roster of candidates has us all very optimistic about this November’s elections,” said Senator Jeff Woodburn, the Senate’s Democratic Leader. “Our candidates represent all Granite Staters. They are small business owners, educators, community advocates, and highly-accomplished legislators who want to get things done for Granite Staters. Increased excitement on the Democratic side of the aisle, combined with several Republican retirements this cycle, points to common-sense returning to Concord come November.”

Eight candidates are current Senators running for re-election, four are current State Representatives, and one is a former Senator. The balance of the field is made up of several more prominent and respected citizens who have made an impact on their communities over the years. There are two expected primaries in the field; in District 9, Jeanne Dietsch and Lee Nyquist will seek the nomination, and in District 10, Jay Kahn and Rep. Kris Roberts will seek the nomination. All look forward to serving their friends and neighbors as their Senators in Concord.

“With Donald Trump’s takeover of the Republican Party and the Republican Senate’s inability to effectively tackle the problems facing New Hampshire, voters are increasingly aligning with the middle class-oriented, practical approach to governance that Democrats will provide,” added Raymond Buckley, Chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party. “This Republican majority has dragged its feet on additional funding to end the opioid crisis, rejected federal funds for expanding rail infrastructure for southern New Hampshire, and can’t even get itself together to ban the barbaric practice of conversion therapy for minors. Our Senate candidates stand with the people of New Hampshire in saying that enough is enough; we’re ready to make progress.”

The candidates who filed today include:

●      District 1: Sen. Jeff Woodburn of Whitefield is the current Democratic leader in the Senate and is seeking his third term.

●      District 2: Charlie Chandler is a retired attorney, selectman, and former State Representative who lives in Warren.

●      District 3: John White is a retired Boston Globe reporter. He is very active in his hometown of Wolfeboro.

●      District 4: Sen. David Watters is a former two-term member of the House and a professor at UNH for over 30 years. He and his wife Jan Alberghene live in Dover.

●      District 5: Rep. Martha Hennessey is finishing her second year in the New Hampshire House where she is a dedicated member of the Children and Family Law Committee. She and her husband Steve Severson live in Hanover.

●      District 6: Joe Casey is a longtime advocate for working families and a community leader in Rochester.

●      District 7: Sen. Andrew Hosmer is seeking his third term in the Senate. He runs a family-owned automotive business and lives in Laconia with his wife Donna and their four children.

●      District 8: John Garvey is the John is a Navy veteran, attorney, mediator, author, and educator. John is currently a nationally recognized professor at UNH School of Law, where he directs the Daniel Webster Scholar Honors Program.

●      District 9: Jeanne Dietsch is a successful entrepreneur who has run several start-up tech companies, and lives with her husband Bill in Peterborough.

●      District 9: Lee Nyquist is an attorney and Town Moderator in New Boston, where he has lived with his wife Leslie for 25 years.

●      District 10: Jay Kahn is a Keene councilor-at-large and and former vice president for finance and planning at Keene State College.

●      District 10: Rep. Kris Roberts has served six terms in the New Hampshire House representing Keene, and is a former Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps.

●      District 11: Roger Tilton is an investment manager from Milford and the father of two daughters.

●      District 12: Former Sen. Peggy Gilmour served as Senator from District 12 from 2009-2011 and again from 2013-2015. She has lived in Hollis for over 40 years, where she worked in community-based health care and established the first hospice in southern New Hampshire.

●      District 13: Sen. Bette Lasky has served the people of Nashua in the Senate for three terms, and previously for five terms in the New Hampshire House where she was Assistant Majority Leader. She lives in Nashua with her husband Elliot.

●      District 14: Tammy Siekmann is a longtime community leader in Londonderry, and was a coach for the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics team.

●      District 15: Sen. Dan Feltes is an attorney who is finishing his first term in the Senate. He lives in Concord with his wife Erin.

●      District 16: Scott McGilvray is an experienced educator, who taught social studies for over 20 years while coaching football at Manchester Memorial High School. Currently serving as President of New Hampshire’s NEA, he lives in Manchester with his wife Patricia.

●      District 17: Nancy Fraher of Chichester, is a retired public school teacher. She is a former chair of the Chichester and SAU 53 School Boards.

●      District 18: Sen. Donna Soucy is serving her second term in the Senate, and is a former Manchester School Board member, Alderman, and State Representative.

●      District 19: Kristi St. Laurent is serving her fourth term as Chair of the Windham Democratic Committee and serves on the Windham Planning Board.

●      District 20: Sen. Lou D’Allesandro has represented District 20 in the Senate since first being elected in 1998. He is a former State Representative and Executive Councilor, and lives in Manchester with his wife Pat.

●      District 21: Sen. Martha Fuller Clark is serving her fifth term in the Senate, and previously served six terms in the House. She and her husband Geoff live in Portsmouth.

●      District 23: Rep. Alexis Simpson is a member of the New Hampshire House where she serves on the Environment and Agriculture Committee, and a former pastor. She, her husband, and their two sons live in Exeter.

●      District 24: Rep. Tom Sherman is a two-term member of the New Hampshire House and distinguished gastroenterologist. Sherman recently sat on the opioid epidemic joint task force and brokered the bipartisan medicaid expansion compromise plan. He lives in Rye with his wife and three sons.

Roger Tilton To Run For New Hampshire Senate To Unseat Senator Gary Daniels

RHT MainWe have just learned that Roger Tilton of Milford will be announcing his candidacy for New Hampshire Senate, District 11 (Milford, Merrimack, Amherst and Wilton) on June 10th.

Currently, the District 11 Senate seat is held by, Gary Daniels, who is no friend to labor. From his time as chair of the Labor Committee in the NH House and now in the Senate Daniels has repeated voted against raising the minimum wage. Raising the minimum wage would lift the wages of over fifty thousand hard working Granite Staters.

Daniels also co-sponsored SB 107, which would have prohibited “collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join or contribute to a labor union,” the official description of his so-called Right to Work bill.

Tilton has been a long time supporter of organized labor including a stint as a union organizer. Tilton helped AFTRA organize production workers at KING5, Seattle’s NBC affiliate in the late 80’s. As a former union organizer, Tilton understands the true power unions and collective bargaining.

“The past 40 years have not produced fair gains for the people who put the economy in motion, and without taking steps in the other direction we will not change anything. I know first-hand the immediate and long-term beneficial impact that organizing workers has on their working conditions and standards of living. I will support both those who have organized, and those who need help in doing so,” said Tilton in a recent interview.

Tilton said he opposes so-called Right to Work legislation and any other attacks on workers rights to form unions and collectively bargain.

“So-called ‘right to work’ legislation has been shown to reduce wages, decrease worker safety and protection, and slow regional economic development. ‘Right to Work’ makes sense for big businesses taking big profits out of the local area, but it makes no sense for the people in towns like Wilton, Milford, Amherst, or Merrimack,” added Tilton.

Tilton also plans to announce his own legislation to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour in 2017, with a goal of $15 by 2021.

“Since 1938 the federal minimum wage has been increased 22 times, and our economy has never suffered because of it. Keeping New Hampshire’s minimum wage down has reduced consumer demand, which keeps local businesses from growing. We need a $10 per hour minimum wage right now, and increases to $15 an hour in reasonably short-order,” Tilton explained.

Sen. Daniels has also been a long time supporter of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, which has come under serious scrutiny over the last few years. Daniels was first selected as the NH Co-Chair when he was a State Rep a number of years ago and continues to be a NH Co-Chair as a State Senator.

ALEC is well known for allowing corporate sponsors to supply legislators with lavish gifts and vacation getaways and in return the legislator introduces model legislation in their home state that benefits the corporate sponsors.

In 2013, leaked documents showed that corporate special interest lobbying group ALEC asked state chairs, including New Hampshire State Rep Gary Daniels, to sign a pledge stating: “I will act with loyalty and put the interests of the organization first.”

“It is unbelievable that these politicians participate in an organization that asks them to pledge allegiance to corporate special interests over their constituents,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress who first reported on the ALEC pledge in 2013.

“We are being invaded and undermined by big corporate money. ALEC is buying elections in exchange for candidates’ pledges to put outsiders’ interests ahead of the locals. Gary Daniels took that pledge, and we must stop him from selling out New Hampshire,” added Tilton.

In this current legislative session Sen. Daniels introduced legislation interfering with a woman reproductive rights, including repealing NH’s “buffer zone” law around reproductive health care facilities.

Daniels also sponsored legislation to require specific licensing of outpatient facilities that provide abortion services. Other states have used similar legislation to “trap” women’s health clinics and force them to shut down, taking away a woman’s legal right to a safe abortion.

Tilton disagrees with Daniels when it comes to women’s reproductive rights.

“I believe in a woman’s right to make her own reproductive healthcare decisions,” said Tilton. “Senator Daniels sponsored multiple pieces of legislation attacking a woman’s right to choose and attacking women’s healthcare providers like Planned Parenthood, which provides thousands of women with quality healthcare options at little to no cost.”

Tilton will officially announce his candidacy for District 11’s Senate seat on June 10th.

As a Merrimack resident, I look forward to his candidacy and look forward to Tilton tossing Daniels out of office.

Tilton Sign 2014


P.S. Tilton is also a huge proponent of legalizing cannabis in New Hampshire like they did in Washington and Colorado. He believes this could be a strong revenue source for the state.

NH Senate Passes HB1697 To Better Regulate On-Demand Ridesharing Services

Last week, we talked about how companies like Uber and Lyft are examples of corporations taking us in the wrong direction. They exploit workers and put our safety at risk.

Uber skirts around taxi industry regulations that were implemented to protect workers and to protect the safety of the passengers.  In New Hampshire, that could be about to change.

Today, the New Hampshire Senate passed HB 1697, relative to the operation and insurance of transportation network companies, that would impose much needed regulations on this fast growing industry.  HB 1697 is a laundry list of regulations that bring the new on-demand taxi service in line with current taxi cab regulations. 

“I am pleased that HB 1697 passed with bipartisan support,” said Senator Donna Soucy. “Companies like Uber and Lyft are only going to keep growing in New Hampshire and the state needed to take action to provide uniform standards and regulations that protects consumers.” 

“A fine balance was struck between protecting New Hampshire’s small taxi businesses while allowing ride sharing companies like Uber to operate in our state. I am happy that HB 1697 was passed with bipartisan support and that a New Hampshire solution was created for the regulation of ride sharing companies,” Soucy added. 

Governor Hassan remains optimistic the House and Senate will come to an agreement on the newly passed legislation.

“It is critical that we continue to support our people and our businesses in adapting to the changing economy of the 21st century so that we can keep New Hampshire moving forward and ensure that our vibrant communities remain destinations for families, visitors and young people,” Governor Hassan said. “House Bill 1697 builds on those efforts by helping to ensure that Uber and other ridesharing companies have a permanent home here in New Hampshire, helping to make our state more attractive for students, young professionals, entrepreneurs and visitors alike.”

 “I hope that the Senate and the House can quickly agree on a final version of this bipartisan bill so that I can sign it into law. I remain committed to working with members from both parties to ensure that this is a bill that works for our innovative businesses, that ensures the safety of passengers, and that does not take away the rights of our workers,” added Hassan.

 Nobody wants to see Uber or Lyft destroyed. Many just want to enjoy the benefits of their service while knowing that workers and consumers are protected. This bill will move us in that direction. 

New Hampshire Senate Republicans Blocking Rail Funding Once Again

(Image by Loco Steve FLIKR CC)

(Image by Loco Steve FLIKR CC)

Concord, NH – Today, Senate Republicans blocked the restoration of the $4 million funding for environmental and engineering assessment work, the next phase in bringing commuter rail to New Hampshire. After the vote, Sen. Bette Lasky (D-Nashua) offered the following comments:

“We talk a lot in the Senate about what our workers and businesses need to thrive and grow here in New Hampshire. And while our businesses have many needs, commuter rail addresses two of their most basic problems: a modern, safe, transportation infrastructure and the retention of a highly educated workforce,” said Sen. Lasky. “I’m disappointed that Senate Republicans have once again blocked this funding. In addition, the people of New Hampshire continue to be frustrated by the lack of effort by the Republicans in the legislature to find a consensus way forward on commuter rail when the economic benefits have been shown to be undeniable.”

“The fact that this next phase would not cost the state a penny makes the opposition to this proposal even more unbelievable. We have more than enough toll credits to complete this work, without sacrificing other projects, and the funding proposed for this project cannot be used for any other project within the 10-Year Transportation Improvement Plan. There is no logical reason to oppose this funding except for those who are ideologically opposed to bringing commuter rail and the economic boost it will provide to New Hampshire.”

Federal transit funds would make up 80% of the $4 million needed for the project, with the state’s 20% share being covered by excess toll credits.

“I, along with my Senate Democratic colleagues and the more than 74% of New Hampshire citizens, continue to be frustrated by the refusal of our Republican colleagues to act on commuter rail. But even though the Senate has once again blocked this common sense solution to move this project forward, we will continue fighting to make commuter rail a reality in the Granite State,” Laskey concluded.

“I am disappointed that the amendment to leverage federal funds for the environmental and engineering work necessary to bring commuter rail from Boston to Nashua and Manchester was eliminated. Commuter rail would help improve access to the entire region, provide new housing and transportation opportunities, spur economic development and create jobs. The business community continues to call on us to take action on this and we must keep working together with members from both parties, local communities, the federal government, our businesses and the State of Massachusetts to come to an agreement to make this vital project a reality,” said Governor Maggie Hassan.  

House Passes Flexible Work Arrangements Bill, Awaits Governor Hassan’s Signature

woman working computer officeYesterday, the New Hampshire House took a big step toward helping working families in the Granite State.  The NH House passed SB 416, which prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who request flexible work arrangements.  

Senator Dan Feltes, the bill’s prime sponsor, was pleased to hear the news and awaits the Governor’s signature.

“Hardworking Granite Staters should not have to choose between work and family,” said Senator Dan Feltes. “By prohibiting retaliation against workers who request a flexible work arrangement, SB 416 empowers workers to make those requests for flexibility, and it enables employers to keep good workers.” 

“This legislation sends a strong, positive message to our families, our businesses, and our economy. Workplace flexibility means greater worker retention and greater productivity, and it helps to attract and retain more young working families. I am pleased at the progress we’ve made on this important issue, and I thank our colleagues in the House for their support of this bipartisan legislation to continue our efforts to make New Hampshire the best place to live, work, and raise a family,” added Feltes.

The NH Citizens Alliance and the Granite State Progress Education Fund have been leading the charge to get this important legislation through the legislature.Together they formed the Stand With Women campaign that pushed for legislation that helped working women.  Kary Jencks of the NH Citizens Alliance and Zandra Rice-Hawkins of Granite State Progress further explain the benefits of this newly passed legislation.

“Currently if an employee asks an employer about flexibility in their schedule they have no obligation to consider that request, and there is nothing that stops them from retaliating because the employee asked,” said Kary Jencks, executive director for NH Citizens Alliance. “SB 416 encourages employers and employees to have an open and direct conversation when scheduling needs arise. This could be coming in 30 minutes early so you can leave in time for your child’s soccer game, or regularly adjusting your schedule for pick up or drop off times for children or elderly or disabled family members.  This bill will help with worker retention, worker productivity, and expand opportunity for all workers, especially women.”

“Forty-seven percent of New Hampshire’s workforce are women, the majority of whom are of sound reproductive age who due to family life may need at certain times in their career to request a flexible work arrangement without fear of being fired from their job,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress Education Fund.  “The same legislators who voted against this bill in committee are the ones who voted against access to reproductive health care, including birth control, and who oppose opportunities to raise wages for workers. These politicians stand in the way of women by making it harder for them to decide when and if to start a family, and by opposing policies that ensure they have the economic stability and family friendly workplace policies to thrive if they do. We applaud the majority of the House for supporting SB 416.”

The bill expected to be signed by Governor Hassan in June.

NH Senate Stops Attempt To Weaken Weekly Pay Law

Legislation would have hurt low wage workers living paycheck to paycheck

money cash CONCORD – Today, a bipartisan vote defeated an attempt to weaken New Hampshire’s weekly pay law. HB 1252 failed on a 12-12 vote, with 2 Republicans joining the Senate Democrats in opposition. After the vote on HB 1252, Deputy Democratic Leader Sen. Donna Soucy released the following statement:

“HB 1252 not only attempts to solve a non-existent problem, it would encourage more employers to pay biweekly instead of weekly, which makes budgeting more difficult for low wage workers living paycheck to paycheck,” said Senator Soucy. “There is no problem with the current weekly pay standard and I am pleased that the Senate defeated this legislation that hurts low wage workers. We should be protecting our low wage workers and giving them more opportunities to succeed, not creating unnecessary barriers for those living paycheck to paycheck.”

Under the current law, New Hampshire employers must pay their employees weekly unless they seek permission from the Department of Labor. According to testimony by the Department, unless there is a problem with the employer not paying workers comp insurance or the employer not able to make payroll, employer’s requests for biweekly pay are routinely approved. 

“The current process allows the Department of Labor to ensure that employers are living up to their legal responsibilities to their employees by maintaining adequate workers comp insurance and ensuring adequate cash flow in order to make payroll. This is not an onerous process and most employers who want to pay bi-weekly are able to.”

Granite State Republicans Continue To Vow Support Trump Even Though It Will Cost Them The Election

Donald Trump (Image by Gage Skidmore CC FLIKR)

Donald Trump (Image by Gage Skidmore CC FLIKR)

Republicans worst nightmare has come true. Donald Trump has won their nomination for President.

Former New Hampshire Republican leaders have been warning that a Trump led ticket would be disaster for Republicans all the way down the ticket.

“Here in New Hampshire, if Donald Trump is the nominee, we will not get a Republican governor. We will lose the New Hampshire state Senate, and we could lose the New Hampshire state House… and we could lose Sen. [Kelly] Ayotte.”
Former GOP Gov. John H Sununu

“I think they’re very concerned if they’re up for reelection . . . Clearly Trump at this time is not going to carry swing states. I’m thinking of New Hampshire, for example.”
Former New Hampshire Republican Senator Judd Gregg

“If Donald Trump is the nominee, Kelly Ayotte might as well resign because it’s all over.”
Former NHGOP Chair Fergus Cullen

Even with strong warnings from former party leaders, Republican candidates are still refusing to reject Trump and his racist, fascist, misogynistic rhetoric.

Senator Kelly Ayotte says she will support Trump’s nomination by voting for him but will not endorse him. Pledging to vote for him is in the eyes of everyday voters, the same as endorsing him.

Aaron Jacobs, Communications Director from Maggie for NH blasted Ayotte in a recent statement for her vowing to vote in support of Trump.

“While Kelly Ayotte just today made her support for Donald Trump official, they’ve long been in agreement when it comes to critical issues such as their desire to defund Planned Parenthood, undermine Roe v. Wade, and obstruct the Supreme Court confirmation process. And all Granite Staters should be concerned that Ayotte has announced her support for Trump despite national security experts and members of both parties have condemned his foreign policy positions as dangerous to our country’s vital interests. The people of New Hampshire will soundly reject the Trump-Ayotte ticket in November.”

Women’s health and equal pay are on the forefront of the minds of many women voters in the Granite State. Both Ayotte and Trump oppose equal pay for women and want to nominate a Supreme Court Justice to overturn the forty-year decision of Roe v. Wade.

senators_onnotice_03.1

Image from EMILY’s List

senators_onnotice_04

Image from EMILY’s List

National women’s rights advocacy group EMILY’s List has routinely highlighted the connections between Trump and Ayotte.

“Kelly Ayotte stepped even further away from New Hampshire women and families today with her confirmed support for Donald Trump as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. She chose her extreme party over the women she was elected to represent by pledging to support a nominee who has called women ‘fat pigs’ and ‘slobs’ and who spews hateful rhetoric every chance he gets,” said EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock.

“Although really, it should come as no surprise to anyone that she’s lining up behind Donald Trump — they both share a radical agenda of wanting to defund Planned Parenthood, opposing meaningful efforts to end gender discrimination in pay, and wanting to take away women’s rights to make their own health care decisions. If New Hampshire women can’t even count on Kelly Ayotte to stand up to Donald Trump, they definitely can’t count on her to stand up for them in the Senate,” added Schriock.

It is not just Ayotte who is vowing to support Trump. Congressman Frank Guinta and Rich Ashooh, who are both vying for the GOP nomination in NH’s 1st Congressional District, have also said they will support the Republican nominee, even if it is Trump.

Ashooh recently told NH1 last month that he wouldn’t commit until Trump had the nomination. With Ted Cruz and John Kasish leaving the race, Ashooh is left with little choice.

Guinta told NHPR in March that he will support the eventual nominee. Carol Shea-Porter, candidate for Congress in New Hampshire’s 1st District, has already called on Frank Guinta to denounce Trump’s deeply offensive statements.

Shea-Porter additionally called on Guinta to return a personal contribution Trump made to Guinta’s re-election campaign earlier last year. Frank Guinta refused to comment to WMUR on whether he’d return the contribution.

“Now that Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee, Rich Ashooh and Frank Guinta need to admit to Granite State voters that they pledged to blindly support their nominee, including Donald Trump and his ignorant and dangerous views. We already know where Frank Guinta’s loyalties lie, as he refused to condemn Donald Trump for his hateful and divisive remarks, and he has also refused to return the campaign money he took from Trump earlier last year,” said Shea-Porter. “Rich Ashooh and Frank Guinta have already said that they will commit to supporting the eventual nominee, so now Granite Staters will see whether Ashooh and Guinta will follow through on their promise to Republican voters.”

Trump Sununu Campaign SignTrump’s Presidential campaign is already having an impact on the NH Gubernatorial election.

Last month, Democrats led by New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley unveiled a new campaign sign for the Trump/Sununu ticket, highlighting their shared far-right policies of defunding Planned Parenthood, opposing Medicaid expansion and denying climate change.

“The fact is that Donald Trump’s out of touch views are shared by Chris Sununu and the whole Republican gubernatorial field,” said NHDP Chair Ray Buckley. “Some Republicans are lining up to denounce Trump because they know how devastating his selection would be for down ballot Republicans. But not Chris Sununu, who said he’ll absolutely support whoever the Republican nominee is, even if it is Trump. I guess we’re not surprised since their policies line up so well.”

With Trump at the top of the ticket this means disaster for the GOP all the way down the ticket. This means that we, as Democrats, have a strong chance of retaining the Governor’s seat and taking back the state House and Senate.

“The Republican party has spoken and chosen the dangerous and offensive Donald Trump to carry their banner into the general election; unfortunately for New Hampshire Republicans, the general electorate won’t make the same mistake,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “That’s why Republican leaders in the Granite State have been warning against his candidacy for months. They know that Trump as their party’s nominee means disaster for Kelly Ayotte, Chris Sununu, Ted Gatsas, Jeanie Forrester, Frank Guinta, and the rest of the New Hampshire Republican ticket who have refused to condemn Trump and his destructive policies.”

The NH Citizens Alliance Reacts To Passage Of Watered Down Version Of Pregnancy Protection Bill

pregnant woman Earlier today the NH House passed SB 488, a simple bill that improved the working conditions for pregnant women and lactating mothers.

The original bill had provisions like providing extra bathroom breaks or a stool for pregnant women and a private place for mothers to express milk on their breaks.

The New Hampshire Citizens Alliance and its Stand With Women campaign were on the forefront of effort to pass this bi-partisan bill.

After the final bill was approved by the NH House, Kary Jencks, Executive Director of the NH Citizens Alliance released the following statement:

SB 488 in its original version was relative to reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers. It was a bi-partisan, business and family friendly bill that supported equal employment opportunities for women staying in the workforce. NHCA and its Stand with Women Campaign know that protecting the rights of pregnant and lactating workers is vital to NH’s economy.

In order to protect the rights of pregnant and lactating workers NH needs legislation that holds all employers accountable for making NH a state where young professionals choose to live, stay, play, and raise their families. Stripping SB 488 of its accommodation provisions to just being an Advisory Council on lactation is a disservice to NH’s economy.

Being business friendly also means being employee supportive. NH strives to be a business friendly state, but it must also attract and keep an educated, productive work force to fill the positions, grow our economy, and to inhabit and secure our communities.

By dismissing common sense workplace policy bills such as SB 488 GOP House leadership is standing in NH’s way of attracting a much needed vital workforce.

If the elected leaders are really serious about attracting younger workers and families to live and work in New Hampshire then they pass more legislation like the original version SB488.

NH Breastfeeding Bill Passes Senate And House, But Barely Produces A Drop of Protections

The New Hampshire House strips away reasonable accommodations for pregnant and lactating mothers in the workplace, leaving women open to discrimination and termination.

Today, the NH House passed SB 488- establishing an advisory council on lactation, which included breastfeeding and pumping rights.  “I’m not sure why it took 3 years to pass so little.  The bill offers no protections for breastfeeding mothers and no enforcement mechanisms against discrimination.  I think this 3-years struggle in the legislature is indicative of what employees go through when requesting accommodations from their employers,”  said Kate Frederick of Intervale, NH.  Frederick and NH are currently #1 on google for “Fired for Breastfeeding.”   House Representative Amanda Bouldin knows first hand, how much controversial breastfeeding legislation can be.  She stood up to a few or her colleagues in the House and Senate who made nationally publicized comments against breastfeeding mothers and herself.   

Bouldin commented, “I hope that NH employers, both in the public and private sector, will take it upon themselves to provide reasonable accommodations to breastfeeding mothers regardless of what the law dictates.  If there are any state offices that have interfered with breastfeeding among their employees, management should remedy the issue immediately. A government that claims to exist for the welfare of the people shows its hypocrisy in preventing children from accessing their food.”

On Tuesday, April 12, 2016, NH House Commerce Committee passed an amendment to SB 488 – EEO for Pregnancy and Related Conditions Including Lactation, sponsored by Senator Martha Fuller-Clark (D-21).    

The house committee voted to put the bill on the consent calendar for a vote in the full House next week. The amendment establishes an Advisory Council to report on breastfeeding best practices and make recommendations for future legislation. All other provisions that previously passed both the full Senate and the House Commerce Committee did not pass. 

Senator Fuller Clark stated, “This was both a business and family friendly bill that supported equal employment opportunities for women staying in the workforce.   Taking care of our pregnant and lactating workers is vital to NH’s economy.  We need stronger language on the books with clear consequences for violations.  Those who voted against the accommodations provisions just did a disservice to NH’s economy.  NH runs the risk of having women and their families move to other states that currently provide better workplace accommodations.” 

state level preg and bf rights

 The reasonable accommodations sections  that didn’t pass included:  

  • Pregnancy: Being able to drink water during the usual course of the working day; Use of a stool to sit on if needed; more frequent bathroom breaks; physical accommodations, if needed.  
  • Lactation: Unpaid break time for lactation; appropriate space to express milk using a pump, or to go off site to pump or breastfeed, if adequate sanitary space not available.  

Numerous working mothers, advocacy organizations, legislators, medical professionals and business owners had testified in support of various amendments and met numerous times in work group sessions for the last three years on the need for these provisions to be legislated.   

House Representative Ed Butler serves on the House Commerce Committee and has been a leader in fighting for the bills passage.     “After  almost three years of considering the need for space and time accommodations for working mothers who are breastfeeding and need to express milk while working, the House Commerce Committee could only agree upon a further study committee.  To say that I am disappointed is an understatement.”    

Besides the bills bi-partisan sponsors, other legislators testified in support of the bills, including Reublican House Representatives Karen Umberger and Katherine Prudhomme-Obrien.  The only person who testified in opposition of any of the bills was Deputy House Majority Whip, Claire Rouillard, who stated on Tuesday before the House Commerce sub-committee work group session,  “NH’s doing great with breastfeeding, we don’t need this bill.”     

Even though the NH House Commerce Committee had all the information they needed to pass a strong bill, they couldn’t come to an agreement.  Issues and concerns were addressed with information provided regarding enforcement measures and current Federal laws.  This week the committee asked questions they had asked a year ago,  as if an agreement hadn’t been reached as evidenced in their 19-1 vote of ‘ought to pass’ last fall.  Why was SB 219 taken off the consent calendar and tabled?  House leadership submarined that effort at the last second, for reasons known only to them. I was disappointed with yesterday’s result, but perhaps next year will bring new leadership and a new opportunity, said House Representative Bart Fromuth, R, who also serves on the Commerce Committee. 

Senator Fuller Clark and House Representative Fromuth both tried to save the bills accommodations content by bringing forth amendments on Tuesday, but they were all voted down.  

Martha Fuller Clark and two momsPictured Above:  Senator Martha Fuller Clark attends a breastfeeding awareness event at the State House 

Advocates and some legislators aren’t happy that most of the provisions of the proposed bill were scuttled but, instead of letting the bill get killed, decided to support passage of the Advisory Council, the only provision that most agreed upon with a vote of 18 to 2.  Kary Jencks, a New Boston working mother and Executive Director of NH Citizens Alliance for Action has been the lead advocacy group coordinating communications amongst the others and has supported each bills strongest amendment.    

Breastfeeding AwarenessPictured Above:  Kary Jencks takes a knee to Stand with Women, alongside Senator Jeb Bradley, Senator Martha Fuller Clark, representatives from US Senator Shaheen and US Senator Ayotte’s offices and numerous other advocacy organizations and individuals.  

 


Please see Public Service Announcement Video – Breastfeeding Awareness Event at the NH State House

http://scottbarberfilm.com/big-latch-on

To learn more about SB 488 or to get help with requesting reasonable accommodations, go to The Rustik Baby Project at www.RustikEvents.com.   

Kate Frederick is the Founder of The Rustik Baby Project and President of the NH Breastfeeding Rights Coalition.  She was fired due to requesting accommodations for pregnancy and lactation when her infant was 2.5 months old.  Now a toddler, her son continues to breastfeed as recommended by the World Health Organization.  

 

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