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Democrats Burn AFP NH’s Pledge To Support Right To Work

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Democrats speak out against the Americans For Prosperty “pledge” to oppose Medicaid expansion and pass Right to Work

 

Americans For Prosperity PledgeOn Wednesday morning, District 9 State Senate candidate Jeanne Dietsch and State Rep. Ivy Vann burned the Americans for Prosperity (AFP) “pledge” in front of Peterborough’s historic Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Hall on Grove Street. Their action was simultaneous to the public signing of that same pledge by some Republican candidates for the State House and Senate at an event sponsored by AFP in Concord. AFP is a “dark money” political group co-founded and supported by the Koch brothers. Its pledge commits signers to “Oppose all forms of ObamaCare in New Hampshire, including Medicaid expansion.” 

“When we on the Peterborough Economic Development Authority (EDA) asked Monadnock Community Hospital what we could do to help them,” said Dietsch, chair of the EDA strategic planning committee, “the only thing they asked was help in passing Medicaid expansion because it brings hundreds of millions of dollars from Washington to New Hampshire’s hospitals. It also provides needed health coverage for 48,000 people in New Hampshire. Yet the elected officials who sign this pledge promise to vote against that. Why are we letting two men from Kansas tell us how to vote and how is this possibly in the best interests of New Hampshire?”

Said Rep. Vann, “Serving in the legislature, I’ve seen the damage this pledge has inflicted on our ability to get things done in Concord. On Medicaid expansion, on marshalling the resources we need to deal with the opioid crisis, on funding for our children’s education – on all these issues, this pledge has forced too many of my Republican colleagues into lock step with the extreme anti-government agenda of the Koch brothers. It’s time to send this pledge where it belongs – up in smoke.”

IMG_2274Dietsch and Vann chose the GAR Hall as backdrop for their action as a symbol of the principles that founded our nation, that government should be “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

Mark Connolly, Democratic candidate for Governor, also spoke out against the AFP pledge calling it “shortsighted” and “backward looking.”

The pledge demands that elected officials cut back on critical government services, including healthcare, and support so-called Right to Work legislation, an outdated policy that New Hampshire voters, workers, and lawmakers—Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike—have rejected for more than a decade.”

“This secretive, Koch-funded organization has spent years pushing its relentlessly regressive platform on Granite Staters, and I call on my Republican opponents to stand up and admit they’re the ones pretending these ideas have merit. This is a true test of priorities,” added Connolly. 

Weeks Challenges Wheeler to Series of Debates Across District 5

 NASHUA, NH – On Wednesday, Open Democracy leader and Executive Council candidate Dan Weeks challenged his opponent to a series of five debates on the major issues facing New Hampshire. Weeks, the Democratic candidate for NH Executive Council in District 5, issued his invitation to his opponent, Republican incumbent Councilor David Wheeler, at the Executive Council meeting in Nashua in the form of a personal letter. The invitation letter reads as follows, with the official letter enclosed below: 

Dear Councilor Wheeler,

Thank you for serving on the Executive Council. I hereby invite you to work with me on arranging for a series of debates between us to take place before Election Day, November 8th, 2016. As the presumptive nominees of our respective political parties for Executive Council in District 5, I believe we have a responsibility to provide direct and substantive access to our positions on the issues to voters through debates and other means.

I propose the following for your consideration:

  • We commit to participate in at least five (5) debates across District 5, in order to allow voters in every region to attend, pose questions, and hear us discuss the issues
  • We together compile a list of non-partisan civic and media organizations to act as impartial hosts and assist in moderation of the debates
  • We together establish the format that will ensure a thorough discussion of the issues, for the benefit of the voters, to include:
    • Opening and closing remarks by both of us
    • Questions from the moderator(s) for both of us to answer, as well as questions from the public at the discretion of moderator(s)
    • Providing time for both of us to respond to each other’s answers
    • Providing time where we may ask questions of one another, with time to respond to each other’s answers

I trust that you share my belief that the voters of District 5 deserve ample access to us and our positions in order to make an informed choice in this election. With Election Day less than 100 days away, time is of the essence and I eagerly await your timely response so that we may begin planning the debates together.

Yours in service,

Dan Weeks

Grants to Help Spur Economic and Community Development in the North Country

Senator Shaheen, Governor Hassan Announce Twelve New Hampshire Projects to Receive Northern Border Regional Commission Grants 

(Concord, NH) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Governor Maggie Hassan today announced that twelve New Hampshire projects will receive grant funding from the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) to help spur economic and community development in the North Country as part of the 2016 NBRC Economic & Infrastructure Development Investment Awards.

Totaling $1,550,000, the twelve grants will be awarded to the New Hampshire Department of Resources & Economic Development, Town of Northumberland, Town of Littleton, Grafton Regional Development Corporation, New England Ski Museum, Town of Ashland Water & Sewer Department, River Valley Community College, City of Berlin, University of New Hampshire, Soldier On, Tri-County CAP for Friendship House and Friends of Wentworth Park. Additionally, Eastern Slope Airport in Fryeburg, Maine will receive $250,000. 

“Today’s announcement is great news for jobs and the economy in northern New Hampshire,” said Senator Shaheen. “Each of these projects will help revitalize the North County economy by addressing important infrastructure needs and supporting small business growth. I’m glad to see the NBRC prioritizing development in North Country communities and businesses, building on the region’s strengths and expanding opportunity in the Granite State.”

“The Northern Border Regional Commission grants provide an important boost to economic and community development in the North Country, and today’s announcement is exciting news that will help support the success of people and businesses across the region,” Governor Hassan said. “Each of these projects will promote job creation and economic development by addressing critical priorities, including increasing access to substance misuse services, updating our long-term economic development strategy for New Hampshire, combating veterans homelessness, strengthening our infrastructure and supporting our travel and tourism industry. I thank our partners across the region and in the federal government for their collaboration, and I look forward to continue working together to keep New Hampshire’s economy moving in the right direction.”

“The people and communities of the North Country face unique challenges and obstacles, especially when it comes to economic development, but partnerships like the Northern Border Regional Commission invest in projects that help to create jobs, reduce poverty, and ensure that the resilient people of the North Country get a fair shot,” state Senator Jeff Woodburn said. “We need to make smart investments in order to expand opportunity for all, support businesses throughout our state, and lay the foundation for a new generation of economic growth. The announcement of more than $1.5 million into the North Country’s economy is a great shot in the arm and I thank Governor Hassan, our Department of Resources and Economic Development, Senator Shaheen and our Congressional delegation for helping to secure this vital funding.” 

Outline of NBRC Grants:

The New Hampshire Department of Resources & Economic Development will receive $42,000 that will support the creation of a five-year economic development strategy for New Hampshire that will align economic development resources across agencies and organizations to address the State’s most pressing economic development needs.

The Town of Northumberland will receive $200,000 for the repurposing of the former Groveton Mill site as an industrial park with room for approximately nine buildings (two of which currently exist). The grant will provide funding to construct critical water and sewer infrastructure at the mill site. 

The Town of Littleton will receive $110,000 to construct one mile of multi-modal trail connecting an existing regional system within the River District Revitalization project.

The Grafton Regional Development Corporation will receive $50,000 for improvements at the Enterprise Center in Plymouth, including the completion of an office suite which will assist the Center to incubate and build more startup businesses. 

The New England Ski Museum will receive $100,000 for the renovation the former North Conway Community Center into a branch of the New England Ski Museum. Interior renovations and installation of exhibits will result in new visitation estimated at 38,000 visitors per year, enhanced cultural offerings in North Conway and improvement of the non-profit museum.

The Town of Ashland Water & Sewer Department will receive $250,000 to help fund a new septage receiving station that will increase septage intake into the existing wastewater plant by 30%. This will enable the town to generate additional revenue, which in turn will be used to improve water and sewer infrastructure to revitalize Ashland’s struggling mill area.

 River Valley Community College will receive $50,000 to for renovations to the Lebanon Academic Center in downtown Lebanon.

The City of Berlin will receive $250,000 for the construction of the first phase of a multi-use trail and river walk adjacent to the Androscoggin River. The project will provide improved access for a variety of recreational uses that will serve to create more tourism opportunities in Berlin as the community works to provide more destination activities to spur economic development.

The University of New Hampshire will receive $145,000 to continue the efforts of the NH Broadband Mapping &Planning Program to accommodate mapping and analysis in northern New Hampshire, collect local data, extend speed test promotional efforts, and deliver three technical assistance workshops.

Solider On will receive $250,000 to assist in the creation of a 52 units of affordable, service enriched, permanent housing for veterans.

The Tri-County CAP for Friendship House will receive $60,500 to expand the Friendship House, a residential program that services low-income individuals recovering from substance use disorders. Friendship House will help transition individuals into self-sufficiency.

Friends of Wentworth Park will receive $42,500 for the relocation and completion of a newly restored historic wooden covered bridge over the Baker River Falls. The bridge will restore multimodal forms of transportation (pedestrian, OHRV, bicycle) which will be assist the community’s tourism activities.

The Eastern Slope Airport in Fryeburg, Maine, will receive $250,000 for the construction of a new aircraft hangar to attract new seasonal visitors and outside investors. Although in Maine, New Hampshire’s State partners were impressed by the project’s heavy economic impact on the Mt. Washington Valley region of New Hampshire. This is a multi-state application in which the Eastern Slope Airport also applied for $250,000 in NBRC funds from Maine’s allotment. The applicant may receive up to a total of $500,000 from the NBRC.

NH Building Trades Announces Endorsement of Joe Casey for State Senate District 6

 Joe CaseyManchester — The New Hampshire Building and Construction Trades Council announced its endorsement of Joe Casey for State Senate District 6 today. The New Hampshire Building Trades includes 16 New Hampshire labor unions in the construction industry, representing more than 2,000 working men and women across the Granite State.

 “We happily endorse Joe Casey for State Senate District 6,” said New Hampshire Building Trades President Steve Burk. “We aren’t just endorsing Joe because he is a former President of the NH Building Trades. We’re endorsing him because we know first-hand there’s no greater champion for New Hampshire’s working families than Joe Casey. We’re excited to see Joe take his blue-collar, common sense approach to the State Senate. Here’s the bottom line: Joe knows what we need to do in New Hampshire to give the middle class a fighting chance again. As a labor leader, Joe fought to give health insurance and a living wage to hundreds of New Hampshire families, and he built and ran a state-of-the-art training center at IBEW Local 490 to give the next generation of workers the skills they need to succeed. We know he understands the needs of New Hampshire workers, and that he will do everything he can to raise wages and improve working conditions for all workers, whether they belong to a union or not.”

“This endorsement is personal, and deeply important to me,” said Mr. Casey. “Leading the Building Trades was one of the most rewarding things I ever did in my career, and I’m proud of the work they are doing today to secure good-paying jobs for New Hampshire construction workers. I’ll work tirelessly in the Senate to make meaningful progress for all working families in New Hampshire.”

 

The Democratic Women Of The US Senate Highlight Hillary’s Career At DNC

On Thursday night the Democratic women of the Senate took front and center stage at the Democratic National Convention.  The ladies spoke openly and honestly about the hard work that Hillary Clinton has done fighting for women over her forty-year career.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski talked about how Hillary pushed for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act while Sen. Jeanne Shaheen talked about how newly appointed Secretary of State Clinton quickly resolved a 15 year foreign trade dispute.  

Sen. Patty Murray highlighted Hillary’s to protect a woman’s right to choose and pushed back against the GOP’s attack on women’s reproductive rights. Sen. Debbie Stabenow reminded us of when First Lady Hillary Clinton went to Beijing to declare “Women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights.”

Sen. Maria Cantwell talked up Hillary’s strong economic agenda that has always focused on putting working people first and talked about how Hillary has pushed for a higher minimum wage and paid family leave. 

Below are the full remarks from each of the Senators as prepared for delivery.


Remarks By The Honorable Barbara Mikulski, The Honorable Patty Murray, The Honorable Debbie Stabenow, The Honorable Maria Cantwell, The Honorable Amy Klobuchar, The Honorable Claire McCaskill, The Honorable Jeanne Shaheen, The Honorable Kirsten Gillibrand, The Honorable Tammy Baldwin, The Honorable Mazie Hirono, The Honorable Elizabeth Warren, and The Honorable Barbara Boxer

Sen. Barbara Mikulski

In 1987, I was the first Democratic woman elected to the Senate in her own right. Yes, the history of women in the Senate is that short — it’s about 4’11.” Though I was the first, I didn’t want to be the only. I lit one candle, but I wanted more women, so we could light a torch, and lighten the load on all of you.

As our ranks have grown, I’ve had the privilege of mentoring so many talented women. In 2000, I got a call from one of them. She was considering a Senate run, but she had one question first. She asked me, “Barb, what can a senator get done?”

I told her, “A lot. And boy, did she prove me right. As a senator, she championed the economic security of American families. When Republicans tried to turn Social Security over to the big banks, she helped deliver a knockout blow. When the Supreme Court told Lilly Ledbetter, “No way on equal pay,” she pushed for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, to guarantee equal pay for equal work. I finished the job, and the Fair Pay Act was the very first bill Barack Obama signed into law. Her name was Hillary Clinton — and she’s going to be our next president. Now, it’s time for me to pass the torch to a new generation. So I have just one question: Are you with us?

Families of America, it’s time to suit up. With our lipstick on. With our shoes polished. Our shoulders squared. Ready to fight. To put Hillary in the White House. Because we know she’ll be carrying the torch for all of us. 

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen

As all of us here know, our policies abroad have real consequences at home. For 15 years, a printing manufacturer in my state struggled with a foreign trade dispute. The costs to the company were so high, they threatened hundreds of jobs. At Hillary Clinton’s confirmation hearing, I brought the issue to her attention. She promised to look into it. Within 90 days, the issue was resolved.

Here she was, a newly-minted Secretary of State having to get up to speed on every major issue across the globe, and yet she kept her word, and took the time to help out one struggling New Hampshire company.

That’s Hillary. When you need a champion, there’s no one better to have in your corner.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren

I believe it’s important to fight back when powerful people try to rig the system. Guys like Donald Trump will do anything to help the rich and powerful get richer and more powerful, and Trump is willing to step on anyone who gets in his way.

Hillary Clinton knows how to fight back against dangerous, loud-mouthed bullies. For 25 years, she’s been on the receiving end of one attack after another. But she doesn’t back down. She doesn’t whine. She doesn’t run to Twitter to give people nasty nicknames. And she sure as heck doesn’t quit. Hillary just keeps right on fighting for the people who need her most.

That’s Hillary. She’s battle-tested, and she’s the fighter working families need in the White House.

Sen. Patty Murray

Year after year in the Senate, we’ve faced ridiculous antics from Republicans determined to roll back health care options for women. But, with Hillary Clinton, they never stood a chance. When the Bush Administration tried to block women’s access to Plan B contraception, Hillary was by my side and ready to fight. Our demand was simple: Base decisions about women’s health on science, not political ideology.

Together, we stood up to an administration ruled by special interests and the extreme right. We refused to back down until the FDA did their job and put science, and women, first. Now, women across America are free to choose safe emergency contraception.

That’s Hillary. A leader who knows how to stand her ground, fight for what’s right, and move our country forward. 

Sen. Debbie Stabenow

In 1995, I saw Hillary speak at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. It was a tense time in China, and there was a great deal of anticipation around the First Lady’s remarks, whether she would speak and what she would say.

I watched with the crowd of women as she named, one after another, injustices suffered by women around the world.

She was calm, determined, and absolutely fearless as she declared that, “Women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights.” As a woman and an American, I was filled with pride.

That’s Hillary. In Beijing, she broke the silence, and this November, she’ll break the glass ceiling once and for all.

 Sen. Maria Cantwell

As a former businesswoman, I can tell you family and medical leave is a key tool for 21st century jobs. Hillary fought for that. She fought for a higher minimum wage. She knows we build our economy from the middle out. She supports new apprentice programs to train laid-off workers and returning veterans so they can find jobs.

I watched her help grow the Seattle grassroots organization MomsRising — fighting for economic security. Now a million members, MomsRising and Hillary are working for paid family leave.

That’s Hillary. Her opponent might have built buildings and casinos. But Hillary’s life work has been building the foundation of an economy that works for everyone.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar 

Minnesota’s steelworkers have a group of workers called the Women of Steel. The senators up here are women of steel. Hillary Clinton is a woman of steel!

Here’s my Hillary story. After that devastating earthquake hit Haiti, somewhere in the rubble were dozens of orphans set to be adopted by families in my state. Distraught Minnesota moms were on the ground, looking for their babies. When they called me, I called the only person I knew would help: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She didn’t pawn it off. She went to work. She got those babies home.

That’s Hillary. The friend who takes the call, the mom who gets it done right. Those kids may never know she changed their lives forever, but she did. That’s a leader. That’s our next president.

Sen. Claire McCaskill

We all know that Hillary is the most knowledgeable, most experienced, most capable leader to run for president in a long time. But here’s something you may not know: Earlier this year, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, Hillary called me to check in not once, but several times. She asked me how my treatments were going, she told me to keep up the fight. Her words gave me strength during one of the toughest tests of my life. She didn’t do it because I was a senator. There are thousands of people across this country who could tell the exact same story.

That’s Hillary. She has the intelligence. She has the work ethic. But most importantly, she has heart to lead this country.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand 

Hillary Clinton has been a mentor to me throughout my career. But long before our first conversation, Hillary spoke to me. In fact, she was speaking to a room full of women, members of a Democratic group I had just joined. But standing in the back of that crowded hall, I felt her calling me out when she said, “Decisions are being made every day in Washington, and if you’re not part of them, you might not like what they decide, and you’ll have no one to blame but yourself.”

Hillary believes that to her core. It’s why, after nearly four decades of public service, she’s still fighting to make a difference. And it’s why I’m proud to fight for her. 

Sen. Tammy Baldwin

When I was 9, I was hospitalized for three months with a serious illness. My grandparents raised me and their family health plan didn’t cover grandchildren. They had to pay my medical bills out of pocket. Then I was considered a child with a pre-existing condition and they couldn’t find me coverage at any price.

I entered public service to fight for health coverage for all, especially children and young adults. Hillary Clinton has led that fight for decades. With the help of her relentless advocacy, 8 million children are insured and their families more secure. When I got to Congress, I continued Hillary’s work to ensure that our most vulnerable children have the care they need.

That’s Hillary. As President, she’ll fight for healthier families and a fair shot for all.

Sen. Mazie Hirono

I am an immigrant. My mother brought me to America to seek a better future. Growing up, I learned that a better future doesn’t just happen. As Americans, we have to make the change we seek.

In college, outraged by Vietnam, I became an activist. When I met Hillary Clinton, I knew I had found a kindred spirit. Hillary is a policymaker with an activist’s heart. She knows that the most effective way to make change is to claim a seat at the table.

But no matter how high she’s climbed, she’s never forgotten who she’s fighting for. Children. Working families. Immigrants. Small business owners.

That’s Hillary. Wherever there is someone getting a raw deal, Hillary is with them, fighting to make it right. That’s why I’m with Her.

Sen. Barbara Boxer 

When Hillary Clinton made history and joined us in the Senate, she wasn’t seeking the spotlight. We served on the Environment and Public Works Committee together, and, let me tell you, she was a workhorse. Humble, steady, ready to learn.

Then, just eight months later, she was thrust into the middle of the WORST attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor. In the dark days that followed 9/11, I saw Hillary’s true character. She consoled a grieving population. She sprung into action, securing benefits for the families of the fallen and getting the funding New York needed to rebuild. When Ground Zero responders became sick, she demanded answers from the Bush Administration. And she fought to make sure that they got the health care they need.

When the cameras were off, she never stopped working and never stopped fighting, and that’s why members on both sides of the aisle praised her for her dignity, her resolve, and her effectiveness.

That’s Hillary. In crisis or in calm, whether we need a hand or a heart-to-heart, we can always count on her to come through.

As our Dean, Senator Mikulski, likes to say, this election is not about gender, it’s about an a-genda, one that includes every American. And we, the Democratic women of the Senate, stand shoulder to shoulder with Hillary, resolved and ready to make her the next President of the United States of America!

Clinton Is The “Slam Dunk” Choice For President And AFL-CIO To Kick Off “Battleground Blitz”

Transportation Trades Department praises Clinton as the clear choice this election.

AFL-CIO kicks off Labor 2016 campaign in battleground states.

After a stirring oration from President Barack Obama on Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD) released the following statement in support of Hillary Clinton for President of the United States:

“Last night, President Obama reminded us that Secretary Clinton is as ready as any candidate in history to be our commander in chief. Her experience, temperament and lifelong commitment to fighting for a country that is fair and treats everyone equally, combine to make the choice in this election a no-brainer.

“Secretary Clinton has a plan to put millions of people to work modernizing the economy, including our transportation system and infrastructure. Donald Trump’s GOP platform calls for the elimination of mass transit, reckless cuts to Amtrak and an austerity agenda that dooms any chance of reversing decades of neglect that have left our aging transportation system in a severe state of decay and disrepair.

“Secretary Clinton has put forward strong ideas for expanding our middle class by empowering millions to form and join unions, and bargain for fair wages and retirement security. Donald Trump has endorsed proposals that would gut collective bargaining and leave millions of working people to fend for themselves in an economy that features a widening wage gap and millions living in poverty.

“And Secretary Clinton has rejected the politics of fear and division designed to vilify and undermine the men and women who work in public service – from our cities and states to our federal government institutions. Donald Trump has endorsed a platform that attacks those people and the critical services they provide.

“The working people on the frontlines of our transportation system have grown weary of politicians who talk a good game but fail to offer real solutions. They are looking for a champion who will reach across the aisle and finally end this era of inaction and disinvestment that has left our transportation system reeling. Secretary Clinton is that champion, without question – and that’s a slam dunk.”

This morning, after Hillary Clinton accepted the Democratic nomination from President of the United States, Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO, released the following statement:

“The AFL-CIO and 12.5 million working people across the nation congratulate Hillary Clinton on her historic nomination for president by the Democratic Party. We applaud the hard fought campaign that led to this moment. This is a momentous occasion for working women everywhere who are still fighting to level the playing field in their workplace and achieve equal pay for equal work. Hillary Clinton’s nomination signals our nation’s commitment to gender equality and we in the labor movement will lift up that commitment on a daily basis.

This is a moment for women, and all Americans, to celebrate. When my grandmother immigrated to America, she didn’t speak English. As a young woman, my mother couldn’t afford a college education. So, when I witnessed Hillary Clinton accept the nomination, I knew things were incredibly changed for the better. And when we elect Secretary Clinton in November, they will be changed forever.”

Concurrently with their message of support for Clinton’s nomination the AFL-CIO announced they would be kicking off a “battleground blitz” in support of Clinton and to defeat Donald Trump.

“Working people are unified behind Hillary Clinton and are ready to defeat Donald Trump in November. The Democratic Convention ended with an enthusiastic commitment to stand together to rewrite the economic rules so that all Americans can get ahead and stay ahead,” wrote the AFL-CIO.

The morning after the Convention ends, working people in every state are ready to take off and work to elect Hillary Clinton and other pro-worker candidates. The labor movement is launching an immediate series of events and actions, with 35 separate activities in 13 different cities planned between today and Sunday in the states of Florida, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

“Working families are an unstoppable force when we stick together,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “We spoke loud and strong and have helped put the country on a path to shared prosperity. We have driven the debate that put the brakes on the TPP and have established the standard for rewriting the economic rules that will shape this election.”

AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre will be in South Florida this weekend for campaign kickoff events. Across the country, union members will be phone banking, canvassing and rallying to elect Hillary Clinton.

NH Joins Brief Supporting Federal Protections for Transgender Students

 restroom-304986_1280WASHINGTON – NH’s Attorney General, Joe Foster, has joined the Attorneys General of eleven other states in a brief filed by the state of Washington voicing support for a Guidance from the Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Education (ED) which affirms protections for transgender students under Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972. Other states that joined Washington State in its filling included: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Vermont. 

In May, DOJ and ED issued the guidance, following numerous anti-transgender bills and laws passed in statehouses across the country – like North Carolina’s HB2 – discriminating against transgender people.

The Guidance, which is rooted in legal precedent, was issued as a reminder to public schools and universities that transgender students should have access to bathrooms that align with their gender identity. It is not legally binding, but can impact whether states with contradictory laws on the books stand to lose federal funding. A number of states challenged the Guidance, filing two different lawsuits over the past two months.

Today the ACLU joined five other national organizations in another brief filed before the Fifth Circuit which argues that many of the states and political jurisdictions joining the lawsuit against the Administration are doing so improperly in order to avoid transgender-affirming rulings handed down by their Federal Circuits.

In a brief obtained by BuzzFeed News, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson states that the Administration’s directives are “strongly in the public interest,” and “Contrary to Plaintiffs’ claims, our shared experience demonstrates that protecting the civil rights of our transgender friends, relatives, classmates, and colleagues creates no public safety threat and imposes no meaningful financial burden.” 

Currently in New Hampshire, transgender youth, adults and families lack explicit statewide protections ensuring they can’t be fired from their job, evicted from their home, or refused service at a restaurant or any other public place – including public schools and universities – simply because of their identity. “The Granite State takes pride in our independence and believes everyone should be free from discrimination. It is a step in the right direction as New Hampshire joins the ranks of states voicing their support for equal protection under the law for transgender students,” said Devon Chaffee, Executive Director of the ACLU of NH. “Equal protection under the law is an investment in public welfare and ensures fair treatment for all, regardless of identity or gender expression.”

Dan Weeks lauds Durham solar array and urges Executive Council to support clean energy economy

Dan Weeks Durham SolarDURHAM, NH – Executive Council candidate and government reformer Dan Weeks attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the $2.1 million, 651-kilowatt Oyster River Forest Solar Array, the second-largest solar project in New Hampshire. Weeks praised the project developers, ReVision Energy, IGS Solar, and the Town of Durham, and urged his opponent to allow New Hampshire municipalities to follow Durham’s lead in building the state’s clean energy economy.

Weeks is challenging District 5 incumbent Councilor David Wheeler, who opposed the Durham array and has consistently voted to block municipal solar systems as recommended to the Executive Council by the Public Utilities Commission. Funding for such projects is provided, in part, by the NH Renewable Energy Fund, which receives payments from private utilities for non-compliance with the state’s clean energy requirements. No tax funds are included in the fund.

“New Hampshire is on the verge of a new clean energy economy, with the potential to generate thousands more middle-class jobs and put our environment on a more sustainable course for future generations,” Weeks said. “It is time for Executive Councilors to stop their senseless denial of climate science and allow the New Hampshire Renewable Energy Fund to do its job.”

The Oyster River Solar Array was made possible through a $500,000 grant from the Renewable Energy Fund after Republican Councilor Joe Kenney switched sides and joined the two Democratic Councilors in approving the project last June. Councilor David Wheeler, who is backed by the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity which rejects climate science, was one of two Republicans who voted to block the project. Republican Councilors have succeeded in blocking similar municipal clean energy projects in the past.

According to project developer Revision Energy, the Durham solar field will generate over 850,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year for an annual CO2 reduction of nearly 1.5 million pounds. With an estimated payback period of 5-10 years and minimal maintenance, the system is expected to generate free energy and considerable cost savings for the town of Durham for the next 30-50 years.

New Hampshire currently ranks near the bottom of northeastern states in adoption of renewable energy and second highest in per-capita carbon consumption, despite the fact that the state’s nascent renewable energy sector has already seen over 70 startup companies and thousands of jobs created to meet the burgeoning demand from residential and business consumers. Weeks and his family generate the bulk of their energy from a 17-panel rooftop solar array.

“As New Hampshire’s highest elected body charged with approving state spending and appointments, it is the Executive Council’s job to make smart investments for the good of future generations,” Weeks concluded. “I respectfully urge my opponent to rethink his ideological opposition to renewables and support the clean energy economy for the good of our citizens and the natural environment.”

Letter: Al Baldasaro Represents Londonderry, Not New Hampshire

Dear Journalist Friends,

Please don’t file any more stories about Al Baldasaro without describing him as “Londonderry representative Al Baldasaro,” or “Londonderry’s Al Baldasaro,” or “Rep. Al Baldasaro (R-Londonderry).”

Unless and until the people of Londonderry are publicly humiliated and shamed by their idiotic choices, he will continue to get re-elected and the rest of NH will appear responsible for his brain-dead ideas.

Keith McCrea

Nuns on the Bus Stop in Concord for Rally to “Mend the Gaps”

2016-07-22 Nuns on the Bus Sr Simone Campbell

Sr. Simone Campbell addresses the crowd, while some of the Nuns on the Bus take shelter from the heat under umbrellas.

About 125 Granite Staters braved today’s heat to meet Sister Simone Campbell and the Nuns on the Bus at a State House rally to “Mend the Gaps” between us that weaken society, including gaps in income, healthcare, housing and access to democracy.

Campbell and nearly 20 Catholic sisters from around the country are visiting 13 states and both major party conventions on a tour that began July 11.  The tour’s goal is “to bring a politics of inclusion to divided places, change the conversation to mending the vast economic and social divides in our country, and counter political incivility with our message of inclusion.  NETWORK’s 44 year-old faith-filled political message is an alternative to the anger, fear, and polarization of this election cycle.  We believe in faithful citizenship, which compels us to travel the country to listen to the lived experiences of people in their communities and hold elected officials accountable to the promises they have made to legislate for the common good.”

The sisters are caucusing with local advocates in Manchester tonight, and will hold a rally in Boston tomorrow starting at 10:00 am on the front lawn of Boston College High School, 150 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston, MA 02125.  The full tour schedule is available at www.nunsonthebus.org.

At today’s rally, the sisters distributed brochures comparing candidates’ positions on “Mending the Gaps.”  Download the brochure comparing Kelly Ayotte with Maggie Hassan here and the brochure comparing Hillary Clinton with Donald Trump here.

Granite Staters shared their stories about the growing gaps in our economy which are making the American dream unattainable for too many families.

  • Jazmine Langley and Olivia Zink of Open Democracy signed the Bus before it left Concord, on the way to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

    Jazmine Langley, a Democracy Fellow with Open Democracy/NH, spoke about the challenges facing her as a biracial woman. “I have seen oppression up close. I have witnessed the gaps woven into the fabric of our country that are very much racially and socioeconomically based. From drug addiction to poverty. From police brutality to mass imprisonment. From strict voter ID laws to felon disenfranchisement. Our elected representatives and ourselves need to be held accountable for mending this gap. Whether that is by trying to spark legal reform in getting big money out politics, registering more voters, or fighting voter suppression laws, doing non-profit work dedicated to some aspect of this issue, or just educating yourselves, families, friends, and children about the issue at hand – it all makes a difference. This is our democracy, so this is our fight!”  You can watch Jazmine’s speech here.

  • Amy Shaw, a mother of two living in Rochester spoke about the challenge of finding affordable childcare. “Even with both my husband and I working, we couldn’t afford to send our kids to daycare. I had to quit my job because my monthly income wasn’t going to cover my childcare costs.” Watch Amy’s remarks here.
  • Jen Cole, of Pittsfield, said “Low wages make it challenging to pay the bills week to week but nearly impossible when life throws you a curveball. My husband was diagnosed with cancer four years ago and could not work for several months. We had to survive off of my income and rely on family and friends to help us through what was already a difficult time. If someone is working full time they should be able to make ends meet and not have to fear they’ll lose everything if they get sick.”
  • Sister Eileen Brady, of Nashua, is a Social Worker and Advocate at the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter. As a Sister of Mercy, she has been a staunch advocate for peace and justice for decades.  “The Sisters of Mercy have been trying to ‘Mend the Gaps’ since 1858,” Sister Eileen said.  She shared stories of people she has met through the Nashua Soup Kitchen, “My friends who have no place to live tonight.”  You can watch her remarks here.

“Pope Francis challenges all people to come together to work for the common good,” said Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, executive director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, which launched the first Nuns on the Bus tour during the 2012 presidential campaign. “On our journey as Nuns on the Bus we will talk to those Pope Francis voters and, hopefully, inspire them to make mending the gaps the defining issue of the 2016 election.”

2016-07-22 Nuns on the Bus crowd2

Part of today’s crowd on the State House lawn.

“Every New Hampshire family deserves a fair shot at the American dream but rising costs, stagnant wages and unfair workplace policies are putting that dream out of reach for too many working people,” said Amanda Sears, director of the Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy, a co-sponsor of the Concord rally.  “The visit from the Nuns on the Bus today highlights the need for family friendly policy solutions that lift workers and make our communities stronger.”

Today’s program was emceed by Gail Kenney of the United Church of Christ Economic Justice Mission Group.  Jack Bopp and Arnie Alpert led everyone in a rousing rendition of “We’re All Riding with the Nuns on The Bus.”  Opening prayers were offered by Rev. Gary M. Schulte, the Conference Minister of the New Hampshire Conference of the United Church of Christ, and Woullard Lett, president of the Manchester, NH branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Today’s rally was cosponsored by organizations including AFSC’s NH Program, NH Voices of Faith, Granite State Organizing Project, United Church of Christ Economic Justice Ministry, NH Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy, NH Sisters of Mercy, and Stamp Stampede.

 

 

 

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