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How Free Local Programs Are Building Strong Community Leaders (by Rep Sylvia Gale)

Looking for Leaders …..Everywhere
By Rep Sylvia Gale

Rep Sylvia Gale

Rep Sylvia Gale

We are at that time of year when many schools and colleges are wrapping up the academic year and graduation time looms near.

I have noticed over the past several years that many Leadership Programs have also been established, often by local Chambers of Commerce and other government and business oriented organizations to identify and develop those who are identified as leaders for the future.  Some, if not all of these Leadership programs charge fees for the privilege of participation and these programs vary in length, but often run concurrently with the traditional academic calendar. Over the past year I have become aware of several other Leadership Programs that are cultivating Leadership among much more diverse and somewhat surprising demographics.

One of the longest-standing peer-Leadership programs is the NH Women’s Leadership Series sponsored and developed by New Hampshire Citizens Alliance.  Now in its 7th year, this program offers a 6-week course which teaches skills from Analyzing Power and Fundraising 101 to How to Run a Successful Issue or Political Campaign.  Over the years, more than 200 women from all walks of life throughout New Hampshire have participated, ranging in age from 16-89 years old, and to date at least three former attendees have now been elected to the NH House of Representatives!  Other participating members have gone on to open new businesses and to accept leadership roles in various grassroots organizing campaigns.

This year, the NH Coalition to End Homelessness initiated the NH Granite Leaders Program.   Over the course of six months, more than 25 individuals from across the state who have been homeless in the past, or who are currently without safe and stable housing have participated in this inaugural program.  Through a variety of community and corporate sponsorships and partnerships this program was designed and delivered to build Leadership skills within the homeless and formerly homeless community, increasing their capacity to take on influential roles on issues pertinent to their lives.

As an elected member of the NH House of Representatives I was honored to host this class at the NH State House for one of their first sessions.  In collaboration with the League of NH Women Voters and Senate President Morse and Senator D’Allesandro the participants were provided with information as to How a Bill Becomes a Law and a vigorous question and answer session as to how voters can bring their ideas  forward into the Legislative arena as well as how to fully participate in that process from voting, to testifying in Committees and how best to convey their concerns and positions to their elected officials throughout all levels of state and municipal government.

Two weeks ago I had the honor of attending the Graduation Exercises for the Emerging Leaders Program in Nashua that was produced and delivered through a collaboration between the Adult Learning Center and the Granite State Organizing Project, with support from the Greater Nashua Interfaith Council.  During this event each of the nineteen graduates delivered a speech on what the 6-week sessions had meant to them and what they were taking away with them as a result of having completed this program.  Each of these very proud graduates, coming from a vast array of cultural, educational, and socio-economic backgrounds gave the program high praise and expressed gratitude for the self-esteem building and personal goal-setting skills that they had gained from their participation.

What is common to all of these Leadership Programs is the strength of relationship building that goes on throughout the time these program participants are spending together on a shared course of learning and development.   I applaud the accomplishments of all of those who have completed their individual and group course and project requirements this year, and look forward with great excitement to see these emerging leaders take their next steps toward making our local and statewide communities more welcoming, inclusive, and accessible to all!

Representative Sylvia E. Gale
Hills 28- Nashua Ward 1




Breaking Down Female Stereotypes In The Workplace — Impressions From An Office

For centuries women have been fighting for equality.  Men had no problem putting them to work, in and out of the house.  Women stood up for their rights, formed unions, and created a better workplace for everyone.

It was not long after that that women wanted to have a voice in the political arena. Women began to fight for their right to vote.  The banded together and after years of struggling, finally won the right to vote.

Now a century later, women are still looked at differently then men.  Some men still generalize women, and make outrageous and untruthful claims about women.

We live in a world of stereotypes.  Some are good, like the stereotype that people of Asian decent are better at math, however most are derogatory.  No matter what we do these stereotypes are hard to shake.

One of the worst stereotypes is ones placed on women in the workplace.  

Arnie Arnesen RadioArnie Arnesen is a friend of the NH Labor News and hosts a daily radio show, The Attitude with Arnie Arnesen.  For those who do not know Arnie, she was a State Rep, lawyer, author, radio commentator, professor, and in 1992 she ran for the position of NH Governor.  Given New Hampshire’s current elected representatives (2 female Senators, 2 female Congressional Representatives, and a female Governor) this may not seem strange, but in 1992, Arnie was the first woman to run for Governor of NH by a major party.

In a recent radio broadcast she talked about the strange questions she was asked on the campaign trail about being a woman, and being Governor.  They asked stupid questions like, “what will happen when she is on her period.”

To show reporters and constituents that they needed break away from the preconceived stereotypes of women in the workplace, Arnie would read the poem “Impressions From An Office.”  The poem shows how men and women are treated differently in the workplace.

Please share this with all your friends so we can continue to break down these stereotypes.  (Click here to share on Facebook or Twitter)

–Natasha Josefowitz

 The family picture on HIS desk.
Ah, a solid, responsible family man.
The family picture on HER desk.
Um, her family will come before her career.

HIS desk is cluttered.
He’s obviously a hard worker and a busy man.
HER desk is cluttered.
She obviously a disorganized scatterbrain.

HE is talking with his co-workers.
He must be discussing the latest deal.
SHE is talking with her co-workers.
She must be gossiping.

HE’s not at his desk.
He must be at a meeting.
SHE’s not at her desk.
She must be in the ladies’ room.

HE’s not in the office.
He’s meeting customers.
SHE’s not in the office.
She must be out shopping.

HE’s having lunch with his boss.
He’s on his way up.
SHE’s having lunch with her boss.
They must be having an affair.

The boss criticized HIM.
He’ll improve his performance.
The boss criticized HER.
She’ll be very upset.

HE got an unfair deal.
Did he get angry?
SHE got an unfair deal.
Did she cry?

HE’s getting married.
He’ll get more settled.
SHE’s getting married.
She’ll get pregnant and leave.

HE’s having a baby.
He’ll need a raise.
SHE’s having a baby.
She’ll cost the company money in maternity benefits.

HE’s going on a business trip.
It’s good for his career.
SHE’s going on a business trip.
What does her husband say?

He’s leaving for a better job.
He knows how to recognize a good opportunity.
SHE’s leaving for a better job.
Women are not dependable.

Small Gathering Of People In Nashua Talking About May Day, Immigration, and Voting

“Your Vote is Your Voice” — Rep. Sylvia Gale (Nashua)

Sylvia Gale and many others gathered to celebrate May Day and to push for immigration reform.

Before you vote, Gale said, make sure you know where they stand on the issues that matter to you.  Watch her short speech here.  Special thanks to ProfJoseph4855 who recorded it.

Video Description

Published on May 2, 2014

A great assembly of concerned folks rallied at Nashua City Hall on Thursday, May 1, 2014 to call for immigration reform so that hard working families can stay together without fear and that worker’s rights are extended to all, including immigrant families seeking a better life for themselves and their children. State Representative Sylvia Gale and champion of immigrant rights Eva Costello Stefani address the crowd.

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
― Emma Lazarus [Statue of Liberty]

Congresswomen Shea-Porter, DeLauro To Host The NH Women’s Economic Agenda Summit (3-21-14)

Image by MARCN CC on Flickr

Image by MARCN CC on Flickr

Will be joined by NH House Speaker Terie Norelli and NH Senate Minority Leader Sylvia Larsen

MANCHESTER, NH – On Friday, March 21, Congresswomen Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) and Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), along with NH Senate Minority Leader Sylvia Larsen and NH House Speaker Terie Norelli, will host a summit on the economic issues facing women and their families in New Hampshire.

The summit will feature a panel discussion on paycheck fairness, work-life balance, and quality, affordable child care. It will be moderated by MaryAnn Manoogian, Executive Director of the Center for Women’s Business Advancement at SNHU, and will be followed by a Q&A session.

In July, Congresswomen DeLauro and Shea-Porter, along with their Democratic colleagues, launched When Women Succeed, America Succeeds:  An Economic Agenda for Women and Families. The initiative addresses the need for women to get equal pay for equal work. It promotes work and family balance, and it recognizes that expanded educational opportunities, increased job training, and investments in women entrepreneurs are all essential for women’s economic success.

Minority Leader Larsen has led the charge for paycheck fairness in New Hampshire. She championed passage of the Paycheck Equity Act, which recently passed the New Hampshire State Senate and will help women stand up for equal pay in the workplace. On average, women in New Hampshire still make only 77 cents for every dollar a man earns.

Speaker Norelli recently oversaw passage of House Bill 1403, which implements a minimum wage of $8.25 per hour for 2015 and $9.00 for 2016, with automatic annual adjustments based on the Consumer Price Index. According to the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute, in the Granite State, 59 percent of minimum wage workers are women.

WHO: Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01)
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03)
NH House Speaker Terie Norelli
NH Senate Minority Leader Sylvia Larsen

MODERATOR: MaryAnn Manoogian, Executive Director of the Center For Women’s Business Advancement at Southern New Hampshire University 

WHAT: A Summit on the Economic Issues Facing Women and their Families in New Hampshire

WHEN: Friday, March 21, 2014 from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Light lunch will be served

WHERE: Manchester Community College
1066 Front Street
Manchester, NH


NOTE: Members of the media are asked to RSVP to ben.wakana@mail.house.gov


Raising The Minimum Wage, Increases Employment And One City Proved It

Minimum Wage 101Tens of thousands of hard working Granite Staters are currently working and doing their best to survive in minimum wage jobs.  The time has come to raise the minimum wage.

The debate over raising the minimum wage has been raging throughout the United States since the minimum wage was first instituted in 1938.  The debate has not changed in over 70 years. Proponents claim raising the minimum wage will help low-wage workers and will boost the economy because workers will have more spendable income.  The opponents claim that an increase to the minimum wage will cost jobs, therefore hurting the economy, leading to higher unemployment and massive inflation.

Both sides have merit, however the facts continue to prove that an increase to the minimum wage is far more beneficial to workers, employers and the economy.

Many states and large cities have already moved to increase the minimum wage above and beyond the federal minimum of $7.25.   San Francisco was one of the early leaders in pushing up the minimum wage. In fact the city raised their minimum wage in 2004 and indexed it to inflation.  Currently the minimum wage in San Francisco is $10.74, well above the federal minimum, and even more than the proposed $10.10 federal minimum wage increase.

The fact that San Francisco raised the minimum wage almost a decade ago has given us a real life test bed for how it will impact the local economy.  The results were staggering. In San Francisco between 2004-2011, private employment grew by 5.6%.  Neighboring towns also benefited from the increase.  The entire Santa Clara Country saw a 3% increase in private employment.

More importantly employment in the food service industry grew by 17.7%, debunking the myth that raising the minimum wage will cost low-wage workers their jobs.

That is not to say that there were not drawbacks to raising the minimum wage.  There was a minor (2.8%) increase in prices at local fast food restaurants compared to the surrounding areas.  This increase would mean that your $2.00 hamburger now costs $2.06.  This is hardly the massive inflation that some people claim.

The minimum wage increase in San Francisco also benefited low-wage employers.  According to Ken Jacobs, chairman of the US Berkley Labor Center, turnover in low-wage jobs “decreased by 60%”, which saves employers from having to spend additional money to hire and train new workers.

New Hampshire is now at a crossroad, do we increase the minimum wage to benefit our local economy, or do continue to survive in this stagnant economy.  HB 1403 would incrementally raise the minimum wage in NH to $9.00 over the next two years, and then tie it to the Consumer Price Index.

Americans overwhelmingly support raising the minimum wage.  The Quinnipiac University Poll showed that 71% support an increase.  The Washington Post Poll found similar results, 66% support an increase.  The Washington Post Poll went one step further by asking what the minimum wage should be.  The median response was $9.00 per hour.

The New Hampshire Legislature must do what is best for all Granite Staters and the local economy by raise the minimum wage.

MLK A Devoted Labor Leader And Leader Against The Death Penalty

MLK’s First Campaign was against the Death Penalty

Bus segregation was not the first issue that grabbed the attention of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. when the young pastor moved to Montgomery, Alabama in 1954. His first campaign in his new home focused on a sentence of death for Jeremiah Reeves, a 16-year-old black boy convicted of raping a white woman, which512px-Martin_Luther_King_Jr_NYWTS_6-wikicommons became his first civil rights campaign in his new home. Reeves had confessed under duress, but later recanted, a claim widely believed in the black community. King joined the NAACP’s efforts to save Reeves’ life.

So did Claudette Colvin, like Reeves a student at Booker T. Washington High School. Colvin, who the next year would be arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a segregated bus nine months before Rosa Parks did the same thing, recalled, “Jeremiah Reeves’s arrest was the turning point of my life. That was when I and a lot of other students really started thinking about prejudice and racism. I was furious when I found out what had happened.” [1]

“In the years that [Reeves] sat in jail,” Dr. King wrote in Stride Toward Freedom, his book about the Montgomery movement, “several white men in Alabama had also been charged with rape; but their accusers were Negro girls. They were seldom arrested; if arrested, they were soon released by the Grand Jury; none was ever brought to trial.” [2]

Reeves was found guilty by an all-white jury and put to death on March 28, 1958.

A week later King addressed a “Prayer Pilgrimage” rally in front of the State Capitol building. “The issue before us now is not the innocence or guilt of Jeremiah Reeves,” King told a crowd of two thousand. “Even if he were guilty, it is the severity ad inequality of the penalty that constitutes the injustice. Full grown white men committing comparable crimes against Negro girls are rare ever punished, and are never given the death penalty or even a life sentence.”[3]

Such gerrymandered justice was a well established fact of life in the South, going back to the days of slavery when blacks were commonly executed or lynched for crimes that drew less harsh punishment — or none — when committed by whites. This discriminatory pattern continued after emancipation, as Stuart Banner documents in his book, The Death Penalty: An American History. “In the first half of the [twentieth] century,” he writes, “the southern states punished many crimes by death only if they were committed by blacks, in the second half of LR&Mark11-14-12 019the century they accomplished the same result by delegating to all-white juries the discretion to choose capital or noncapital punishment.”

“The death penalty was a means of racial control,” observes Banner, a UCLA law professor.

Sadly, the role played by race in decisions about the death penalty persists. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, recent studies “add to an overwhelming body of evidence that race plays a decisive role in the question of who lives and dies by execution in this country. Race influences which cases are chosen for capital prosecution and which prosecutors are allowed to make those decisions. Likewise, race affects the makeup of the juries which determine the sentence. Racial effects have been shown not just in isolated instances, but in virtually every state for which disparities have been estimated and over an extensive period of time.”

New Hampshire is a case in point.

Michael Addison was charged with capital murder for killing Michael Briggs, a police officer, in 2006.

John Brooks was charged with capital murder for hiring three men to assist him in killing Jack Reid, a handyman, in 2005.

The trials took place in adjacent counties in 2008.

Addison, a poor black man with a prior criminal record, was found guilty and sentenced to death.

Brooks, a white millionaire businessman, was found guilty but spared the death penalty.

Monica Foster, Brooks’ attorney, said of her client after the sentence was announced, “He’s not the kind of people juries routinely kill,”

Racial disparities in the use of the death penalty have been a focus of scholarly research for decades. According to Justin Levinson, Robert Smith, and Danielle Young, authors of a 2013 study, “The most consistent and robust finding in this literature is that even after controlling for dozens and sometimes hundreds of case-related variables, Americans who murder Whites are more likely to receive a death sentence than those who murder Blacks.” They note as well that “Black defendants are sentenced to death more frequently than White defendants, especially when the universe of studied cases is narrowed to include only those cases that result in aexecutejustice11-14-12capital trial.”

What Levinson, Smith, and Young found ought to be a wake-up call for anyone interested in the fairness of our judicial system. After studying 445 jury-eligible citizens in six states where the death penalty is most actively used, they concluded that “implicit racial bias does have an impact on the administration of the death penalty in America.”

“We found that death-qualified jurors implicitly valued White lives over Black lives by more rapidly associating White subjects with the concepts of ‘worth’ or ‘value’ and Black subjects with the concepts of ‘worthless’ or ‘expendable.’ This finding could potentially help to explain why real capital juries impose death sentences more regularly for White victims: at least at an implicit level we value White lives more than Black lives, and thus, perhaps, we seek to punish those individuals who have destroyed those whom we value most.”

The implications of this finding go far beyond the death penalty.

As for Dr. King, it is worth noting that his comments on the prosecution, conviction, and execution of Jeremiah Reeves did not directly reject capital punishment, just “the unequal justice of Southern courts.” As King matured into the leader we honor today, his critique of injustice deepened and blended with a prescription for change.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that,” he famously said.

“Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time: the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence,” King told the world on the day he received the Nobel Peace Prize. “Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”

The realization of King’s vision is far off. Abolition of the death penalty would be an excellent step in the right direction.

To get involved, join the NH Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.



[1] Phillip Hoose, Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice, Farrar Straus Giroux, 2009, p. 23-24

[2] Martin Luther King, Jr., Stride Toward Freedom

[3] Martin Luther King, Jr., “Statement Delivered at the Prayer Pilgrimage Protesting the Electrocution of Jeremiah Reeves,” April 6, 1958

Low Income Families Are Suffering From Federal Budget Cuts (From Every Child Matters Education Fund NH)

By Mary Lou Beaver,
New Hampshire Campaign Director, 

Every Child Matters Education Fund


Mary Lou Beaver

MaryLou Beaver


Each year, to track the progress toward the goal of cutting poverty in half in 10 years, Half in Ten publishes an annual report that examines 21 different indicators of economic security and opportunity. On Tuesday, Half In Ten released their new report, Resetting the Poverty Debate: State of the States 2013.

Here are some excerpts from the report:

Poverty Rate

The percentage of people in poverty—defined as having an annual income below $23,492 for a family of four—did not change nationally from 2011 to 2012, remaining at 15 percent, or 46.5 million Americans. Similarly, the percentage of people with incomes of less than half the poverty line—sometimes referred to as deep poverty—remained at 6.6 percent in 2012. These measures do not account for the impacts of the Earned Income Tax Credit, nutrition assistance, and other noncash benefits on income.

To substantially reduce the share of Americans living below the poverty line, policymakers first need to immediately shift their focus from austerity to job creation and investment in people. The poverty rate remains high today due in large part to an excess of poorly compensated jobs. We need to turn bad jobs into good ones by increasing the minimum wage, supporting poorly compensated workers’ efforts to join unions, and ensuring that all workers have basic benefits such as paid sick leave.

Child Poverty Rate

Nationally, 21.8 percent of children ages 18 and younger were living below the poverty line in 2012. But children end up in poverty because their families are in poverty. When the incomes of the adults who reside with children—mainly parents—are not sufficient to meet the basic needs of the family, child poverty rates get worse. One considerable factor contributing to these high rates is family employment. Over the past several years, the rate of family unemployment has remained very high. While the family unemployment rate fell from 12.1 percent in 2011 to 10.1 percent in 2012, the share of families with at least one unemployed parent looking for work was still higher than the national average unemployment rate of 8.1 percent in 2012.

High School Graduation Rate

One of the national indicators that has shown improvement over the past several years is the on-time graduation rate for high school students, which measures the percentage of students that enter high school as freshmen and graduate within four years. The on-time high school graduation rate increased from 75.5 percent in the 2008-09 school year to 78.2 percent in the 2009-10 school year, its highest level since 1974.

Children who participate in state-funded prekindergarten programs are more likely to graduate from high school on time. Nationwide, total state funding for pre-K programs decreased by nearly $60 million in the 2010-11 school year. This is the second year in a row for which inflation-adjusted spending dropped, following a $30 million decrease in the 2009-10 school year. By contrast, Vermont had the best on-time graduation rate in the country and also maintains one of the best pre-K programs, increasing its enrollment by 25 percent in 2011.

Gender Wage Gap

Even though our economy has been growing slowly and steadily, women are among the groups that are still not sharing in its gains. In 2012, median annual earnings for women working full time and year round were $37,791, 76.5 percent of the median annual earnings—$49,398—of men working full time and year round.  The gender wage gap did not change significantly from 2011 to 2012, and there has been little progress in closing the gender wage gap since 2001.

Unequal pay means lower earnings for women and higher poverty rates for both married couples and female-headed households. In the 1990s, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research estimated that boosting women’s pay to men’s levels would cut the poverty rate in half for both single mothers and married couples and by even more for single women without children. Passing the Paycheck Fairness Act would reduce the gender wage gap. Policies such as increasing the minimum wage, expanding investments in child care, and improving pay for workers in female-dominated occupations such as care work would help narrow the gender wage gap.

Besides pay disparities, other work challenges also hold women back, such as paid sick leave.

Lack of Health Insurance Coverage

One of the biggest expenses that pushes families into poverty is out-of-pocket spending on medical expenses, usually due to a lack of health insurance. In 2012, 10.6 million people fell into poverty due to out-of-pocket medical expenses, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Nationally, our recent investments in this indicator have shown improvement. The percentage of people without health insurance has gone down, falling from 15.7 percent in 2011 to 15.4 percent in 2012.  Since 2010, the number of people without health insurance has decreased by 2 million, in part due to provisions in the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, that have increased coverage among young people. As the full law goes into effect in 2014, further improvements in this indicator are expected.

In too many states, however, low-income nonelderly adults are not able to benefit from part of the ACA that was designed to help them—Medicaid expansion. They are much more likely than higher-income adults to be uninsured. They also fail to receive needed medical care and have problems paying medical bills. However, 24 states are refusing to implement the ACA’s option to expand Medicaid cover- age to most uninsured people with incomes of less than 138 percent of the federal poverty line.

Massachusetts has the lowest rate of residents earning 138 percent of the federal poverty line without health insurance. Only 7.6 percent of the state’s residents lack any kind of health care coverage due to its health insurance program. The state has also chosen to expand Medicaid.

Hunger and Food Insecurity

The food-insecurity indicator measures the share of total households that experienced difficulty providing enough food for all their members due to a lack of money or resources. In 2012, 14.5 percent of households—17.6 million households, to be exact—were food insecure. The change in food insecurity from 2011 to 2012 was not statistically significant.

Although food insecurity increased during the first year of the recession, it has essentially remained stable since then. This is likely due in large part to the effectiveness of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, formerly known as food stamps. Recent research found that in 2011 and 2012, SNAP contributed to reductions in food insecurity among families who obtained program benefits. Yet SNAP funding has suffered recently. In November 2013, a temporary boost to SNAP funding made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act expired, cutting the average SNAP benefit for a family of three by $29. This expiration took effect in November 2013; those relying on the program now have, on average, $1.40 per person per meal.

On top of that, many lawmakers in Congress have demanded further draconian cuts—as much as $39 billion over 10 years—in a recent House proposal. Policymakers should reject proposals that would damage SNAP’s responsiveness to economic conditions by radically altering its structure, as well as moves to further cut benefits.

Affordable and Available Housing

Nationally, there were only 57 affordable and available units per 100 renter house-holds with very low incomes in 2011, the most recent year for which data are available, compared to 58 units in 2010. The number of renters with “worst-case needs” continued to increase in 2011.

Left alone, sequestration could cut housing vouchers for as many as 185,000 families by the end of 2014. These cuts are already seriously impacting the states. Congress should reverse the across-the-board cuts in housing that are part of sequestration and increase investments in rental-housing assistance and development.

The bottom line is this: Low-income families in states across the country are suffering from too many years of reckless efforts to reduce the federal deficit. Although many states need to improve local policies—especially those that hinder the ability of low-income families to access federally funded programs—the state- by-state results from our indicators show that the budget choices we make at the national level have consequences. The effects of sequestration will continue into next year and for many years thereafter. “It is like a slowly growing cancer,” says Steven Warren, vice chancellor of research and graduate studies at the University of Kansas. In 2014, sequestration will only get worse. The cuts will be deeper.

Many of this year’s cuts simply have not been implemented yet. And the one-time fixes that agencies made this year to mitigate sequestration’s impacts are no longer an option moving forward.


The Radical Right’s 10-Point Guide to Medicaid Obstruction (New Hampshire Edition)

CONCORD – The state director of Americans for Prosperity, Greg Moore, says that Medicaid is the worst thing in the world but State Senator Andy Sanborn (R-Bedford) says that Medicaid is better than any private plan available. The two statements were made side by side in a press conference this week opposing Medicaid expansion.

A new video by Granite State Progress highlights the top 10 far-fetched and contradictory last ditch claims that fringe right-wing groups and partisan politicians made against Medicaid expansion during an hour-long press conference in New Hampshire on Wednesday, October 30th. Highlights include Cornerstone executive director Ashley Pratte’s misdirection that Medicaid expansion is tied to abortion – conveniently ignoring a 30-year old federal provision that prohibits taxpayer dollars from being used for abortions – and NH Republican Liberty Caucus executive director Aaron Day openly threatening to primary any legislator who votes with their constituents in support of Medicaid expansion over the demands of fringe special interests.

GSP Video: The Radical Right’s 10-Point Guide to Medicaid Obstruction

Top Ten Countdown Highlights:

#10: Medicaid is terrible. – Greg Moore, Americans for Prosperity-NH

#9: Medicaid is a luxury. – State Sen. Andy Sanborn

#8: Question the competence of doctors. – Former State Sen. Ray White

#7: Scream abortion, abortion, abortion. – Ashley Pratte, Cornerstone

#6: Attack Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. – Aaron Day, NHRLC

#5: Medicaid is worse than private insurance. – Greg Moore, AFP-NH

#4: Medicaid is better than any private insurance. – State Sen. Andy Sanborn

#3: Threaten to fund primary challengers. – Aaron Day, NHRLC

#2: You’re stupid if you don’t agree with us. – Greg Moore, AFP-NH

#1: Pretend there isn’t a plan.– State Sen. Andy Sanborn

BONUS: Don’t have any plan of your own. Pivot. – State Sen. Andy Sanborn

The press conference featured all of New Hampshire’s fringe conservative groups: Americans for Prosperity, Cornerstone, NH Republican Liberty Caucus, Coalition of NH Taxpayers, and Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire. Organizers also desperately listed as an ally an organization that doesn’t even exist anymore, the NH Advantage Coalition; Americans for Prosperity took over the group in 2011 and it currently has no staff or operations.

Missing from the press conference line-up were actual health policy experts, advocates, hospitals, doctors, nurses, small business owners, and constituents. That’s because the vast majority support expanding health care to 58,000 lower income Granite Staters through Medicaid expansion – so much so that during the last public hearing in August, 48 members of the public testified in support of Medicaid expansion opposite only 4 speakers against; and every single New Hampshire provider that participated in the commission hearings indicated strong support for expanding access to health care in the Granite State.

Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins:

“Just like Congressional Republicans who stamp their feet and are willing to shut-down our government to get their way, radical special interest groups and politicians in New Hampshire are resorting to desperate claims and open threats to block health care coverage for Granite State families. Elected officials will have to choose whether to follow these blatant partisan schemes or instead stand with the overwhelming number of their constituents, health policy experts, and consumer advocates who strongly support Medicaid expansion.”




“Medical providers – hospitals and community mental health centers, doctors and nurses – presented a united front yesterday in support of expanding New Hampshire’s Medicaid program.”

Concord Monitor, N.H. Medical Providers Unite in Support of Medicaid Expansion, 08.28.13


“Providers said that expanding Medicaid would result in more cost-effective care to the poor. Dr. David Green of Concord Hospital said when people don’t have insurance they are more likely to wait until their illness is an emergency and seek costly emergency room care. The urology specialist said he may see a patient with an infection that could have been treated much sooner and for a fraction of the cost by a primary physician.”  WMUR, Providers, public urge Medicaid expansion in NH, 08.27.13


“[Hospitals, nurses, doctors and other medical providers] told a special commission charged with making a recommendation to the Legislature by Oct. 15 that they are already treating many of the same people who would gain health insurance through expansion. Many go to hospital emergency rooms because they have no alternative now, they added. “We see it both as a public health and economic imperative for our state,” said Henry Lipman, speaking for the New Hampshire Hospital Association.”  Nashua Telegraph, Providers, Public Urge Medicaid Expansion in NH, 08.28.13


“Tess Kuenning, president and chief executive officer of Bi-State Primary Care Association, estimated 35,000 of the 122,000 patients seen by the association’s community health centers are uninsured. Expanding Medicaid won’t tax the health care system as some fear by adding patients to doctors’ appointment calendars, she said. “These patients will not magically appear. Most are already in the system,” she said. Seacoast Online, Health workers urge expanded Medicaid, 08.28.13


“It seems that the antipathy to President Obama that has frozen the wheel to the legislature in Washington, is now blowing a cool breeze through the halls of government in New Hampshire. And I want to ask you, if you would leave 58,000 New Hampshire people uninsured and uncared for, because of antipathy to the President, shame on you. If you would spurn two-and-half billion dollars of our taxpayer money, and this economic stimulus in my book, just because of antipathy to the President, shame on you. If you would leave these 58,000 people uninsured depending on a rickety, unsubstantial of the safety net, dependent on the public purse, because of antipathy to our President, shame on you. I would ask those who object to this very rational plan to examine your conscience, look deep in your heart. Remember what you have heard today and do the right thing for all of New Hampshire, not just those underprivileged. Thank you.” – John White of Wolfeboro, NH Medicaid Expansion Commission Hearing, August 23, 2013 GSP Video: Old Timer: Don’t Cut Health Care to Spite the President, 8.27.13


Larry Brown shares thoughts on Medicaid expansion based on the experiences of his family from some 150 years ago, when he says his Great-Grandfather John Dalton Brown was a shrewd Yankee farmer who understood the value of a dollar. GSP Video: Medicaid Math with a Shrewd Yankee Farmer

Cleaner Air Coming to New England as Region’s Largest Coal Plant Set to Retire in 2017

Sierra Clib Logo

Brayton Point marks 150th coal plant nationwide
to announce retirement, more expected to follow in NH

Somerset, Mass –Energy Capital Partners, owners of the Brayton Point coal-fired power plant in Southeastern Massachusetts, announced late Monday that they plan to retire the plant as of June 1, 2017. The more than 50-year-old plant couldn’t compete with newer, cleaner sources of generation, including a growing renewable energy industry.

“Families across Massachusetts and Rhode Island will breathe easier when they don’t have to worry about more harmful pollution from the Brayton Point coal plant. This is a clear signal that coal is on its way out in New England. Now, we hope our leaders will act quickly to ensure communities with aging coal plants, including Bow and Portsmouth, get the resources they need for a responsible transition away from the dirty fuels of the past and toward a cleaner, healthier future,” said James McCaffrey, New England Beyond Coal Campaign Representative for the Sierra Club.

The announcement is a signal that coal is struggling to compete in New England. The Brayton Point plant is the largest of the five remaining plants in New England, including Public Service Company of New Hampshire’s (PSNH) Merrimack Station in Bow and Schiller Station in Portsmouth.

“This announcement underscores the fact that it’s time to move beyond coal in New England. We need to stop wasting our money on outdated and uneconomical coal plants like Merrimack Station. Our legislators must stand up for our families and ensure we don’t get saddled with the costs paying off PSNH’s corporate shareholders if they can’t sell the aging plant. Instead, it’s time to retire these relics and move toward clean, renewable energy solutions,” said Catherine Corkery, New Hampshire Sierra Club Chapter Director.

“Pollution from this plant put kids’ health at risk at more than 80 schools and day care centers across both Massachusetts and Rhode Island, but at the same time, our states are becoming the hub of the quickly growing offshore wind industry. Transitioning away from dirty coal and towards renewable energy sources including offshore wind and solar power will create jobs, grow our regional economy and provide our families and businesses with safer, more reliable power for the future,” said Somerset resident Camilo Viveiros.

With today’s announcement, Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign officially marked 150 coal plants that have announced plans to retire since 2010. According to the Clean Air Task Force, retiring these 150 coal plants will help to save 4,000 lives every year, prevent 6,200 heart attacks every year and prevent 66,300 asthma attacks every year. Retiring these plants will also avoid $1.9 billion in health costs.

Local Health Advocated Host Press Conference and Open House on ACA Marketplace

Health Care Consumer Groups to Host ‘Marketplace Open Houses’ & Press Conferences on October 1st to Celebrate Key Component of Affordable Care Act

Health insurance marketplaces open October 1st – families and small businesses will access tax credits and premium subsidies through exchange

CONCORD, NH – Health care consumer and advocacy groups will host ‘Marketplace Open Houses’ and press conferences on October 1st to celebrate a key component of the Affordable Care Act.

Starting October 1, eligible New Hampshire residents and small businesses will be able to apply for health insurance through the federal health benefits Marketplace at www.healthcare.gov. Health insurance marketplaces – formerly known as exchanges – allow consumers to find and compare affordable, quality health insurance options on an apples-to-apples basis, adding new transparency on price and quality to the health insurance market. Consumers using the marketplace this fall include individuals and families, small businesses with fewer than 50 employees, and members of Congress and their staff.

Many individuals who qualify to purchase coverage through the Marketplace will also qualify for advanced premium tax credits, which will subsidize the cost of their monthly health care premiums.

Several organizations are hosting events this week to inform the press and public of the new options and provide a venue to ask questions concerning how to use the health care tool. Details for four events taking place this week are listed below:

Statewide Press Call: Affordable Care Act Enrollment Begins

This afternoon national and local health care experts will provide the media with accurate information about the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The experts will share information about the insurance exchange enrollment period – which begins tomorrow, Tuesday, October 1st – as well as the overall implementation of the ACA in New Hampshire. Speakers will additionally dispel myths that are being spread by opponents of the legislation.

WHEN:           Monday, September 30 at 2:30 pm


WHO:               The Center for American Progress Action Fund, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, Granite State Progress

WHERE:         Conference Call; for # email zandra@granitestateprogress.org or call (603) 225-2471


Manchester: News Conference to Kick-Off Enrollment for NH Residents in the New, More Affordable Health Care Marketplace

A news conference to kick-off enrollment for New Hampshire residents in the new, more affordable health care marketplace will be held tomorrow, October 1st in Manchester. Many New Hampshire residents who qualify to purchase coverage through the Marketplace will also qualify for advanced premium tax credits, which will subsidize the cost of their monthly health care premiums. Both Federal Navigator organizations (Planned Parenthood of New England and the Bi-State Primary Care Association) will be sharing their strategies for increasing awareness, and direct one-on-one enrollment assistance to New Hampshire’s Marketplace-eligible residents. Their efforts will ensure that consumers across the state are able to make an informed choice when selecting health coverage for themselves, their families, or their businesses. The New Hampshire Health Plan will also be making an announcement regarding the State’s new Marketplace Assister program and a statewide multi-media education and outreach campaign slated to kick off this Fall.

WHEN:           October 1, 2013 at 10 a.m.

WHO:                         Representatives of New Hampshire Health Plan, and New Hampshire’s Federal

Navigators represented by Planned Parenthood of New England and the Bi-State Primary Care Association

WHERE:         Child and Family Services, 464 Chestnut Street, (Corner of Chestnut and Lowell Streets), Manchester

RSVP:                         Press only: J. Michael Degnan, (603) 225-6633 or jmdegnan@helmsco.com


Keene: Marketplace Open House & Press Panel

A ‘Marketplace Open House & Press Panel’ will be held tomorrow, October 1st in Keene to celebrate the start of the open enrollment period in the health insurance marketplace and to educate the public on how to use this key component of the Affordable Care Act. Short commentary from local leaders and staff of the Keene Public Library – a community resource center for information on the Affordable Care Act – will be followed by a demonstration of the Marketplace. Members of the public and press will have an opportunity to test-drive the health marketplace and ask questions.

WHEN:           Tuesday, October 1st at 12 noon

WHO:                         NH Citizens Alliance and member leaders, Keene Public Library

WHERE:         Keene Public Library, 60 Winter Street, Keene

RSVP:                         Press: zandra@granitestateprogress.org or (603) 225-2471

Public: Karen Kelly, kkelly@nhcitizensalliance.org


Nashua: Marketplace Open House

A ‘Marketplace Open House’ will be held tomorrow, October 1st in Nashua to celebrate the start of the open enrollment period in the health insurance marketplace and to educate the public on how to use this key component of the Affordable Care Act. An in-depth powerpoint presentation on the marketplace and ACA will be followed by commentary from local leaders. Members of the public and press will have an opportunity to test-drive the health marketplace and ask questions.

WHEN:           Tuesday, October 1st at 6:00 pm

WHO:                         Organizing for Action and member leaders

WHERE:         Nashua Public Library – East Wing, 2 Court Street, Nashua

RSVP:                         Press: zandra@granitestateprogress.org or (603) 225-2471

Public: Deidre Reynolds, (603) 236-9616

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