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Don’t Let Christie Fool You: NJ Law Enforcement Speaks Out Against Christie

 Christie claims he has law enforcement’s back, law enforcement says otherwise

CONCORD, N.H. – Today, you can expect to hear Chris Christie try to fool Granite Staters into thinking he’s on the side of law enforcement. He says he “tells it like it is” about his supposed support for the law enforcement community. But the reality of his relationship with this community couldn’t be more different than the lines he’s feeding people on the campaign trail. 

Don’t take it from us, take it from the president of the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association, Patrick Colligan. He and his organization have been actively campaigning against Christie because of the damage the governor has done to the police force in the state. Just last week, President Colligan took Christie to task, explaining exactly how “supportive” the governor has been to officers in his home state:

He certainly doesn’t have our backs. He certainly hasn’t been friendly to our position. Our organization, the New Jersey State PBA, has been around since 1896. We’ve had a relationship with every governor since 1896. We have had no relationship with this governor. Besides the fact that he has never met with us, besides the fact that we represent nine out of ten police officers in the state -law enforcement officers in the state – when he got into office he systematically started degrading the law enforcement profession in New Jersey.”

“If you’re on a national stage and you’re telling law enforcement throughout this country for a vote that he’s going to support law enforcement, I’m going to tell you that when he signed chapter 78 which is a New Jersey statute back in 2010, I knew then it would be 10 years before I saw a raise. I didn’t foresee the massive amounts of police officer layoffs.”

“It’s impossible to trust someone who says one thing about his commitment to public safety and law enforcement, but does the exact opposite. Chris Christie’s track record with his own state’s police officers and his administration’s work to create a public safety nightmare on the busiest bridge in the world to exact revenge on a political foe reveal the truth about what you can actually expect if he were in the White House,” said Lizzy Price, New Hampshire Democratic Party Communications Director. “Chris Christie may have fooled the Union Leader, but don’t let him fool you when the truth about his record of isn’t deserving of any praise whatsoever. Between the record-breaking nine state credit downgrades, New Jersey’s poor job creation numbers, and leaving law enforcement behind, Chris Christie has clearly shown that he is wrong for New Jersey and he’d definitely be wrong for New Hampshire.”

Kuster Spends Thanksgiving with US Troops in Afghanistan, Kuwait

Kuster in Iraq

Rep. Kuster visits troops from New Hampshire stationed in the Middle East

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Annie Kuster has returned from a Congressional delegation trip to Afghanistan and Kuwait with Members from the House Veterans Affairs Committee and the House Armed Services Committee. The six Representatives received in-country updates on security, political transitions, and counter-terrorism initiatives.

Congresswoman Kuster’s six-day oversight trip included extensive briefings from senior military officials in both countries, as well as updates from the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan P. Michael McKinley and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, the Chief Executive of Afghanistan. The delegation met with members of the armed forces serving at Bagram Airfield, Camp Integrity, and Camp Arifjan.

“I was honored to spend Thanksgiving with our troops in Afghanistan,” Kuster said. “Americans should be proud of the dedication and commitment of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who are working with the Afghan National Army to combat terrorism and bring stability to the region. Our Granite State troops are crucial to the mission and I am dedicated to supporting their efforts and to bringing them home safely.”

Kuster was joined on the bipartisan trip by Representatives Mike Coffman (CO-6), Phil Roe (TN-1), Ralph Abraham (LA-5), Beto O’Rourke (TX-16), and Mark Takano (CA-41).

Kuster is a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee and serves as a Ranking Member of the Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation, which allows the Congresswoman to continue to provide increased oversight at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure that every veteran can easily access the resources he or she needs.

NHDP Launches “Granite Staters Against Rubio” Petition and Online Ad Buy

Marco Rubio (Gage Skidmore FLIKR CC)

Marco Rubio (Gage Skidmore FLIKR CC)

Petition offers new tagline: “Retro Rubio: An Old American Century”

CONCORD, N.H. – Today, the New Hampshire Democratic Party, in partnership with the New Hampshire Young Democrats launched a petition against Marco Rubio’s old ideas and failed policies. The petition offers a more honest tagline for Sen. Rubio – Retro Rubio: An Old American Century. Signers of the petition will become a part of “Granite Staters Against Rubio,” a group of activists committed to revealing the truth about Rubio – that his old, out-of-date ideas aren’t welcome in New Hampshire, no matter who his favorite musical artist is.

The petition is accompanied by a series of Twitter ads, launching today, that remind New Hampshire voters about Rubio’s backwards policies on women’s health, tax cuts for the rich, and refusal to support common sense economic solutions that would help middle class families and young people just starting out.  

“Retro Rubio is trying to fool Granite Staters into thinking he’s a new and different politician. But the truth is he’s just the same type of Grand Old Party politician you’ve seen a million times before,” said Lizzy Price, NHDP Communications Director. “Like so many in the Grand Old Party, Rubio refuses to support policies that advance women’s equality, a middle class agenda, and LGBT rights. Like so many in the Grand Old Party, he wants to take us back to a time when ‘trickle down economics’ was hurting countless middle class and working families across the country. He is clinging so hard to his backwards agenda that he has stayed silent following the shooting at Planned Parenthood, refusing to condemn the Grand Old Party’s dangerous policies and rhetoric that have done nothing but incite fear and violence. As long as Retro Rubio clings to his archaic agenda, he’ll never get the support of Granite Staters and he’ll just keep hurting this country.”

Full petition below: 

Tell Retro Rubio You Want a President for the Future

Dear Friend,

You’ve heard it before. Young candidate tries to gain favor with young voters by talking about “new” policies, and casually mentioning they like the same music you do. Does it work? Only if those policies aren’t actually failed, recycled policies of the past. But Marco Rubio is hoping you ignore his outdated policies. He’s counting on young people to take his rhetoric at face value. Retro Rubio may try and spin us on a “New American Century,” but the truth is his policies are nothing but old-school policies of the past.

Take Rubio’s tax policy that gives an “absolutely gargantuan tax cut to the rich.” It also slashes the corporate tax rate, eliminates the capital gains tax while raising taxes on some of the middle class, all while its author claims it expands the economy. Does this sound familiar? It should. Rubio’s plan is just another reiteration of a failed trickle down tax policy that Republicans have been pushing since the 1980s.

Even worse, Rubio doesn’t support common sense economic solutions that would help us get ahead. He opposes President Obama’s forward looking plan to make community college debt-free and voted against plans to let students refinance their student loans so we have less debt once we graduate. He claims that raising the minimum wage – a proposal that helps countless young people in New Hampshire – is “silly” and calls the debate over the Paycheck Fairness Act, which helps women secure equal pay was “wasting time.”

Marco Rubio’s also wants to repeal Obamacare and take us back to the days when insurance companies could deny coverage because of a pre-existing condition, or women could be charged more for coverage based on their gender. If Retro Rubio got his way, 90,000 Granite Staters who gained coverage through the Affordable Care Act could see their coverage taken away. By the way, Obamacare repeal is hardly a “new” idea. Every single Republican candidate for President also wants to time warp to the days before Obamacare.

When it comes to the progress we’ve made on equality, Retro Rubio would take us back in time too. He wants to take away a woman’s constitutional right to a safe and legal abortion, and funding for Planned Parenthood. Our LGBT neighbors would also see progress reversed under Retro Rubio. He doesn’t support same sex marriage or a person’s right to not be discriminated against at work  based on who they love.

Granite Staters want a forward-thinking leader that is focused on building on the progress we’ve made over the last 6 years with new ideas. A leader who will continue to fight for New Hampshire’s middle class – to build an economy that works for everyone, to make college more affordable, to make sure Granite Staters have continued access to quality health care, and that all families are given equal opportunities.

Marco Rubio’s plans are more retro than forward-thinking. He should change his tagline to “Retro Rubio: An Old American Century.”

Sign our petition today to make sure Marco Rubio knows that his out-dated plans aren’t welcome in New Hampshire, no matter who his favorite musical artist is.



Granite Staters Against Rubio

Hillary Clinton Receives Endorsement Of Eight NH Mayors

hillary clinton (WisPolitics.com FLIKR)

Hillary Clinton (WisPolitics.com FLIKR)

New Hampshire Mayors Endorse Hillary Clinton, Citing Her Commitment to Strengthening Our Economy and Investing in Infrastructure 

Manchester – Eight New Hampshire mayors and mayors elect endorsed Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee for president this morning, citing her new infrastructure investment plan. Each elected official spoke about the importance of having a partner in the White House who will work with cities and towns to grow their local economies and support New Hampshire families. Specifically, the leaders applauded Clinton’s comprehensive infrastructure investment agenda, which was released earlier today.

“As a mayor, I know how critical things like dependable and updated roads and bridges are to growing our local economy,” said Rochester Mayor TJ Jean. “Hillary has the experience and determination to harness public and private capital to achieve her goals. Goals that include: fixing and expanding our roads and bridges, expanding public transit options, investing in a national freight program, and ensuring that everyone has broadband internet access. These goals are achievable, we just need a leader who has the fight in her to get it done. Hillary is that candidate, and I endorse her for President of the United States.”

“The infrastructure plan that Hillary released is just the latest example of her commitment to fighting to improve the lives of people in New Hampshire,” said Concord Mayor Jim Bouley.  “In Concord, families are often directly and economically impacted by the quality of our infrastructure. Whether it’s the small businesses on Main Street who will benefit from the expanded roadway or the small farmers who need their roads to be repaired in order to move their crops, New Hampshire businesses and families need a fighter who will make infrastructure a priority. Hillary Clinton has a plan—and that is just one reason that I enthusiastically endorse her as the Democratic nominee for President.” 

“Over the years, Hillary Clinton has continued to impress me. Her commitment to addressing the issues that keep Granite State families up at night is evident in everything she does,” said Somersworth Mayor Dana Hilliard. “Hillary’s comprehensive infrastructure plan is a $275 billion dollar investment in the future of our country. It would be a surge for local businesses, and a signal that she believes our economy has room to grow substantially. If she were to succeed, her plan would improve the lives of New Hampshire families every single day. I am proud to support Hillary for President, because as a mayor, there would be no greater ally in the Oval Office than Hillary Clinton.”

 “In Keene, we depend heavily on our roads because we are somewhat isolated and rural,” said Keene Mayor Kendall Lane. “Infrastructure is a major economic factor for small businesses, farmers, and manufacturers—and for years, the federal government has been underinvesting in our country’s future.  By announcing a $275 billion dollar infrastructure plan—with specific goals, including allocating $25 billion for a national infrastructure bank—Hillary has shown that she is more forward-looking than any person running for President. I support Hillary Clinton for President and believe that she is going to be an ally to state and local governments that need a fighter.” 

“Leadership is not only being able to identify the areas that need improvement, but being able to come up with comprehensive policy proposals that tackle the big issues,” said Portsmouth Mayor Bob Lister. “Hillary Clinton has shown that she is serious about getting things done. She’s a fighter. And whether it’s the substance abuse epidemic or the high levels of student debt, Hillary has shown that she is working for Granite Staters. This is the latest evidence that she hears us, and is working for us. I am devoted to seeing her as our next President.”

“As I campaigned to succeed Mayor Lister in Portsmouth, I heard from families that believe we can do more. By working with the state and federal government, they believe that our local economy can find ways to continue to expand and grow,” said Portsmouth Mayor-Elect Jack Blalock. “But we cannot do that if our infrastructure is a limiting factor. Hillary knows that, which is why she has put together such an ambitious, well-thought-out plan that will create more than $1 million jobs, improve safety, grow our economy, and cut red tape—all while combating climate change. The families of Portsmouth have great hope for the future of our city. And I do too. Which is why I believe we need Hillary Clinton in the White House.” 

“Hillary Clinton’s comprehensive infrastructure investment plan will help us here in Nashua,” said Nashua Mayor-Elect Jim Donchess. “Whether it’s her commitment to the future of passenger rail, her goal of fixing and expanding our roads and bridges, her plan to allocate $25 billion for an infrastructure bank, or her commitment to help solve our heroin crisis, Hillary Clinton is committed to improving our economy and keeping families in southern New Hampshire safe. Hillary’s infrastructure bank could help pay for the capital improvements necessary to bring passenger rail to Nashua…Hillary’s support for Medicaid Expansion will enable people in Nashua to continue to get treatment and achieve recovery from the scourge of heroin addiction – something we definitely need here in Nashua.  As the former and future mayor of New Hampshire’s second largest city, I urge my fellow Nashuans to support Hillary in the race for president. Hillary has shown she is a serious candidate with a vision–and the experience to get things done. I endorse her as my choice to be the Democratic candidate for President.”

“Hillary Clinton is by far the most experienced candidate running for President,” said Rochester Mayor-Elect Caroline McCarley. “I have no doubt she would provide strong leadership for our country at home and abroad, something we desperately need in these challenging times.”

APWU Step In To Voice Concerns Over Staple/Office Depot Merger

In Meeting with FTC Staff, Union Voices Skepticism about Essendant as a Substitute for True Competition in the Office-Supply Market  

WASHINGTON – On November 18, representatives of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) met with Federal Trade Commission investigators to present the union’s report Bad for Business.”  The report is an analysis of how the proposed merger of Staples and Office Depot would hurt American businesses if it were approved by federal regulators. 

The report examines the impact of the proposed merger of America’s largest and second largest office-supply superstore chains on business-to-business transactions.

The APWU study reveals that a combined Staples and Office Depot would have over $14 billion in annual sales to business customers in North America – nearly 14 times greater than its nearest competitor. Competitors to a combined Staples/Office Depot would be so small and weak that APWU President Mark Dimondstein has described it as “Bambi vs. Godzilla.”

In the meeting, held at the FTC’s Washington offices, the APWU also voiced strenuous objections to relying on office-supply wholesaler Essendant to remedy the harm that would be caused by combining the top two competitors.

Even with the addition of divested Staples corporate contracts, Essendant would not be a significant competitor in the office-supply market, the union said.

A spin-off of corporate contracts could not offer more than a short-lived solution because contracts could easily return to Staples, the APWU pointed out. FTC representatives responded that, as with any FTC-approved settlement, any possible settlement agreement in this case would need to exhibit “simplicity and concreteness.”

APWU representatives also stressed that Essendant was not a fair substitute for businesses looking for nationwide one-stop shopping comparable to what they currently receive from the two large competing retailers.

In addition to its “Bad for Business report, APWU also released a study in May 2015, “No Sale, describing why the merger of the giant office-supply chains was bad for consumers.

No Sale identified four specific reasons why the proposed merger of the only two remaining office-supply superstore chains in the U.S. should be blocked, including:

1. Mass market retailers, such as Target and Walmart, are not true competitors with office superstores. 

2. Once the office-supply superstore market shrinks to a single company, it will never grow back because the barriers to entry would be too high.

3. Internet retailers are not true competitors in the office-supply market. They can’t compete for business from the more than one in five U.S. households – about 65 million people – who do not have Internet access.

4. Higher prices and reduced choice – the inevitable consequence of a monopoly market – will cause disproportionate harm to communities of color and low-income households.

A decision from the FTC staff is expected on December 8, although another extension is possible. Reviews from regulators in Canada and the European Union will extend into 2016.


The American Postal Workers Union represents 200,000 employees of the United States Postal Service, and is affiliated with the AFL-CIO. For more information on APWU, visit www.apwu.org

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation Answers Charity’s Plea for Help

With less than a month until Operation Santa Claus delivery day, the situation looked dire. Though the charitable program of the State Employees’ Association had found sponsors for thousands of children, more than 400 still needed help. Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation came to the aid of these children with a generous contribution of $4,000.

Operation Santa Claus, also known as OSC, first began over 50 years ago when a small group of state employees decided to pool their resources to provide Christmas gifts for children in need. Since that time, the program has grown exponentially providing holiday cheer for about 3,000 children living all around the state.  NH DHHS social services case workers identify the children and through the generosity of active and retired state employees, members of other SEA/SEIU Local 1984 bargaining units, the public and corporations each child receives items they need, as well as items they want.  Many of the children are abused, neglected or homeless.

OSC put out a plea for help in the State Employees’ Association online newsletter, which caught the attention of WMUR-TV. The station broadcast a short feature, which drew a response from the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation. The Foundation donated $4,000 to sponsor the remaining children.

“Knowing that these children will have a happy Christmas filled with good cheer and gifts is thanks enough for us,” said Beth Roberts, Senior Vice President, Regional Markets for Harvard Pilgrim Health Care.  “At Harvard Pilgrim giving back to the community is an essential part of our mission throughout the year, and we are delighted to join with state employees and others in supporting Operation Santa Claus.”

Linda Farrell, a State of NH retiree and the chair of the Operation Santa Claus Committee, said OSC is truly a community effort that depends on its volunteers and donations big and small.

“We couldn’t succeed without help from caring people and organizations across the state,” Farrell said. “We’re incredibly appreciative of this donation from the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation, which will help hundreds of children.”

“We also want to thank WMUR-TV for getting the news out,” Farrell said.

“Together, with the people who donate a few dollars or sponsor just one child, or a company that donates hundreds of dollars, the community comes together to help make the holiday season just a bit brighter for children and families in need,” said Richard Gulla, President, SEA/SEIU Local 1984. “On behalf of our organization, I thank Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation for helping us reach our goals this year.”

“All children who needed sponsors will get presents to open on Christmas Day, just as they have for all of Operation Santa Claus’ 55 years of operation,” said Gulla. “Volunteer help is needed on drop-off days of Nov. 30, and Dec. 1 and 2, as well as the distribution day of Nov. 10. If you can volunteer some time on one of those days, you can email seaosc@seiu1984.org.”

You can read more about OSC online at www.seiu1984.org/operationsantaclaus.

Red Cross Encourages Donors To Give With Meaning This Holiday Season

American Red Cross LogoHelp save lives through blood and platelet donation, by hosting a blood drive 

MANCHESTER, NH — This holiday season, the American Red Cross urges individuals to give something that means something – a blood or platelet donation. This simple, potentially lifesaving act can give patients in need another holiday season with loved ones. 

“During the winter months and especially around the holidays, blood donations tend to decline,” said Mary Brant, external communications manager of the Red Cross Northern New England Blood Services Region. “Long holiday weekends, like Thanksgiving, pose an extra challenge when many donors are traveling to be with family and friends. The Red Cross encourages people to make an appointment to donate blood or platelets and give a meaningful gift to a patient this holiday season – the gift of life.” 

Blood donors with all types, especially O negative, B negative and A negative, are urged to give. Platelet donors and those with type AB blood are also continually needed. To encourage donations around Thanksgiving, those who come to give blood or platelets from Nov. 25-29 will receive a limited-edition Red Cross mixing spoon with recipes from celebrity chefs John Besh, Richard Blais, Rocco DiSpirito, Mike Isabella, Ellie Krieger and Ali Larter, while supplies last. 

How to donate blood

To make an appointment, download the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donors can use RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, from a computer or laptop. Visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass to get started.

A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood drive hosts needed

This time of year, there are also fewer blood drives on the calendar. Many sponsoring groups postpone blood drives while people are busy with holiday activities, and severe weather may cause scheduled blood drives to be canceled. With fewer opportunities for donors to give, the Red Cross typically experiences a seasonal decline in blood donations.

Because more than 80 percent of blood donations are made at blood drives, organizations are needed to host blood drives this winter to help ensure a sufficient blood supply for patients in need. More information on hosting a blood drive is available at redcrossblood.org.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

Climate Change on the Table: Impacts on Agriculture, Local Food and Vulnerable Communities

Speakers at Climate Change on the Table Press Event Nov 2015

Speakers at Climate Change on the Table Press Event Nov 2015

CONCORD, NH – A gathering of New Hampshire groups, experts, and businesses discussed the agriculture and farming challenges from extreme weather events, invasive plants, and other climate impacts. Impacts seen in the farming community and from consumers were presented with special emphasis on more vulnerable communities in the state who experience food access hardships. Lastly, Jane Presby, owner of Dimond Hill Farm in Concord, gave a tour of the farm to point out examples of impacts around her farm (pictures attached).

NASA scientists have reported that 2015 is expected to be the hottest year on record[1]. The summer, the months of October and September were hotter than any other on record. What does it mean to increase the world temperature by a half of a degree? We all have heard about the dire predictions for moose, public health, and extreme weather events. But we have not heard much about the ways climate changes will impact the food at the table and the availability of food.

Impacts on the farm: Jane Presby, Dimond Hill Farm , Concord, NH

“Climate change is creating new challenges for the sustainability of food production in our region, our country, and our world,” said Jane Presby of Dimond Hill Farm. “Education is fundamental to understanding these changes and to becoming conscious consumers.”  

Dimond Hill Greenhouse with Jane Presby

Dimond Hill Greenhouse with Jane Presby

Jane Presby, owner of the Dimond Hill Farm in Concord, NH, calls her farm “icon of times gone by and a beacon for the resurgence of small farms and locally grown meat, dairy and vegetable products that is sweeping New Hampshire and the region.” Dimond Hill Farm is a 7th generation 150-acre farm that grows and sells vegetables from the farm stand located in the big yellow barn a hill overlooking Concord.

Jane prioritizes a variety of techniques to address climate vulnerabilities to still produce healthy crop yields, like invasive insects or plants; unusual early frosts or high temperatures; and unpredictable rainy or drought conditions. She uses greenhouses to control watering and temperature conditions for the vegetables to adjust to the less predictable shifting climate trends. Despite here best efforts and planning, Jane and her crew still can’t predict everything. This year the traditional expected rains did not come in April and she completely lost her bean crop. No beans were grown and none were sold this year. She plans to expand her greenhouses in the coming years.

Jane encourages everyone to visit their local farm to meet the farmers and shop at the farm stand to get their food. Not only does it give you the freshest fruits, meats, and vegetables, you can see where your food comes from and help our local economy become stronger and independent. You can find Dimond Hill Farm on Route 202/9 between Concord and Hopkinton, NH or online at http://dimondhillfarm.com/.

Impacts in New Hampshire and the Northeast: Erin Lane, USDA Northeast Climate Hub

“In our synthesis of assessed vulnerabilities in northeastern agriculture and forestry, we found that perennial crops such as tree fruit are among the region’s most vulnerable products,” said Erin Lane, Director for Partnerships with the USDA Northeast Climate Hub. “When an extended warm period causes premature leaf-out or bloom, and is followed by hard frost, crop losses can be high. Other top threats to northeastern agriculture include extreme precipitation, drought, and pests. On the flip side, a longer growing season could provide opportunities in the northeast. Adaptation can mean both adjusting to and taking advantage of variable weather conditions. Some strategies include promoting soil health, protecting our farm systems from the extremes, and using weather data to support practical decision-making.”

New Hampshire is home to the US Department of Agriculture’s Northeast Climate Hub. The Climate Hub mission from its website is:

“to develop and deliver science-based, region-specific information and technologies, with USDA agencies and partners, to agricultural and natural resource managers that enable climate-informed decision-making, and to provide access to assistance to implement those decisions.  This is in alignment with the USDA mission to provide leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management.”

The Northeast Climate Hub region includes Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and D.C. In June 2015, the Northeast Hub released the Northeast and Northern Forests Regional Climate Hub Assessment of Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies to provide a greater understanding about the climate shifting and the trends developing from the shifts. They found in New Hampshire three main trends affecting farmers:

  • Frosts after early spring hurt perennial crops. When an extended warm period causes premature leaf-out or bloom, and is followed by hard frost, crop losses can be high (which is what happened with apples in NH in 2012).
  • Extreme precipitation and wet springs are delaying planting and harvesting dates, causing flooding and soil compaction, damaging crop quality, and reducing vegetable yields.
  • Warmer temperatures on average cause more heat stress in livestock.

Dairy constitutes the most important agricultural activity in the Northeast, especially in New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont where milk is the leading agricultural commodity.  Given the economic importance of dairy to agriculture in the Northeast, the vulnerability of the industry is significant.  Warming daytime and nighttime temperatures, as are projected to occur during summer, will likely have adverse effects on milk production.  Heat stress also causes lower birthing rates and feed intake, again impacting milk production.

  •  A rise in minimum temperatures affect crop growth cycles causing earlier leaf out and flowering, longer growing seasons, and later senescence, which  may result in increases in production for heat tolerant crops and woody perennials but, shorter growing seasons for cool weather crops (e.g. potatoes, lettuce, broccoli, and cabbage). Maple syrup season is coming earlier and is shorter. Weeds, pests and diseases are intensifying as ranges move northward.

Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies:

  •  Promote soil health using practices that protect soils from erosion (cover cropping and reducing tillage) while improving productivity and resilience to drought or extreme moisture.
  • Protect from extremes with hoop and high tunnel houses, ventilation systems, riparian buffers, expanded irrigation, and the shifting of production zones away from flood- and frost-prone areas.
  • Decision support tools provide better information faster to help managers improve practices such as: integrating pest management, shifting planting dates, adjusting feeding management, identifying and selecting better adapted varieties, breeds and cultivars.
  • Increase carbon sequestration and reduce greenhouse gas emission by retiring organic soils from cultivation and restoring forested wetlands, as well as improving manure management.

Impacts on the Most Vulnerable: Jessica Carson, Carsey School of Public Policy

“Recent estimates show that one in ten Granite Staters are food insecure, meaning that about 132,000 of our families, friends, and neighbors do not have access to enough food for an active, healthy lifestyle,” stated Jessica Carson, a Vulnerable Families Research Scientist at the Carsey School of Public Policy. “Households in poverty, headed by a person of color, with children, or in rural places are especially likely to be at risk for food insecurity, with nutritious foods often being less accessible and/or affordable for these groups. While the formal food safety net—food stamps, food pantries, school meals programs—go a long way, it is important to consider ways to continue improving the reach and efficacy of these programs to alleviate food insecurity.”

Research shows that one in ten New Hampshire households experienced food insecurity in the period between 2012 and 2014, meaning that 52,000 Granite State households did not have consistent access to enough nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life. Risks for food insecurity are not uniform across the state. Households with children, headed by a female householder, headed by a black or Hispanic householder, in a rural community, or living below 200% of the federal poverty line are especially vulnerable.

Whether people can afford food is a critical factor in food security, but a second key element is the availability of food, a particularly important issue for rural Granite Staters. That is, where population density is low, the availability of traditional food sources like grocery stores, convenience stores, and farmers markets are likely sparse, as are food safety net resources, like food pantries and food service programs. Research from the Carsey School of Public Policy shows that communities with the lowest risk for food insecurity are clustered in the Southeastern part of the state (e.g., Merrimack-Bedford area and the Portsmouth-Rye area), while some of the highest-risk areas include some of our most rural communities, like the Northwestern parts of Coös County (e.g., Stratford, Northumberland) and parts of Western NH (Claremont-Newport area). While some of our bigger cities, like Manchester and Nashua, have high poverty rates, their high population density means that grocery stores and food safety net resources are more readily available.

Indeed, food safety net resources like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps), free and reduced price school meals, and food pantries can be important resources for Granite Staters in need. However, it’s important to always consider how these kinds of resources might be more effective. For instance, among those who do receive SNAP benefits, New Hampshire’s average benefits are among the lowest in the nation, inadequate for meeting food costs even for the USDA’s thriftiest meal plan. In addition, there is a disconnect between those who are eligible and those who actually participate in many programs. Only one-in-three poor seniors receive SNAP benefits, and only 52 percent of eligible households participate in the School Breakfast Program. Intensifying community outreach to increase awareness, guiding eligible persons through the enrollment process, and working to ensure programs are delivered in useful and convenient ways may all increase efficacy of the food safety net.

Section on State-Wide Efforts with NH Food Alliance: Jennifer Wilhelm, NH Food Alliance

“Local efforts are underway to improve the connection between our local farmers, producers, and consumers so that products can reach markets effectively and profitably,” said NH Food Alliance researcher Jennifer Wilhelm. “One goal of NH Food Alliance is to increase food access to help address hunger in New Hampshire. The Granite State Market Match program opened the door for SNAP recipients to redeem credits at local farmers markets across the state. Another goal is to help food producers to support local farmers, like the relationship between LaBelle Winery in Amherst, NH and Aylison’s Orchard in Walpole, NH.”

The NH Food Alliance is a growing network of people working together to build a food system that is good for people, businesses, communities, and the environment. Together with a diversity of stakeholders from all sectors of the food system, the NH Food Alliance is working to connect the good work already underway, and to advance Farm, Fish, and Food Enterprise Viability in New Hampshire.

NH Food Alliance is supporting and building the network of food system professionals, organizations, and businesses working within New Hampshire. By shining a light on successes, sharing information, and promoting learning innovation and great ideas can multiply across the state. We also make new connections between groups and individuals, generate new information and research, and coordinate advocacy around issues.

There are several great examples of work being done that supports enterprise viability and market development, improving both food access and increasing income for businesses.

  • Granite State Market Match program for SNAP recipients
  • Three River Farmers Alliance
  •  Local businesses buying local food: Throwback Brewery, LaBelle Winery, Concord Hospital

By working together to rethink our local food system, we not only support food entrepreneurs, but also improve food access for all New Hampshire residents, and reduce the distance food travels to our plates. NH Food Alliance information and reports can be found at http://www.nhfoodalliance.com/.

Individual Action: Catherine Corkery, NH Sierra Club

“New Hampshire is not immune to the impacts of climate – though at times the worst of the worst happens far from our communities. The effects of climate do not take holidays off; rather, during the holidays it amplifies the hardship,” stated Catherine Corkery of New Hampshire Sierra Club. “Supporting local farms, fisheries, and food producers creates demand for their products which promotes local solutions to climate impacts and hunger.” 

Climate research shows that the most vulnerable in our society will be often last to adapt and most severely burdened so it comes to bear in New Hampshire. With humility and generosity, deliberate action can help address local hunger and climate by promoting our local farms.

Our communities benefit by having farms nearby as open space, as local producers, and as economic drivers. We need farms for many more reasons. As the farmers attempt to address progressively less predictable weather, the cycle of crop failures and adaptation increase instability. When farmers are unable to grow their food efficiently, higher demand pushes food prices higher. More unsold food is left on the shelves resulting in hunger to those unable to buy food and hardship to the farmers who cannot sell their produce. Less viable farms mean fewer farms.

Another example of climate change impacting our local food and economy is the shrimp industry. The Gulf of Maine has warmed pretty steadily since 2004 with 2012 a record warm year at all depths. Though there has been some variability the overall trend has been a warming one for a decade or more now. A report prepared by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Northern Shrimp Technical Committee in October 2014 details the climate changes and harvesting trends.

The Northern shrimp industry was a $12 million dollar industry on average for the Gulf of Maine fisheries. The importance of the shrimp harvest cannot be overstated as shrimp fishing occurred during the winter months after lobstering decreases profitability. This winter will be the second year in a row for total closure. And the two previous seasons 2012 and 2013 were very bad as well causing the complete closure.

An incomplete list of suggestions to address hunger and climate at once is included.

Things You Can Do To Help Address Hunger as Climate Action

Please consider these alternatives regularly as good practice or in times of need:

1.   Shop at your local farms and farmers markets for the freshest vegetables, meats, and fruits. Most NH farmers markets accept SNAP coupons.

2.   Try a CSA subscription – Community Supported Agriculture programs provide weekly fresh food deliveries for you and your family while giving the farmer the security of regular clientele. There are often easy payment programs and you get a ton of food every week. Learn more about CSAs in NH at the NH Department of Agriculture,  http://agriculture.nh.gov/publications-forms/agricultural-development.htm

3.   Eat seasonally – by eating foods in season in your area, you can reduce costs, like costs associated with transportation and environmental impacts.

4.   Find resources at the NH Food Bank: http://www.nhfoodbank.org/

5.   Try something new – sometimes an unfamiliar local vegetable or fish can be cheaper and delicious.

6.   Grow a garden – no matter how small or large, in containers or in the front yard. You can eat what you grow, share with your neighbors, or bring it to your local soup kitchen.

7.   Cook all your food for one week or whole month to improve nutritional value and lower costs.

8.   Reduce the uneaten or spoiled produce by buying only what you need.

9.   Community Meals at local churches, granges and community centers is a great way to lower costs and meet your neighbors.

To help those in need

1.   Host a Food Drive: at work, in your neighborhood, at church, at school, at the hockey game.

2.   The New Hampshire Food Bank needs volunteers year round. Hunger knows no boundaries and can hide in plain sight.

3.   Donate items to the food bank, soup kitchen, local programs, and other service groups. http://www.nhfoodbank.org/

4.   Volunteer your time with food programs for people in your town, like school children, homelessness, and the elderly.

5.   One on One: carpool grocery runs with an elderly person, refugee family, or a busy neighbor; plan a neighborhood cooking group to explore and share cooking experiences.

6.   Grow a garden – no matter how small or large, in containers or in the front yard. You can eat what you grow, share with your neighbors, or bring it to your local soup kitchen.

Candlelight Vigils Tuesday In Support Of Refugee Resettlement

Candlelight (Lisa Widerberg FLIKR CC)

Candlelight (Lisa Widerberg FLIKR CC)

Candlelight vigils will be held tomorrow, November 24, outside the offices of U.S. Senators in Manchester, Nashua, and Dover and at Four Corners in Conway to call for New Hampshire’s elected officials to keep our doors open to refugees fleeing violence in Syria, Iraq, and other war-torn areas of the world. 

The vigils, sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee and the NH Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees, will take place from 4:30 PM to 5:45 PM at the following locations:

MANCHESTER – Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s Manchester office at 2 Wall Street, moving to Senator Kelly Ayotte’s office at 1200 Elm Street.  Local contact:  Eva Castillo, (603) 661-2873.

NASHUA – Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s office at 60 Main Street, moving to Senator Kelly Ayotte’s office at 144 Main Street.  Local contact:  Sylvia Gale, (603) 557-8417.

DOVER – Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s office at 340 Central Avenue.   Local contact: Maggie Fogarty, (603) 988-7115.

CONWAY – Corner of Route 16 and Route 153.  Local contact: Andrea Walsh, (603) 447-2113.

The solemn vigils were motivated by passage last week of a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives which adds serious obstacles to the refugee resettlement process, said Maggie Fogarty of the American Friends Service Committee.  The Senate is expected to vote on a similar measure during the first week of December, she added.  

The vigils will include songs, prayers, and periods of silent reflection.

“Turning our backs on refugees is a betrayal of our nation’s highest values,” said Eva Castillo of the NH Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees. 

Participants have been asked to bring candles and signs with respectful messages welcoming refugees.

Kelly Ayotte Tries To Undo Support Of Radical Extremist GOP Frontrunner

CNN’s John King Reports On Kelly Ayotte’s Latest Political Contortions As She Tries To Undo Her Early Embrace Of Trump

Ayotte’s Allies Now Reportedly Pressing GOP Activists To Switch Allegiance From Trump 

Concord, N.H. — After Kelly Ayotte called Trump’s entrance into the presidential race a “positive development” and even met privately with Trump in New Hampshire following his announcement, CNN’s John King reports that Ayotte is now politically contorting herself once again to try to undo her early embrace of Trump. 

According to King, an “increasingly anxious” Kelly Ayotte now fears that Donald Trump carrying the banner for the Republican party into next year’s election would spell doom for her own campaign. King added that “there’s an effort underway by key Ayotte allies to press GOP activists in the state who back Trump to apply the all politics is local rule and perhaps think again.” 

Despite Ayotte’s recent political posturing, when it comes to actual policy positions Ayotte and Trump have a lot in common. NH1’s Kevin Landrigan reported, “Candidate for Senate Kelly Ayotte back in 2010 offered her support for amending the Constitution to get rid of birthright citizenship,” years before Donald Trump came under fire for advocating the very same position.

“Once again, Kelly Ayotte is resorting to blatantly political contortions to try to save her political career as she tries to undo the damage she caused by helping lend legitimacy to Trump’s campaign,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “It’s no surprise that Ayotte is now trying to run away from her early embrace of Trump and their shared position on ending birthright citizenship. This is just another example of Kelly Ayotte doing and saying anything to rewrite her record and save her own political career.”

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