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Governor Hassan, DRED Launch Second Annual What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? Video Contest

Image by TheLeadUS FLIKR

Image by TheLeadUS FLIKR

CONCORD – In order to engage New Hampshire students and to encourage them to learn about exciting and interesting career opportunities in advanced manufacturing, Governor Hassan and Department of Resources and Economic Development Commissioner Jeffrey Rose are launching the second annual What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? video contest.

Through partnering participating schools and local manufacturers to produce a video focused on career opportunities in manufacturing, the What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? video contest is designed to introduce middle school students to careers of the future in advanced manufacturing and what they can do to prepare for them.

“By participating in this video contest, students will come to understand the importance of manufacturing firsthand and how a career in manufacturing helps families across the state expand their opportunities,” Governor Hassan said. “Students can learn about how interesting and exciting these jobs are, lessons that I hope they will pass on to their peers so that this critical industry can continue to thrive and create good jobs for years to come.”

In the video contest’s first year, 12 middle schools across the state produced 13 videos. Fairgrounds Junior High School in Nashua took first place, followed by North Hampton School and Pittsfield Middle School. To view last year’s winning videos, visit https://www.youtube.com/user/NHEconomy.

Below is the First Place winner in last year’s video contest and the entire playlist of submissions.

“In the first year of the contest, middle school students from around the state created some engaging and informative videos that highlighted their interest and curiosity about advanced manufacturing,” Commissioner Jeffrey Rose said. “The contest was a great introduction to the people and processes who manufacture great things right in their hometowns.”

Students and advisors can work with local manufacturers on their video starting now through the February 2 project deadline. Teachers interested in participating can get more information on partnering with a local manufacturer, as well as video contest rules, at http://www.nheconomy.com/videocontest/ or by contacting Christopher Way, deputy director, Division of Economic Development at 271-2341.

Berger-Marks Foundation Honors Young Women Leading The Fight For Social Justice

#BlackLivesMatter Co-Founder Patrisse Cullors Wins $10,000 Edna Award 

Kate Mullany Courageous Young Worker Awards and Edna Awards of Distinction Will Also Be Presented at November 12 Reception 

Patrisse Cullors (image from Twitter)

Patrisse Cullors (image from Twitter)

WASHINGTON – Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter, has been named winner of the Berger-Marks Foundation 2015 Edna Award for Social Justice. The Edna Award, which carries a $10,000 prize, honors women age 35 or younger who have distinguished themselves as social justice leaders. It is named after Edna Berger, the first woman organizer of The Newspaper Guild and the inspiration behind the Berger-Marks Foundation. 

Ms. Cullors is an artist, organizer, and freedom fighter. As founder of Dignity and Power Now, co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter, and the director of Truth and Reinvestment for The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, she has worked tirelessly to promote law enforcement accountability across the nation. She led a think tank on state and vigilante violence for the 2014 Without Borders Conference and produced and directed a theatrical piece titled POWER: From the Mouths of the Occupied. 

Ms. Cullors will receive the Edna Award at an awards reception on Thursday, November 12th at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Also to be honored with $1,000 Edna Awards of Distinction are: Neidi Dominguez, Director of Worker Centers and Assistant Director for Community Change at the AFL-CIO and Nelini Stamp, Co-Director of Rise Up Georgia.

“Patrisse, Neidi, and Nelini are inspirational examples of the young women leading today’s fights for justice all over this country,” said Linda Foley, President of the Berger-Marks Foundation Board of Trustees. 

Judging the Edna Award contest this year were: Valerie Ervin, Former Executive Director of the Center for Working Families; Mary Kay Henry, President of the Service Employees International Union; Terry O’Neill, President of the National Organization for Women; Sara Steffens, Secretary-Treasurer of the Communications Workers of America; and 2013 Edna Award winner Jennifer Epps-Addison, Executive Director of Wisconsin Jobs Now. 

At the November 12 event, the Foundation will also honor the three winners of the $1,000 Kate Mullany Courageous Young Worker Award. The award is named for an inspiring young laundry worker who, more than 150 years ago, organized one of the first women’s unions in an industry that was harshly exploiting them. It honors young women age 35 or younger who have stood up for workers’ rights and organized their own workplaces. 

The three 2015 Kate Mullany Award winners are:

  • Stephanie Alejandro, a restaurant worker from Los Angeles, CA who organized her co-workers to fight wage theft and poor working conditions at their restaurant.
  • Anggie Godoy, a restaurant worker from Los Angeles, CA who organized her McDonald’s co-workers to Fight for 15.
  • Sarina Santos, a baggage handler at the Philadelphia International Airport who organized her fellow airport workers for a union and a living wage.

“We honor these young women for their steadfast commitment to workers’ rights,” says Foley, “Their strength in standing up in the workplace on behalf of all of their co-workers is a reminder that there is strength in numbers and young women can lead the way”.

The Berger-Marks Foundation was created by bequest of Tin Pan Alley composer Gerald Marks (“All of Me”) in honor of his wife, Edna Berger, who rose from being a receptionist to become the first woman organizer of The Newspaper Guild. The Foundation seeks to change the gender balance of the labor movement by providing support and recognition for women labor leaders.

The November 12th Award Reception is open to all who want to attend. To make reservations go to: https://2015ednakate.eventbrite.com. For more information, contact Beth Becker at beth@beckerdigitalstrategies.com.


Governor Hassan’s Statement on New Hampshire Hospital Association Economic Impact Report on the New Hampshire Health Protection Program

CONCORD – Governor Maggie Hassan today issued the following statement on the economic impact report from the New Hampshire Hospital Association on the New Hampshire Health Protection Program, which shows that with more New Hampshire citizens now receiving health insurance since the bipartisan healthcare expansion plan was adopted, hospitals continue to see a reduction in inpatient, outpatient and emergency department visits from uninsured Granite Staters and  uncompensated care will continue to decline: 

“Thanks to the New Hampshire Protection Program, more than 42,000 hard-working Granite Staters now have the health and financial security that comes with quality, affordable health coverage, and this report is another strong indication of the positive impact that our bipartisan health care expansion plan is having on our people and our economy. As demonstrated by this report, our hospitals have seen a significant decline in inpatient, outpatient and emergency room visits by uninsured Granite Staters since our bipartisan expansion was adopted. As a result, this has led to a decrease in uncompensated care provided by our hospitals, which is in turn reducing healthcare cost-shifting onto all of our people and businesses.

“It is clear that the New Hampshire Health Protection Program is strengthening the health of our workforce and boosting our economy. Not only do we continue to see reductions in uncompensated care and health care cost-shifting, our bipartisan health care expansion plan is playing a critical role in our efforts to combat the substance abuse crisis, providing substance abuse and behavioral health services to thousands of Granite Staters. Reauthorizing expansion is critical to our economy, to the health and well-being of thousands of Granite Staters and to increasing our substance abuse treatment capacity, and I will continue working with legislators from both parties to reauthorize this critical bipartisan program as soon as possible.”

The full report from the New Hampshire Hospital Association can be found here.



Senate Democratic Leader’s Statement on NH Hospital Association Report on Impact of NH Health Protection Program 

Concord – Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn issued the following statement after the release of a New Hampshire Hospital Association report on the economic impact of the NH Health Protection Program:  

“Today’s report from the NH Hospital Association is great news and confirms that the New Hampshire Health Protection Program is working to drive down the amount uncompensated care provided by our hospitals, which in turn is reducing healthcare cost-shifting onto our families and businesses.”

“But most importantly, more than 42,000 Granite Staters now have access to quality and affordable health care coverage and the financial stability that comes with it. Whatever the metric- reducing uncompensated care and cost-shifting, combating the substance abuse crisis, or strengthening our workforce and boosting our economy- reauthorizing this program makes sense. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the legislature to reauthorize it as soon as possible.” 

EMILY’s List Endorses Maggie Hassan for Senate in New Hampshire

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, endorsed Maggie Hassan for Senate in New Hampshire.

“Maggie Hassan is a tireless champion for New Hampshire women and families,” said Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List. “Throughout her career of public service Maggie has fought to create jobs, expanded health insurance coverage to over forty thousand Granite Staters, defended women’s access to health care, and made college more affordable. Her extraordinary leadership as governor was critical in passing two bipartisan budgets that give working families a fair shot. Extreme Republicans depend on Kelly Ayotte to advance their failed agenda, but Maggie is running for Senate to fight for New Hampshire women and families in Washington. With control of the Senate in the balance, the stakes could not be higher for New Hampshire and for women across the country – and the EMILY’s List community of over three million members is thrilled to stand with Maggie Hassan.” 

Maggie Hassan is running to represent New Hampshire in the U.S. Senate, where she’ll fight for hardworking women and families in the state. When her son Ben was diagnosed with cerebral palsy 26 years ago, Maggie realized that the reason he would be able to go to school with the other children in their community was “because of the advocates and families who had come before us.”  Shortly after Ben’s diagnosis, Maggie became an advocate herself, balancing her job as an attorney with working with Concord politicians to make better policies for children. Growing up, her father taught her that “policies that don’t help people are bad policies,” and Maggie has spent her career in public service motivated by that same belief.

From her time in the New Hampshire state legislature to her years serving as the state’s governor, Maggie has shown she knows what to do to get things done—and she’s done it with pragmatism and compassion. Because of Ben’s diagnosis, issues like equal pay, access to public education, and access to affordable insurance are deeply personal for her. Maggie is pro-choice and strongly supports the right of women to make their own reproductive health care decisions. As governor, she worked to expand access to Medicaid coverage for some of New Hampshire’s most vulnerable citizens and, under her watch, New Hampshire was named one of the best states in the country for child well-being. When she is elected, Maggie will bring her New Hampshire values with her to the U.S. Senate, believing that “the equal devotion to individual freedom and community [that] we share in New Hampshire is what makes America unique in the world.” 


EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, has raised over $400 million to support pro-choice Democratic women candidates – making it one of the most successful political organizations ever. We recruit and train candidates, support strong campaigns, research women’s issues, and turn out women voters. We’ve trained over 9,000 women to run and helped elect over 100 women to the House, 19 to the Senate, 11 governors, and over 700 to state and local office. Since its founding in 1985, almost one-third of the candidates EMILY’s List has helped elect to Congress have been women of color – including every single Latina, African American, and Asian American Democratic congresswoman currently serving.


Van Ostern Announces Candidacy for Governor of NH


Colin_Van_OsternMANCHESTER, NH – In a historic Manchester school building that now houses a growing technology company, Colin Van Ostern will tell a roundtable of business & education leaders Thursday morning that he will run for Governor in 2016 to build an even brighter future for New Hampshire.

“I’m running for Governor to build an even stronger economy and a brighter future for the people of New Hampshire – one where everyone has the opportunity to succeed,” wrote Van Ostern in remarks prepared for the roundtable discussion. “We must keep our state moving forward in 2016 so New Hampshire will continue to be a great place to raise a family and grow a business in the coming decade – one where our kids can attend great schools, graduate from college without being crushed by debt, and find jobs with good wages.”

Colin Van Ostern is a business leader who helped launch Southern New Hampshire University’s College for America, where he currently works, and he has been a champion against the rising problem of student debt.  The nonprofit school partners with employers across New Hampshire and the nation to provide thousands of students the chance to earn an accredited degree, which the vast majority do without taking on any debt at all.

Previously, Colin worked as a business manager at Stonyfield yogurt, where he was responsible for the profitable growth of a $100 million business.  He has managed a consulting business helping dozens of New Hampshire nonprofits and small businesses, has worked at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, where he led business trips to India and Brussels, and early in his career he served as a senior advisor to several New Hampshire state leaders.

“I see a future for our state that is accelerated by passenger rail from Boston to Manchester, brightened by solar panels, supported by growing small businesses, and strengthened by good access to quality health care – whether it’s birth control at Planned Parenthood or addiction treatment services at local health centers,” said Van Ostern. “We will keep taxes low and bring forward new plans and ideas to attract and keep more young people, young families, startups and growing businesses here in our state.”

“That’s been my own life over the past fifteen years – I moved here for a job in my twenties, found a strong community, worked at world-class employers, fell in love with a New Hampshire girl, and we’re now raising two New Hampshire boys whose future means everything to us. I love this state and I’ll work hard to keep it moving forward.”

In 2012, Colin was elected to the state’s unique Executive Council – a five-member board of directors of sorts for the state government – where he has represented a quarter-million New Hampshire citizens from Rochester to Keene. On the Executive Council, Colin has fought to protect access to birth control and cancer screenings at state Planned Parenthood health centers; to advance passenger rail from Boston to Manchester and numerous renewable energy projects; to expand access to healthcare including treatment for addition; and to stand up for NH consumers during the state’s Fairpoint strike in 2014. Colin lives in Concord, NH with his wife and two sons.


Colin will begin his campaign with a roundtable discussion with business leaders, educators, and entrepreneurs from across the state who are working on projects and opportunities that promise a bright future for New Hampshire. The discussion will be hosted at Silvertech, a Manchester technology firm housed in the historic Ash Street school – a public elementary school launched as a public-private partnership between the City of Manchester and Amoskeag industries at the height of New Hampshire’s industrial boom.

In the coming months, Colin will hold a series of roundtable discussion across the state with New Hampshire citizens and community leaders focusing on critical opportunities facing our state:

  • NASHUA: Boosting business growth through passenger rail & clean energy jobs
  • SEACOAST: Creating the opportunity for debt-free college
  • CONCORD: Closing the opportunity gap through early childhood education & support
  • WESTERN NH: Expanding health care access – including drug addiction treatment & prevention and access to women’s health services.
  • NORTH COUNTRY: Strengthening our rural economy

LEARN MORE: www.vanostern.com


Shaheen Seeks Waiver of Reimbursement Policy for Portsmouth Shipyard Workers on Long-Term Assignments

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard 3
(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter seeking a waiver for some Portsmouth Naval Shipyard workers from a Department of Defense (DOD) policy change that has reduced reimbursement allowances for workers during long-term duty assignments. Portsmouth Naval Shipyard employees perform critical work at shipyards around the country and are essential to maintaining the U.S. naval fleet. This reimbursement adjustment could impact shipyard workers at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard who may have to pay expenses out-of-pocket while traveling and could discourage workers from volunteering for long-term assignments.

“Portsmouth Naval Shipyard workers are in demand for submarine modernization projects around the country,” said Shaheen. “There shouldn’t be a disincentive for shipyard workers to lend their specialized skills on long-term assignments. With some reasonable flexibility from the Department of Defense, we can make sure that willing and able shipyard workers continue to volunteer for these assignments that are important to our national security.”

Last week, Shaheen successfully included a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act that would direct the Comptroller General to study the impact of the policy change and gather data to determine if there is a negative impact on shipyard workers who travel on long-term temporary duty assignments.

The letter is also signed by the following Senators: Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Angus King (I-ME), Patty Murray (D-WA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Mark Warner (D-VA).  The full text of Shaheen’s letter is included below:

October 05, 2015 

The Honorable Ashton Carter
U.S. Department of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1000

Dear Secretary Carter, 

We write to express concern regarding the changes made by the Department of Defense (DOD) to per diem allowances for long-term temporary duty (TDY) and the unique impact of these changes on shipyard employees.  While we applaud DOD’s efforts to seek cost efficiencies and understand DOD’s rationale for the reduced long-term TDY rates, the reductions may impact mission in certain circumstances.  For this reason, the Senate included report language in the FY16 National Defense Authorization Act urging DOD to monitor the travel policy change to ensure employees who volunteer for mission essential travel are fully supported and encouraged.  To further address this concern, we request that you consider granting greater waiver authority in circumstances when a traveler is unable to reasonably reduce costs for long-term TDY.  

As you know, DOD made changes to the Joint Travel Regulations (JTR) effective November 1, 2014, that include a 25 percent cut to the per diem allowance and the lodging stipend for travel in excess of 30 days, and a 45 percent cut for travel longer than 180 days.  It is our understanding that if a traveler and the commercial travel office are unable to arrange for suitable lodging at the reduced per diem rate, the full lodging rate may be authorized, but the daily rate for meals and incidental expenses (M&IE) remains at the reduced rate. 

Shipyard employees often volunteer for long-term TDY assignments to conduct critical maintenance on the naval fleet at other shipyards and bases, often in high-cost areas.  The efforts of highly skilled shipyard employees ensure our naval fleet is deployed in a safe, affordable and timely manner.  The long-term M&IE reductions could lead to shipyard employees paying for expenses out-of-pocket, which could serve as a disincentive for workers to volunteer for long-term TDY.  Shipyard employees work long shift hours, often precluding these travelers from purchasing groceries and preparing food.  In high-cost areas, lodging with adequately equipped kitchenettes may not be available – increasing M&IE costs. 

That is why it is important that in instances when a traveler is unable to reasonably reduce M&IE costs, the Department should consider providing the approving official with flexibility to waive the reduced M&IE daily per diem rate consistent with the exception already allowed for lodging. 

Thank you for your consideration and your continued distinguished service on behalf of all of our men and women in uniform.


NH Sierra Club Opposes Northern Pass

The Burden is Too Great for NH Property Owners, Economy, and Ratepayers.

CONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire Chapter of Sierra Club, 10,000 members and supporters, announced its opposition to the Northern Pass. The Sierra Club goal is to support a 100% fossil-free power sector for energy efficient homes, businesses, schools, and municipalities in the United States by 2030. New Hampshire Sierra Club (NHSC) endorses investment increases for grid modernization, weatherization, energy efficiency and small-scale renewable energy projects, as envisioned in the NH 10 Year Energy Strategy. 

Flooding Canada for Profits:

In October, 2010, Public Service Company of New Hampshire, now Eversource, announced the Northern Pass. The project, if built, will transmit electricity generated in Canada and owned by the Province of Quebec for sale to greater New England. A Province of Quebec owned company, Hydro Quebec, has dammed waterways, flooding vast land areas. The dammed water generates the electricity using turbines. In order to market the electricity, Hydro Quebec needs a pathway to build infrastructure to sell the electricity to Massachusetts and Connecticut, and New York. The proposed pathway is though New Hampshire. 

PSNH owns rights of way it acquired around 75 years ago using rate payer money to bring necessary electricity to homes and businesses in New Hampshire from its fossil fired generating plants in Portsmouth and Bow. The electricity is transmitted along the old rights of way to substations where the voltage, usually 115 kV, is reduced for distribution to New Hampshire customers. 

PSNH, now Eversource, proposes to rent the old rights of way to Hydro Quebec to serve as a corridor to transmit the electricity to greater New England. The transmission facilities will require the construction of steel towers as high as 135 feet on massive concrete foundations. There are two distinct sections of the project. North of Franklin, NH the transmitted electricity will be high voltage direct current (DC) rated at 300+/- volts, meaning as high as 600 kV. In Franklin, a 21 acre converter station will be built to transition the DC to alternating current (AC). The second section, South of Franklin, will run alongside existing transmission and distribution lines approximately 34 miles to Deerfield. The AC transmission towers, rated 345 kV, will vary from 48 feet to 135 feet. It is worth repeating that the new towers will, in most areas, be constructed next to the existing 115 kV wires that bring electricity to New Hampshire.

NHSC opposes Northern Pass because:

“Flooding vast areas of Quebec, eradicating wildlife, displacing Native People, installing towers and wires or digging a trench across New Hampshire will be a permanent scar. That is why New Hampshire Sierra Club opposes Northern Pass,” continued Jerry Curran from Amherst. “More flooding is happening now. There is no guarantee that Hydro Quebec will stop flooding rivers and valleys. The Northern Pass can only encourage more flooding.”

“NHSC supports more investments in energy efficiency and weatherization in our homes, businesses, schools and municipal buildings, as developed in Governor Hassan’s 10 Year Energy Strategy,” stated Catherine Corkery, NHSC Chapter Director. “Studies have shown significant potential in all sectors in New Hampshire (residential, industrial and commercial) to save millions of dollars with energy efficiency and weatherization alone. Further, ISO New England has predicted annual energy demand to grow less than 1% until 2021. We need to invest in our needs and demands before approving massive projects, like Northern Pass.” 

“The burden of Northern Pass is too great for New Hampshire property owners, economy, and ratepayers. The transmission pathway wrongly assumes that the right-of-way easements allow for rent to Hydro Quebec,” continued Corkery. “The easements were purchased with rate payer money for needed transmission and distribution to New Hampshire homes, farms and businesses. Eversource, doing business as Northern Pass, has no right to rent easements to foreign governments to sell Hydro Quebec energy. The safety of burying under road ways is unknown. The transmission towers or digging a trench through the heart of New Hampshire will impact property values negatively. Buried or left above ground, this proposal is a bad deal for New Hampshire” 

“Last month the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) declared the summer of 2015 the hottest summer on record. With 14 out the 15 hottest years ever recorded having occurred since 2000, it’s undeniable that climate change is affecting us here and now,” stated Jim Allmendinger of Durham. “We urgently need to address carbon emissions and invest in our own communities, infrastructure, homes, and renewable energy now, not later.” 

“The Northern Pass opposition will need more volunteers to win,” stated Jerry Curran, NHSC Chapter Chair. “We are asking current rights of way easement holders under threat of Northern Pass to share your easement forms to further instruct our efforts to oppose Northern Pass. Please scan your easements and send to NHSC603@gmail.com or mail them to our office. If folks have questions or are willing to volunteer, send us a note to NHSC603@gmail.com or call our Concord office 603-224-8222.”

Kelly Ayotte’s Dysfunctional Republican Majority Fails Students, the Environment and 9/11 First Responders

Concord, N.H. – Yesterday, Kelly Ayotte’s dysfunctional Republican majority pulled off a stunning trifecta: managing to fail students, the environment and 9/11 first responders all in a single day’s work.

“There is no question that Kelly Ayotte’s dysfunctional Republican majority is simply not working,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Press Secretary Aaron Jacobs. “Letting any one of these programs expire for students, the environment and 9/11 first responders would have been bad enough, but to let all three expire in one day because of Washington Republicans’ political games is simply mind boggling.”

See below for more details: 

New York Daily News: 9/11 heroes face death as dysfunctional Congress lets Zadroga Act expire

“… a key part of the life-saving bill expired at 12:01 a.m. Thursday when a dysfunctional and gridlocked Congress failed to act to renew it. ‘Stress is not even the word. It’s beyond stress,’ said Poliseno, who is married with two daughters — Olivia, 9, and Victoria, 11. ‘My life depends on this.’”

Bozeman Daily Chronicle: Federal conservation fund allowed to expire for first time in 50 years

“The Land and Water Conservation Fund, a pot of federal money filled with offshore drilling royalties used for conservation projects and parks, expiredWednesday, meaning no new money can be deposited into it… The fund, which has never been allowed to expire in its 50-year history, has helped build fishing access sites, city parks and hiking trails… [Tester] said the failure falls on the Republican majority and shows that they don’t care about public access to public lands.”

Nashua Telegraph: Nashua joins Shaheen in conservation support

“Nick Caggiano, superintendent of Nashua’s Parks and Recreation Department, praised the conservation fund for allowing the city to develop new programs and facilities, as well as the ability to maintain and upgrade its current sites. ‘The funding is very important,’ he said. ‘And that’s $1.2 million that I wouldn’t otherwise have.’ In addition to the positives it brings to the city’s green landscape, funding for such recreational projects help attract new residents to the downtown, according to Tracy Hatch of the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce.

WSAU: Federal Perkins Loan Program expires without Congressional reauthorization

“The federal government passed their continuing resolution to keep the government running without a partial shutdown Wednesday, but a very popular program did not get an extension. The Federal Perkins Loan Program expired at Midnight.  The Perkins program had been around for 57 years, until Midnight, when it reached it’s sunset date. This program was a revolving loan pool funded by both government and universities that made fixed rate low interest loans to income-eligible students.”

NH Rebellion Congratulates Governor Martin O’Malley on “Restore our Democracy” Reform Agenda

11080869_782217911886011_4375816739839554718_o-1MANCHESTER, NH – One day after the presidential candidates completed their latest fundraising frenzy ahead of Wednesday’s third-quarter reporting deadline, Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley released a plan to “get big money out of politics” and turn current fundraising practices on their head. The plan was welcomed by the nonpartisan NH Rebellion and reform groups nationwide.

Under Governor O’Malley’s “Restoring Our American Democracy” plan, ordinary citizens would be empowered to fund congressional campaigns in lieu of wealthy interests through a $25 refundable tax credit on small donations. Donations would then be matched on a multiple basis for qualifying candidates and candidates would be forced to abide by strict contribution limits. The plan also calls for disclosure of secret election spending by special interest groups; a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court decision; an overhaul of the Federal Election to ensure enforcement of election law and non-coordination between candidates and Super PACs; and a new constitutional right to vote free from discriminatory voting laws. The plan embraces many of the reform proposals put forward by NH Rebellion and other groups, although it omits citizen-funding of presidential elections.

“Voters of all stripes are disgusted by the way big money is dominating our democracy,” said Dan Weeks, Executive Director of Open Democracy and leader of the NH Rebellion. “This plan is a direct assault on those big money interests that have already spent hundreds of millions of dollars attempting to buy the presidential election. We applaud Gov. O’Malley for tackling the problem of big money corruption head-on with a plan that can help restore the basic American promise of an equal voice for all.”

According to Weeks, the O’Malley plan represents another major victory for the citizen movement against big money politics. “Six months ago, most of the presidential candidates were silent on solutions to big money politics, even as their solicitations of Super PACs spoke volumes about the power of wealthy elites in American politics,” Weeks said. “Now, they’re getting the memo: the American people are hungry for solutions what what is undoubtedly America’s most pressing problem.”

According to the Rebellion’s online platform tracking candidate statements, Questionr.us, every Republican and Democrat vying for president is now on record about the need to fight big money. Most of the statements and videos featured have come in response to citizen “rebels” asking the question in town halls and meet-and-greets across New Hampshire.

O’Malley is not the first presidential candidate to issue a comprehensive plan to overhaul the nation’s campaign finance system. In September, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented a similar set of solutions and according to the Rebellion’s online tracker, Questionr.us, Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, former Democratic Governor Lincoln Chafee, and Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig have all issued broad calls for citizen-funded elections and/or overturning Citizens United. The remaining candidates have so far called for some combination of stricter disclosure requirements and lobbying restrictions.

“Big money politics is a bipartisan problem and it demands bipartisan solutions,” added Brian Tilton, Republican outreach coordinator for the NH Rebellion. “Just as the Rebellion reached out to Sec. Clinton, Gov. O’Malley and other Democrats to give input on their plans, we have also been in talks with several Republican contenders about conservative-friendly approaches to breaking the big money-big government nexus that has voters up in arms. Republicans recognize that crony capitalism and wasteful spending won’t be stopped until voters – not special interests – own our elections. We call on the remaining campaigns to answer our invitation and develop real reforms with us.”

“For the first time in memory, we’re seeing presidential candidates compete for the banner of ‘true reformer’,” Weeks added. “New Hampshire’s voters welcome the competition. Whether or not candidates believe that fighting big money is good policy, they can’t deny that it is good politics if they want to get elected. Let them ignore the corruption issue at their peril.”

As Storm Approaches, NH Insurance Department Urges Residents to Be Prepared

Concord, NH – As Hurricane Joaquin approaches the East Coast, New Hampshire Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny urges Granite State residents to be prepared.

“People should monitor local news outlets for updated information on the storm,” Commissioner Sevigny said. “And it always pays to be prepared: Keep bottled water and nonperishable food on hand, along with a first aid kit, flashlights, and a battery-powered radio. Locate the nearest available storm shelter, and decide on a communications plan and meeting places for your household.” 

The Insurance Department advises residents facing a potential storm like Joaquin to create a mitigation plan, to lessen the possible damage:

  • Survey your home and the area around it to identify and remove objects like yard debris that could compound damage in high winds.
  • Keep a list of 24-hour contact information for your insurance agent and insurance company. Make a list that includes your policy numbers, your insurance company’s and insurance agent’s phone numbers, website addresses and mailing addresses. Also, check to see if the company or your agent has set up an emergency information hotline, in case of storm damage. It’s a good idea to store this information, and a home inventory, in a waterproof/fireproof safe or a safe deposit box, and consider sending an electronic copy to someone you trust: If you have to evacuate your home, you want this information to be easily available to you.

  • A home inventory is one of the best ways to ensure you have adequate coverage on your home and belongings. It also makes filing an accurate claim easier. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners offers a free, printable checklist and a free mobile home inventory app on its website to help people create and maintain home inventories – visit https://insureuonline.org/insureu_type_home.

  • Plan for your loved ones’ needs in advance.  Ask schools, hospitals, nursing homes and day care facilities about their emergency plans and how they will keep your loved ones safe. 
  • If you or someone you know needs assistance to receive and respond to emergency alerts and to safely evacuate in an emergency, work with family members, neighbors, friends, service providers and coworkers as partners in planning strategies to assist.

For more information, visit the state’s emergency preparedness website, http://readynh.gov. For information on flood insurance and coverage, please see the Insurance Department’s recent guidance: http://www.nh.gov/insurance/media/pr/2015/documents/081215.pdf


Additional online resources: 

The New Hampshire Insurance Department Can Help

Contact us with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your insurance coverage at 1-800-852-3416 or (603) 271-1406, or by email at consumerservices@ins.nh.gov. If you wish to file a grievance, you may call, email, or submit a complaint electronically or by mail or fax: http://www.nh.gov/insurance/consumers/complaints.htm. 

The New Hampshire Insurance Department’s mission is to promote and protect the public good by ensuring the existence of a safe and competitive insurance marketplace through the development and enforcement of the insurance laws of the State of New Hampshire. For more information, visit www.nh.gov/insurance.


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