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AFT-NH Testifies Against Frank Edelblut For Commissioner Of Education

Testimony in Opposition to Frank Edelblut Nomination as Commissioner of the State of New Hampshire Dept. of Education


Thank you for taking the time to hear my testimony and thank you for providing everyone here an opportunity to weigh in on this nomination.

As president of AFT-NH, I represent some 4000 education professionals, including teachers and para-educators. I mention those two groups because they form the largest portion of our membership and as education professionals they are required to be certified as competent to do their work and in many cases they must be highly qualified. Public education, filled with myriad of mandates and a maze of requirements and regulations, is a complex field. An individual charged with heading the NH Dept. of Education should be familiar with and have extensive experience in the educational arena. In fact, State statute (RSA 21-N:3) is quite clear: “The commissioner and deputy commissioner shall be qualified to hold their positions by reason of education and experience.” I am afraid that Mr. Edelblut, even with his success in business and his brief tenure in the NH House, does not reach this threshold of qualifications.

Mr. Edelblut has never served in any capacity in the public school systems of NH. He did not serve on the Education Committee in the NH House, nor has he ever served on a District School Board or even taken an active/visible interest in local educational issues, if election campaign media reports are to be believed. While personally educated in public schools, that is not sufficient to meet the statutory standard—otherwise, virtually everyone in this room would be qualified to serve as Commissioner. His post-secondary fields of endeavor were in business and in theology, not in any field related to education.

Choosing to home school his own children, he has had very little, if any, contact with local schools, whether public or even public charters, and one is left to wonder how he can carry out the statutory mandate to lead the Department in

  • Providing general supervision for elementary and secondary schools, teachers and administrators.
  • Providing a variety of educational services to schools and particular groups.
  • Providing vocational rehabilitation and social security disability determination services for persons with disabilities.

Our teachers and para-educators are required to be certified, and for good reason. The welfare of our children, the State’s most precious resource, is at stake. It seems foolish to entrust their welfare and the future of the State to an individual who is undeniably accomplished, but who has no record of accomplishment, nay, virtually no record at all, in the area of education. It is for these reasons, that on behalf of the members of AFT-NH, I ask that you vote to reject the nomination of Frank Edelblut as Commissioner of the NH Department of Education.

Thank you,

Douglas Ley
AFT-NH, President

NH Groups to Conduct Silent Vigil During Trump Swearing-In on Friday

 CONCORD NEW HAMPSHIRE—Several groups concerned about a rising tide of intolerance and violence will conduct a silent vigil in front of the New Hampshire State House during the time Donald T. Trump is taking the oath of office as the nation’s 45th president on Friday, January 20.

“At the time of the swearing in, we will gather to recommit to the values we hold dear and to stand with those who are marginalized, threatened, and afraid,” said the Rev. Gray Fitzgerald of Concord.  “We recognize that at the moment of the vigil we are entering a new epoch in the history of our country. We are joining together to acknowledge that reality and to reaffirm our commitment to multiculturalism, GLBTQ and women’s rights, an economic system that works for all, immigrant rights, inclusion of all people, respect for those with disabilities, racial justice, love and care of the planet, inclusion of all spiritual and religious traditions, and justice leading to peace.”

The Silent Vigil of Hope and Concern will take place from noon to 12:15 PM. 

The vigil will be preceded by a short program beginning at 11:45 AM.  It will also be followed by a short program.  Afterward, participants will adjourn to a nearby office for hot beverages and conversation.

Rev. Fitzgerald said all are invited who share these stated values and who want to join with others in a ritual of recommitment.  “It is our intention to stand even more strongly for these principles in the coming days. As we face this new period, we gather in solidarity as brothers and sisters reaffirming what we stand for regardless of who is president,” Rev. Fitzgerald added.

The Vigil of Hope and Concern is sponsored by the Justice and Witness Ministries of the United Church of Christ NH Conference, the American Friends Service Committee, Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service, NH Peace Action, and the Equality Center.

Group Calls On Sununu To Name Businesses That Will Move To NH If Right To Work Passes

Granite State Progress Calls on Governor Sununu, Majority Leader Hinch to Name At Least 5 Businesses That Will Move to NH If Right to Work Passes

Right to Work Advocates Have Been Unable to Name a Single Business in Six Years

CONCORD, NH – Granite State Progress calls on Governor Chris Sununu and House Republican Majority Leader Dick Hinch to name at least five businesses that will move to New Hampshire if so-called Right to Work passes. Both politicians made statements during last week’s inauguration and interviews that passing Right to Work is important for business development and that businesses will move to the state upon passage. However, when media outlets questioned NH Speaker Bill O’Brien over the same claim in 2011 he was unable to name even a single business. Additionally, both NH’s Commissioner of Labor and NH’s Commissioner of Resources and Economic Development at the time confirmed not a single business had asked about the legislation:

Union Leader, Businesses are not asking for the right-to-work bill by George Copadis, NH Commissioner of Labor: “Not once has the topic of right-to-work ever come up in all of [their] discussions with New Hampshire businesses and prospective businesses.” [5.24.11]

Statement by Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins: “Right to Work is wrong for working families and its wrong for New Hampshire. This is nothing more than an attempt to undermine workers’ rights and create another hurdle for working families to come together to negotiate for good jobs with reasonable wages and benefits, job safety, and job training. The politicians and special interest backers pushing this policy should instead support raising wages, end off-shoring of our jobs, and pass family-friendly workplace policies that respect the contributions workers bring to increasing profits in our country.”

Granite State Progress publicly calls on Governor Sununu and Majority Leader Hinch to release a list of the companies they purport will bring jobs to New Hampshire if the state passes legislation that hurts working families.

Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems.

5 Signs That Your Windows Are In Need of Repair

Sponsored Post with tips to save money on your energy bill this winter. 


When it comes to the east coast, its long frigid winters, tropical storms and annual hurricanes, your windows have most likely seen their fair share of beatings from mother nature. The resulting damage can vary from swollen window frames, or leaky windows to deteriorated seals, but it is not always easy to tell when they actually need to be repaired or replaced. If you aren’t sure what to look for, we will outline the 5 most common signs of window damage to look out for.

Save Energy

If you do regular inspections on your windows to ensure that they are functioning properly, you can save a lot of money not only on your maintenance bill but on your energy bill as well. High energy bills are commonly attributed to run down, drafty old windows, which can push the figure up as much as 25%! Examine your windows with this handy checklist to find how much money and energy you could potentially save.

The Tell Tale Signs

Mother nature, in the form of the ever-changing weather, speeds up the wear and tear of most parts of your home, but your windows are particularly at risk as they are the thinnest barrier between you and the outside world. Is it time to renovate, repair or replace? Here are the signs;

  1. There is a Draft coming Through the House

Drafty windows are generally the result of failed weather-strips on your windows’ sashes, but may also be caused by cracked windowpane or where the glazing putty on the glass has decayed. The offending elements should be replaced, but until you can find a long term and possibly costly solution, using caulk to seal these gaps is a cost-effective and easy solution.

  1. The Windows are Chipped, Cracked or Broken

This is the easiest and most obvious issue to detect; cracks, chips and scratches usually come from storm damage. These should be placed as soon as possible to reduce the risk of shattered glass getting into your home and causing damage or injury.

  1. The Windows are Old, Run Down and Rotten

It is quite easy to tell if a home is old, just old by looking at windows. Old windows tend to have cracked, rotten or discolored frames which have taken damage over the years. Before simply repainting, ensure that none of weathered sections are worn or rotten, as painting may mask the issue but will not prevent further deterioration. Decayed frames often require a completely new window.

  1. The Windows have Fog or Water Condensation

When the window seals are broken, then water droplets will begin to form on the inside of the glass. When this happens, the window pane has allowed air into the space between the panes of glass. When moisture also finds its way in then you will get foggy windows, due to the condensation. It is highly recommended that you replace your frames when the deterioration has reached this point.

  1. The Windows are Leaking Water

If your window doesn’t want to close properly all this way this will usually be the chief cause of water leaking in. If the window has a locking mechanism, then locking it may help. If it doesn’t help, then chances are that the frame is compromised and will need to be replaced. Ensure that the roof isn’t leaking down onto the window to rule out other possibilities.

About the Guest Author

This article was provided by a Chicago window repair company, Apex Window Werks. The company specializes in home window repair, glass repair, window defogging and replacement services. Visit their website for more details.

AFSC-NH Hosts 10 Homeless Memorial Day Vigils Throughout The State

candleOn Wednesday, December 21, Homeless Memorial Day vigils will be held at ten locations around the state, honoring 45 New Hampshire people who died in 2016, whose lives were shortened by homelessness.  The statewide effort is coordinated by Maggie Fogarty, Co-Director of the NH Program for the American Friends Service Committee, and the events are part of a national Homeless Memorial Day remembrance.

Governor Hassan has declared December 21 to be Homeless Memorial Day in New Hampshire.  

On the longest night of the year, in the cold of winter, we pause to grieve together that human beings continue to suffer without the basic security of a place to call home,” said Fogarty. “We read each name, and offer memories, songs and prayers of loss and commitment.  We renew ourselves for the work ahead, to ensure that everyone in New Hampshire has a safe place to call home.”

Vigils are planned in the following communities: 

Concord:  Wednesday, December 21 at 4 pm in State House Plaza, bring a candle. Hosted by the American Friends Service Committee and the Concord Coalition to End Homelessness.  Contact: Maggie Fogarty, mfogarty@afsc.org, 603-224-2407

Hampstead:  Wednesday, December 21 at 7 pm, at Isaiah’s Place, 472 Route 111, Hampstead.  Contact:  Rev. David Yasenka, isaiah58nh@gmail.com

Keene: Wednesday, December 21.  Gather between 5 and 5:30; vigil starts at 5:30. Central Square, Keene.  Contact:  Mindy Cambiar, (603) 352-5197, mcambiar@hundrednightsinc.org

Laconia: Wednesday, December 21 at 5:30PM, Veterans Park, Laconia.  Contact:  Leonard Campbell, NH Catholic Charities, (603)528.3035 ext. 14, lcampbell@nh-cc.org

Lebanon:  Wednesday, December 21 at 5:30 pm, 57 Mechanic Street, Lebanon (In front of the Tri-County CAP Homeless Outreach Office). Contact:  Angel Hudson angelhudson82@gmail.com

Manchester:  Wednesday, December 21 at 12 noon, at 1269 Café, 351 Chestnut Street, Manchester. Contact:  Craig Chevalier cachevalier@consumerprofilesinc.com

Nashua:  Wednesday, December 21 at 5pm in front of Main St Methodist Church, Nashua.  Contact:  Eileen Brady, Eileen@nsks.org

Newport:  Wednesday, December 21 at 6 pm on Newport Common. Contact: Cheryl.Meachen@gmail.com

Peterborough: Wednesday, December 21 at 4;30 pm, Peterborough Town Hall, Peterborough.  Contact:  Susan Howard, Program Manager, Monadnock Area Transitional Shelter, mats.peterborough@gmail.com

Portsmouth:  Wednesday, December 21, 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm in Market Square, Portsmouth. Contact: Jessica Parker, Crossroads House, j.parker@crossroadshouse.org

Clinton Campaign Bolsters National Women’s Push in Wake of Powerful Michelle Obama Speech on Trump’s Sexism

Campaign to Focus on Getting Out the Vote Among Women, Including GOP Women, Repulsed By Trump Views and Actions

July 29, 2016 - Harrisburg, PA.  By Adam Schultz for Hillary for America.

July 29, 2016 – Harrisburg, PA.
By Adam Schultz for Hillary for America.

Following First Lady Michelle Obama’s powerful speech outlining the stakes of this election for American women, Hillary for America is dispatching top women surrogates to battleground states across America, as well as deepening its concentrated national effort to emphasize the troubling accusations against Donald Trump and his degrading comments about women to women voters. The Clinton campaign will have hundreds of events nationwide this weekend to contact women voters, including many Republican women, and urge them to register, vote early or get out the vote for Clinton ahead of November. 

In addition, Hillary for America is launching a new call team feature to its voter call tool, including a new “FLOTUS Call Team,” where supporters can join together as a community around the First Lady’s statement that “enough is enough” and make phone calls to turn out voters for Clinton in the election. Additionally, on Saturday, women’s health advocate Cecile Richards will join her daughter, Hillary for America’s Lily Adams, for a Facebook Live on Hillary for America’s Facebook page to launch their own “Mother-Daughter Team” to contact voters and echo Obama’s message.

“This week has further shown just how high the stakes are for women in this election,” said Mini Timmaraju, Hillary for America’s Women’s Vote Director. “Donald Trump believes women are to be degraded and demeaned, while Hillary Clinton has been fighting for women’s rights for 40 years, with concrete plans to support them and their families as president. Our campaign is mobilizing women disgusted by Trump to organize their communities and get out the vote for Clinton, either during early voting or on Election Day.”

Hillary for America’s state campaigns will focus their organizing activities on women this weekend, launching women-to-women phone banks, canvasses, voter registration drives and Get Out the Early Vote events across critical battlegrounds. Recent polls show that Trump is lagging badly among women voters — woefully underperforming 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney in critical, vote-rich areas like the Philadelphia suburbs — giving Clinton an opening to further widen the gender gap, effectively walling off Trump’s capacity to make the gains he needs to win.

Additionally, starting today, top Clinton supporters and surrogates are hitting the campaign trail to emphasize the choice women have in this election. Today, for example, Chelsea Clinton was in Pittsburgh, urging women on campus at Pitt to reject Trump’s offensive candidacy, while Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado joined local athletes to reject Trump’s defense of his degrading comments as “locker room talk.” Additionally, Eva Longoria urged Latinas to register to vote in Orlando and EMILY’s List president Stephanie Schriock did grassroots organizing activity in North Carolina, while former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will give remarks decrying recent Trump revelations tonight in Delaware County, Pennsylvania.

This weekend, Anne Holton will campaign in North Florida, focusing on reaching out to women voters, while members of Congress like Amy Klobuchar, Kirsten Gillibrand, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Grace Meng, Sheila Jackson Lee, Donna Edwards, Brenda Lawrence and Barbara Lee join actors and activists like Alfre Woodard, Connie Britton, Danai Gurira, Marlo Thomas, Naturi Naughton, Erika Alexander, Busy Philipps, NARAL president Ilyse Hogue and former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to campaign across Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Florida, Nevada, Iowa, Virginia, Michigan and Wisconsin, to spread Clinton’s message that women need someone who will fight for — not degrade — them in the White House.

If you missed it, below is the full speech from First Lady Michelle Obama recorded in New Hampshire on Thursday.

Elected Leaders And National Allies To Meet With Volunteers, Kick Off Canvasses Across New Hampshire

Delaware Governor Jack Markell, Governor Maggie Hassan, Reps. Annie Kuster, Carol Shea-Porter and Niki Tsongas, Councilor Colin Van Ostern, and NARAL President Ilyse Hogue to Campaign for Hillary Clinton and Democrats Up and Down the Ticket

This weekend, elected and former officials and national allies will meet with volunteers and kick off canvasses across the state, discussing Hillary Clinton’s plan to build an economy that works for everyone — not just those at the top. During the events, surrogates will also lay out what’s at stake for women, children, and families this election, and contrast Hillary Clinton’s lifelong record of fighting for women and families with Trump’s record of offensive and demeaning comments and behavior towards women. 

Weekend speakers will include Delaware Governor Jack Markell, Governor Maggie Hassan, Congresswoman Annie Hassan, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, Congresswoman Niki Tsongas of Massachusetts. Executive Councilor and candidate for governor Colin Van Ostern, and NARAL President Ilyse Hogue.

As part of the “New Hampshire Together” coordinated campaign, volunteers will go door-to-door to talk to voters about the stark difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Supporters will work to engage voters on key issues, including creating new good-paying jobs, encouraging small business growth, increasing the minimum wage, making college more affordable, tackling climate change, providing tax relief for working families, and fighting for affordable child care.

Additionally, the surrogates will urge Granite Staters to remember First Lady Michelle Obama’s call to action – especially among women – that “We have knowledge, we have a voice, we have a vote” and that on Election Day, New Hampshire voters “can come together and declare that enough is enough, and we do not tolerate this kind of behavior in our country.”

With more people voting in this election than any in history, the surrogates will also talk about the importance of electing Democrats up and down the ticket and urge New Hampshire voters to visit iwillvote.com/learn to ensure that they have all the information they need to vote on Election Day. Additionally, they will remind volunteers to communicate to voters that New Hampshire offers same-day voter registration.

Media that would like to attend any of these events are asked to RSVP to Victor Reyes at vreyes@hillaryclinton.com.

SATURDAY, October 15

Salem Canvass Kick-Off with Governor Jack Markell and Councilor Colin Van Ostern

WHEN: Saturday, October 15 at 9:15 AM

WHERE: 15 Ermer Road


Manchester Canvass Kick-Off with Councilor Colin Van Ostern and Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter

WHEN: Saturday, October 15, 10:15AM 

WHERE: 266 Mammoth Rd, Manchester, NH


Newmarket Canvass Kick-Off with Congresswoman Niki Tsongas

WHEN: Saturday, October 15, 9:15 AM

WHERE: Newmarket Office, 178 Main St, Newmarket


Milford Canvass Kick-Off with Congresswoman Niki Tsongas and Congresswoman Annie Kuster

WHEN: Saturday, October 15, 12:15 PM

WHERE: Milford Office, 52 Nashua St, Milford


Peterborough Canvass Kick-Off with Congresswoman Annie Kuster

WHEN: Saturday, October 15, 3:15 PM

WHERE: Peterborough Office, 1 Jaffrey Road, Unit #11, Peterborough


Salem Canvass Kick-Off with Illyse Hoge and Governor Maggie Hassan

WHEN: Saturday, October 15, 3:15 PM

WHERE: Salem Office, 15 Ermer Rd, Salem


SUNDAY, October 16

New London Canvass Kick-Off with Congresswoman Annie Kuster

WHEN: Sunday, October 16, 12:15 PM

WHERE: 29, Little Sunapee Road, New London


Women Leaders Announce the Expansion of the New Hampshire “She Wins We Win”

she-winPress Conference To Be Held At Campaign Legislative Office Building (LOB) Concord 11AM Oct 6, 2016

Women leaders announce the expansion of the Feminist Majority’s She Wins We Win campaign in New Hampshire at a News Conference at the Legislative Office Building in Concord on Thursday, October 6, at 11:00 AM. Participants include Representative Marjorie Smith (D- Durham), Representative Jackie Cilley (D-Barrington), Former State Senate President Sylvia Larsen of Concord, and She Wins We Win national director Eleanor LeCain who will speak with reporters in the LOB Lobby at 11AM and talk about the campaign’s efforts in New Hampshire.

Women leaders understand that families depend on paid family leave and medical leave, a higher minimum wage and passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act. They know that college has to be made debt-free and available to all and that all Americans deserve to live their lives free from discrimination and that America has to be the world’s leader by passing the Clean Energy Challenge and cut carbon emissions. And lastly, our women leaders will continue to fight for women’s health and reproductive rights; defend access to contraception and abortion; and repeal the Hyde and Helms Amendments to make abortion accessible for more low-income women.

The Feminist Majority has endorsed Hillary Clinton for President, Maggie Hassan for US Senate, Carol Shea-Porter and Ann McLane Kuster for US House. The She Wins We Win campaign is highlighting their records of achievement and their vision for the future.

In particular the campaign is committed to making sure people know about Hillary’s stellar record over the decades on women’s rights—both domestically and globally—as well as civil rights, human rights, children’s rights, and economic justice.

The campaign is organizing volunteers and mobilizing feminists on the ground to remind citizens of New Hampshire that they can register to vote on election day and educating them about how to do so.

The She Wins We Win campaign is active in several other presidential battleground states where Democratic women are running for the US Senate including North Carolina, Nevada, Arizona, and Pennsylvania.

Tomorrow: ACLU To Give Away Hundreds Of Constitutions In Portsmouth

Have You Read the Constitution:
ACLU-NH Gives Away 500 FREE Pocket Constitutions in
Celebration of Constitution Day 2016 

Portsmouth, NH – On September 17, 2016 in Portsmouth, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire (ACLU-NH) will be giving away 500 free pocket Constitutions at Market Square from 10AM to 1PM in honor of Constitution Day, a day to recognize and celebrate the signing of the United States Constitution in 1787.

WHAT: Distribution of FREE ACLU Pocket Constitutions

WHO: ACLU-NH Celebrating National Constitution Day 2016

WHEN: September 17, 2016 from 10AM-1PM

WHERE: Portsmouth Market Square, Portsmouth, NH

WHY: To have your own copy and to celebrate the signing of the United States Constitution and the value of these rights in a free society. 

The ACLU’s little pocket-sized Constitution became the most talked about accessory of Summer 2016 after .  After offering free copies of the Constitution on its website, the ACLU was flooded with orders from individuals hungry to learn more about their rights. They sold out after distributing over 100,000 copies, making the Portsmouth Market Square celebration the ONLY place you can get this must-have item here in the Granite State. 

10 Things You Should Know About the VA Before Tonight’s IAVA Commander-in-Chief Forum

VA LogoUnion representing frontline VA health care providers, AFGE, sets record straight ahead of historic town hall event

AFGE_Logo_high resWASHINGTON – Before Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump address military families and veterans at Wednesday night’s forum hosted by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, here are 10 things about veterans’ health care to keep in mind, as compiled by the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents 220,000 federal employees throughout the Department of Veterans Affairs:

1. The VA tops the private sector in quality and service. The VA outperforms the private sector by more than 30% in delivering mental health care, and veterans get appointments with their primary care doctors three times faster than patients outside the VA.

2. More veterans are receiving care. Since 2014, the VA has hired nearly 14,000 additional health care workers and opened an additional 3.9 million square feet of clinical space – resulting in a 10% increase in direct patient care.

3. Wait times have been dramatically reduced. Last year, the VA completed 97% of appointments within 30 days of either the clinically indicated or veterans’ preferred date – an increase of 1.4 million over fiscal 2014.

4. Most veterans support the current VA system. Two-thirds of veterans oppose privatizing VA hospital programs and services, and 80% want their health care to be fully paid for by the government – not through vouchers that may not cover all of their costs.

5. Hillary Clinton will strengthen the VA. The daughter of a veteran, Secretary Clinton understands that veterans have unique health care needs that can only be met by trained VA providers and has promised to strengthen the VA, not privatize it.

6. Donald Trump would dismantle the VA. Trump, who received five draft deferrals to avoid serving in the Vietnam War, has vowed to privatize the VA health care system – over the objections of nearly all veterans’ advocates.

7. The Commission on Care’s recommendations would dismantle the integrated VA health care system. Health care professionals and employee groups say dismantling the VA’s integrated health care delivery system would erode veterans’ health care and be financially unsustainable.

8. Commissioner Michael Blecker strongly condemned the group’s report. A veteran himself, Blecker said the Commission’s proposal would push veterans toward lower quality health care options and threaten the survival of the veteran-centered system that most veterans prefer.

9. Gutting employee rights won’t improve veterans’ health care. Proposed “accountability bills” by Rep. Jeff Miller and Sen. Marco Rubio would give managers more authority to fire frontline employees without following federal due process laws. These are the same managers who manipulated wait time reports in the first place, and the same frontline employees who blew the whistle on that activity. A bipartisan Veterans First Act, on the other hand, would ensure bad employees are held accountable without trampling on whistleblower protections and employee rights.

10. AFGE will be live tweeting the forum. Follow AFGE’s Twitter feed and use the hashtag #IAVAForum for live reaction to the IAVA Commander-in-Chief town hall, and visit AFGE’s veterans action center for the latest news and updates.

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