Shea-Porter Urges Transportation Committee to Ensure Funding for New Hampshire Roads and Bridges

Highway Trust Fund Scheduled to Run Dry THIS SUMMER
Improvements to our Roads and Bridges Badly Needed

WASHINGTON, DC – With the Highway Trust Fund scheduled to run dry this summer and more than a third of New Hampshire’s state-maintained roads in poor condition, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) sent a letter to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee urging a full long-term reauthorization bill to ensure that highways, bridges, and roads are safe and usable and that the Highway Trust Fund remains solvent.  (See also NHLN story: LiUNA Warns Of Danger Ahead For Roads And Workers.)

Carol Shea Porter Official Photo“As your Committee considers surface transportation reauthorization, I urge you to develop a long-term bill that authorizes our nation’s transportation programs for at least five years,” Shea-Porter wrote. “In New Hampshire, investment in infrastructure serves a critical role in the local economy by helping to expand economic growth and supporting good, well-paying construction jobs, in addition to making badly needed improvements to our roads and bridges.”

Since the 1970s, Congress has traditionally passed multi-year reauthorizations that cover five- to six-year periods. Such long-term reauthorizations have proven critical to facilitating stability in the construction industry. As a recent letter signed by the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire, along with 30 other states’ Chambers of Commerce, notes: “At minimum, a five-year authorization [is needed] to provide predictability and certainty.” Because of the current budgetary environment and slow economic recovery, our state agencies, employers, and workers have acute need for long-term planning certainty.

Congresswoman Shea-Porter has long championed transportation issues as a Member of Congress. She recognizes the importance of transportation infrastructure in New Hampshire, from creating well-paying construction jobs to getting our kids home safely from school. Recently, she supported a $25 million grant from the Department of Transportation for the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge Replacement Project.

A five-year reauthorization bill will provide stability to an industry that has lacked clear governmental direction in past years.

Full text of the letter is below.

+++

April 22, 2014 

Chairman Bill Shuster
Transportation & Infrastructure Committee
2165 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Ranking Member Nick Rahall
Transportation & Infrastructure Committee
2163 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

 

Dear Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member Rahall:

As your Committee considers surface transportation reauthorization, I urge you to develop a long-term bill that authorizes our nation’s transportation programs for at least five years. I also request that you report such legislation to the full House before the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) faces a shortfall, which recent forecasts anticipate as soon as this July.

Since the 1970s, Congress has traditionally passed multi-year reauthorizations that cover five- to six-year periods. Such long-term reauthorizations have proven critical to facilitating stability in the construction industry. As a recent letter signed by the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire, along with 30 other states’ Chambers of Commerce, notes: “At minimum, a five-year authorization (is needed) to provide predictability and certainty.” Because of the current budgetary environment and slow economic recovery, our state agencies, employers, and workers have acute need for long-term planning certainty. 

In New Hampshire, investment in infrastructure serves a critical role in the local economy by helping to expand economic growth and supporting good, well-paying construction jobs, in addition to making badly needed improvements to our roads and bridges. 37% of state-maintained roads and highways are currently in poor condition – a number that is expected to rise 43% by 2016. This problem costs New Hampshire citizens $333 million annually, or $323 per motorist, according to transportation research group TRIP. As you know, these dismal numbers are not unique to New Hampshire.

I appreciate the need for the Committee to undertake a comprehensive process as it develops its reauthorization bill. But given the pressing nature of the issue, I respectfully urge you to report a multi-year authorization plan to the full House before July, when the Highway Trust Fund risks insolvency.

Thank you for your work on behalf of our nation’s infrastructure, and for your consideration of this request.

 

Sincerely, 

Carol Shea-Porter

Member of Congress

Right-Wing PAC Makes False Claims About Medicare Advantage To NH Seniors

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter  (image by MARCN Creative Commons On Flickr)

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter
(image by MARCN Creative Commons On Flickr)

We are a mere 241 days from the 2014 elections, and the hard right super PAC’s are already spreading lies throughout New Hampshire.

Recently the conservative super PAC YG Network sent an unsolicited mailer to the constituents of NH First Congressional district, currently represented by Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter.

The YG Network describes themselves on their website as:

“A non-profit 501(c)(4) dedicated to supporting conservative center-right policies and the efforts of policymakers who fight for those policies. By seeking solutions that create jobs, encourage innovation, instill fiscal discipline, establish a patient-centered health care system and pursue energy security, we can foster the optimal environment for America’s businesses and entrepreneurs to succeed and flourish.”

The mailer is an attack on Congresswoman Shea-Porter’s stance on the Affordable Care Act and Medicare specifically.

You can see the full flyer here.

They make the claim that Rep Shea-Porter and President Obama are trying to cut $716 billion dollars from the Medicare Advantage program.   The irony in this right-wing attack is that the $716 billion dollars in savings to the Medicare Advantage program is a key part of the Ryan Plan, the budget proposal that everyone on the right is pushing.

YG Network also claims that;

  • Millions of seniors may be dropped from Medicare Advantage.
  • Higher premiums for care.
  • Higher prices for prescription drugs.
  • Cuts in coverage of dental and vision plans.

These claims by the YG Network are completely FALSE!  Time and time again multiple ‘fact checkers’ have busted these false accusations.

Neither Obama nor his health care law literally “cut” a dollar from the Medicare program’s budget.
Rather, the health care law instituted a number of changes to reduce the growth of Medicare costs. At the time the law was passed, those reductions amounted to $500 billion over the next 10 years. Time’s passage has only boosted that number.”  (Politifact, 9-6-12)

In reality, the $716 billion is not a “cut” in benefits but rather the savings in costs that the Congressional Budget Office projects over the next decade from wholly reasonable provisions in the reform law.” (New York Times 8-18-12)

The facts are undeniable; Granite Staters saved on average $800 a year in prescription drug charges thanks to the Medicare changes as part of the Affordable Care Act.

The truth is that seniors in New Hampshire, and throughout the country, are benefiting from the changes to the Medicare Advantage program. These changes are strengthening Medicare, while saving taxpayer dollars.   Congresswoman Shea-Porter was right to support these changes that add additional funds to the Medicare Trust fund, therefor boosting it’s solvency to 2026.

Unfortunately we are still 241 days away from the 2014 elections, which means that this is only the beginning when it comes to unsolicited lies from the right-wing super PACs.

Workers at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Call On Congress To Repeal Sequestration

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

All Photos Credit Nora Fredrickson

Over 50 Granite Staters demand no benefit cuts for Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard workers joined air traffic controllers, shipbuilders from Bath Ironworks, seniors and Seacoast residents in demanding an end to sequestration in a rally at the shipyard on Thursday, March 21st.

Mark Mackenzie at PNS Rally

Since sequestration went into effect on March 1st, the across-the-board cuts are expected to cut 750,000 jobs nationwide. Nearly five thousand workers at the shipyard are facing furloughs, the impact of which is certain to be felt throughout the Seacoast, while sequestration will cost Granite Staters $28,481,311 in non-defense funding for critical programs.

“Congress created sequestration, and Congress can make it go away,” said New Hampshire AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie. “While Republicans continue playing their hostage-taking games, working families in New Hampshire are suffering real consequences in the form of lost jobs, furloughed pay and devastating cuts to programs that support the health and wellbeing of our children, seniors and the working poor. It is time for Congress to end these drastic and irresponsible cuts to the services working people need and instead close tax loopholes that only benefit the wealthy and corporations.”

Paul O'Connor

Paul O’Connor, President of the Seacoast Metal Trades Council

Paul O’Connor, president of the Seacoast Metal Trades Council, argued that the cuts are a senseless response to a home-brewed crisis. “Remember, as we struggle to make ends meet, as we fall deeper and deeper in debt and our families struggle through the stress, as financial instability impacts our ability to maintain security clearances, and as nuclear submarines begin to stack-up awaiting required maintenance, as all that happens, remember, sequestration was manufactured.”

Patte Ardizzoni, the administrator for Rockingham County’s Community Action Project Agency, said that sequestration will disproportionately hit seniors, the poor and disabled. “The issue of sequestration prompts a conversation that involves the adverse impact of financial cuts on crisis programming budgets, delivery of those programs in community action and the inability to serve the numbers that present themselves. Shrinking Head Start classroom numbers, fewer slots available for Fuel Assistance, a lightening of food allotment choices and amounts, and decreased crisis office hours are just the beginning of this very difficult conversation.”

Jay Bowers, Air Traffic Controller and NATCA Member

Jay Bowers, Air Traffic Controller and NATCA Member

Representatives from the National Air Traffic Controllers Association also testified about the impact that sequestration will have on air travelers. Over 15,000 air traffic controllers nationwide are facing furloughs and hundreds more employed through contract towers are expected to be laid off.

In a brief statement after the event, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter said:

“I stand with local workers and businesses in opposition to sequestration’s irresponsible and reckless cuts. I cannot understand why the House majority repeatedly blocked a vote on legislation that would have stopped sequestration for calendar year 2013. Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is critical for both our national defense and local economy, and I will continue to support efforts to cancel sequestration.”

And Occupy the Election We Did!

Left to right
Lew Henry, Wayne Alterisio, Carol Shea-Porter, and Bill Brickley

And Occupy the Election We Did!

I started posting on this website with a plea that we needed to get members engaged in this upcoming election because in 2010 we had our heads summarily handed to us on a platter. Mostly because of a pitiful voter turnout which invariably leads to huge Republican gains which translates into an attack on working families and the Labor movement overall. What we saw happen in Wisconsin was a prelude to what was about to happen to the rest of the nation.

Ann Kuster and NH Letter Carriers from the Union Night at the Fishercats

Newly elected Republican politicians turned 8 years of a Bush’s two wars and a ruinous Wall St. financial miss-step as a reason to lay-off teachers and dismantle bargaining agreements. You know what, aided by the conservative main street media, it worked! With the aid of ALEC generated legislation and flipped State Legislatures from blue to red, the onslaught began. It wasn’t long before the fight came here to New Hampshire. It was not just an attack on Labor with “right to work” but a host of crazy nutty legislation that was right out of a Fellini movie. Besides the phony claim that voter fraud was rampant in the country requiring us to set up an expensive time consuming voter ID system it was things we could have never imagined. It was things like being able to carry weapons on the House floor and on College campuses. My favorite was taking away lunch for State employees.

The Bill O’Brien Republican House was secret about its attacks never divulging their agenda or when legislation would be introduced. It was just a constant vigil. Democrats when they held the House always posted their agenda on pending legislation for the upcoming week. That is the fair and open thing to do.

This onslaught was not limited to Labor. It was also aimed at a women’s right to control her body and her decision as to when to start a family. That was probably a bigger mistake than attacking Labor. That has already been decided by the Supreme Court. All indications were pointing to Republicans wanting to change that decision. Their voting block was substantially larger. Coupled with the fact that the ethnic voter was not seeing jobs coming their way any too soon doomed the anti-fact checking Republican Party.

No poll or amount of corporate money and influence can stop a tidal wave of votes. Not in New Hampshire. Politics is real close-up and personal here. We will only succumb to logic and reason. We do fact check, and that drives our vote! We occupied the election like never before. I embodied this at my last union meeting when I called out all the people to stand who helped out on the election. I called them out by name too, because I knew who they were. It wasn’t just the usual few, it was many! Thank you brothers and sisters for making this election a roaring success for hard working families.

There was no apathy and that’s how we get change!

A Special Veterans Day Message From Congress-Elect Shea-Porter and Kuster

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter statement:

“Today, we pause again to thank our veterans. Throughout our history, America’s small towns and large cities have brought forth men and women who answer their country’s call.  I watched as my grandfathers’ World War I generation marched in parades, and watched as my dad’s World War II generation marched in parades, and then watched as our vets of the Korean War and Cold War joined them.  I watched as my husband’s Vietnam era Vets lined up and the WWI group dropped away.  Now I watch as the Gulf War I vets and our newest Iraq and Afghanistan Vets show up to march, as the last of my dad’s generation fade away.

Throughout it all, we have prayed for peace and prayed for the men and women who show up to preserve it or restore it.  Thank you to my husband, my dad, my grandfathers, and to all of the men and women who answered the call.  This Veterans Day, we gratefully remember those now gone, and honor those living, for their service to America.”

Congresswoman-elect Annie Kuster’s Veterans Day statement:

“As we celebrate Veterans Day, my thoughts are with the generations of servicemen and women who have sacrificed so much to protect our country and our way of life. As the daughter and daughter-in-law of World War II veterans, I know the extraordinary courage and sacrifice of those who have served in the armed forces.”

“We have no higher responsibility as a nation than to care for the men and women who have worn the uniform of the United States of America. Our veterans deserve not just our respect and gratitude, but the support and resources they need when they come home. On Veterans Day, we recommit ourselves to serving our veterans and their families as honorably as they have served each and every one of us.”

New Hampshire Union Members Celebrate Enormous Electoral Wins

For weeks now union members have been canvassing New Hampshire as part of the Labor 2012 campaign.  After making thousands of phone calls and spending every free moment knocking on doors, all of our hard work paid off!

With our help New Hampshire cast it’s four electoral votes for President Obama as part of his reelection last night. This is great news for New Hampshire and the rest of the Nation.

Here in New Hampshire many of the union locals are more excited about the other races.  We banded together to defeat Ovide ‘Scott Walker on Steroids’ Lamontagne in electing Maggie Hassan as our next Governor.  She has already assured us that she will veto any anti-worker legislation including Right To Work for less.  Ensuring that we have a labor friendly Governor was the most important part of  preserving collective bargaining in New Hampshire.  While Right To Work has already been proposed for next years session, we can rest assured it will not pass.

We also celebrated huge victories in our Congressional candidates.  Annie Kuster defeated Congressman Charlie Bass (NH-02).  We worked with Annie, who received the endorsement from almost every labor organization in the state.  Congressman Bass voted to turn Medicare into a Voucher system and gut Social Security.  While Annie campaigned on preserving the middle class and protecting our workers.

The big win did not come until after 2 am last night.  CNN was the first to call the NH-01 race for Carol Shea-Porter.  As the results were coming in, the results were all over the road.  Carol was up, then she was down.  Carol Shea-Porter will be returning to her seat in Washington DC, and removing one of the most anti-union legislators in Washington, Congressman Frank Guinta.   Congressman Guinta, who was backed by the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC),  pushed legislation to end project labor agreements and prevailing wage laws.

With Annie and Carol in our corner we can get back to rebuilding the middle class while we rebuild New Hampshire’s infrastructure. We will also have two amazing advocates for protecting all of our rights as workers in Washington.

New Hampshire workers almost received the biggest surprise of all.  Shortly after the polls closed it was reported that NH Speaker Bill O’Brien had lost the largest of the two towns in his district.  O’Brien was the one leading the anti-worker charge in the NH House with attacks on collective bargaining, and Right To Work.   After hours of waiting the results finally came in after midnight that Bill O’Brien retained his seat by 25 votes.  While we never expected O’Brien to loose his seat, it would have made all of our victories just a little sweeter.

The next legislative session will be very different in New Hampshire.  We are still awaiting final results on the breakdown of the NH House, we know that the GOP has lost their 3:1 majority.  Even after all the gerrymandering in the NH Senate districts the Democrats picked up seats.  Now the NH Senate is split with a slight GOP favor at 13-11

Now we start looking to the next legislative session where we can fight to repeal the Voter ID law and other extreme legislation that was passed over the past two years.

However our future looks brighter already.

Get Out There And Vote Today! Then Help GOTV!

Well it if finally NOV 6th 2012! Many of us are so happy that it is finally election day. Before I can rest and move on from all the election politics I want to make one more reminder.

GET OUT AND VOTE!

If you do not know where to go and vote, you can find it here.

Remember that for no reason can you be turned away from voting in New Hampshire.  Even with the new Voter ID Laws you can still register at the poll and vote  with or without an ID.   While I hope there is no problems with the new Voter ID Law there are a few ways you can help ensure this does not happen.  If you see a problem, report it immediately. Call 1-888-939-5932.  You can also review some of the changes at NH Voter Protection.

I hope by now that you have done all your research and know who you are going to vote for.   In case you have not, we hope you will support

  • Barack Obama for President / Joe Biden for Vice President
  • Maggie Hassan for NH Governor
  • Carol Shea-Porter in NH CD01
  • Ann Kuster in NH CD 02

While these are very, very important races the State Races are important too.  Take a few minutes to check your NH Progressive Voting guide.  See who has endorsed who in this election.  You can also see how they voted last year using the Granite State Progress ‘Legislator Report Card’.

Lastly, the NH Constitutional Amendments.  I have talked about these amendments since they were proposals in the house.  We are urging everyone to vote NO on Questions 1, 2, and 3.   For more information on Question 1 (taxes), or Question 2 (Court Reform). Also see Protect NH Constitution.

 The most important thing I can say is GET OUT THERE AND VOTE.  While we may agree on some issues and disagree on others your vote is important.  This election could be the closest in history and New Hampshire is one of the most important states this year.  We need everyone to get out and vote.  We also need your help getting everyone else out to vote.  Start by sharing this message on your social media. Then you can help get out the vote at one of these locations.

  • Manchester – Teamsters Local 633 – 53 Goffstown Road – Manchester, NH
  • Concord - IBEW Local 490 – 48 Airport Road – Concord, NH
  • Nashua – WH Bagshaw Company – 1 Pine Street Extension – Nashua, NH
  • Rochester – OFA Rochester office – 63 Hanson Street, Rochester, NH
  • Hampton – OFA Hampton office – 150 High Street, Hampton, NH

We will be canvassing at 9 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

 

Little Evidence That Congressman Guinta’s “Job Fairs” Created Jobs

Manchester, NH- A new report by the Associated Press finds little evidence that Congressman Guinta’s “job fairs” have created any new jobs.

First District constituents who hoped to find work at Guinta’s job fairs will be disappointed to hear that the events were designed to ensure his success, not theirs. He described the events’ primary purpose as an opportunity for himself, not the unemployed, to network, telling the AP: “You get to talk to employers one-on-one, you get to establish a relationship as the member of Congress…That’s the most important thing.”

Guinta refused to provide the AP with any evidence that his fairs have created jobs. His excuse? “Privacy issues,” a concern that the employers the AP contacted “did not mention.”

While Guinta may not want to admit how few people found work at his fairs, it is easy to find out how many jobs Carol Shea-Porter has created. During her time in Congress, she cooperated with her colleagues to pass the American Recovery Act, also known as the “stimulus,” which has increased the number of American jobs by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate. She also saved millions of jobs in the auto industry, including 27,000 here in New Hampshire.

“A strong record on jobs is what New Hampshire voters are looking for as they head to the polls,” said Naomi Andrews, campaign manager for Carol Shea-Porter. “Congressman Guinta is proud of creating one or two jobs, while Carol is proud of creating millions. The numbers speak for themselves.”

 

BACKGROUND:
AP: “Job creation record at issue in NH’s 1st District.” http://www.boston.com/news/local/new-hampshire/2012/11/03/job-creation-record-issue-district/AbqWcv2q0o3iRd7BG9k0UM/story.html
Letter to the Editor, Conway Daily Sun: “NHES offices are also where you can find local representatives of NHWorks, a coalition of state and local agencies helping people find jobs, plus operating a large, easy-to-use, state-wide data-base of jobs at www.nhworks.org In these circumstances, hosting his own job fairs seems more useful to the Congressman than to the jobless.”
http://www.conwaydailysun.com/index.php/opinion/columns/90459-robert-gillette-what-s-frank-guinta-doing-for-us
Conway Daily Sun: “On Tuesday (May 22, 2012), NH CD-1 Congressman Frank Guinta hosted a job fair in Conway, at Granite State College. A mere four days earlier, on May 18, N.H. Employment Security and Granite State College partnered on a job fair, at the same location. One might be tempted to think that two job fairs in a four-day span must mean that there is a an abundance of available jobs. One would, of course, be wrong. The Guinta job fair was just another chapter in his re-election pageant.”
http://www.conwaydailysun.com/index.php/opinion/columns/90309-susan-bruce-frank-pageantry
 Foster’s: “Many people spent hard-earned money on gas to get to these fairs, and were shocked to find that they were just photo-ops for Guinta’s glossy self-promotion.”
http://www.fosters.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20121022/GJOPINION_0102/121029942/-1/FOSOPINION
Letter to the editor, Concord Monitor: “I didn’t see one representative from a company that had job applications.”
http://www.nhinsider.com/press-releases/2011/11/15/nhdp-icymi-useless-jobs-fair-from-guinta.html

 

Congressman Guinta says, “I don’t need the FDA”; takes tobacco money

Congressman Frank Guinta has accepted $2,000 from Big Tobacco in 2012.  Altria, formerly known as Phillip Morris, has given Congressman Guinta multiple donations in this election cycle through their PAC.

Altria is still the largest tobacco conglomerate in the world, and they are the makers of Marlboro cigarettes.  Altria has lobbied on numerous issues since Congressman Guinta was elected, but most notably against Health Care Reform.  The company is particularly opposed to the implementation of funding for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

As of 2009, the FDA also has direct regulatory authority over cigarettes.  Congressman Guinta recently said, “I don’t need the FDA,” so it is no wonder he has won the admiration of Big Tobacco.  Altria supports Congressman Guinta because he wants to eliminate the FDA, and repeal Health Care Reform.

“There is apparently no corporate interest Congressman Guinta isn’t willing to shill for, and he seems to have no shame in doing the bidding of Big Tobacco,” said Campaign Manager Naomi Andrews.  “New Hampshire voters support Carol Shea-Porter, because she refuses to take donations from corporate PACs, and she stands up for middle class families.”

Background:

 

Guinta Campaign Struggling, Shea-Porter Talking Solutions for New Hampshire

A quick scan of this morning’s headlines reveals the hard truth about New Hampshire’s First District Congressional race: Congressman Guinta’s campaign is struggling and desperate, while Carol Shea-Porter is talking with voters about solutions to move New Hampshire forward.

Yesterday, it was revealed that the National Republican Congressional Committee sent a desperate and blunt memo to its top donors, on behalf of incumbents who are “most in need”.  Congressman Guinta was listed as one of those struggling campaigns.  Despite thousands of dollars in donations from Wall Street and Big Tobacco, Congressman Guinta is still unable to keep his campaign afloat.

This poor performance demonstrates the profound lack of enthusiasm for his candidacy here in New Hampshire.  The National Journal also noted Guinta’s poor polling numbers in the state.

Meanwhile, Carol Shea-Porter has been touring the state talking with voters about small business and the middle class, presenting new ideas.  Yesterday, she had a productive meeting with employees of Fidelity Investments in Merrimack, to discuss the economy and her plan to create more jobs.  She also met with students in the Lakes Region Community College Energy Training Program.  Their labs and classrooms were built with assistance from funding that Congresswoman Shea-Porter secured. Carol Shea-Porter actually follows a pro-growth economic model.

HEADLINES:

Shea-Porter gets first-hand look at Energy Services program at LRCC
Laconia Daily Sun
http://www.laconiadailysun.com/index.php/newsx/local-news/63320-a-511-w-cut-slugged-carolshea-2-shea-porter-says-climate-change-is-real-praises-lrcc-s-energy-programs

House Race Rankings: House of Cards
Scott Bland, National Journal
http://www.nationaljournal.com/hotline/house-race-rankings-house-of-cards-20121102

House GOP names incumbents in need
Alex Isenstadt, Politico
http://www.politico.com/blogs/burns-haberman/2012/11/house-gop-names-incumbents-in-need-147996.html?hp=r7