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VoteVets Announces Endorsement Of Maura Sullivan In NH’s First Congressional District

Portsmouth, NH – The largest progressive group of veterans in America, VoteVets PAC, is today endorsing Maura Sullivan for Congress in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District.

“Maura is the embodiment of service to others, and dedication to country and community,” said Jon Soltz, Iraq War Veteran and Chair of VoteVets. “Right now, we’re lacking two huge things in Congress – people who put others above themselves, and people with the knowledge and experience to make sure America is safe, in this time of growing chaos.  Maura has both those qualities, in spades. The people of New Hampshire are going to be so proud to call her Congresswoman, and we’re proud to endorse her.”

Regarding this significant development for the campaign, Maura Sullivan issued the following statement:

“My fellow servicemembers in the Marines and their families inspired my commitment to public service when I was a young Marine Lieutenant.  Since then, I have been proud to work on behalf of fellow veterans, servicemembers, and their families: as a Marine in Iraq and East Asia; as a student advocate; and then in the Obama Administration, at our cemeteries and memorials around the world, at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and at the Pentagon.  I saw how deeply it matters who’s in elected office. People deserve leaders that wake up each day to advocate for them, put them first, and deliver results to make their lives better.  Now I plan to work hard to earn every vote to go to work for the people of New Hampshire. Among many lessons, my time in the Marines taught me the virtue of listening — how important it is to understand directly from people on the frontlines what matters to them. I am focused on listening to people throughout the First District, and building a campaign and a candidacy that addresses our community’s needs. I am thrilled to have VoteVets support in that effort.”

According to her biography, Maura has dedicated her life to serving our country and fighting for the people and causes she believes in. Maura began her service when she attended college at Northwestern on a Navy/Marine Corps ROTC scholarship and calls becoming a Marine, “the best decision of my life.” As a Marine, Maura spent two years stationed in East Asia before deploying to Fallujah, Iraq. While serving in Iraq, Maura was continuously inspired by the brave and selfless young Americans with whom she served, but she was also struck by how service members, particularly women, were paying the consequences for poor decisions made by out-of-touch leadership in Washington.

After returning home and earning graduate degrees in Business and Public Policy at Harvard, where she also worked on behalf of military veterans and their families, Maura served in the Obama Administration in several capacities: as a Commissioner on the American Battle Monuments Commission, where she represented the United States Government at memorials to fallen U.S. servicemembers spanning the globe; as an Assistant Secretary in the crisis-stricken Department of Veterans Affairs, where she was integrally involved in a variety of reforms, fighting to provide veterans with improved access to health care; as a senior aide to the Secretary of the Navy, working on gender integration in the Navy and Marines, as well as family, mental health, and LGBT policy reforms; and as a senior advisor to the Secretary of Defense, advising on communications strategy while also working to improve policies on maternity leave and child care.

After her service in the Obama Administration, Maura and her fiancé Marc put down roots in Portsmouth, New Hampshire to raise a family. Maura is running for Congress because our country faces a crisis of leadership that is putting our national and economic security at risk.

Founded in 2006, the mission of VoteVets.org Political Action Committee is to elect Veterans to public office, with a focus on Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, and hold public officials accountable for their words and actions that impact America’s 21st century troops and veterans. Though VoteVets.org PAC is non-partisan, candidates it backs must support VoteVets.org‘s core mission and beliefs.

Lincoln Soldati To Kick Off Campaign With A Return To Somersworth

Son Emmett Soldati’s Teatotaller Café hosts party for his father’s candidacy for NH First Congressional District

Portsmouth, New Hampshire– Soldati/Somersworth – the names fit so well together. It was 1912 when Arturo and Gemma Soldati, emigrated from Italy to the US, eventually landing in Somersworth. They raised their large family, Arturo worked as a stone mason and Gemma cooked for lodgers in their boardinghouse on Winter Street. Their four sons were legendary football players at Somersworth High School in the 30s, while one of their three daughters, Sophie, was a star basketball player. After the war, in the late 40’s, two of their sons, Lincoln A and Pacifico, opened Soldati’s Restaurant in Durham. In the early 80s, the next generation, Lincoln T. Soldati, moved to his grandparents’ town and over the next 30 years, he and his wife, Kathleen raised four children, including Emmett who now lives in town and runs Teatotaller Café. It’s Emmett’s restaurant that will host Lincoln’s first party for his run for Congress in the first district. It all takes place on Wednesday December 13 6-7:30pm at Teatotaller located at 69 High Street in downtown Somersworth. It’s open to the public. Guests will have a chance to meet Lincoln, hear him talk, and have him answer questions. And, of course, Teatotaller’s delicious pastries and hot beverages will be available. Suggested donation of $15. For more information, visit the event page on Lincoln’s website.

Wednesday December 13 6-7:30pm

69 High Street, Somersworth, NH

Meet Lincoln Soldati
Born and raised in New Hampshire, Lincoln has been a leader in his community his entire life. After serving in the Army, Lincoln used the G.I. Bill to finish at Notre Dame and then law school here in New Hampshire. Lincoln served as Strafford County Attorney for nine terms, where he earned a reputation for aggressively pursuing justice for victims of child abuse and sexual assault. He even created a victims’ assistance program that became the state standard for prosecutions and investigations into sexual assault and child abuse cases. In addition to serving as Strafford County Attorney, Lincoln sat on the Somersworth School Board and served as Secretary for the Somersworth Charter Commission and as Mayor of Somersworth. Lincoln and his wife Kathleen, both lifelong Democrats, raised four children in a house that became home to the community – the door was never locked, the holiday party was for all neighbors of all ages, and Lincoln made breakfast for all visitors.

More information at www.LincolnSoldati.com

 

Kuster And Bipartisan Legislators Introduce Legislation Addressing Sexual Harassment In Congress

Rep. Speier, Sen. Gillibrand & Reps. Kuster, Costello and Poliquin Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Prevent & Respond to Sexual Harassment in Congress

(Washington, DC) – Today, Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), along with Representatives Ryan Costello (R-PA), Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH), and Bruce Poliquin (R-ME) introduced bipartisan, comprehensive legislation to prevent and respond to sexual harassment in Congress. The Member and Employee Training and Oversight On (ME TOO) Congress Act will require more transparency, overhaul the flawed complaint process, and provide better support for victims and whistleblowers. Additionally, both the House and Senate bills will require mandatory annual training for Members and staff, implement climate surveys to show the true scope of this problem, give interns and fellows the same protections as full-time staff, and end forced mediation.

“In 1995, Congress created the Office of Congressional Compliance to protect itself from being exposed, and it has been remarkably successful. Twenty years later, 260 settlements and more than $15 million have permanently silenced victims of all types of workplace discrimination,” said Rep. Speier. “Zero tolerance is meaningless unless it is backed up with enforcement and accountability. Today, I am proud that my colleagues in the House and the Senate, from both sides of the aisle, are joining me to end the era of impunity for disgraceful behavior and to protect the survivors.”

“We need to create a workplace climate where our staff members can come in and do their jobs without having to worry about being harassed – and if it does happen, they should be able to report the incidents without fear of retaliation, and without having to fear that it will ruin their careers,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Congress should never be above the law, Congress should not play by their own set of rules, and as elected officials, we should be held to the highest standards – not the lowest. This needs to change. We need accountability and we need transparency. We need reform, and we need it now. Congress needs to set a better example, and I urge all of my colleagues to join me in supporting this fight.”

“While many, if not most, Congressional offices, mine included, have policies in place regarding sexual harassment, this legislation will require annual sexual harassment training, and bring greater transparency and accountability to procedures for filing and investigating a complaint,” said Rep. Costello. “It is appropriate for the federal government to lead on this issue. This bill is an important step forward in supporting a professional work environment, and I hope to see it signed into law.”

“If we’re going to confront the challenge of sexual assault and harassment, we need to start with lawmakers and people in power,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “In recent months there has been a national groundswell of people coming forward to share their stories. This powerful conversation is letting others know that the experience of sexual harassment and violence is sadly all too common. As a young staffer I was assaulted by a guest of the Congress and had no training for how to respond, who to turn to, or what my rights were. This legislation is an important part of the conversation that will lead to real change in the way the House of Representatives responds to sexual harassment. I’m committed to continuing to work across the aisle to foster safer environments in all workplaces, on college campuses, in our military, and throughout our communities.”

“Every employee should always feel safe and comfortable in their own workplace, and it’s past time that Congress acts to ensure the employees in the Legislative Branch have the support to act on and prevent sexual harassment,” said Congressman Poliquin. “I applaud Congresswoman Speier for her bravery in bringing this issue to the forefront and am proud to work across the aisle and across the Capitol to make these necessary fixes. There can be no tolerance of any kind for sexual harassment anywhere—period.”

Earlier this month, Reps. Speier (D-CA), Costello (R-PA), Brady (D-PA), and Poliquin (R-ME) introduced the bipartisan H.Res. 604, the CEASE Resolution. It would require all members and staff of the House of Representatives to undergo annual sexual harassment prevention and response training. On Tuesday, Speaker Paul Ryan announced that House members and their staff will now be required to undergo mandatory anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training. Last week, the Senate passed a resolution instituting similar requirements.

A copy of the bill text, and a section-by-section summary of the bill are attached to this release.

METOO Congress Bill Text FINAL (002)
FINAL Section by Section ME TOO CONGRESS (004)

 

Congressional Candidate Wants More “Evidence-Based” Policy Making

Almost every day we can read about another unqualified crony being appointed to run any number of federal agencies. The Trump administration has made a joke out of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by appointing Scott Pruitt to lead the organization. As the Attorney General for the state of Oklahoma, Pruitt fought the EPA’s regulations and continually denied the science on climate change.

Another example is the nomination of Sam Clovis to be the top scientist at the US Food and Drug Administration despite the fact he is not a scientist. Clovis, a former radio talk show host, economics professor, and Trump campaign aide, openly admitted to having no degrees in agricultural or natural sciences and called climate change “junk science”.

Clovis has since withdrawn his consideration for the under-secretary position but clearly shows the Trump administration’s pattern of nominating anti-climate change, anti-science, political cronies to lead federal agencies.

With the heads of major natural science agencies being run by anti-science ideologues, it would then fall on Congress to address some of the environmental issues facing the country.

That is just one of the reasons Rye State Rep, Mindi Messmer, has decided to run for Congress. As an environmental scientist, she brings nearly 30 years of experience working to clean up the environment and protecting communities from the harmful toxins that lay dormant underground.

“I am running for Congress to ensure clean drinking water for all Americans, to take precautions to mitigate the environmental causes of cancer, and to stand up to industry-backed attacks on science federal agencies like the EPA by Scott Pruitt and others,” said Messmer. “At a time when the EPA is being dismantled, and environmental policy and regulations are being decimated, I vow to fiercely advocate for evidence-based policy if elected to Congress.”

“It​ ​is​ ​encouraging​ ​to​ ​see​ ​candidates​ ​like​ ​Mindi,​ ​with​ ​a​ ​proven​ ​track​ ​record​ ​of standing​ ​up​ ​for​ ​science​ ​science,​ ​stepping​ ​up​ ​to​ ​the​ ​plate​ ​to​ ​run​ ​for​ ​office,” said Joshua​ ​Morrow,​​Executive​ ​Director​ ​of​ ​314​ ​Action after hearing of Messmer’s decision to run.​ ​”In​ ​an era​ ​where​ ​alternative​ ​facts​ ​and​ ​attacks​ ​on​ ​science​ ​are​ ​the​ ​norm​ ​at​ ​the​ ​hands​ ​of the​ ​Trump​ ​Administration,​ ​Congress​ ​needs​ ​the​ ​perspective​ ​of​ ​scientists​ ​who​ ​will base​ ​policy​ ​on​ ​evidence​ ​rather​ ​than​ ​intuition.”

For 28 years, Messmer has run Terra Nova Environmental, a consulting firm that focuses on the “evaluation, design, development, and implementation of conventional and innovative in-situ and on-site technologies for remediation of contaminated sites.”

Most notably she was the first to identify and report a “pediatric cancer cluster” in five Seacoast NH towns. Her work prompted then Governor, Maggie Hassan to create a task force to investigate the “rhabdomyosarcoma and pleuropulmonary blastoma double pediatric cancer cluster.”

As head of the task force subcommittee, Messmer coordinated with the EPA and the NH Department of Environmental Services to investigate the Coakley Landfill Superfund Site, as the possible cause of the cancer cluster.

Messmer has also been leading the charge on the contaminated ground water in Merrimack, Bedford, and Litchfield linked to the Saint Gobain factory as well as groundwater contaminations linked to the Pease Air Force Base.

As a consultant, Messmer could only do so much. But as a state legislator she could write her own legislation to get the state to address these water issues. And that is exactly what she did.

Messmer was elected to the NH House of Representatives in 2016 and has already submitted a number of bills, three of which have already become law. Messmer’s bills created commissions to further study the cancer cluster and water contamination on the Seacoast as well as a commission to study “environmentally triggered illnesses” in New Hampshire.

In a brief conversation with Messmer after her announcement to run for Congress she talked about how there are more than 150 “superfund sites” similar to those at Pease AFB all across the country that need to be investigated.

Messmer is a longtime resident of Rye, NH where she lives with her husband and two teenage sons.


You can read her full campaign announcement here. Be sure to subscribe to the NH Labor News to get more news on the Congressional races in NH.

Rep Mindi Messmer Announces A Run For Congress In NH’s First District

Environmental Scientist and Public Health Whistleblower Mindi Messmer to Run for Congress in New Hampshire’s First District
Messmer is a Scientist, Small Business Owner and NH State Representative With a Proven Track Record of Defending Science and Standing Up for Public Health

(Portsmouth, NH) – Today, environmental scientist Mindi Messmer announced she will continue Rep. Carol Shea-Porter’s progressive legacy in Congress by running to succeed her in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional district. Mindi was elected to lead the 24th District of the NH House of Representatives in 2016 and has owned an environmental science consulting company, Terra Nova Environmental, since 1999. She also worked to elect Bernie Sanders and served on Senator Bernie Sanders’ Presidential Campaign’s New Hampshire steering committee in 2017.

Mindi’s work as a scientist made headlines in 2016 when she blew the whistle about what was later designated the Seacoast Cancer Cluster. In 2014 she discovered that an abnormally high number of children in New Hampshire’s Seacoast were getting cancer—an issue that the state initially sought to brush aside. She was appointed to the Governor Hassan’s Task Force in 2016 to take a leading role on the issue, and elected to the State Legislature later that year.

As a freshman state representative, Mindi has already been successful in having several pieces of sponsored legislation related to the public health and environmental issues pass into law. She has made clean drinking water, adequate environmental regulation standards and increased scrutiny for public health issues that are triggered by environmental conditions legislative priorities in office.

“I am running for Congress to ensure clean drinking water for all Americans, to take precautions to mitigate the environmental causes of cancer, and to stand up to industry-backed attacks on science federal agencies like the EPA by Scott Pruitt and others,” said Mindi. “At a time when the EPA is being dismantled, and environmental policy and regulations are being decimated, I vow to fiercely advocate for evidence-based policy if elected to Congress.”

A third-generation labor union member, Mindi grew up hearing about her mother’s fights for nurses’ rights as vice president of SEIU 1199 NY in New York City, and her grandfather’s action that formed a labor union to protect worker safety at Rheingold Brewery in the Bronx after his coworker and friend died on the job.

“Fighting for workers’ rights and constituents is engrained in my fiber. Our families are overworked, under-employed and one debilitating family illness away from bankruptcy,” said Mindi. “We need to support and re-vitalize labor and implement a $15 minimum wage. We have to provide students with an affordable public education, and make sure they can get a commensurate job when they get out of school and are not saddled with student loan debt. We must ensure that like every other major developed country, every American has access to affordable, high quality medical care regardless of household income. I am not a lifelong politician, but there are plenty of politicians, lawyers, and big business owners in D.C. who don’t work for 99% of us. It’s time for fresh faces who will work for the people, not special interests and are not afraid to take bold steps.”

Mindi graduated from Syracuse University with a B.S. in Earth Science and studied Geology and Hydrogeology at the University of New Hampshire. She is currently pursuing her M.S. in Clinical and Translational Science at Georgetown University and expects to receive her degree in the summer of 2018. Mindi is a married mother of two teenage sons and lives in Rye, NH.

Steelworkers Endorse Mark MacKenzie For Congress

MANCHESTER, N.H. — The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that the union has endorsed State Representative and former New Hampshire AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie for Congress to fight on behalf of working families in the First Congressional District.

Mark MacKenzie

“I am proud and honored to accept the endorsement of the Steelworkers Union, representing over 800,000 working men and women across our country. They understand that our campaign will bring the fight to protect and expand the middle class to the race, and will represent New Hampshire’s working families in Washington.” Mackenzie said.

USW District 4 Director John Shinn credited MacKenzie for serving working families for more than 40 years, as a firefighter and a leader within the labor movement each for 25 years and now in the state legislature. 

“Mark has been a tireless, visible and vocal champion of working families for decades,” Shinn said. “His leadership was instrumental in building a bipartisan coalition to defeat the so-called ‘Right to Work’ legislation brought before the New Hampshire House early this year.”

Shinn said that MacKenzie’s record of unashamed, outspoken and ultimately effective advocacy for American workers, their families and communities is too rare in Washington, D.C., and that the USW is proud to be the first major union to endorse the campaign to put him there.

“As a nation, if we want to create good jobs, a modern energy policy, address our crumbling infrastructure and expand the middle class,” he said, “then we need to elect representatives who know how to make it happen.”

“When we stand together in solidarity and fight together in unity for policies based on fairness and justice, we cannot be defeated,” Shinn said. “Nobody running for Congress understands that better than Mark MacKenzie.”

The USW represents 850,000 men and women employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, the auto supply and energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in public sector and service occupations.

Shea-Porter Campaign Releases A Bold, Progressive Plan to Reform Congress

Shea-Porter’s Plan Takes On Campaign Finance Reforms, The Revolving Door Of Members Becoming Lobbyists, More Transparency From Lobbyists and Members, And Eliminating Taxpayer Funded Perks

money-in-politicsRochester, NH — Today, the Shea-Porter campaign is releasing a comprehensive plan to reform how Congress does business.  The plan takes direct aim at our broken campaign finance laws, lobbying disclosure, Congressional disclosure, and Congressional perks.

“I promised never to accept corporate PAC or lobbyist donations. I’ve kept my promises to you, but Congress needs to change the way it does business. We have to shut the revolving door. We need to increase transparency in lobbying and Members’ personal financial disclosure reports.  And we need Congress to live within its means and set an example. That means getting rid of the perks. The abuse of franking privileges needs to stop. I have personally never charged taxpayers for first class, but if Members wish to fly First Class, they should not charge taxpayers for the upgrade. And although Members do not get free health care for life, I propose a law so it can never happen,” said Carol Shea-Porter.

The Shea-Porter plan is a set of proposals to reform campaign finance laws, shut the revolving door, improve lobbying disclosure, get rid of the perks, and require more disclosure from Members of Congress. It requires Super PACs to disclose their donors, expands the cooling off period for lobbyists, and forces them to report more of their activities. It also improves the disclosure forms Members of Congress must file, narrowing the reporting ranges for assets and stock trades and making the data available in electronically usable format.

Shea-Porter is taking on Campaign Financing directly by:

  • Close the Super PAC loophole to make incorporated entities who give money reveal their funding sources so voters know who is trying to influence our elections
  • Match small dollar donations so our representatives spend less time fundraising and more time serving you
  • Most importantly, we need to get rid of the Citizens United decision that allowed unlimited anonymous spending. We need a Constitutional Amendment that states very clearly that corporations are not people and that Congress and the states have the power to regulate money in federal elections, so we can re-impose reasonable limits on campaign spending

Shea-Porter proposal also wants to close the revolving door of members becoming lobbyists by:

  • Prohibit all lobbyists from lobbying their Congressional colleagues or former office for at least 2 years. This applies to all former senior Congressional and Administration staff as well
  • Close the so called “senior advisors” loophole employed by lobbyists to get around registration requirements
  • Take away all special privileges, like access to the House Dining Room, for Members that become lobbyists, for as long as they are lobbyists

You can see more details on improving lobbying disclosure, increasing transparency from members, and eliminating taxpayer funded perks in the full plan found here.

Congressional Response to Airport Wait Times Falls Far Short, TSA Union Says

AFGE says Congress must lift arbitrary workforce cap
and fund 6,000 additional security officers

AFGE TSA WASHINGTON – The American Federation of Government Employees, the union representing Transportation Security Officers at our nation’s airports, says recent Congressional actions to reduce passenger wait times are a good step but that the permanent solution remains hiring an additional 6,000 full-time screeners.

Congress on Monday approved shifting $28 million within the Transportation Security Administration’s current budget to convert 2,784 part-time officers to full-time positions and accelerate the hiring of 600 additional officers by the end of the fiscal year. This follows a similar action in May that enabled TSA to expedite the hiring of 768 new officers and pay additional overtime for current workers.

“The reprogramming requests that Congress has approved should provide some short-term relief to TSA officers who are clearly overworked and a flying public that is understandably frustrated,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said.

“However, the funding shifts fall far short in addressing the underlying issue, which is the failure of Congress to provide TSA with sufficient resources to meet its staffing needs and ensure the safety and security of the flying public,” Cox said.

Congress has set an arbitrary cap on the number of officers that the agency can hire, limiting TSA to no more than 45,000 screeners – although TSA can’t even meet the cap due to budget cuts.

Cox praised a group of 70 House lawmakers who sent a letter to leaders of the Homeland Security budget committee on June 8 calling the cap “arbitrary” and “illogical” and urging appropriators to remove it from the 2017 spending bill.

“Congress has set TSA up for failure by restricting how many workers it can hire and then slashing its budget to the point that it can’t even hire up to the arbitrary cap,” Cox said. “This results in passengers waiting two or three hours to get through checkpoints at peak times, while security lanes remain closed because there’s no staff to run them.

“Congress must lift this arbitrary worker cap and provide TSA with enough money to hire 6,000 additional officers, which would restore staffing levels to what they were in 2011.”

Earth Day 2016: An In Depth Look At Climate Change And NH’s Congressional Delegation

Happy Earth Day

Where New Hampshire’s Elected Representatives Stand On Combating Climate Change 

Today we celebrate the “46th anniversary of the 1st Earth Day, in which 20 million Americans–Democrats and Republicans–took to the streets to rally for a healthy, sustainable future and demonstrated against the deterioration of the environment” said Catherine Corkery, Executive Director of the NH Sierra Club.

“Unfortunately, today the bipartisan spirit of the original Earth Day has been lost, even as the evidence mounts that not only is our planet experiencing Climate Change on an unprecedented scale, but that everyday Americans care deeply about laying the foundation for a sustainable future for their children and grandchildren,” continued Corkery.

Across the nation Democrats have been pushing for better regulations to protect our natural resources and reverse the effects of Climate Change on our planet.

On the other side of the aisle, Republicans have rejected scientific proof of the effects of Climate Change and have pushed legislation to further strip away our natural resources.

“In 2014 Politifact looked at the 278 Republicans in Congress and found that only 8 had publicly accepted climate change science” state Corkery.

“As a professor emeritus at the University of New Hampshire’s Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, I’ve spent years studying climate change’s impact on the Granite State and I can tell you this without a doubt: climate change is the gravest threat facing our state, country and planet today” said UNH Environmental Science Professor Barrett Rock.

“Persistently high temperatures are causing the massive ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica to melt at an accelerated pace, causing rising sea levels on the Seacoast and presenting a major threat to New Hampshire’s economy,” added Rock.

What are we to do? Is there anything that can stop this global trend that will eventually eradicate life on Earth as we know it?

“We need to invest in renewable energy sources like solar and wind, implement energy efficiency measures and start weaning ourselves off high carbon use. We need to use treaties like the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Rock advised. “We need to elect public servants who not only recognize that climate change is a clear and pressing danger, but who are willing to actually do something about it.”

Currently New Hampshire has two Democrats and two Republicans representing us in Washington D.C. The two groups could not be further apart on climate issues.

 

Senator Kelly Ayotte

Ayotte3This week, Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) wrote an op-ed for the Nashua Telegraph claiming, “Earth Day should be every day.”

Ayotte tries to make the case that because she likes hiking and running through Mines Falls Park that she is hero to the environment. The truth is that she has been working to repeal environmental protections since she took office in 2011.

In 2011, Ayotte voted for legislation the League of Conservation Voters called at the time “the greatest legislative assault ever on the environment” after the Koch Brothers political arm urged senators to do so. The bill included the “virtual elimination of the Land and Water Conservation Fund,” the premier fund dedicated to preserving land and water sites across the United States for both conservation and recreation.

And when it comes to air pollution, Ayotte voted for an amendment that would “repeal the scientific finding by the EPA that greenhouse gases endanger human health and the environment,” and permanently block the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, again after the Koch Brothers’ political arm urged senators to do so. During her first 4 years in Washington, Ayotte voted with the Koch Brothers nearly 90% of the time.

“Kelly Ayotte’s political spin is out of line with the reality of her true environmental voting record and not fooling anyone,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “New Hampshire voters know that Ayotte has consistently stood with special interest backers like the Koch Brothers against protecting our planet and conserving New Hampshire’s natural resources. Her attempts to pretend otherwise fly in the face of reality.”

Ayotte is facing fierce competition from New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan for her seat in the Senate. Hassan is a strong proponent of green energy and taking immediate action to combat Climate Change.

As a State Senator, and now as Governor, Hassan has pushed for New Hampshire to participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to lower carbon pollution.

“From sponsoring New Hampshire’s original Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and helping pass the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard in the State Senate, to signing legislation to strengthen those efforts and establish a long-term Energy Strategy as Governor, Maggie Hassan has always been a strong champion for New Hampshire’s environment,” said Campaign Communications Director Aaron Jacobs.

“Under Governor Hassan, New Hampshire was ranked among the top 5 states for renewable energy,” said NH State Senator David Watters.

 

Senator Jeanne Shaheen

Shaheen-021109-18432- 0009This week, Senator Shaheen (D-NH) celebrated a significant environmental win as the Senate finally passed the Shaheen-Portman Comprehensive Energy Efficiency bill, which was introduced in the Senate over five year ago. The bill pushes for expanded use of green energy solutions to address our growing energy problems and works to reverse the effects of Climate Change.

The Clean Distributed Energy Grid Integration Act, identifies and addresses obstacles limiting the use of clean energy technologies, thereby reducing energy costs and improving the power quality and resiliency of the electric grid. Specifically, the legislation directs the Department of Energy to identify the technical and regulatory barriers to integrating clean distributed energy sources on the grid, and to strive to overcome these barriers through research, stakeholder working groups and demonstrations.

Shaheen has put Climate Change and protecting the environment at the top of her legislative agenda. She recently praised the Paris Summit to address Climate Change.

“This agreement is an unprecedented achievement and affirms New Hampshire’s leadership reducing carbon emissions,” said Shaheen. “‎The United States must capitalize on this success and continue to lead by supporting stronger policies that speed the transition to a clean energy economy.‎ We owe it to our children and grandchildren to start today so we can avoid the worst impacts of climate change, while building strong communities resilient to the changes already underway.”

 

Congressman Frank Guinta

Frank Guinta (Image by Mark Nassal)

Frank Guinta (Image by Mark Nassal)

In the US House, Congressman Frank Guinta (R-01) is one of the many climate deniers in the US House. Guinta denies Climate Change science that has the support of 97% of the scientific community. “I’m not sure the science is accurate or complete on this issue,” Guinta said.  As a politician who has received major funding from the Big Oil and the Koch Brothers he would know better than 97% of the scientific community.

During the 2014 GOP Primary Congressman Guinta was videotaped saying “No” to the question, “Do you believe that the theory of man-made climate change has been scientifically proven?”

During Guinta’s time in office he voted to expand drilling rights on the outer continental shelf, block the EPA from regulating Greenhouse Gases, license new nuclear plants, and supported the Keystone Pipeline.

Guinta even went as far to oppose any legislation relating to Climate Change.

 

Congresswoman Annie Kuster

Ann kuster head shot LGNot everyone in Washington believes that Climate Change is a hoax.

In 2013, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (D-NH) took a bold stance to push for more action addressing Climate Change.

“We have a fundamental responsibility to confront the challenge of climate change head on – for the health of our environment, the strength of our economy, and the future of our children. I am eager to partner with members of both parties to take responsible, common sense steps that will reduce carbon emissions, make America more energy independent, and advance the development of renewable energy sources. Inaction on these fronts is simply not an option.”

Kuster continues to push back against proposals that will harm our environment like the Northeast Energy Direct (Kinder-Morgan NED) pipeline.

Yesterday, Kinder-Morgan announced they would no longer pursue the construction of the NED pipeline.

Kuster was overjoyed to hear the news.

“I was proud to lead the fight against the Kinder Morgan pipeline project, which, after countless site visits, forums, and meetings with constituents, I deemed a poor deal for New Hampshire – both for our natural environment and the safety of our neighborhoods.  While we must pursue smart energy policies that lower energy costs for New Hampshire, this particular project would have taken advantage of our natural resources without providing sufficient benefits for our state,” said Kuster.

Earth Day 2016

Earth Day - No YearThis Earth Day we need to look at who is representing us in Washington and what they are doing to reverse the effects of Climate Change. We need local and national policy changes that work to clean our air and reserve all of our natural resources for generations to come. As the 2016 elections are quickly approaching we must use our voices by electing representative who will make positive change in Washington, not work to repeal all of the environmental gains we have made in the last 46 years since the first Earth Day.

Congress Must Act Immediately to Meet Obligations of Failing Coal Country Pensions and Health Benefits

 Time is Running Out for Retired Miners and Families

UMWA President Cecil Roberts Tells Senate Finance Committee that Bipartisan Legislation is “Least Expensive” Option for U.S. Government 

UMWA United Mine Workers LogoWASHINGTON – Testifying today before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) President Cecil Roberts said Congress must act immediately to meet the nation’s obligations to retired miners and their families. 

America’s mine workers, Roberts said, “spent decades putting their lives and health on the line every single day, going into coal mines across this nation to provide the energy and raw materials needed to make America the most powerful nation on earth.”

Through no fault of their own, Roberts told the senators, retired miners and their surviving spouses now face an imminent loss of modest pension benefits – averaging $530 per month – as well as health care benefits that are literally a matter of life and death for many miners who confront work-related illnesses and injuries. 

Roberts appeared before the Finance Committee, chaired by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), to urge immediate passage of S. 1714, the Miners Protection Act. The bipartisan legislation, backed by members of both parties, will ensure that America meets its often-stated obligations to America’s coal miners, who risked their lives and well-being for decades to meet our nation’s energy needs.

“UMWA retirees have a much higher level of cardio-pulmonary diseases than the general population,” said Roberts. “They have more musculo-skeletal injuries. They have higher rates of cancers. Many of them have black lung to at least some degree, and thousands have severe cases.”

Because pension funds for retired miners are backed by the taxpayer-guaranteed Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PGBC), said Roberts, any delay in Congressional action now will cause even larger problems later.  The miners’ pension fund is one of the largest in the country.  If it is unable to pay its bills and the PBGC if forced to step in, the PBGC itself could go bankrupt, putting tens of millions of other pensioners all across the country at risk.

Immediate passage of S. 1714, Roberts told the senators, “is less expensive to the government than any other outcome.” 

“Senators and Representatives from both sides of the aisle have worked to secure passage of this vital legislation because they know the disaster that awaits us in the coalfields if we fail to act,” said Roberts. “I’m here today to remind you that we are running out of time.”

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