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Professional Fire Fighters And Others Call For The Removal Of Ad Politicizing Heroin

Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire Logo (Via Facebook)The Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire are calling for the conservative group, “Citizens for a Stronger New Hampshire,” to immediately pull their television and digital ads attacking Governor Hassan over the growing heroin epidemic.

“Our members, fire fighters, and paramedics see first-hand the heroin epidemic in this state and witness the effects it has on real people and real families,” said David Lang President of the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire. “It’s beyond despicable that anyone would try to play politics with New Hampshire’s heroin epidemic by launching a false and offensive attack ad.” 

“Governor Hassan has been a strong leader in combatting substance abuse since she entered office.  She has been on the front lines helping fire fighters, paramedics, and all emergency officials save lives by increasing the availability of Narcan, pushing for more substance abuse treatment options, and working to address the over-prescribing of opioids that can lead to addiction,” Lang continued. “These irresponsible attacks have no place in the effort to combat substance abuse, and I call on this partisan group to immediately take down these reckless attacks.”

House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff also blasted Republicans for passing a budget that “undermines critical priorities” to address public safety issues like the growing heroin epidemic.

“As a former United States Marshal, I’m particularly disturbed by this completely reckless attempt to politicize the most pressing public safety issue facing our state,” said House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff. “Governor Hassan and Democrats in the legislature have made clear that we are deeply concerned that the Republican budget undermines critical priorities for our state, especially efforts to combat the heroin epidemic. It’s time for both sides to finally come together to pass a responsible compromise budget, not launch false and offensive attacks against Governor Hassan.”

The “Citizens for a Stronger NH” have been attacking Governor Hassan in an attempt to weaken her favorability rating as rumors fly that Hassan will run against Senator Kelly Ayotte in 2016.

“It’s truly offensive and reckless that the heroin epidemic is being politicized by Kelly Ayotte’s allies with baseless attacks and accusations not grounded in reality, despite calls from law enforcement to stop playing politics with this critical public health and safety issue,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “Ayotte and her allies need to stop meddling in the state budget process and putting partisan politics before the interests of New Hampshire’s people.”

Needle (FLICKR Steven Depolo)

Needle (Image by Steven Depolo FLICKR)

Contrary to the baseless attack ads being pushed throughout the state, Governor Hassan has continually pushed proposals to address the growing heroin epidemic.  The New Hampshire Republican Party has stonewalled Governor Hassan’s multiple attempts to address the issue.

Compromise Budget Proposal 

Governor Hassan has consistently fought for increased resources to address the heroin epidemic while the fiscally irresponsible Republican budget would create a $90 million budget hole, undermining the state’s efforts to combat the heroin crisis.

The Governor’s compromise budget proposal increased funding for substance abuse by $5.7 million, and leading advocates have made clear that “When it comes to combatting New Hampshire’s growing substance abuse epidemic, Gov. Hassan’s proposed budget compromise is clearly better for both sides than the alternative, or in this case, alternatives.” 

Medicaid Expansion

Public health and safety officials have also said that the single most important action the state could take today to combat the heroin epidemic is to reauthorize the successful Medicaid expansion program, and treatment providers have indicated they are waiting to expand programs and facilities until they have certainty that Medicaid expansion will be reauthorized. Yet Republicans have refused to re-authorize expansion due to their own partisan politics.   

Increasing Availability of Narcan

The Governor has fought to expand the availability of Narcan, working with the Department of Safety to increase the number of public safety officials who can administer the emergency treatment, as well as signing legislation allowing family members to obtain prescriptions for Narcan. 

Recommendations to Build on Efforts to Combat Substance Abuse Crisis 

Since entering office, Governor Hassan has made combatting substance abuse a key priority, and in July 2015, the Governor’s Senior Director of Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health released 22 recommendations to further strengthen the state’s efforts.  

Key recommendations, which are already underway, include expanding access to substance abuse treatment and working to prevent overprescribing of opioids that can lead to addiction.


Professional Fire Fighters of NH Endorse Carol Shea-Porter for Congress

Carol Shea-Porter_Official.2010-300x288CONCORD – The Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire back Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (CD1) in her re-election campaign. The Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire represent over 2,000 active and retired fire fighters and paramedics across the state. Congressional District one has 23 out of 43 PFFNH locals.

“Congresswoman Shea-Porter has always stood up for middle class families. It is very clear from her history and her voting record, that her priorities are to the people on Main Street, not the people on Wall Street. She has always been a friend to fire fighters, and knows that keeping the public safe is not just a talking point, but a responsibility that she takes seriously,” said Dave Lang, President of the Professional Fire Fighters of NH.

“I am honored to receive the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire endorsement in the general election. I thank President David Lang and the firefighters for this prestigious endorsement. Firefighters put their lives on the line constantly to protect others, and they are deeply respected by our citizens. I promise to continue working hard for fire fighters and for everyone else in New Hampshire,” stated Shea-Porter.

The Professional Firefighters of NH Are Pleased With Today’s Decision Against LGC

The Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire are pleased with today’s unanimous Supreme Court decision regarding the ex- Local Government Center and their regulator, the Bureau of Securities Regulation. 

“We applaud the decision of the New Hampshire Supreme Court. This has been a decade long journey to demand transparency from the organization that the public entrusted with their money,” said David Lang, President of the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire.

Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire Logo (Via Facebook)Today’s decision validates what the members of the PFFNH organization has always known. Over a decade ago, the PFFNH began to shed light on what they believed to be questionable financial practices at the LGC by filing a series of “Right to Know” requests.

“The board has spent millions of dollars in an attempt to prevent the public from getting their own money back. It is my hope that this decision finally ends the wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars. This unanimous decision goes far in making all members whole: both active and retired employees and the taxpayers,” Lang continued.

The PFFNH is pleased that millions of dollars has been returned to cities and towns, taxpayers, and public employees, and will continue to fight to ensure that all members are made whole and tax dollars are spent for the appropriate purposes.

This decision solidifies the Bureau of Securities Regulations authority, under the Secretary of State, to regulate public risk pool entities. The PFFNH applauds their due diligence in protecting the taxpayers of this state.

Senator Shaheen A Proven Fighter For New Hampshire By PFF-NH Pres. Dave Lang

Shaheen and Lang

Senator Shaheen and PFF-NH President Dave Lang

When an emergency strikes in New Hampshire, fire fighters respond to the call, no matter what the situation is. Every day, fire fighters and paramedics go to work and get the job done. In New Hampshire, we are lucky to have a leader that acts the same way.  Jeanne Shaheen has a long history of working hard here in New Hampshire, and on our behalf in the Senate.

As fire fighters know, it is not just hard work alone that makes you effective. It is the thoughtful, prepared, and unwavering way you approach matters that makes you effective. Strong, steady, and determined is the way Senator Shaheen works. She cares most about positive outcomes and less about credit. I’ve always found that the people who are more concerned with getting results than they are with getting credit are the ones who get the most done. Jeanne Shaheen is that kind of person.

In the past few months alone we’ve seen Senator Shaheen score big wins for New Hampshire and the entire country on a wide range of issues. Along with the rest of New Hampshire’s delegation, she successfully pushed for disaster funding for parts of our state that were devastated by flooding earlier this summer. She successfully fought for resources to continue funding the Berlin Prison in a key piece of legislation that was passed in July.  From protecting jobs at the shipyard in Portsmouth to helping secure the new KC-46A tanker at Pease, her efforts will have a significant economic impact on the region and boost Pease’s role in our national security efforts. She has been there time and again for our men and women in uniform.

While she is focused on our state she is a national leader in making our country stronger. She is on the verge of passing a historic energy bill that would help our country save money, create jobs, and lower pollution. She has pushed for government reforms to end wasteful spending on programs like useless catfish inspection programs. Her bill to provide additional veterans benefits for same sex military couples – named after Charlie Morgan, the late chief warrant officer in the New Hampshire Army National Guard – cleared a major legislative hurdle a few weeks ago. And she has been a tireless advocate for our veterans who have wrongly had to deal with an absurd backlog at the VA while they wait for their claims to be processed.

When fire fighters and paramedics are called upon we use the following thought process: assess what’s happening, develop a plan, and make the bad stop happening. We do not ask what neighborhood you come from, or whether you are rich or poor: we just act. Jeanne Shaheen has done this her entire career fighting for New Hampshire.

Jeanne Shaheen has accomplished a lot for our state. She may not always be the first to brag about everything she has done, but that shouldn’t discount from her leadership skills, her tireless work ethic, and her ability to get things done in a place as dysfunctional as Washington. As a first responder, I know that a lot of times the most important work is done behind the scenes, quietly out of the limelight, to make our communities safer, better places to live. That’s exactly what Jeanne Shaheen has done in the Senate on behalf of New Hampshire, and we should all feel very fortunate to have her looking out for us in Washington.

David Lang

President, Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire


This op/ed was also published in the Seacoast Online.

Local Government Center Rhetoric Does Not Match Reality

An emergency board meeting of the Local Government Center was held last week in regards to dealing with the implementation of the Hearings Officer’s Order (Final Order) in the matter of the “State of NH vs. Local Government Center et. el”.  A statement from the Executive Director was issued post meeting.

The Executive Director claims (LGC ED Message) that the requirement to purchase reinsurance will add $5 million to the rates. A look at the financials suggests otherwise. Page 5 of the 2011 financials (2011 Audited Financials ) notes two things, first that there are no claims over $1million dollars (minimizing the cost of reinsurance) and second an actual cost of ½% of contributions for reinsurance . Based on the current health insurance contribution of 400 million dollars, this equals a cost of approximately $2 million, not $5 million as overstated by the Executive Director.

“Here is where the rhetoric falls far short of the reality. Just look and compare the financials 2010 to 2011, it appears the LGC reduced the amount of dollars for reserve by 18% from the previous year, and then they further collected 4% more in contributions while experiencing an increase in claims cost of only 1%*. What does this mean to those paying the bills? The LGC kept more money, while their net assets (surplus) grew by 19% or $20.5 million,” stated Dave Lang, President of the Professional Fire Fighters of NH.

“The management of the Local Government Center would have us all believe that in order to save us $2 million or $5 million for that matter in our rates they need to keep $106,155,206 the 2011 net asset balance. NH citizens expect a level of transparency when it comes to their local governments. These repeated actions by the Local Government Center defy on all accounts that expectation,” continued Lang.

An excerpt found on page 5 of the 2011 Financials

LGC HealthTrust purchased stop loss excess coverage to help defer the impact of large claims. LGC HealthTrust retained the first $1,000,000 of each claim through June 30, 2010; the stop loss carrier reimburses amounts above that level. LGC HealthTrust paid .5% of contributions for reinsurance. HealthTrust eliminated the purchase of stop loss reinsurance as of July 1, 2010. The Board asked the actuary to assess the risk of the elimination of this coverage. The actuary’s opinion noted HealthTrust had not sustained a claim over $1,000,000. The actuary also noted HealthTrust’s level of Risk Based Capital and size gave it the ability to eliminate this coverage and the resulting cost of purchasing reinsurance. Eliminating the purchase of reinsurance reduces the cost of coverage to member groups.

*A calculated explanation of President Lang’s explanation with page references found in the 2011 Financials (web link provided above):

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