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Sen. Kelly Ayotte Needs To Explain To Voters Her Opposition To Raising The Minimum Wage

Guest Editorial By Jeff Kramer

Senator Kelly Ayotte and her challenger Maggie Hassan are scheduled to go toe-to-toe on November 2nd, their last debate before Election Day.  As someone who has spent much of my adult life working in a low-wage jobs, I urge the moderators ask the candidates to answer one of the most important questions for working households like mine: whether they will vote to raise the minimum wage.

Working people in New Hampshire deserve to know why, during her time in the U.S. Senate, Kelly Ayotte has voted against every effort to raise the minimum wage. Her opposition to raising the federal minimum wage has kept it frozen at a poverty-level of $7.25 an hour since 2009. The low federal minimum wage is even more significant in New Hampshire because it is the only New England state that ties its state minimum wage to the federal level. Sen. Ayotte’s role in keeping the federal minimum wage low is therefore doubly hurting New Hampshire’s working families, keeping pay low in this increasingly expensive state.

Without action to raise the minimum wage, the adjusted median wage in New Hampshire has declined by almost 7 percent since the recession, a sharper decline than virtually all other states in the nation.  As a result, over 35 percent of working New Hampshirites (225,300 workers) today earn less than $15 per hour, and 155,000 are paid less than $12. The vast majority of these low-wage workers are adults 25 and older, including over 15 percent who are 55 years or older. Most of these workers are women, many raising children – New Hampshire’s future – on low wages. The low federal minimum wage forces hundreds of thousands of working families to seek food stamps and other forms of public assistance each year, costing New Hampshire taxpayers $104 million annually.

As an adult working low wage jobs, I have been struggling to get by. When I went back to college full time to finish my degree, I worked at a fast food restaurant up to 40 hours a week during closing shift, and over 30 hours a week at a retail store to support myself. Even while working both of these jobs, I could not fully support myself. I couldn’t afford an apartment and was still living with my parents at the age of 29. I couldn’t afford health insurance and it was not offered to me through either job. Last year I became injured and I was working at a retail store where I was only offered 5-8 hours a week of work. I was paid $7.25 even though I had a college degree, management experience, and a beautiful resume. I had to rely on government assistance and food pantries to get by until I found new work. I now work for an organization that pays me $15.00. I have an apartment, a car, and am able to independently financially support myself for the first time in my life. Raising the minimum wage to $15.00 would do so much for struggling families. I know earning a livable wage has been life changing for me.  

Contrary to the claims we hear from opponents, raising the minimum wage increases the income of low-wage workers without hurting jobs . The most recent and most rigorous studies to date have shown that any employment effects from an increase in the wage floor are very small. As Goldman Sachs analysts summarized recently, “the economic literature has typically found no effect on employment” from U.S. minimum wage increases.

New Hampshire workers of all ages deserve fair pay and a shot at a decent life. They are frustrated by Sen. Ayotte and the Republican Congress’s blocking any action to raise the minimum wage. Gov. Maggie Hassan, by contrast, has called for giving working families in New Hampshire the long overdue  minimum wage increase they need.  Recent polling shows that nearly three-quarters of New Hampshire voters want a minimum wage increase, and that when voters learn of Sen. Ayotte’s track record on the minimum wage, Gov. Hassan’s lead widens.

With voters demanding action on the minimum wage, other Republican incumbents are reassessing their opposition to raising wages.  Last week, Senators Rob Portman (Ohio) and Ron Johnson (Wisconsin) backtracked on their previous opposition to raising the minimum wage, and Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen backed a $15 minimum wage for Florida.  As she seeks another term in the U.S. Senate, Kelly Ayotte’s should do the same.

Jeff Kramer lives in Manchester and is now a field organizer with Rights & Democracy, a grassroots member organization which is part of the Raise Up New Hampshire Coalition.  

Shea-Porter Dominates Guinta in Second Debate

 North Conway, NH— Tonight, Carol Shea-Porter continued her dominant debate performances, holding Guinta accountable for his constant deception of New Hampshire voters. On issue after issue, Frank desperately tried to inflate his record, but Carol wouldn’t let him. She held him responsible for voting against funding for opioid treatment and prevention and for failing to provide adequate funding for the new programs passed last summer. He wasn’t able to defend his irresponsible votes to take drug treatment away from 6,000 people.

“This is important work that needs to be done, but if you’re going to vote against the ACA than you’re voting to take away treatment. There’s no other way to explain that. You actually voted against the bill, the Omnibus, last December which had money for treatment for opioid and heroin addiction,” Shea-Porter said. “Now you’re on the Budget Committee. You didn’t get your budget passed.  But you voted for things in the Budget Committee, and one of them, you had an opportunity to vote for more money for the opioid crisis, and you said no. So you can’t stand here and say that you know that we need these resources and then go to Washington and vote against it,” added Shea-Porter. 

Shea-Porter laid out her plans for the future, “There’s no statute of limitations on caring for people,” she said. She called for affordable higher education for Americans and highlighted her record expanding Pell Grants and lowering student loan interest rates by having students apply directly for a federal school loan. The subsidies that banks used to collect were plowed back into increasing Pell Grant funding. 

On funding for education for children with disabilities, Shea-Porter said, “It’s really shameful, it’s a commitment [Congress] made, and they should honor it.” She showed the audience her compassion and commitment for fighting for all Americans, not just those at the very top. “We have to keep working at this because it’s an obligation we have to every child no matter where that child is no matter what the zip code is, no matter what the difficulties that their family faces or the child faces, the challenges. Every child deserves an opportunity to be fully engaged and part of what I call a piece of the American Dream,” concluded Shea-Porter

NH AFL-CIO Praises DNC & NHDP’s Decision To Pull WMUR Sponsorship

New Hampshire AFL-CIO President, Glenn Brackett’s statement on DNC & NHDP’s decision to remove WMUR as a co-sponsor of the December 19th Democratic Debate in Manchester:

NH AFL-CIO LogoHooksett – Glenn Brackett, President of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO issued the following statement in support of the Democratic National Committee and the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s decision to remove WMUR as a sponsor of the December 19th Democratic Debate due to WMUR’s refusal to negotiate in good faith with their workers. 

“I am proud of our brothers and sisters of IBEW 1228 for standing up for their rights as WMUR workers. I am grateful to the DNC, New Hampshire Democratic Party, and the Presidential candidates for their decision to stand with New Hampshire workers and hold Hearst Corp. accountable for their refusal to negotiate in good faith with their employees.

I would like to thank DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Shultz and NHDP chair Ray Buckley for their support throughout this endeavor.

The New Hampshire AFL-CIO would also like to thank Democratic Presidential candidate Martin O’Malley for the statement he released yesterday calling on WMUR to be removed as a sponsor of this debate. 

Although we regret the Hearst Corporation’s repeated unwillingness to move contract negotiations forward with their employees, the New Hampshire AFL-CIO and its fellow brothers and sisters in organized labor, look forward to the upcoming debate and the opportunity to see three great candidates make their case to New Hampshire, and working men and women across the country.”

WBIN First Congressional District Debate Video Links, Recap And Shea-Porter Statement

Screen shot 2014-10-22 at 1.07.58 PM

Last night Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter and Congressman Frank Guinta went back and forth for the umpteenth time.  Both candidates pushed their own message points.

Congresswoman Shea-Porter focused on her work to help middle class families by expanding access to healthcare, raising the minimum wage, and reversing the draconian cuts forced on the government by the Sequester.

Congressman Guinta focused on his work to repeal the Affordable Care Act, stating the 20,000 people had their policies canceled by the Affordable Care Act.  Congressman Guinta is correct that some people did have their policies canceled but it was Anthem who canceled their policy, not Congresswoman Shea-Porter.  Anthem was forced to provide a minimum level of coverage and instead of updating their previous plan, they canceled it and told people to buy their new policy through the ACA Exchange.  In 2015, Granite Staters will have a real choice on the ACA exchange as more insurance companies will be offering policies on the Exchange.

Congressman Guinta also attempted to attack Shea-Porter on her voting against a resolution to block Congress from using tax payer money to purchase First Class airfare.  Shea-Porter quickly pointed out that the resolution in the GOP budget.  Her vote was against the proposed budget, not the resolution about First Class travel.  Guinta has been running an attack ad on the First Class travel that earned Four Pinocchios from the Washington Post. 

Congressman Guinta also made false claims about three bills he supposedly had signed into law during the 112th Congress. The Congressional record disagrees.

A closer look at his record shows that none of the nine bills he introduced came up for a vote, much less became law. Two of Guinta’s nine 112th Congress bills, H.R.1863 and H.R.4968, were re-introductions of legislation Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter introduced in the 111th Congress.

“Frank Guinta is resorting to inventing accomplishments to cover-up his do-nothing record while in Congress,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Deputy Communications Director Bryan Lesswing. “Granite State voters won’t be fooled by Guinta’s latest desperate attempts to distract voters from his extreme Tea Party agenda that would devastate New Hampshire’s middle-class families.”

NH News 1 has posted the full debate in three parts.

Part 1                 Part 2                 Part 3

After the debate Congresswoman Shea-Porter released the following statement:

Shea-Porter Cleans Up at NH1 Debate;
Guinta Runs From Extreme Record

Carol Shea-Porter emerged the clear winner at tonight’s NH1 debate, discussing the work she is doing to create jobs around the District, including the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, and offering solutions for middle class families that left Frank Guinta fumbling to defend his extreme Tea Party record.

“While Carol highlighted her work for New Hampshire’s middle class, Frank Guinta refused to explain his anti-middle-class budgets that would hurt seniors, came out in opposition to our state’s bipartisan Medicaid expansion, and wouldn’t tell voters why he voted against Planned Parenthood and why he opposes abortion even in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother,” said Shea-Porter spokeswoman Marjorie Connolly. “First District voters have a clear choice on November 4th between Tea Partier Frank Guinta and Carol Shea-Porter, who’s working for the ‘Rest of Us.’”

What do you think? Who do you think won the debate? Leave us a comment here or on our Facebook Page with your opinions.

WBIN Second Congressional Debate Video Links And Kuster’s Statement

Video Snapshot

Video Snapshot

Did you miss the Second Congressional District debate?  If you did not see the debate live, NH News 1 has posted the full debate in three parts.

Part 1,            Part 2,          Part 3

After the debate the Kuster campaign released the following statement.

Kuster Clear Winner of NH1 Debate;
Garcia Reveals True Tea Party Colors

This evening, Congresswoman Annie Kuster emerged as the clear winner of the first NH1 debate of the season. Throughout the debate, Kuster highlighted her work to fight for the priorities Granite Staters care about – creating more jobs and opportunities for our workers, making college more affordable for our students, and fighting for our nation’s veterans. Garcia, on the other hand, was put on the defensive during the entire debate as she stuck to her Tea Party playbook, and continuously demonstrated support for shockingly extreme policies that would hurt Granite State families.

“During tonight’s debate, Garcia revealed her support for extreme, Tea Party policies that would hurt Granite State families across the board,” said Kuster campaign spokeswoman Rosie Hilmer. “From doubling-down on her wish to repeal the Violence Against Women Act, dismissing it as ‘only a catchy title’ and a waste of resources – and showing an alarming lack of knowledge about what repeal would actually mean for victims of domestic abuse – to outright lying about her plans to abolish the Department of Education and eliminate federal student loans, to her commitment to banning abortions even in the cases of rape, incest, and saving the life of the mother, Garcia’s policies would be devastating for Granite State families.”

Be sure to leave a comment on our facebook page with who you think won this debate?

Did this debate highlight anything you did not already know?  Did it change your opinion of either candidate?

What Is Scott Brown Really Afraid Of? The Voters Of New Hampshire

Over the past few weeks the national news media has been talking non-stop about how Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader, was ousted by an unknown primary contender. The main talking point of the post primary results is that Cantor “phoned it in.” He spent all of his time traveling the country rallying the GOP base for other candidates, and neglected to spend any time in his own home district. At one point Cantor was booed off the stage during a campaign speech.

How does this relate to New Hampshire politics?

There is an eerie similarity to Cantor and former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown’s campaign for the US Senate seat from New Hampshire.

Scott_P._BrownScott Brown has been driving his truck all across New Hampshire in an attempt to convince Granite Staters that he is one of us. Telling people that by spending time in New Hampshire as kid or weekends at his vacation home makes him a real Granite Stater.

True Granite Staters are just not buying it.

If Brown were a real Granite Stater, he would understand that we are less about grandstanding and photo ops, and more about substance. We want candidates who talk about their positions and are willing to stand up for their beliefs.

Brown is snubbing the people of New Hampshire by refusing to participate in local debates.   Brown skipped a debate in Bedford in April, and now he is “booked up” an unable or unwilling to participate in the Merrimack Business Association’s debate tomorrow.

David McCray, chairman of the Merrimack Business Association and a former Merrimack town councilor, was less than impressed at the way that the Brown campaign treated him and his initiation to debate.

“McCray is angry at the way his business group was treated by the Brown campaign. An invitation to the June 18 Merrimack event went out to the candidates by registered mail on April 23,” McCray told the Union Leader. “In early May, McCray learned that Brown would not be attending, not from Brown’s campaign but from a Union Leader reporter. Offer rescinded.

The irony is that McCray was a supporter of Scott Brown when he ran against Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts.

“We went to Stoneham on the day of the Massachusetts election when he ran against Elizabeth Warren and held Scott Brown signs, standing out in the cold for eight hours,” McCray told the Sentinel Enterprise. “He knew that. And yet he didn’t even have the common courtesy to respond to our invitation to a debate in 16 days. That bothered me.”

Even ultra-right wing conservative blogger, Granite Grok, had some choice words about Brown skipping the debate.

“So, Scott Brown, you used a media outlet as a cover to screw over a forum in which you’d be a sitting duck in being directly compared to your competition. Sure, you’ve accepted the big TV event debate – but that’s not how campaigning works here in NH.”

This is not the first time that Brown has ducked constituent questions.

Twice in the last week Brown was confronted by real Granite Staters who asked him straight out if he supported raising the minimum wage.”

Brown’s response:

“I’ve supported a minimum wage increase before. It’s something that I think needs to be periodically reviewed, but it’s really important to make sure that everyone’s at the table, especially people who are hiring and growing,” Brown told the Concord Monitor.

Avoiding actually answering questions from real Granite Staters is quickly becoming a trend for Scott Brown.

What is Brown afraid of? Is he afraid to tell the people where he stands because he thinks it will hurt him with the ultra-conservatives who tend to vote in the primary? Or is he afraid that it will hurt him in a general election, if he actually gets through the primary.

Granite Staters take pride in being informed about whom they are voting for, and Brown thinks he can get away with B.S. answers and newspaper quotes instead of participating in local politics.   It is bad enough that he did not work his way up through the ranks in New Hampshire like many of the other candidates.

The Union Leader asked McCray why he thinks Brown is ignoring the Merrimack debate and the voters of Merrimack?

“He’s playing it as if he has already won,” said McCray.

I am sure that is exactly what Eric Cantor thought too.

“Is the Common Core good for New Hampshire families and children.” Hear both sides. May 19, St. Anselms

The forum is sponsored by Cornerstone.  Seating is limited so it is important to RSVP here.

Here’s the flyer:

“Is the Common Core good for New Hampshire families and children.”

Common Core State Standards: A Public Forum

Join us for an informative exchange between supporters and opponents of Common Core.  National and local experts and activists and the chair of the New Hampshire State Board of Education will participate in a forum explaining Common Core and why they either support or oppose the Common Core standards.  We will also welcome audience questions at the end of the discussion.

Panelists include:

Supporters of Common Core

Tom Raffio: President and CEO of Northeast Delta Dental and Chairman of the New Hampshire State Board of Education

Dr. David Pook: teacher at Derryfield School and Granite State College, education consultant and contributing writer of the Common Core English Language Arts standards

Bill Duncan: Retired software entrepreneur, granddad, education advocate and founder of Advancing New Hampshire Public Education

Opponents of Common Core

Jamie Gass: Director of the Center for School Reform at Pioneer Institute

Emmett McGroarty: Executive Director of Education at American Principles Project

Ann Marie Banfield: Education Researcher and Education Liaison for Cornerstone Action

Date: May 19th

Time: 7pm to 9pm

Location: St. Anselm Institute of Politics

Seating is limited. Please RSVP



AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on Second Presidential Debate

From WIKIPediaTonight President Obama drew a stark contrast between Mitt Romney’s vision for the future and his own. In doing so, he could not have made the choice clearer for working families.

There are powerful contrasts in the values of these two people. President Obama signed the Lily Ledbetter Act; Governor Romney touts his “binders full of women.” President Obama favors respect and rights for all people; Governor Romney says immigrants will “self deport” if they are starved of jobs and income. President Obama believes everybody should have a fair shot and play by the same rules and he supports good teachers and education for all our children; Governor Romney believes that if the richest Americans do well, it will solve our nation’s economic problems.

President Obama believes in honoring hard work and respecting the people who do it, whether their name is on the front door or their front pocket. He believes in rebuilding the American manufacturing sector and rebuilding our national infrastructure — so we can strengthen our middle class. He believes in protecting the vital public services Americans rely on, as well as the people who perform them.

In stark contrast, Mitt Romney is advocating for policies that he perfected at Bain Capital: Hollow out the middle class, outsource jobs and give even more tax breaks to the top 2 percent and make working families pay for them.  Despite his sudden flip from the ‘severe conservative’ to ‘Moderate Mitt,’ we’ve seen him dismiss half the country behind closed doors and sneer at the people who work hard every day and struggle to get by. Working America is a lot smarter than he gives us credit for — and we overwhelmingly reject his core policies that threaten the middle class.

Mitt Romney Wants To End Big Bird

Did you watch the debate on Wednesday night?  Did you see where Mitt Romney told people that one of the ways he would reduce the Federal Deficit was to make cuts to programs like PBS.

Mitt Romney said “I am going to stop the subsidies to PBS…I like PBS, I love Big Bird…

Mitt Romney’s statement about PBS and Big Bird started a firestorm of comments of people asking why PBS, why Big Bird.  Well Big Bird and Sesame Street cost money.  You have to pay the Muppets, those little furballs don’t work for free.  Actually PBS (which also includes National Public Radio) gets about $445 Million dollars from the Federal Government every years.  According to a PBS Statement released on Thursday PBS stated

“For every $1.00 of federal funding invested, they raise an additional $6.00 on their own”

PBS is an investment in our future.  The high quality programing on PBS is watch by over 80% of children between 2-8. I remember watching Sesame Street when I was kid, and now I watch Sesame Street with my children.

For more than 40 years, Big Bird has embodied the public broadcasting mission – harnessing the power of media for the good of every citizen, regardless of where they live or their ability to pay. Our system serves as a universally accessible resource for education, history, science, arts and civil discourse.

So now the people are up in arms to defend Big Bird, on a America’s most beloved TV characters.  I do agree we have to deal with the National Debt, but cutting PBS will not even make a dent in the debt. Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist, had tweeted the best comment of all,

You do not have to be an astrophysicist to know that the pennies it cost to fund PBS and NPR will not solve our budget problems.

(below the graphic is the full PBS statement referred to above)

Full Statement from PBS on Presidential Debate

ARLINGTON, VA – October 4, 2012 – We are very disappointed that PBS became a political target in the Presidential debate last night. Governor Romney does not understand the value the American people place on public broadcasting and the outstanding return on investment the system delivers to our nation. We think it is important to set the record straight and let the facts speak for themselves.

The federal investment in public broadcasting equals about one one-hundredth of one percent of the federal budget. Elimination of funding would have virtually no impact on the nation’s debt. Yet the loss to the American public would be devastating.

A national survey by the bipartisan research firms of Hart Research and American Viewpoint in 2011 found that over two-thirds of American voters (69%) oppose proposals to eliminate government funding of public broadcasting, with Americans across the political spectrum against such a cut.

As a stated supporter of education, Governor Romney should be a champion of public broadcasting, yet he is willing to wipe out services that reach the vast majority of Americans, including underserved audiences, such as children who cannot attend preschool and citizens living in rural areas.

For more than 40 years, Big Bird has embodied the public broadcasting mission – harnessing the power of media for the good of every citizen, regardless of where they live or their ability to pay. Our system serves as a universally accessible resource for education, history, science, arts and civil discourse.

Over the course of a year, 91% of all U.S. television households tune in to their local PBS station. In fact, our service is watched by 81% of all children between the ages of 2-8.

Each day, the American public receives an enduring and daily return on investment that is heard, seen, read and experienced in public media broadcasts, apps, podcasts and online – all for the cost of about $1.35 per person per year.

Earlier in 2012, a Harris Interactive poll confirmed that Americans consider PBS the most trusted public institution and the second most valuable use of public funds, behind only national defense, for the 9th consecutive year.

A key thing to remember is that public television and radio stations are locally owned and community focused and they are experts in working efficiently to make limited resources produce results. In fact, for every $1.00 of federal funding invested, they raise an additional $6.00 on their own – a highly effective public-private partnership.

Numerous studies — including one requested by Congress earlier this year — have stated categorically that while the federal investment in public broadcasting is relatively modest, the absence of this critical seed money would cripple the system and bring its services to an end.

Learn more at: http://valuepbs.org/.

Robert Reich Debunks six lies about the economy…

Living in New Hampshire we are blessed / burdened with the “First In The Nation Primary”. The is a great time for people who love politics and a never ending parade of politicians who tell Granite Staters this is what “We have to do to….” As we have already begun to the Presidential primary I have heard of nothing but “We have to get the economy moving again and create jobs”. This is by far the most important issue in all of politics.

How do we create jobs? That is the real question we need to be answering. We all have friends who have been laid off or ar just out of work. Our friends in the construction trades have been hit the hardest of all. Why is that? The answer is because people are so strapped for cash they cannot afford to do home remodels. Add this to the fact the State cut the budget by over 11% means cities and towns are now struggling to pay their bills as well. When the city has no money that also means no “remodeling” or new construction project. Most towns are in the process of cutting firefighters, teachers, and police offices to balance their budgets.

So beck to our FITN Primary, we have heard many solutions from the GOP on how to create jobs.

1. Tax Cuts to corporations: by giving tax cuts to wealthy corporations they will have more money to create new jobs.

Those jobs flee other states because of factors like excessive taxation, punitive regulation and frivolous lawsuits.
Rick Perry 

2. Shrinking the Government to create jobs.

We believe in individual initiative, personal responsibility, opportunity, freedom, small government, the Constitution. These principles, these American principles are key to getting our economy back to being successful and leading the world.
Mitt Romney 

3. Taxes on the rich hurt the economy.

Permanently repeal all tax hikes, including those to the income, capital gains, and death taxes, currently scheduled to begin in 2011.

Source: The Contract From America 10-CFA10 on Jul 8, 2010

4. We have to get spending under control to stop the national debt.

Bachmann signed the Contract From America
The Contract from America, clause 5. Restore Fiscal Responsibility & Constitutionally Limited Government in Washington:
Create a Blue Ribbon taskforce that engages in a complete audit of federal agencies and programs, assessing their Constitutionality,

Source: The Contract From America 10-CFA05 on Jul 8, 2010

5. Social Security is bankrupt.

Social Security is a “Ponzi scheme.”
Rick Perry on Monday, September 12th, 2011 in a Republican presidential debate

6. We need have a shared sacrifice (taxing the poor)

 I am. Simple. Fair. Flat. Everyone should pay something.
Michelle Bachmann Source: 2011 Republican primary debate on Twitter.com Jul 21, 2011

Now that we have taken a look at what they have been saying take a listen to what renowned speaker, economist, and former Sec. of Labor, Robert Reich, has to say about these issues.

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