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Van Ostern Breaks Records Fundraising

Van Ostern Is The First Non-Incumbent Democrat Ever To
Raise More Than $850,000
At This Point In The Race

CONCORD, N.H. – Today, Democrat Colin Van Ostern voluntarily reported more than 4,300 contributions totaling a record-setting $850,000+ raised. At this point in the race, this is the largest filing ever for a non-incumbent Democrat.  

“I’m proud of the nearly 4,300 contributions from thousands of supporters who have donated to our campaign to keep New Hampshire moving forward,” said Colin Van Ostern, Democratic candidate for Governor. “Our record-breaking fundraising report shows that our grassroots campaign will have the resources we need to win in November. Together, we can build a stronger economy for everyone — not just those at the top.”

Unlike other candidates, Van Ostern isn’t self-funding his campaign. Instead, he’s relying upon his broad grassroots support with 71 percent of contributions being $100 or less and 73 percent of total contributions coming from Granite Staters. Van Ostern has more than a half million dollars cash-on-hand.

With a full majority of New Hampshire Democratic state lawmakers, the backing of some of the state’s largest progressive organizations, and thousands of grassroots activists, Van Ostern has the support and resources he’ll need to win in November.

Recently, Van Ostern was the first candidate to voluntarily commit to disclosing his campaign finances in June, instead of August, citing the need for transparency in the lead-up to the September primary. After initially resisting, some other candidates agreed to the new timeline.

How Much Did Senator Avard Really Know About The National Right To Work Committee’s PAC Donation Scheme?

Kevin Avard (via Girard FLIKR CC)

Kevin Avard (via Girard FLIKR CC)

Last week we reported on the big expose` that Kevin Landrigan did on the National Right To Work Committee’s shady campaign financing scam.

In short, Kevin found that the NRTWC created multiple Political Action Campaigns to funnel more money to State Senate candidates like Kevin Avard than is legally allowed under New Hampshire Law. Each of these sub-PACs gave Avard the New Hampshire maximum of $1,000 to his campaign.

Then the Nashua Telegraph posted Senator Avard’s response in an article titled: Avard calls campaign contribution story ‘hogwash’.

Avard, a Nashua Republican who defeated incumbent Democrat Peggy Gilmour last November, said he did not have any knowledge about an NH1 investigative piece reporting an organization funneled money into his senate run through up to five groups to avoid campaign finance statutes.

“That’s hogwash – it’s hogwash,” he said. “That’s absolutely absurd. I guarantee nothing illegal happened. … I’m just kind of outraged by this; this is just absolutely just stupid stuff, and you can quote me on that.”

New Hampshire’s Democratic Party said the National Right to Work Committee tried to hide money to anti-union candidates by creating front groups and providing five legitimate donations of $1,000 instead of one illegal $5,000 campaign contribution.

Avard’s general election campaign totaled $18,493, considerably less than the $105,049 in receipts reported by Gilmour, according to the secretary of state’s office.

My friend Keith Thompson who lives in Brookline and is represented by Sen. Avard, brought up some very good points about this article from the Telegraph. He was first to point out these three ideas I will expand on now.

First, the article says that the “New Hampshire’s Democratic Party said the National Right to Work Committee tried to hide money to anti-union candidates…” Actually the report was not from the NH Democratic Party it was from NH1 reporter Kevin Landrigan. The Telegraph even say that in the opening of the article. I hope that Sen. Avard is not claiming the Kevin Landrigan is a puppet for the NH Democrats.

If you have followed New Hampshire politics for longer than a week then you will know one thing that is certain, Kevin Landrigan is anything but partisan. He may lean a little right, but his reporting goes right at the heart of both parties and challenges the political ideologies of both sides. This comes with the decades of experience in New Hampshire Politics.

Second, this highlights the Telegraph’s need for a veteran political reporter. Ever since they laid-off Kevin Landrigan, they have lacked any real political coverage. They do a decent job of merging press releases but they lack the real knowledge and experience a reporter like Kevin brings to the story. Maybe if they had kept Kevin around at the Telegraph everyone would be talking about the Telegraph’s huge story about the NRTWC instead of NH1.

Lastly, I do not know anyone who would believe that Sen. Avard was not aware of these shady financial dealings. Keith hit the nail on the head when he stated, “Answer the question directly, Senator (Avard), ‘Did you have any knowledge of this scheme to circumvent campaign finance rules?’”

Avard reported only raising $18,000 dollars and $5,000 can from some type of  “right to work” group. I bet they even came in the same envelope.

“Kevin Avard has a lot of explaining to do to his constituents and to all Granite Staters about what he knew and when about the shady fundraising scheme that he benefited from,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “These questionable contributions represented more than one-sixth of all total contributions Avard took in during the election, and his claim to NH1 News that he has no idea where they came from simply doesn’t pass the laugh test.”

This type of funding is legal, and Sen. Avard is right when he states, “I guarantee nothing illegal happened.” That is exactly the problem, it should be illegal and this type of shady, underhanded donation scheme is just one more reason we need to get the money out of politics. We need publicly funded elections, and bar elected officials from taking any type of gifts or campaign donations from corporations!

Can You Help Send Matt To Netroots Nation?


Matt Murray

Here’s the thing: my friend Matt Murray runs New Hampshire Labor News on a strictly volunteer basis. All the hours he puts in – on the blog site, on the Facebook page, the Twitter Feed, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pintrest – all his time is donated.  And he usually ends up paying costs out-of-pocket. Matt does this because he believes in the Labor Movement.  He saw a communication gap and decided to fill it: all of New Hampshire’s labor-related news in one place, 24/7/365.


Matt Murray and Richard Trumka
(President of the AFL-CIO)

But Matt hasn’t just “filled the gap” here in the Granite State, he’s given workers a voice.  He has helped hundreds of nurses in Orlando, Florida tell their stories.  Last year’s coverage of the Detroit bankruptcy went viral, and was quoted by the national AFL-CIO.  Privatization of the US Postal Service, public education, income inequality, CEOs dodging pension obligations at Patriot Coal and Hostess Brands, factory deaths in Bangladeshall these stories found a home at NH Labor News.

And Matt hasn’t taken home a penny for doing any of it.

NH Labor News Quoted

Matt has given the Labor Movement a lot.  I’d like to do something in return.  He wants to go to Netroots Nation 2014.  And I would like all those of us who benefit from Matt’s work at NH Labor News to chip in and send him there.

Matt Murray And Gov. Howard Dean

Gov. Howard Dean and Matt Murray at #NN13

Netroots is an annual convention of bloggers and social media communicators.  Matt has attended in past years, and he has brought home “best practices” and shortcuts.  He has also come back with renewed energy and enthusiasm (important things for a 24/7 volunteer to have). But in “real life” Matt is just another worker – he’s gotten hit by wage freezes, cutbacks, and increased pension contributions – and like most of the rest of us, his family budget is really tight. Can you help me raise enough money so that Matt can afford to go to Netroots Nation 2014?

Any amount, no matter how small, will help to get him there.

Thank you for helping me show Matt how much we value all his work on NH Labor News.

#OrbitGiving Contest To Help Granite State Progress (@ProgressNH)

It is the last week of December.  It is also when we get those annual request for donations from every nonprofit group from Concord to California.  I must have received 100 requests for donations to meet that ‘end of the year goal’.

I wish I had a million dollars so I could give money to all of these great organizations. Unfortunately like many Americans I am not able to support them all.

Then I heard about the ORBIT.DO contest that would donate $300 dollars to a number groups today.

For this contest I have chosen to advocate for Granite State Progress (GSP).

Over the last three years I have spent countless hours working with the crew at GSP.  Those who know me already know that my blog is focused on labor issues. The work I do will GSP allows me to really spread my progressive wings.  I get to take action and help push for things that the labor community may not agree with or really care about.

Countless times I have stood, in and around the State Capitol, helping to bring awareness to issues that GSP is focused on. Together we have used our combined social media presence to fight against the #ALEC agenda in NH.

As a community organizer, Granite State Progress brings people together to show support for some of the smaller organizations in New Hampshire as well.  For example, last spring I got a call from Zandra Rice-Hawkins (Executive Director of GSP, and my personal friend).  That is usually how it works. I get a call from Zandra on Sunday for something happening on Tuesday.  Most of the time it is a reminder because I can be forgetful with so many things going on.

This one was however was different.  Zandra was working with a smaller group called Project for Safer Communities (NH) who advocate for stronger gun safety laws.  GSP and Project for Safer Communities were hosting a press conference to highlight a few bills in the NH Legislature that would help to protect our communities.  Like many I was still thinking of the children in Newtown who lost their lives in that horrible school tragedy.  I quickly said “yes I will be there” and then I remembered that my wife had a doctor’s appointment.  That would mean I would be taking care of two of my three children that same morning.

As I explained the situation to Zandra, I could hear the sudden change in her voice.  She calmly suggested that I bring the kids with me to the press conference.  After a brief discussion with my wife, we agreed that it would be allowable for me to bring the kids.  Zandra could not contain her excitement any longer.  She was ecstatic that I was bringing my very cute (if I do say so myself) children to the press conference.

The event had great media coverage, which is the best you can hope for when you’re holding a press conference like this.  My children were photographed sitting and holding their signs, and ended up as the cover photo for the NH Public Radio article.   I was even quoted in a couple of different articles.  Most asked the same question, “What made you bring your children today”?  My answer was simple, “because I am doing this for them. I want them to have safer schools and safer communities.”

Image from NHPR Reporter Michael Brinkley Tweet

Image from NHPR Reporter Michael Brinkley Tweet

I could tell you many other stories about the work that I have done with GSP but this post would go on forever.  I will say that Zandra and her dedicated team are doing amazing work.  From community organizing to legislation tracking to monitoring the actions of right-wing fringe groups, they do it all.

I hope the people at Orbit read this and agree that GSP deserves their donation.


(If you would like to donate to GSP click here.)

*   *   *   *   *

Help me get Orbit’s attention and ensure that they read this post.

Post this entry on the Orbit Facebook Page and use the hashtag #OrbitGiving in your tweets.  

Professional Fire Fighters Of New Hampshire Give Back To Their Communities This Holiday Season

Concord, NH – The Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire on behalf of their 42 locals throughout New Hampshire are proud to announce that this holiday season their locals have raised thousands of dollars through fundraisers and toy drives over the last few weeks, to bring gifts to children all across the state.

“Each holiday season our members take time to help the families and children in their communities, whether it’s hosting fundraisers and toy drives to collect gifts, providing holiday meals, or delivering toys to hundreds of children on Christmas Day.   Local fire fighters’ care about their communities and the families they serve each and every day,” said David Lang, President of the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire.

An example of what some locals have been doing for their communities:

  • Claremont Local #1571 is expected to raise $2,000 for Toys for Tots.
  • Dover Local #1312 and Dover Officers Local #2909 are continuing their 35 year tradition of providing toys to children age infant to 14 years old. Through their toy drive they expect to be able to provide 3 toys to each child in the community. Last year the local was able to provide gifts to over 900 children.
  • Hanover Local #3288 purchased toys to support Toys for Tots.
  • Hudson Local #3154 will continue their 20 year tradition of supporting one family (2 adults and 4 children) in their community to deliver gifts on Christmas Eve.
  • Keene Local #3265 has purchased gifts for 2 families in their community.
  • Laconia Local #1153 supported the WLNH auction. The local raised over $3,000 and purchased over $1,000 dollars’ worth of items that were auctioned off.
  • Manchester Local #856 is doing a pajama drive in conjunction with Kid Café (a Salvation Army affiliate).
  • Nashua, Local #789 did a Christmas Basket drive, where they provided approximately 70 families with a basket of Christmas Dinner fixings. They were delivered to each of the families on December 20th.
  • North Hampton Local #3211 is helping 20 families, 42 children total, with toys and Shaws gift cards.
  • Pelham Local #4546 is hosting a toy and food drive for families in their community.
  • Somersworth Local #2320 is holding a toy drive for 185 applicants, providing toys to 400-500 children.
  • Portsmouth Local #1313 and Portsmouth Officers Local #4039 provided toys and gifts to 39 families in Portsmouth. They are also taking a trailer full of gifts to New York City tomorrow for the Fire Fighters families who lost everything in Hurricane Sandy.

“We know that the holiday season can be a difficult time for some New Hampshire families, and we want to make sure we do our part to bring some comfort and happiness to the children of New Hampshire and their families during this season,” stated Lang.

Please contact your local fire department for more information on how to donate toys for children in New Hampshire this holiday season.

The PFFNH, headquartered in Concord, NH represents more than 2,000 active and retired fire fighters and paramedics.  More information is available at www.pffnh.org

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