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GOP Gubernatorial Candidates To Push ‘Right To Work’ On NH Once Again

Right To Work is Wrong for NH

As Yogi Berra once put it, “It’s like Déjà vu, all over again.”

The Republican Gubernatorial primary candidates just showed how out of touch they are with working families. WMUR reported this week at all of the GOP candidates for New Hampshire’s Governor came out in strong in support of the so-called Right To Work legislation.

Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas told WMUR that, “we voted for Right to Work when I was in the Senate, so my position is clear.”

State Sen. Jeanie Forrester said, “I think it’s a good place for New Hampshire to be, and I would support that if it came forward again.”

Not to be outdone, Executive Councilor Chris Sununu played up Right to Work as a job-creating bill.

“We haven’t brought a major business into the state in over eight years. Right to work is part of it.”

Right to Work laws do nothing but hurt workers and their communities through lower pay, less benefits, less job security, less workplace safety, less, less, less…

These laws are specifically designed to break unions and tear workers down in the never-ending race to the bottom.

In January of this year, PEW released a blistering new report that showed workers in Right to Work states are less likely to have access to retirement plans than workers in free bargaining states.

“Access to workplace retirement plans varies widely across the states,” said John Scott, director of Pew’s retirement savings project. “Recognizing the savings challenge faced by so many Americans, half of the states are looking at their own solutions.”

Pew found that more than 30 million full-time, full-year, private sector workers ages 18 to 64 lack access to an employer-based retirement plan, whether a traditional pension or a defined contribution plan such as a 401(k).

At 2.6%, New Hampshire’s unemployment rate is second in the country behind North Dakota, who is experiencing a boom from newly expanded oil and gas drilling.

Recently, other states have forced their own Right to Work legislation through and what has happened? After passing Right to Work legislation, claiming it would create lots of new jobs, Wisconsin the lost a record 10,000 jobs in 2015.

“We are in the midst of an economic crisis. Wisconsin is hemorrhaging jobs at a rate we haven’t seen since the Great Recession and our middle class is shrinking faster than any other state in the nation,” said Wisconsin Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse). “Thousands of families are struggling to find a job because the policies being pushed by Gov. Walker and legislative Republicans simply aren’t working.”

Policies like Right to Work, are destroying good paying jobs and replacing them with low-wage jobs that continue to hurt working families.

Now the entire Republican Gubernatorial delegation in New Hampshire is campaigning on this failed policy. Granite Staters deserve a leader in the corner office who will stand up for their rights and support collective bargaining that ultimately benefits all workers.

Unions And Democrats Fight Of GOP In Kentucky House Elections

Democrats win three out of four special elections to keep the Kentucky House the only legislative chamber in the South the Republicans don’t have 

By BERRY CRAIG
AFT Local 1360

Bill Londrigan

Bill Londrigan, Kentucky State AFL-CIO president

Labor-endorsed Democrats have won three of four special elections for the Kentucky House of Representatives, the only legislative chamber in the South that Republicans don’t control.

“These elections were a repudiation of Gov. Matt Bevin’s anti-worker policies and a rejection of the Republicans’ continuing effort to ‘flip the House’ as they call it,” said Bill Londrigan, Kentucky State AFL-CIO president.

Jeff Taylor, Chuck Tackett and Lew Nicholls will be heading to Frankfort to boost the Democrats’ House majority to 53-47.

It was 50-46 before Tuesday’s balloting, which was overshadowed by presidential primaries in Michigan, Mississippi, Idaho and Hawaii.

Taylor, from Hopkinsville, defeated Republican Walker Wood Thomas, also from Hopkinsville, in District 8. In the District 62 race, Tackett topped Republican Phillip Pratt. Both are from Georgetown. Nicholls of Greenup turned back Republican Tony Quillen, Greenup, in District 98.

“The Republicans didn’t ‘flip the House’ because their polices are not in sync with the interests of the hardworking men and women of Kentucky and the unions they support,” Londrigan added.

Londrigan said out-of-state, dark money groups spent lavishly on ads supporting the GOP hopefuls. Unions countered with a get-out-the-vote ground game that included neighborhood canvassing, phone banking and “doing everything else that was required to break through all that money the Republicans spent on media.

“We went door-to-door talking to people individually at their homes, their workplaces and at their union halls. We convinced them how important it is to come together to beat these anti-worker and anti-union policies that we have witnessed in Indiana and West Virginia.”

He said the elections prove that “workers really are concerned about what the future holds for their jobs, their families and their standard of living.”

But he said unions aren’t about to rest on their laurels. Organized labor is already focusing on the November elections when the whole House and half of the 38-seat Senate will be up for election.

“We’re ready to advance beyond these regressive policies of Gov. Bevin and these other anti-worker Republicans and start turning Kentucky around. We want to make Kentucky a state that supports workers and unions and not a crusade to destroy both.”

Taylor will replace State Rep. John Tilley, a Hopkinsville Democrat who resigned to take a cabinet post in Bevin’s administration. The 8th District includes Christian County and part of Trigg County in western Kentucky.

Likewise, Nicholls’ victory is another Democratic hold. The seat became vacant when Rep. Tanya Pullin, D–South Shore, stepped down to become an administrative law judge. The 98th District covers Greenup and Boyd counties in eastern Kentucky.

Tackett’s win is a Democratic pickup. He will succeed State Rep. Ryan Quarles, a Georgetown Republican, who was elected agriculture commissioner. The 62nd District encompasses parts of Fayette, Scott and Owen counties in central Kentucky.

In the other special election, Republican Daniel Elliott finished ahead of labor-endorsed Democrat Bill Noelker in House District 54. The seat had been held by GOP State Rep. Mike Harmon who was elected state auditor. All three men are from Danville. The district includes Boyle and Casey counties.

For Ayotte And Sununu, Trump Is The Presidential Equivalent To Ankle Weights

Donald Trump (Jamelle Bouie FLIKR)

Donald Trump (Jamelle Bouie FLIKR)

Sununu/Ayotte reaction to new poll showing Dems crushing Trump? “Gulp.”

Concord, N.H. – Super Tuesday isn’t looking so super for Kelly Ayotte and Chris Sununu as Donald Trump continues his climb to the GOP nomination. A new WMUR Granite State poll shows both Democratic candidates for president leading Donald Trump by large margins in New Hampshire, spelling major trouble for Senator Kelly Ayotte and gubernatorial candidate Chris Sununu who will be saddled with presidential ankle weights rather than coattails come November. 

Especially concerning for Sununu and Ayotte is that rather than disavow Trump, given his fear-mongering and hateful rhetoric, they’ve aligned themselves with their party’s frontrunner without regard for the damage he’s causing the nation. 

“Trump’s brand of divisive politics, hateful rhetoric, and extreme policies are going over like a lead balloon with the Granite State general electorate, but Chris Sununu and Kelly Ayotte don’t seem to realize just how busted the wagon they’ve hitched themselves to really is,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “Voters don’t want anger, fear and extreme ideology. They want their leaders to roll up their sleeves and do their jobs, and they will make that desire perfectly clear this November when Trump, Sununu, and Ayotte will be sent packing.” 

The Trump/Sununu/Ayotte platform:

  • On women’s rights to make their own decisions and have access to health care, Trump believes “Planned Parenthood should absolutely be de-funded,” Ayotte has voted six times to defund Planned Parenthood, and Sununu cast the deciding vote to strip Planned Parenthood’s funding here in New Hampshire.
  • On affordable health care for Granite Staters, Trump – like every other Republican running for President, wants to repeal the Medicaid expansion – just as Kelly Ayotte voted to repeal New Hampshire’s successful Medicaid expansion and Chris Sununu tried unsuccessfully to block its passage.
  • On climate, Trump has long maintained that climate change is a hoax, and Sununu agrees. Just two weeks ago, Chris Sununu publicly questioned climate science and has consistently opposed investment in New Hampshire’s renewable energy industry. Ayotte, for her part has repeatedly voted to protect tax breaks for big oil companies and against clean air and water protections. 

Buckley concluded, “From defunding Planned Parenthood to repealing Medicaid Expansion, the Trump/Sununu/Ayotte ticket is vastly out-of-touch with everyday Granite Staters who want solutions, not far-right ideology.”

Hassan Blasts Ayotte On Refusing SCOTUS Appointment In New Video

In what is quickly becoming a pivotal issue in the 2016 US Senate elections across the country, Senator Ayotte has taken a firm stance against approving a new nominee to the Supreme Court.  

Boston.com writes that, “the New Hampshire senator’s decision to align herself with her Republican colleagues in refusing to take action on a potential Supreme Court nominee, according to a poll out Wednesday, is not helping her chances. At a two-to-one rate, Granite Staters say Ayotte’s stance on the issue make them less likely to vote for her, according to a new Public Policy Polling poll.”

Firing back at Ayotte, Maggie for NH today released a new web video highlighting that Senator Ayotte has failed a critical test by putting her party leaders before her constitutional duty and refusing to even consider a Supreme Court nominee.  

“The people of New Hampshire expect their United States Senators to be independent-minded problem solvers willing to rise above their party, especially at moments of great consequence for our nation,” said Maggie for NH Campaign Manager Marc Goldberg. “This Supreme Court vacancy is one of those rare moments in Kelly Ayotte’s career – a true test of her independence and her leadership qualities – and by siding with her party over justice for Granite Staters and Americans, Ayotte has failed that test.”

 

Cruz Victory in Iowa Spells Bad News For Kelly Ayotte

Concord, N.H. – Ted Cruz’s Iowa victory spells bad news for Kelly Ayotte’s chances of reelection. But don’t take our word for it. Here’s what her fellow Republicans have to say: 

Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader and 1996 presidential nominee Bob Dole “warned…that the party will not only lose its bid for the White House, but also lose its majority in the U.S. Senate, if Cruz is the nominee.”

National Journal reported recently that “some Republican strategists think that a Cruz…nomination would be a disaster and could cost them the Senate.”

Not to mention that Dante Scala, a political science professor at the University of New Hampshire, said of Ayotte, “I’m sure the idea of her and Cruz on the same ticket makes her shudder.”

Ayotte and Cruz go way back. Ayotte’s PAC donated $5,000 to Cruz’s Senate campaign in 2012, and gave a heart-warming speech in support of her friend in 2013: “[Cruz] has come and taken on Washington with a storm. He has passion, he has principle, and he is very smart. So I am deeply honored to introduce my colleague and friend, Ted Cruz.” It’s been said of the two that when it comes to defunding Planned Parenthood, they have “no actual substantive ideological difference.” WMUR recently reported on a number of Republican Senators who have come out against Cruz, but Ayotte’s spokesperson “declined to comment” when asked if she agrees with them. And Ayotte has said she will support Cruz if he’s the nominee.  

“Cruz’s victory in Iowa confirmed a rough road ahead for the Granite State’s Junior Senator,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “Strategists in her own party know that Kelly Ayotte is in trouble, and her history of supporting Ted Cruz along with her refusal to criticize the extremist candidates that are dominating the GOP primary will come back to bite her with New Hampshire’s general electorate in the fall.”

New Quinnipiac Survey Finds Sanders Maintains Lead in Iowa

Bernie Sanders ( Image by Phil Roeder FLIKR)

Bernie Sanders ( Image by Phil Roeder FLIKR)

Younger Democrats in Iowa support Sanders
by a 78-21 majority

WASHINGTON – With just days left to go before the first-in-the-nation precinct caucuses, a new Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday shows Sen. Bernie Sanders maintaining a four-point lead over Secretary Hillary Clinton in Iowa.

“With strong support from men, very liberal and younger voters, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders takes 49 percent of Iowa likely Democratic Caucus participants, with 45 percent for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and 4 percent for former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley,” according to the Quinnipiac University poll.

Sanders’ lead is built on support from younger voters in the state. Likely caucusgoers surveyed between the ages of 18 and 44 favor Sanders over Clinton 78 percent to 21 percent.

Iowans surveyed listed the economy as their highest priority, followed by health care and climate change — all topics Sanders has worked to inject into the 2016 presidential primary. Likely caucusgoers who say the economy is the most important issue for them favor Sanders 53 percent to 41 percent.

“Is this deja vu all over again? Who would have thunk it when the campaign began? Secretary Hillary Clinton struggling to keep up with Sen. Bernie Sanders in the final week before the Iowa caucus,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

“Perhaps more than other contests, the Iowa caucuses are all about turnout. If those young, very liberal Democratic Caucus participants show up Monday and are organized, it will be a good night for Sen. Sanders,” Brown said.

Sanders is spending the morning in Washington meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House. He returns to Iowa tonight for a rally in Mason City.

Clinton Unveils New ‘Fair Share Surcharge’ on Multi-Millionaires, Sanders Responds

 

Today at an organizing event in Waterloo, Iowa, Hillary Clinton unveiled a new surcharge on multi-millionaires to ensure these taxpayers pay their fair share so we can invest in creating good-paying jobs and raising wages for the middle class, not just those at the top.

Expanding on the central idea of the “Buffett Rule,” she called for imposing a four-percent “Fair Share Surcharge” on Americans who make more than $5 million per year – a measure that would only affect the top 0.02 percent of taxpayers. That breaks down to about 64,000 people who would see an increase. The remaining 99.98 percent of taxpayers would be unaffected.

“It’s outrageous that multi-millionaires and billionaires are allowed to play by a different set of rules than hard-working families, especially when it comes to paying their fair share of taxes,” said Hillary Clinton. “I disagree with Republicans who say that America needs yet another massive tax cut for the very rich. That’s the exact opposite of what we should do. Instead, let’s make sure the rich pay their fair share. That’s what my proposal would do. It would let us make the investments we need to create more good-paying jobs and make college more affordable. That’s what American families need – not another giveaway to the super wealthy.”

Clinton has pledged that she will not raise taxes on middle-class families and has already proposed tax relief for college and health care costs.

In the United Stated the middle class is defined as the middle three quintiles (20% brackets) of the income distribution. In 2012 you would be considered middle class if you made between $21,000 and $104,000 a vast majority of the population. The true middle 20% is between $30,000 and $65,000 with a true median wage of $52,000 a year (per household).

To be true to her word, Clinton would not be raising taxes on the middle class if she increased taxes on those making $105,000 (in 2012) a year.

Clinton’s “Fair Share Surcharge” is a direct way to guarantee that effective tax rates rise for the taxpayers most likely to avoid paying their fair share through tax gimmicks and exploiting loopholes.

Clinton’s proposal would force Americans making more than $5 million per year to pay an effective rate higher than middle-class families, along with other measures she has proposed to close loopholes such as the “Buffett Rule.”

Michael Briggs, spokesperson for the Bernie Sanders campaign, quickly responded to Sec. Clinton’s proposal to put a surcharge on .02% of the wealthiest Americans.

“At a time of grotesque income and wealth inequality and when trillions of dollars have been transferred from the middle class to the top one-tenth of 1 percent over the last 30 years, Secretary Clinton’s proposal is too little too late. In fact, it would raise less than half of what we need just to pay for paid family and medical leave. We need real tax reform which demands that Wall Street, corporate America and the top 2 percent start paying their fair share.”

The Sanders campaign is suggesting that we raise taxes on people who are currently making $290,000 (household) a year versus Clinton’s proposal to raise taxes on those making $5 million a year.

I Was Going To Endorse A Presidential Candidate Today, BUT….

Today I thought I was going to sit down and finally make an endorsement in the New Hampshire Democratic Primary. The election is only a month away, and many people have been waiting for me to endorse someone.

But I am not going to make any announcement about who I support right now.

Before I make an endorsement, we – as Democrats– seriously need to sit down and talk!

The differences between the Republican candidates and the Democrats are astounding. The two parties could not be further apart. Republican presidential candidates are attacking women, attacking immigrants, attacking members of the LBGT community, and the list goes on and on. There are massive amounts of money being “invested” in this election by corporations and dark money organizations that are trying to undermine workers’ rights.

The Republican candidates in this election are trying to take our country in the completely wrong direction.

Working families have been badly hurt, during the past few decades. We have to ensure that the Republicans do not win the White House.

I’m a Democrat, and we have our own problems right now. This primary has become the most divisive I have ever seen. Never before have I seen infighting between Democrats as I am seeing now.

My Facebook feed is full of supporters vocally showing their support for their chosen candidate. That is all fine and dandy – but recently supporters have turned to attacking fellow Democrats for not supporting their candidate.

People are accusing Senator Sanders of not being a Democrat, while others are accusing Sec. Hillary Clinton as being a shill for her Wall Street donors. Wherever the truth lies in these statements is not really relevant. Attacking fellow Democrats does not help either candidate, and does not show how the Democratic agenda will move America in the right direction.

Even the Republicans have started using our own infighting to fuel their own opposition to a specific candidate. And as NHLN blogger Liz Iacobucci pointed out in her Thanksgiving Day post, “arguing won’t get you anywhere.”

I’d also like to remind you of what’s gotten forgotten in all the infighting: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley are all basically saying the same thing. They’re all saying: We need to raise the minimum wage, protect workers rights to organize, protect women’s reproductive rights, pass modest gun reforms to reduce gun violence, pass paid family and medical leave, and reign in the Wall Street gamblers who wrecked our economy.

There are minor differences in the specifics, like an $11 dollar minimum wage vs. a $15 minimum wage, but the fact is they all want the same thing: to raise the minimum wage.

The most important consideration of all is not which Democrat wins the White House. The lesson we’ve learned over the past seven years is that controlling the White House only limits the bad legislation that gets through. Controlling the White House – by itself – cannot restore America’s Middle Class and it can’t advance family-friendly policies.

Congressional Republicans have done everything in their power to stop every piece of progressive legislation submitted in the past seven years. If those same Republicans are re-elected to Congress, then NONE of these worker-friendly campaign ideas are going to pass. Many of them will never even get a vote!

Each of us, as individuals, should actively support our chosen candidate. Highlight their progressive policies and how they will make a great President. Leave the attacks to other people. (We’ll hear more than enough attacks in the paid political advertising, thank you very much.)

When the primary is over, working people are going to have to stand side-by-side if we want to have any chance of winning the White House and taking back the US House and Senate.

Remember you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Stay positive and together our policies will help win over those undecided voters.

Bernie Sanders Launches Four New Ads Focusing On Working Families

BURLINGTON, Vt. – Four new television ads from the Sanders campaign will hit airwaves in early primary states starting tomorrow. The spots focus on Sanders’ plans to end policies that leave American families working longer hours for lower wages.

“What this campaign is about is to demand that we create an economy that works for all of us rather than a handful of billionaires,” Sanders says in an ad titled “Working Families.”

In a second spot, Sanders tells a crowd about his fight in the Senate to stop Social Security cuts. “We said it will be over our dead bodies if you cut Social Security. As president, I will do everything I can to extend the solvency of Social Security and expand benefits for people who desperately need them,” Sanders promises in the ad titled “Social Security.”

“Bernie Sanders understands how pharmaceutical companies and major medical companies are ripping us off,” Mari Cordes, a registered nurse from Lincoln, Vermont, says in an ad on the cost of health care. “He’s the only one who can bring real change.”

“The 15 richest Americans acquired more wealth in two years than the bottom 100 million people combined,” Sanders says into the camera before laying out his plan to make the wealthy pay their fair share and bring prosperity to working Americans in a fourth ad titled “Bottom 100 Million.”

The new ads come on the heels of Sanders’ two millionth contribution and a 12-point pickup in the latest CNN/ORC national poll, including growing support among what the pollster refers to as non-white voters. The latest The Economist/YouGov poll shows Sanders gaining significant ground. Sanders is currently campaigning in Nevada where more than 2,000 people turned out to see him speak just two days after Christmas.

THIS WEEK: Maggie Hassan Continues Fighting For New Hampshire’s Children, Natural Resources

Maggie For NH Also Launches New Radio Ad Calling Out Ayotte’s Vote To Continue Allowing Suspected Terrorists To Buy Guns And Explosives

CONCORD – This week, Governor Maggie Hassan continued her advocacy for New Hampshire’s children and natural resources. Maggie for NH also launched a new radio ad calling out Kelly Ayotte’s vote against closing a loophole that allows known or suspected terrorists to buy guns and explosives and contrasting Ayotte’s commitment to Washington special interests with the Governor’s commitment to the safety and security of New Hampshire families. 

See below for a few highlights from the past week:

Advocating for New Hampshire’s Children

On Monday, Governor Hassan spoke at the Concord YMCA to highlight the importance of early childhood education.  

From NH1: 

The daughter of a college professor and classroom teacher, this governor knows the power of advocacy for early learning.

“Kids need to know they will have a grownup in their corner. And I am looking out at adults who have pledged to be that grownup in the corner for New Hampshire’s children,’’ says Gov. Maggie Hassan.

The pledge in part says, “We believe children are the bedrock of the granite state. We know that the future prosperity of New Hampshire depends on our ability to steward the next generation who will live, work and lead in our state.’’

This poses a marked contrast with Ayotte’s record of voting for Republican budget plans that would kick hundreds of New Hampshire children out of Head Start programs while slashing investment in k-12 education.

Preserving New Hampshire’s Natural Resources

Also this week, Governor Hassan highlighted the important work of the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program to protect the state’s natural, historical and cultural resources. The Governor fought to restore funding for this crucial program in the 2013 budget, and maintained the state’s commitment to the program in the recent compromise budget. 

From WMUR:

Gov. Maggie Hassan is applauding work of the New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program, which has selected 32 projects to benefit New Hampshire’s most cherished resources.

The 13 land projects and 19 building projects, listed by regions below, will benefit both land conservation and preservation of the state’s heritage.

Meanwhile, Kelly Ayotte has repeatedly sided with the Koch Brothers while our beautiful natural resources pay the price – earning a lifetime score of 23% from the League of Conservation Voters. She’s fought to protect tax breaks for Big Oil, and she was the only New England Senator to oppose critical clean water protections

Maggie For NH Launches New Radio Ad Highlighting Ayotte’s Vote To Continue Allowing Suspected Terrorists To Buy Guns And Explosives

Maggie for NH this week launched a new radio ad highlighting Kelly Ayotte’s vote against closing a loophole that allows known or suspected terrorists to purchase guns and explosives. For the full ad, click HERE.

From WMUR:

Gov. Maggie Hassan’s U.S. Senate campaign on Tuesday launched its first radio ad of the campaign, accusing U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte of doing the bidding of the National Rifle Association in a recent key vote.

… It focuses on Ayotte’s recent vote opposing an amendment by Democratic U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein that would have allowed the government to ban the sale of firearms to anyone on the nation’s terrorist watch list.

… Hassan’s ad charges that Ayotte, by voting for what the Democrats have called a “watered-down” bill, “was caught putting the interests of the NRA in Washington ahead of ensuring our safety here at home.”

In an op-ed in the Concord Monitor, House Democratic Leader Stephen Shurtleff, who has also spent a career in federal law enforcement, criticized Ayotte’s vote to put special interests before New Hampshire’s safety:

By voting to continue allowing terrorists to purchase deadly weapons and attempting to mislead the public about her position on this issue, Sen. Ayotte put the special interest of a vocal few ahead of New Hampshire’s interests and our safety. The people of New Hampshire deserve better.

John Kacavas, former United States attorney for New Hampshire, and Mark Kelly, a retired NASA astronaut and co-founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions, also criticized lawmakers for opposing common-sense solutions to make communities safer in another Concord Monitor op-ed:

Americans are demanding that their leaders set aside their ideological agendas and set out to find common ground and some commonsense solutions that make our communities safer places to live. Closing the loopholes in our background check system to help prevent a new brand of terrorism from visiting America’s shores would do just that.

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