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Shaheen, Hassan Join 30 Senators to Introduce Bill to Rescind President’s Anti-Climate Executive Order

**The Clean Air, Healthy Kids Act highlights potential threats that Trump’s executive action poses to the economy and environment** 

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined more than 30 U.S. Senators today to introduce legislation to rescind President Trump’s Executive Order that reverses several landmark U.S. initiatives to combat climate change.   

The bill, titled the Clean Air, Healthy Kids Act, would block federal agencies from implementing the actions outlined in the Executive Order signed Tuesday by President Trump. These actions include reevaluating the Clean Power Plan, which is currently on track to provide $54 billion in climate and health benefits each year, prevent thousands of premature deaths and asthma attacks in children, reduce electricity bills for homes and businesses, and create thousands of good-paying jobs. 

Yesterday, Senators Shaheen and Hassan released the following statements on President Trump’s Executive Order:

“President Trump is ignoring the mountain of evidence on climate change and plowing ahead with a dangerous agenda that threatens the health and well-being of New Hampshire,” said Shaheen. “Rolling back carbon emissions rules and clean energy initiatives is a shortsighted political move that prioritizes the interests of big oil and coal companies over every day Americans. In New Hampshire, we see the effects of climate change every day and it is a direct threat to our environment, economy and way of life. We owe it to future generations to build on the Clean Power Plan and the Paris Agreement in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.”

“From our White Mountains to our beautiful Seacoast, New Hampshire’s beautiful natural resources define us as a state and I am extremely concerned by President Trump’s efforts to roll back the Clean Power Plan’s common-sense environmental protections,” said Senator Hassan. “Granite Staters know that protecting our environment while building a stronger, more affordable energy future is critical for our families and our businesses. New Hampshire has been a leader in efforts to cut carbon emissions, conserve our natural resources, and combat climate change and we need to see similar efforts at the federal level. That’s why I have been a strong supporter of the Clean Power Plan, and I will continue fighting for a cleaner environment and stronger renewable energy future that reduces our dependence on fossil fuels and helps our citizens, businesses, and economy thrive.” 

A copy of the bill is available HERE.

UPDATED: NH First Responders Demand Ayotte Take Down “One Nation America” Ad

Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire call on Kelly Ayotte to help them protect New Hampshire Families and demand “One Nation America” take this Disgusting Heroin Ad off the Air

pffnh logoCONCORD, NH – “The heroin crisis New Hampshire is facing is affecting real New Hampshire families; mothers, fathers, songs, and daughters. Firefighters and paramedics, our members are on the front lines of this emergency and Governor Hassan has always been there right beside us,” said David Lang, President of the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire.

“Governor Hassan has been a strong leader in combating the heroin and opioid epidemic since she entered office, pushing for a comprehensive, multi-pronged approach including 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.

“Ads such as these distort and use this crisis for political purposes. This hurts the very New Hampshire families that are dealing with this terrible disease. The members of the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire are witnessing firsthand the devastating affects this emergency is causing these people. We need to continue to focus on solutions. This is not a partisan political issue, but a “People Issue.” Completely false and disgusting ads such as these harm these affected families and it is wrong.

“We call on Senator Ayotte to stand with the Professional Firefighters and Paramedics of this state on behalf of these affected New Hampshire people and demand One Nation America take down this ad,” said Lang.

The Professional Fire Fighters are not the only ones upset over this new ad politicizing the heroin and opioid crisis.

“As a sheriff on the front lines of the heroin and opioid crisis, I see each day the devastating impact this epidemic is having on our communities and our state,” said Cheshire County Sheriff Eli Rivera. Governor Maggie Hassan has consistently partnered with law enforcement to combat this crisis and has focused on a comprehensive response to support prevention, enforcement and recovery, including signing legislation to expand existing drug courts and establish new ones across our state. This type of ad is exactly what is wrong with politics, and it is the last thing we need in our efforts to solve this crisis.” 

As the day went on, more and more people began to speak out against this disgusting ad campaign.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who has garnered the support of NH’s first responders with her decades of support, echoed the opposition to this ad with her statement:

“The opioid epidemic is killing a person a day in New Hampshire and this crisis demands bipartisan cooperation in Washington and Concord, and that’s been exactly Governor Hassan’s approach. The Governor has led efforts to expand prevention, treatment and recovery efforts and increase funding to fight the crisis. It’s outrageous for an out-of-state group to mislead voters and try to politicize an epidemic that is devastating so many Granite State families. New Hampshire deserves better than this.”

Ed Rajsteter, leading advocate for drug courts and winner of the Advocacy in Action Award for his work with NH drug courts, called for the removal of the One Nation ad politicizing the heroin and opioid crisis.

“There are some issues that should be above politics, and combatting our state’s substance abuse crisis is at the top of that list. That’s why I was disgusted to see such a vile smear politicizing this issue. From my work with New Hampshire drug courts, I’ve seen firsthand that Governor Hassan has been a dedicated and effective leader working to expand drug courts and reverse the wave of addiction that has swept across our state. I urge the dark-money organization behind this reprehensible attack to take it off the air immediately,” said Rajsteter.

Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn had this to say on the One Nation ad politicizing the heroin and opioid crisis:

 “I’m absolutely disgusted that Kelly Ayotte’s Washington special interest backers would stoop so low as to politicize the heroin and opioid epidemic that is devastating communities across the Granite State. Governor Hassan has been a strong leader out in front on this crisis; she called for a special session to address this pressing public health and safety issue, has fought for additional resources for prevention, treatment and recovery, and has brought people from across the political spectrum together to find solutions and save lives. Ayotte and Republicans across the Granite State should be appalled that their dark-money, special interest supporters would launch such a misleading and offensive campaign and should call on them to take this reprehensible attack off of the airwaves immediately.”

House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff released the following statement on the One Nation ad politicizing the heroin and opioid crisis:

“Even for Kelly Ayotte’s Washington allies, this disgusting ad represents a new low. Ayotte and her special interest backers should take this misleading spot off of TV at once and apologize to the people of New Hampshire for politicizing the heroin and opioid crisis — a devastating epidemic that’s ravaging our communities. Governor Hassan has been a strong leader and advocate in combating this crisis and it’s unfortunate that Republicans in Concord have been dragging their feet at every turn. I call on Ayotte and Republicans across the state to put politics aside and join Governor Hassan in working collaboratively to find solutions to reverse the deadly tide of addiction in our state.”

Amber’s Place founder Kriss Blevens, called on One Nation to pull down the ad. 

“As someone who lost a beloved family member to opioid addiction I am the first to say that we must ALL work together to find the right solution. Through my efforts founding Amber’s Place, I have seen vividly that what lies behind this opiate epidemic is a raging and ravaging disease called addiction. Feeding this disease are sick souls capitalizing on the sale of drugs that precipitate the progression of the illness. As a state we are on the cusp of turning tides, we have become aware of the severity of the problem thanks to advocates, we are being educated about the disease from those who have survived it and those who are successfully treating it, and now our leaders including Governor Maggie Hassan, are stepping up to the plate with prudence to implement a plan of action and healing. New Hampshire is in a serious drug crisis just as the rest of the nation is, political party matters little when we speak about saving lives. If all eyes are on New Hampshire, then let it be that we shall be victorious in pouring forth an innovative and collaborative solution for all. I urge the dark money political organization behind this message to remove it from the airwaves immediately, and to fund the solution with positivity and light,” said Blevens.

Updated 18:00

Maggie for NH Campaign Manager Marc Goldberg released the following statement on One Nation’s refusal to take down their disgusting ad politicizing the heroin and opioid crisis:

“Kelly Ayotte’s Washington special interest allies have launched a shameful and misleading ad politicizing the heroin and opioid crisis that public safety officials, substance abuse advocates and elected leaders from across New Hampshire have demanded be taken off the air immediately. Yet despite the outcry from Granite Staters, Ayotte’s Washington special interest allies have said they will continue to run the ad, which has been called ‘reprehensible,” ‘disgusting,’ and ‘exactly what is wrong with politics.’

“Ayotte has consistently put her party leaders and corporate special interest backers first in Washington, and it’s clear that her dark money special interest allies will do anything — including politicize a public health and safety crisis — to protect their investment and send Kelly Ayotte back to the U.S. Senate. Republicans should be ashamed of this ad, and One Nation should remove the baseless and misleading attack from the air immediately.”

High Praise For Department of Energy’s Extension of Public Comment and Hearings

Governor Hassan, Senator Shaheen and Rep Annie Kuster Applaud Announcement of Additional Coos County Public Hearing on Northern Pass and Extension of Public Comment Deadline

CONCORD – Today, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced changes to the public review process for the proposed Northern Pass Transmission project to include a hearing in Colebrook, New Hampshire, following requests from Governor Maggie Hassan and Senator Jeanne Shaheen.

Governor Hassan wrote a letter and Senator Shaheen called DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz, urging DOE to include a hearing in northern Coos County in its public hearings schedule to better accommodate citizens in the North Country. The public comment period on the project will also be extended to April 4, 2016, and the public hearings slated for December will be rescheduled. 

The public hearings provide an opportunity for Granite Staters to comment on DOE’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project, announced this summer, and the Supplement to the Draft EIS, announced in November. 

“As we consider the siting of proposed energy projects, we must ensure a thorough and transparent review so that the most impacted communities have the opportunity to be heard,” Governor Hassan said. “I applaud the Department of Energy for heeding my and Senator Shaheen’s call to improve the public review process. I will continue to work to ensure that all Granite Staters have an opportunity to have their voices heard and to push the company and the federal government to continue to address their concerns.”

“Granite Staters must have ample opportunity to review this project and have their voices heard,” said Senator Shaheen. “A hearing in Colebrook will provide a forum for Coos County residents to participate in this review process. I’m pleased that the change Governor Hassan and I requested was quickly accommodated.”

“I commend the Department of Energy for extending the public comment period regarding the Northern Pass Transmission Line project, and for including an additional public hearing in Colebrook,” said Congresswoman Kuster.  “Ensuring that my constituents have sufficient opportunities to review and comment on this project has been a top priority of mine, and the hearing in Colebrook will provide residents in Coos County with a convenient forum to make their voices heard.”

In addition to the hearing in Colebrook, DOE will reschedule the following public hearings in New Hampshire. New dates are yet to be announced: 

•         Whitefield, Tuesday, December 15th

•         Concord, Wednesday, December 16th

•         Plymouth, Thursday, December 17th 

Nashua Chamber Of Commerce Explains To Walt Havenstein How Governor Hassan Is Truly Bipartisan

Failed CEO Walt Havenstein’s Baseless Attacks Against Governor Hassan’s Bipartisan Accomplishments Fall Flat at Nashua Chamber Forum

Manchester, NH – Earlier today, failed CEO Walt Havenstein’s baseless attacks against Governor Hassan’s bipartisan accomplishments and leadership were swiftly refuted at the Nashua Chamber of Commerce forum. Havenstein stumbled when faced with the reality of Governor Hassan’s bipartisan accomplishments.

“This morning’s painful exchange reinforces how desperate failed CEO Walt Havenstein has become with his false attacks on Governor Hassan’s bipartisan leadership,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Deputy Communications Director Bryan Lesswing. “The Governor’s record of bipartisan accomplishments speaks for itself: she passed the most bipartisan budget in over a decade with no sales or income tax, worked with both parties and the business community to pass a bipartisan transportation bill to fix New Hampshire’s roads and bridges, including finishing the completion of I-93, and reached a bipartisan compromise to expand health care to 50,000 hard-working Granite Staters.”

“Havenstein, on the other hand, is a failed CEO who drove defense contractor SAIC into a ditch. Now, Havenstein is pushing a Koch Brothers ‘plan’ that would do to New Hamsphire what he did to SAIC. No matter how many false and misleading attacks Havenstein launches, he won’t be able to hide his disastrous record as CEO of SAIC and his Koch Brothers agenda that would hurt New Hampshire’s families, businesses and economy,” added Lesswing.

See below for a transcription of the exchange:

Moderator: But I’m going to push on that a little bit more. She had Medicaid Expansion…

Havenstein: Medicaid Expansion…

Moderator: … which was bipartisan in it’s passage from the… it was absolutely bipartisan when it came out.

Havenstein: You have… everything has to be bipartisan if it gets signed. Right? At some point. But be very careful…

Moderator: But what you’re saying is that toxic partisanship means that she doesn’t work at all with Republicans. That’s how I define ‘toxic partisanship’. It’s that she will not work with Republicans. She passed Medicaid Expansion. She got the gas tax increase, which was actually led by a Republican State Senator.  When you look at these state Supreme Court decisions against the hospital, or in favor of the hospitals…

Havenstein: You mean the MET?

Moderator: Yep, on the MET. She was able to bring all but one hospital in the state together, and many of the CEOs of those hospitals are ardent Republicans themselves. I think there are some good examples where she can credibly say, ‘I have been bipartisan in my leadership’.”

Havenstein: Okay…

Moderator: Alright [laughs].

Havenstein: We’ll just have to agree to disagree.

Walt Havenstein’s Campaign Full Of Controversy And Has A Record of Failed Leadership

The battle lines for the corner office are now official. Walt Havenstein was overwhelmingly selected as the GOP candidate for Governor of New Hampshire.

Lets start with a few facts about Walt:

  • Walt is a graduate of the US Naval Academy, and served in the US Marines and Marine Corp reserves for a combined 28 years.
  • Walt was the CEO of BAE System, a government defense contractor.
  • Walt was also CEO of Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC), a science, engineering, and technology firm that worked closely with federal agencies like the NSA, the DOD, and the Department of Homeland Security.

Isn’t it strange that the same man – who has made massive amounts of wealth working for and contracting with the federal government – is now going around saying we need “limited government” and “fiscal responsibility”?

So far, that fundamental inconsistency hasn’t been discussed much. Havenstein’s background and campaign is too full of other controversies.

There were questions about Havenstein’s residency and eligibility to run for Governor of New Hampshire.

After retiring from BAE, Havenstien became the CEO of SAIC, based in Maryland. Havenstein moved to Maryland where he owned a home and used tax exemptions that are only available to Maryland residents. After deciding to run for office in New Hampshire, Havenstein fought to prove his eligibility with the NH Ballot Law Commission; and they sided with Havenstein. However, after Havenstein’s residency was confirmed by the State of New Hampshire, the State of Maryland came after Havenstein for tax fraud.

“Havenstein will be billed for several years of back taxes after officials in Maryland said he accepted tax breaks he shouldn’t have. In 2007, Havenstein signed a pair of affidavits pledging that his primary residence at the time was in Maryland, and for four years, he received tax credits known as the homestead exemption. But upon entering the race for governor, Havenstein asserted that he has always lived in New Hampshire, and the state Ballot Law Commission ruled in his favor. Revenue officials in Maryland told News 9 that Havenstein shouldn’t have accepted benefits in that state.” [WMUR, August 20, 2014]

Then there is Havenstein’s “economic plan” to spur growth and create 25,000 new jobs.

“My economic plan commits the state to helping create 25,000 jobs over 2.5 years by changing the culture in Concord to focus on the private sector. That’s the same approach I successfully took at BAE Systems, where we created 1,500 new high-tech jobs right here in New Hampshire” (Union Leader Op-Ed, Sept 3, 2014)

The funny thing is that Havenstein is trying to tap into the current economic growth that Governor Hassan spurred. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that between June 2013 and June 2014, New Hampshire created over 10,000 new jobs. Included in the 10,000 new jobs are 2,500 new jobs in the hospitality and leisure industry – strong signs that the New Hampshire economy is already rebounding.   The BLS also shows an increase of over 1,000 new jobs in manufacturing, which would be the closest calculator for “high tech” jobs in New Hampshire.

As CEO of BAE Systems, Havenstien did create jobs but he did it by using our tax dollars. In 2008, BAE was the 5th largest contractor with the federal government receiving over $15.2 Billion dollars. This is more than have of their 2008 revenue, and this does not include the revenue from the governments of the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia.

Havenstein is attempting to portray himself as a leader by citing his work as the CEO of two massive corporations. What Havenstein is neglecting to tell you is that as the CEO of SAIC, Havenstein collected his $20 million dollar salary while the company shed thousands of jobs and the company’s stock plummeted 32%.

SAIC has had other problems, too. In Oakland, California SAIC came under fire for being selected to design a city-wide “surveillance hub” that some said would infringe on their civil liberties and violate their rights to privacy. Civil liberty issues aside, the people of Oakland took issue with SAIC being selected to design this “surveillance hub” due to the company’s history.

“In recent years, SAIC has been accused of defrauding municipal governments, bribing foreign officials, and delivering shoddy products. And when the company does deliver the goods at cost and on time, it’s often for militarized projects linked to human rights abuses. Among SAIC’s recent contracts: training the Egyptian military, operating drones used to kill foreign citizens, building and operating portions of the NSA’s internet spying system used on Americans, and more.” (East Bay Express, Aug. 2013)

What the East Bay Express was referring to: in 2011, SAIC was forced to remove three high-level executives for work relating to New York City’s “CityTime” employment timekeeping system.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York has alleged that “a massive and elaborate scheme to defraud the city” corrupted the program, and it charged Gerard Denault, SAIC’s lead project manager on the program, with receiving at least $5 million in illegal kickbacks.” (Washington Post Oct. 2011)

The project was an attempt for the City of New York to move municipal employees from paper punch cards to new digital palm scanners.

“The project’s initial budget was $68 million. But after SAIC acquired the company that had won the competitive bidding process for the work, CityTime’s cost mushroomed to more than $740 million in ten years.” (East Bay Express, Aug. 2013)

U.S. Attorney Preet Bahara said, “virtually the entirety of the more than $600 million that was paid to SAIC was tainted directly or indirectly by fraud.” (NY Daily News, June 2011)

NYC Mayor Bloomberg called for SAIC to refund $600 million dollars to the city.

And just before SAIC agreed to pay a $500 million settlement to NYC, Havenstein announced that he would be retiring for “personal reasons”.

At least Havenstein knows when to jump off the sinking ship.

The Washington Post was very critical of Havenstein and his leadership of SAIC.

“The company struggled under the strategy, watching its profit and revenue decline.” (Washington Post, Aug. 2012)

What’s next for a failed CEO? Politics, of course!

The people of New Hampshire should look closely at Havenstein’s record of failed leadership.   Havenstein is not what we need in the corner office. We do not need a Governor who is good at padding his bank account while others get shafted.

Havenstein has already stated that he will repeal the bi-partisan Medicaid Expansion bill that opened access to healthcare for 50,000 Granite Staters. I wonder how Walt would feel if we took away his healthcare?

Havenstein is also vehemently opposed to raising the minimum wage.

“I’m not in favor of raising the minimum wage because, I’m not in favor of raising the minimum wage, period.” [Havenstein Interview with WBKB, 15:03 min]

Havenstein does not know what it is like to be one of the tens of thousands of struggling middle class Granite Staters. With millions in his pockets, he has never had to choose whether to buy food or pay the heating bill. The fact that he would not even consider an increase in the minimum wage shows just how out of touch Havenstein is with real Granite Staters.

Shaheen, Hassan Announce Grant To Boost NH Small Business Exports

Program will help New Hampshire small businesses reach new markets, expand trade opportunities

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan today announced the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development (DRED) as the recipient of a $159,725 grant through the third round of the State Trade Export Promotion (STEP) grant program. The STEP program, which Shaheen helped create, is an export initiative that helps states assist small businesses to enter and succeed in the international marketplace.

“Increasing exports is a common-sense way to strengthen our economy and create jobs right here in New Hampshire,” Senator Shaheen said. “Exporting is a tremendous opportunity for small businesses and the STEP grant program has a proven record of success. Today’s announcement is great news for New Hampshire jobs and the economy.”

“New Hampshire’s small businesses are leaders in manufacturing high-quality, competitive products that help spur economic development and job creation across the state,” Governor Hassan said. “The STEP program has returned millions in export sales to New Hampshire businesses over the past two years, and today’s exciting announcement will help continue that success and strengthen our efforts to revitalize international trade and keep our economy moving in the right direction.”

Shaheen and Hassan have both consistently worked to aid small companies in reaching customers outside of New Hampshire and expand export opportunities. With the receipt of the STEP grant, New Hampshire DRED will administer programs through a public-private partnership with the Granite State District Export Council and the private sector New Hampshire Export Expansion Fund. The grant will help small businesses in New Hampshire prepare for new markets, access export financing and attend trade missions as well overcome obstacles that stand in the way of accessing foreign markets, such as a lack of expertise or resources.

The STEP program has a demonstrated track record of helping small businesses reach new markets. In FY 2012, recipients of grants reported a return on investments of more than 19-1.

NEA-NH Endorses Governor Maggie Hassan for Re-Election

Manchester—Today, National Education Association-New Hampshire (NEA-NH), the state’s largest educator and public employee union, announced its endorsement of Governor Maggie Hassan for re-election, asking its more than 16,000 members and their families to support Governor Hassan during the campaign and on Election Day.

Governor Maggie Hassan has been a tireless advocate for public education and we must re-elect her this November to preserve the dream of a quality public education for every child in New Hampshire,” said Scott McGilvray, NEA-NH President. “Walt Havenstein or Andrew Hemingway would be a disaster for public education in this state, taking us back to the devastating cuts of the Bill O’Brien era. For the sake of our children’s future, we cannot afford to put either one of them in the Governor’s office. From freezing in-state tuition to protecting K-12 funding to modernizing STEM education, Governor Hassan has proven time and again that she will fight to ensure the success of every child and champion the interests of our students and their parents.”

“I am truly honored to have earned the support of more than 16,000 of New Hampshire’s teachers and their families,” said Governor Maggie Hassan. “New Hampshire’s public schools are often ranked among the nation’s best, but we must continue working to ensure that all of our young people can develop the skills and innovative thinking they will need to compete in today’s global economy. Since entering office, I’ve fought to invest in public K-12 and higher education, and I will keep working to strengthen our public education system in order to expand opportunity for all of our children.”

Governor Hassan worked across party lines to pass a fiscally responsible, balanced budget that maintained funding for K-12 education and restored funding for higher education – making it possible to freeze in-state tuition at the university system and reduce tuition at our community colleges.

The Governor also created a Science Technology Engineering and Math Task Force to modernize STEM education in our public schools, and launched a new effort to partner manufacturing companies directly with classes at local schools, building relationships that can lead to a stronger workforce pipeline.

The Governor will continue working to ensure our children have access to a world-class education in order to be prepared for success in the 21st century economy.

About NEA-New Hampshire

Founded in 1854, the New Hampshire State Teachers Association became one of the “founding ten” state education associations that formed the National Education Association in 1857. Known today as NEA-NH, and comprised of more than 16,000 members, NEA-NH is the largest association of public employees in the state. Our mission to advocate for the children of New Hampshire and public school employees, and to promote lifelong learning remains true after more than 150 years. Our members are public school educators in all stages of their careers, including classroom teachers and other certified professionals, instructors at public higher education institutions, students preparing for a teaching career, education support personnel and those retired from the profession.

UPDATED: NH’s Congressional Delegation Is Outraged Over The Hobby Lobby Decision (Well Most Of It Anyway)

In a very unsurprising decision, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby.  The case was to determine if Hobby Lobby could be forced to have an insurance plan that would cover contraceptives that the Green family – the evangelical owners and operators of Hobby Lobby – say they disagree with on religious grounds.

In a 5-4 decision, the Court ruled that because Hobby Lobby was a privately owned corporation that is run by a small group of people who have the same religious beliefs that forcing their insurance plans to cover certain types of birth control infringed on their closely held religious beliefs.

“Americans shouldn’t be forced to comply with government mandates that violate core principles of their faith,” said Senator Kelly Ayotte. “This case is fundamentally a matter of religious freedom, and this ruling affirms Americans’ religious liberties as protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”

This ruling means that the religious rights of the employer are more important than the personal rights of the employees.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg lashed out in an epic dissent:

“The exemption sought by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga would…deny legions of women who do not hold their employers’ beliefs access to contraceptive coverage.”  She continued by stating, “The court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield.”

This case is also chalk full of hypocrisy.

I guess “God’s will” only matters when it affects a woman’s right to choose, and not when it affects a man’s inability to perform.

“The Supreme Court’s decision today is incredibly disappointing,” stated Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter. “The debate over birth control was seemingly settled decades ago, and most companies and institutions had been offering birth control coverage as part of a health care package without controversy. This decision will only make some women’s lives even more difficult, and leaves me wondering what’s next from this activist Supreme Court.”

“Women should be making decisions about their health care with their doctors, not their employers,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen. “Today’s Supreme Court decision unfortunately jeopardizes basic health care coverage and access to contraception for a countless number of women and I’m very disappointed by the ruling. Blocking access to contraception will have economic and public health consequences that our country cannot afford.”

“The Supreme Court’s decision on the Hobby Lobby case is a step backwards for New Hampshire women and their families,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “Not only will this decision limit access to health care coverage for Granite State women, it will allow some employers to dictate a woman’s health care choices – something that can and should only be decided by each individual woman for herself. We must ensure that all women have access to comprehensive health coverage, and that they have the freedom to make choices about their own individual health care needs.”

The Affordable Care Act pushed insurance companies to fully cover preventative care for women – including contraception, when prescribed by a medical provider.  It also prohibits insurance companies from charging higher premiums for women than for men.  Before Obamacare, insurance companies could – and did – discriminate against women.  Charging women $1 billion more than men each year – and then giving them less coverage – was unfair and discriminatory.

One of the birth control options that Hobby Lobby disagreed with is the Internal Uterine Device (IUD). An IUD prevents a woman’s egg from implanting on the uterine wall, which prevents pregnancy.  Hobby Lobby makes the claim that this is abortion, because “life begins at conception.” But conception does not occur until after the egg is implanted.  So if an IUD prevents implantation, it prevents conception – and that means it’s contraception, just like the pill and condoms.

An IUD is extremely effective and has very low risk for women who choose to use it, although it can be expensive.

“It bears note in this regard that the cost of an IUD is nearly equivalent to a month’s full-time pay for workers earning the minimum wage,” wrote Justice Bader Ginsberg in her dissent.

“Access to family planning services is critical for the health and economic security of women and families, as contraception costs are one of the biggest health care expenses for women and their families,” said Governor Maggie Hassan. “While today’s Supreme Court decision is disappointing, I’m optimistic that employers will continue providing coverage for family planning services because it’s the right thing to do for workers, it will help businesses attract high-quality employees, and it will strengthen the economic security of working families.”

This attack on women’s reproductive rights is nothing new.  Conservatives have been trying to limit a women’s right to choose since the Supreme Court ruled on Roe v Wade over 50 years ago.  When Republicans took control of the New Hampshire House in 2011, a new firestorm of attacks on women’s right was initiated.

“In 2011, the Executive Council took the radical step of eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood, blocking access to health services for thousands of Granite State women,” stated Executive Counselor Chris Pappas. “That was the wrong decision for New Hampshire families then just as the Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby is wrong now.  Access to contraception and basic family planning services is critical for women’s health and economic security.  As an employer and owner of a family-run business, I know first-hand that important health decisions must be left up to women and their physicians.” (Emphasis added)

It continues to show that this Supreme Court and their conservative majority are out of touch with real working families, and are basing their rulings on their ideological positions.

More and more, it seems that the majority of the Supreme Court better represents the interests of the Chamber of Commerce than it does the values and aspirations of working Americans. Workers’ rights should not depend on whether their employer—while buying and selling to everyone regardless of religion—wants to limit their reproductive rights based on privately held religious beliefs,” said Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers. “That this decision, which disproportionately affects women, coincides with the Harris v. Quinn decision, which limits rights of home healthcare workers in Illinois—the vast majority of whom are women—is a throwback to another age. Working families, especially working women, have lost here.”

There is no doubt our national healthcare system was broken.  The Affordable Care Act was a step in the right direction, fixing some of the major wrongs.  An insurance company can no longer deny coverage if you get sick; they can no longer deny coverage because of a pre-existing condition; their profits are limited by the 80/20 rule; and many more.

In my opinion the problem is that we are still relying on private insurance companies for health care.  For-profit institutions are making decisions about what our healthcare should be.  The problem is only compounded by our reliance on employer-supplied healthcare.

In Justice Alito’s decision, he implied that if the government truly wants to find a way to cover all of these contraceptives then the government is going to have to find a way to pay for it themselves.

To me, the solution is simple: Medicare for all.  If everyone were on Medicare, or any other version of a single payer system, the opinions of an employer would be moot.  An employer would never be able to restrict coverage for its women employees (or its men employees, for that matter).

Arnie Arnesen, a local radio personality summed it all up perfectly, “If Medicare is good enough for a 65 year old man, then why is it not good enough for a 6 year old girl?”

SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Responds to Governor Hassan’s Executive Order for Spending Freeze

SEIU 1984 LogoA Statement from the SEIU Local 1984

Concord, NH, May 22, 2014 – Earlier today, the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee unanimously approved Gov. Maggie Hassan’s plan to issue an Executive Order to immediately freeze state hiring, equipment purchases and out-of-state travel. This comes on the heels of last week’s disappointing news that April’s revenue came in at $22 million less than projected in the state budget.

Last week the Governor wrote in her request that “we should act prudently, responsibly, and expeditiously to continue to ensure a balanced budget.” The Governor’s response to the shortfall was sensible and necessary to deliver a balanced budget for the biennium.

We assert that it is not this governor or the state employees who are holding NH back from being the best it can be.

April revenue projections were approved by the Legislature, as is the entire budget. While we are disappointed the actual revenues fell short, we aren’t surprised, given the corporate tax breaks the O’Brien legislature implemented two years ago.

When you combine the tax code changes and more businesses applying for tax credits with the state’s recent bond outlook warning from Standard & Poor’s; the dispute over the Medicaid Enhancement Tax; and class action lawsuits still pending; it is apparent that longstanding and risky legislative behavior is undermining NH’s future, rather than strengthening it.

Since 2006, the budgets passed by the Legislature have eliminated 2,000 good full-time jobs from the state employee workforce. Currently, including vacancies – some of which are intentionally held vacant to meet budget mandated cuts – we are operating with a workforce 27 percent smaller than it was pre-recession.

The freeze Gov. Hassan is now forced to impose will only further delay and diminish the delivery of critical services and leave more citizens with unmet needs.  This will also leave state employees and the people relying on the services they provide in a constant state of uncertainty.  Such uncertainty is damaging to the state’s economy and future. We need strong budgets with well-developed and funded priorities to put a stop to all the uncertainty NH taxpayers and businesses are experiencing.

SEA/SEIU Local 1984 stands ready to support and advocate for the employees who are once again being asked to serve and do more with less.

Does Havenstein Even Qualify For Candidacy In The NH GOV Race?

The NH Governor’s race just got a little more interesting, and more controversial.  Last week, multi-millionaire and former CEO of BAE Systems, Walt Havenstein, announced his candidacy for Governor.

“Our state is at a critical juncture, and I believe my experience, ideas, and leadership are what is needed to address the many challenges facing New Hampshire,” Havenstein told the Union Leader.

Havenstein has some major issues to deal with first.  After retiring from BAE, Havenstein moved to Maryland.  He still kept his house in Alton, but bought a multi-million dollar condo in Bethesda, Maryland where he has lived for the last few years.  Havenstein’s residency has created a firestorm of questions about his eligibility to run for office in New Hampshire.

The Nashua Telegraph explains, “The state constitution requires candidates for governor, state senate and Executive Council to live in the state for seven years before they run for the office.”

There is no doubt that Havenstein has owned property in New Hampshire for more than seven years, but did he “live” here?  The answer is resounding no.

After moving to Maryland, Havenstein filed for a homestead exemption on his million-dollar condo.  The tax exemption saved Havenstein thousands of dollars in Maryland property taxes.

Under Maryland law, “principal residence” has been defined to mean the “one dwelling where the homeowner regularly resides and is the location designated by the owner for the legal purposes of voting, obtaining a driver’s license, and filing income tax returns.”

A Maryland law was enacted in 2007 that requires all homeowners to submit an application stating that they meet the principal residence requirements, under penalty of perjury.  According to the Nashua Telegraph, “Havenstein said he didn’t recall signing that form.”

“Despite Walt Havenstein’s selective memory, in order to receive the tax breaks he received, Maryland law required Havenstein to certify that his Maryland home was his principal residence, including for voting, paying taxes, driver’s license and car registration,” said Julie McClain, NHDP Communications Director. “That certification and Maryland law clearly makes Havenstein ineligible to run for state office under New Hampshire’s Constitution. For him to state otherwise is to assert that he was committing tax fraud in Maryland, raising a whole other set of legal questions for Mr. Havenstein.”

So which is it? Is Havenstein eligible to run for NH Governor and committed tax fraud in Maryland, or is he ineligible to run because he is not a resident of New Hampshire?

Either way Mr. Havenstein is in deep trouble.  He could be facing legal problems for fraud and tax evasion in Maryland, but that is not the real problem.  How can anyone trust Mr. Havenstein as governor if he is willing to lie and cheat to run for office?  Every day that he continues to run for governor, his credibility continues to fall apart.

As former Senator Scott Brown is quickly learning, Granite Staters do not like people from other states telling them what to do.

[Fun fact: Scott Brown would be ineligible to run for NH Senate, Exec. Council, or Governor in NH due to residency requirements in NH Constitution, yet he can run for the representative from NH to the US Senate.]

We do not like these out-of-state carpetbaggers coming here and telling us, “We know how you feel, we are Granite Staters too.” No, you do not know how we feel! Just because you own a second home in New Hampshire does not make you a Granite Stater.  Did you have to shovel the 70+ inches of snow we in the Granite State got this winter? Mr. Havenstein, where were you last year when the winter thaw revealed our roads were falling apart?

Not here, that’s for sure!

How can anyone who does not truly live here begin to think that they know what real life is like in NH.  Mr. Havenstein, just go back to Maryland where you obviously live, and we will see you this summer with the rest of the tourists.


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