Are you ready? Are you ready to vote?
These words covered signs throughout the Center of New Hampshire conference center last night as the New Hampshire Democrats hosted their annual Jackson Jefferson Celebration.
NH Democratic Committee Chair Ray Buckley opened the night with a simple question, “Are you ready to vote?” Buckley continued, “Are you ready to reelect Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter? Are you ready to reelect Congresswoman Annie Kuster? Are you ready to reelect Governor Maggie Hassan? Are you ready to reelect Senator Jeanne Shaheen?”
The standing ovations for each of the candidates proved that the crowd is ready. Ready to get out and vote for Democrats this election. Ensuring that New Hampshire Democrats get out and vote is vitally important.
“Four years ago New Hampshire Democrats stayed home and New Hampshire elected Bill O’Brien as Speaker of the House,” said Buckley.
In 2010, Bill O’Brien was elected Speaker after the Tea Party wave overcame the New Hampshire House. As Speaker, O’Brien slashed the New Hampshire budget, cutting funding to Children In Needs programs, defunded Planned Parenthood and attempted to push through a complete repeal of collective bargaining. “Bill O’Brien is counting on NH Democrats staying home,” said Buckley. If NH Democrats stay home this year Bill O’Brien will become Speaker of the House again.
The President of the Professional Firefighters of New Hampshire, Dave Lang, was honored with the Kathy Sullivan Courage Award for his decade long fight against the Local Government Center. Lang fought the LGC who were found to be misusing public healthcare funds and taking millions of dollars from taxpayers.
“I accept this award on behalf of the 2000 professional firefighters and paramedics who are out there every day working to make all the bad stuff go away,” said Lang. Referring to the massive budget cuts and anti-worker legislation pushed by the NH GOP in the Legislature Lang said, “This November it is up to you to stop the bad things from happening.”
After the awards were given, the candidates got their chance to speak.
Congresswoman Annie Kuster was first to take the stage. She opened by saying, “You all look beautiful.” Kuster focused on her work in Washington to protect small business, veteran’s benefits, expanding Social Security, and protecting women’s reproductive rights. She highlighted how her opponent, Marilinda Garcia, opposes many of these principles.
“(Garcia) opposes equal pay for equal work,” said Kuster. “(Garcia) voted to repeal the Violence Against Women Act. Marilinda is just a Michelle Bachmann – Sarah Palin wannabe. Marilinda Garcia is too extreme for New Hampshire.”
Prior to her current term as US Congresswomen, Annie Kuster spent twenty-five years as an adoption attorney. She talked about how important it is protect a women’s right to choose. Marilinda Garcia boasted in her support of the recent Hobby Lobby decision that allows your employer to choose what contraceptives are covered by their company health plan. Garcia voted to defund Planned Parenthood, voted to ban abortions — even cases of rape or incest — and even went as far as to criminalize any physician who performs an abortion.
“This is personal and private,” said Kuster. “We cannot let the government or our employers decide when we want to bear children.”
Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter kicked off her speech by saying, “Practice self-defense and vote for Democrats.”
Shea-Porter has been a champion for middle class families through her three terms in Congress. She has worked to protect the 5,000 workers at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and opposes the draconian cuts proposed by the Republican leadership in the US House. She mentions how the GOP cut research for the CDC. “Clearly a bad move,” said Shea-Porter.
Shea-Porter is also pushing to get the dark money out of politics opposing the Citizens United. Shea-Porter clearly stated, “New Hampshire is not for sale.”
Governor Hassan rallied the crowd with one of the best speeches I have ever seen her deliver. She showed her passion for protecting Granite Staters and growing our economy. Hassan said, “We must restore opportunity by restoring and improving the New Hampshire Minimum Wage.”
Hassan criticized her opponent Walt Havenstien’s proposed plan for New Hampshire, “Walt Havenstien’s plan would blow a $90 million dollar hole in the state budget to give tax breaks to big business.”
Governor Hassan introduced Senator Shaheen by saying, “Senator Shaheen did not just move here, and she always puts New Hampshire first.”
Image from Jeanne Shaheen on Facebook
Senator Shaheen wanted everyone to know what is at stake this election. “What kind of future do we want?” asked Shaheen.
In the Senate, Shaheen has pushed for Equal Pay for equal work, allowing students to refinance their student loans and raising the minimum wage. “Students should be able to get a college education without drowning in debt,” said Shaheen.
Senator Shaheen took the golden opportunity to highlight a few of the flaws in her opponent, Scott Brown.
It has become widely known that Scott Brown is a well-paid board member of Kadant INC, a company that is known for outsourcing American jobs. “We do not need to import a senator who will export American jobs,” said Shaheen.
Shaheen also highlighted the massive outpouring of money from Brown’s big oil donors. Last week Brown’s super PAC received a $500,000 donation from an actual Texas oil baron. “Scott Brown has so much big oil money, he should have run for the Senate from Texas,” Shaheen jested.
Scott Brown has been relentless in claiming that Senator Shaheen does want to secure the southern border. To the shock of the crowd Shaheen said, “There is one thing Scott Brown and I agree on.” After a few hems and haws from the crowd Shaheen said, “We need to do more to secure our southern border…with Massachusetts.”
Shaheen closed by saying, “Scott Brown can be the first Senator to run for the Senate in two states and to be defeated by two women.”
The highlight of the night was the keynote address by President William Jefferson Clinton. He reminisced about running around New Hampshire looking for anyone who wanted to shake is hand. My how times have changed.
As President, Clinton created over 22 million jobs by rejecting trickle down economics. Clinton utilized “demand and growth” economics that expanded the economy from the middle out. His presidency saw a 40% growth throughout the middle class, and a minimum of 21% growth in all other quintiles.
President Clinton praised the work of Gov. Hassan, Sen. Shaheen, Congresswomen Kuster and Shea-Porter. He said, “I am comfortable campaigning for, and taking orders from women…it is just like at home.” It was obvious that President Clinton really enjoys campaigning. He said, “I feel like an old race horse who get brought back to the track every two years, given a smack on the rear just to see if I can win one more race.”
President Clinton focused his speech on how important this election is, and how different this election from previous elections. “This is an unsettled time,” said Clinton. “This is an unsettled time, however this is not 2010. They keep selling the same old ideas. This time the voters are just not buying what they are selling.” Republicans are using negative ad campaigns to win voters. “They want you to cast resentment votes,” said Clinton. “Resentment over the Affordable Care Act and resentment over President Obama. They want you to stop thinking.”
Clinton talked up President Obama’s leadership in the wake of a complete financial disaster. He said that if you look at every major financial crash throughout the world in the last 150 years you will see that it takes on average ten years to recover all the jobs lost. He was proud to say that we regained all the lost jobs from the 2008 financial crash in just over six years. “Since the crash the United States has created more jobs than all of Europe and Japan combined.”
In closing, President Clinton talked about voter turnout, and the importance of getting people to the polls on Election Day. “New Hampshire had the largest percentage drop in voter turnout in 2010 from 2008.” He did not have to say anything else for everyone understand what would happen if Democrats do not vote in this election.