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Governor Hassan Will Continue To Fight To Increase Wages And Expand Middle Class Opportunity

Hundreds gathered at the NH Raising Wages Summit in Concord Saturday to listen to elected leaders talk about how they are continuing to push for better wages for all workers.

Governor Maggie Hassan was first to address the crowd. Many of the people in the room were the same people who helped get Maggie elected three years ago.

From her first gubernatorial campaign speech a few years ago, to the one here at the Raising Wages Summit (below), Maggie Hassan has stood firm in her belief that New Hampshire must increase the state’s Minimum Wage.

Governor Hassan is a true champion for working families. She supports increasing wages for working families and at the same time working to make higher education more accessible and affordable.

“New Hampshire’s highly skilled and dedicated workforce is the backbone of our economy, making our communities strong, protecting the well-being of our people and keeping our state moving in the right direction,” said Governor Hassan.

“In order for our economic growth to truly accelerate, working families and individuals must be confident in their own financial circumstances and able to afford critical goods and services.”

“I will continue fighting to support the priorities that are critical to increasing wages and expanding middle class opportunity,” Hassan said.

As Governor Hassan finishes out her term, she has already accepted a new challenge, running for US Senate against Kelly Ayotte.

As Senator, Kelly Ayotte voted against raising the minimum wage and a whole host of other bills that would help working families. The good news is that she won’t be in that seat after November of 2016!

Ayotte Fact Check: Opposing Efforts To Help Working Families

Kelly Ayotte (Gage Skidmore Flickr CC)

Kelly Ayotte (Gage Skidmore Flickr CC)

Concord, N.H. – As part of the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s “Ayotte Fact Check” accountability project, we will be highlighting a different area of Kelly Ayotte’s true Washington record every day this week.

Today’s focus is Ayotte’s record of opposing efforts to help working families.

“In Washington, Kelly Ayotte has repeatedly voted to put lobbyists and special interests before New Hampshire’s hard-working families, and Granite Staters deserve better,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Raymond Buckley. “From saying that guaranteed paid leave should be left to the whim of employers to voting against equal pay for women, Ayotte has continually voted directly against the interests of New Hampshire families.”

“Despite Ayotte’s attempts to cover up her record with sham bills that have nice titles but would actually do damage to New Hampshire families, voters will see right through her transparent attempts to save her political career and hold her accountable for her real Washington record,” added Buckley.

See below for the facts on Kelly Ayotte’s record of opposing efforts to help working families:

Ayotte said she “certainly” thinks guaranteed paid leave is “an issue that should be addressed by employers rather than mandated by the government.”

And she followed up those comments by introducing a sham paid leave bill with Mitch McConnell that would actually force workers to choose between overtime pay and leave time, a proposal which experts have called an “empty promise” that “would give workers less flexibility and less pay.” Others have pointed out it’s a “Trojan horse” that means “ripping off workers.”

When asked why she voted against equal pay for women, Ayotte said, “The reason that I voted against that specific bill is that, I looked at it, and there were already existing laws that need to be enforced.”

So instead of supporting the Paycheck Fairness Act, Ayotte introduced a deeply flawed equal pay bill that creates loopholes for employers to prohibit discussion of pay.

For additional facts about Ayotte’s record on women’s economic issues, see here.

State Employees Praise Budget Compromise Agreement

“We are pleased not only for the state employees, but for all citizens of NH that the Governor and GOP leaders have reached a compromise budget agreement. 

The compromise budget will include business tax cuts and the state employees’ previously negotiated 2% cost-of-living pay increase.  It will support critical priorities for New Hampshire’s families and businesses. And, it will include a trigger mechanism that ensures revenues are at levels that would at least sustain the current budget before additional tax cuts go into effect. It will also allow the next legislature to determine what spending or revenue offsets should be made to pay for the second round of tax cuts – before they go into effect.”

We applaud the Governor and the legislature for continuing to work together to arrive at this point.  We were confident that, in the end, ideology would take a back seat to this common sense approach that benefits NH citizens by preserving critical public services, while also serving the interests of our economy.

Tomorrow, the legislature will introduce legislation that reflects the compromise – a bill that provides for the 2015 – 2017 employment agreement with the state employees and a bill that provides for the business tax decrease, with the “trigger.”  They will then consider an override of the Governor’s budget veto. If the legislation passes, Governor Hassan will then ask Democrats to support overriding the veto allowing both the compromise and the budget to go into effect.

The state employees’ will receive a 2% wage increase as of January 1, 2016 and a second 2% increase in January 2017. 

While we are happy with this forward movement and support the compromise, we remain concerned about other outstanding issues.  We look forward to continuing to work with our legislators to find reasonable solutions that are fiscally conservative and protect the state’s long-term financial outlook and ability to support critical priorities for New Hampshire’s families and businesses.”

You can read Governor Hassan’s full statement of the compromise here.

You can also read the response from the NH Senate Democrats here.

New Petition To Uphold The Governor’s Veto Of This Reckless Budget

Sign the Petition (1)

Governor Hassan vetoed the Republican budget saying;

“I have vetoed the budget passed by the legislature because it is unbalanced, makes false promises about what it funds, and gives unpaid-for tax giveaways to big corporations, many based out-of-state, at the expense of critical economic priorities, including higher education, health care, public safety and transportation. The long-term impact of these unpaid-for corporate tax cuts will create a more than $90 million hole in future budgets, further eroding our ability to encourage economic growth.”

We must uphold Governor Hassan’s veto and end the unfunded tax giveaways written into this unbalanced budget.

We are calling on all of our elected representatives to vote and uphold Governor Hassan’s veto and force the leadership to work together and find a compromise that will keep New Hampshire moving in the right direction.

The Petition reads:

We believe that New Hampshire is moving in the right direction and this reckless budget will only take us backwards. We must end these unfunded tax giveaways to big business that will blow a $90 million dollar hole in our state budget.

We call on you, our elected representatives, to uphold Governor Hassan’s veto and work together to properly fund the needs and priorities of our great state. Priorities like rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, investing in our public schools, and providing the needed funds to combat the growing heroin epidemic.

Please sign the petition below or click here to sign.


  When you are done signing the petition, please send a letter to you state reps asking them not to fall victim to the “Kansas Tax Cut Trap” that will blow a $90 million dollar hole in our state budget. Click here to send your letter or fill out the form below.



Governor Hassan Ceremoniously Signs Legislation Moving NH Closer to Expanding Passenger Rail to Manchester


Governor Maggie Hassan ceremoniously signed two pieces of legislation today at Nashua City Hall aimed at getting the state closer to bringing passenger rail to Manchester. The legislation will make the New Hampshire Rail Transit Authority more efficient and more appealing to state agencies seeking to provide funding for rail infrastructure projects. A second piece of legislation calls for a legislative committee to study public-private partnerships for infrastructure improvements, which will be integral in the effort to expand passenger rail along the New Hampshire Capitol Corridor. Governor Hassan was joined, from left to right, by: Adam Hlasny, Transportation Planner with the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission; State Senator Bette Lasky; David Preece, Executive Director of the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission and Vice-Chairman of NHRTA; Michael Skelton, President and CEO of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce; Nashua Mayor Donnalee Lozeau; NHRTA Chairman Michael Izbicki; and Tracy Hatch, President and CEO of the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce.

SB 88 allows NH Rail Transit Authority to operate more efficiently and SB 63 establishes a legislative committee to study public-private partnerships for infrastructure projects

Nashua, NH – Governor Maggie Hassan ceremoniously signed two bills this morning in Nashua pushing the state closer to extending passenger rail to Manchester along the New Hampshire Capitol Corridor. Senate Bill 63 will help make the Rail Transit Authority (NHRTA) both more efficient and more appealing to federal agencies seeking to invest in states with well-organized rail authorities, and Senate Bill 88 establishes a committee to study public-private partnerships for intermodal transportation projects. During the signing ceremony at Nashua City Hall, Governor Hassan was joined by NHRTA Chairman Michael Izbicki, State Senator Bette Lasky, Nashua Mayor Donnalee Lozeau, Michael Skelton, President and CEO of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, and Tracy Hatch, President and CEO of the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce, along with business leaders and rail supporters.

“Senate Bill 88 and Senate Bill 63 mark important steps in the process of expanding rail along New Hampshire’s Capitol Corridor, which could have a transformative impact on our state’s economy,” said Michael Izbicki, Chairman of the New Hampshire Rail Transit Authority. “Along with helping NHRTA operate more efficiently, this legislation could help open the door for New Hampshire to seek out alternative funding sources for critical infrastructure improvements, including rail. NHRTA, the state’s two largest Chambers of Commerce, 68% percent of New Hampshire residents and a growing list of businesses all agree that we need to invest in the state’s rail infrastructure, and this legislation gets us closer to that goal.”

Along with streamlining the membership of NHRTA’s board of directors, Senate Bill 63 also establishes an advisory board for NHRTA. Under Senate Bill 88, a legislative committee will identify potential revenue sources to fund passenger rail and other intermodal transportation options. These new sources of funding could help shift the burden from the state and enable New Hampshire to invest in its crumbling transportation infrastructure.  The legislative committee has already begun studying these types of partnerships.

“A modern, safe transportation infrastructure is critical to the success of our people and businesses, and bringing commuter rail from Boston to Nashua and Manchester will help ensure that our people and businesses have the full range of modern transportation options that they need, help bring more young people to New Hampshire and help spur economic growth. Commuter rail is one of my priorities for attracting more young people to the Granite State and encouraging innovative economic growth, and I am proud to have signed these two bills that represent an important part of the process to moving commuter rail forward into law.”

Across the country, public-private partnerships are becoming a more viable option for financing needed infrastructure improvements. With $1 billion in private financing, a public-private partnership in Denver called the Eagle P3 Project is helping to construct three new commuter rail lines. The Louisville and Southern Indiana Bridges Authority is developing a major tunnel and bridge project as part of the Ohio River Bridges Project through a public-private partnership. The Virginia Department of Transportation is relying on a public-private partnership to redevelop a 14-mile stretch of its Capital Beltway, creating a managed-lane model.

“These types of partnerships carry a number of potential benefits, like engaging private sector innovation to help drive down costs which can help and sustain price certainty, even in long-term budgeting,” Izbicki added.

The bill signing ceremony today comes on the heels of an announcement last week that the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission (SNHPC) had been awarded a $30,000 challenge grant to continue public education and advocacy for advancing commuter rail to Manchester. In an effort to keep up the momentum, SNHPC is using the challenge grant to engage key stakeholders, business leaders and the public to continue to build on a still-growing base of rail supporters.

Earlier this year, the state released the NH Capitol Corridor Study, which analyzed the 73-mile corridor from Boston, MA to Concord, NH.  The study indicated that the Manchester Regional Rail alternative, which would serve two stations in Nashua, one in downtown Manchester and one at the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, would offer the greatest economic benefit with a relatively moderate investment.

The next step in the rail expansion process is the critical project development phase, which costs $4 million and consists of establishing a detailed financial plan, preliminary engineering, environmental permitting and preparation of funding applications for submission to the Federal Transit Administration and Federal Rail Administration.

To learn more about efforts to expand passenger rail in New Hampshire, please visit www.nhrta.org.

About the NH Capitol Corridor Study 

In early 2015, a comprehensive analysis of the 73-mile corridor from Boston, MA to Concord, NH known as the NH Capitol Corridor Study was released which indicated that the Manchester Regional Rail alternative, which would serve two stations in Nashua, one in downtown Manchester and one at the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, would offer the greatest economic benefit with a relatively moderate investment. After reviewing the results of the study, NHRTA voted to formally support extending passenger rail service to Manchester, with continued interest in extending passenger rail to Concord.

According to the study, the Manchester Regional Rail alternative would create approximately 230 jobs through construction of the rail line and an additional 3,390 construction jobs would be created to build real estate development generated by rail. Beginning in 2030, the expansion of rail would create 1,730 new jobs every year. Real estate development would add $750 million to the state’s output between 2021 and 2030, with reinvested earnings would add $220 million per year beyond 2030.

The total capital investment to bring passenger rail to Manchester is estimated at $245.6 million, but New Hampshire’s investment could shrink to $72 million with contributions from regional partners coupled with 50% federal support.  The investment required to cover debt service on a 20-year bond and annual operating and maintenance costs would be $11 million annually.  

About the NH Rail Transit Authority

The NH Rail Transit Authority (NHRTA) was established in 2007 and is tasked with encouraging and overseeing the redevelopment of passenger rail services throughout New Hampshire with an initial emphasis on the NH Capitol Corridor. The NHRTA is administratively attached to the New Hampshire Department of Transportation and consists of a nine-member board of directors comprised of the NH Department of Transportation, the NH Department of Resources and Economic Development, a member of the NHRTA advisory board, two representatives from the House Transportation Committee and four appointees by the governor. NHRTA’s board of directors takes guidance from an advisory board comprised of broad based membership from 14 cities and towns, 9 regional planning commissions, the NH College and University Council, the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport and three members appointed by the governor. Learn more at www.nhrta.org

SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Response to Governor’s Compromise Budget Proposal

On Thursday morning, Gov. Maggie Hassan presented a compromise budget proposal and urged lawmakers to get to work quickly to reach an agreement.

The compromise proposal includes more funding for numerous key priorities, including winter road maintenance, fighting the addiction epidemic, overtime at the Department of Corrections, and the Community College System of New Hampshire. The proposal also includes funding for the new state employee contract negotiated by SEA/SEIU Local 1984 members; the Legislature cut funding for that agreement during budget negotiations.

Following the press conference, SEA/SEIU Local 1984 President Richard Gulla issued the following statement:

“We applaud the governor for proactively putting forward a budget compromise that incorporates priorities from both Republicans and Democrats, and including the funding necessary to fulfill the fairly negotiated contract for the hard working state employees who deliver quality public services to our state every day,” Gulla said.

“Throughout this budget process, our members have continued to do their jobs to make sure our roads are safe, our veterans and most needy are cared for, and that Granite Staters have the tools they need to compete for good jobs in today’s economy,” Gulla said. “Now it’s time for the Legislature to do its job, by coming back to the table quickly and reaching a bipartisan compromise by the target date of Sept. 16 so that we have a state budget that meets the needs of our state.”

Governor Hassan’s Statement on the STEM Task Force Report

 CONCORD – After the Governor’s Task Force on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education released its final report, Governor Maggie Hassan issued the following statement:

“Modernizing how we educate our students in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math is critical to helping them develop the skills needed for good jobs in the innovation economy, and I thank the members of the task force for their important work.

“Developed with input from leaders throughout the education and business communities, the task force recommendations outline how our schools and students can be competitive in the 21st century economy. This report will help us strengthen the foundations of STEM education, inspire our students through competitions and more hands-on experiences, and empower our teachers. By bringing our standards into the 21st century, we can ensure that our students are prepared to compete for jobs in today’s global economy.”

As part of her efforts to help students develop the skills and critical thinking needed for success in the innovation economy, Governor Maggie Hassan issued an Executive Order in April 2014 creating the Governor’s Task Force on STEM Education. For the task force’s final report, visit http://www.governor.nh.gov/commissions-task-forces/stem/index.htm.

After Gov. Hassan’s Inaugural Speech The NH GOP Spread False Talking Points About The Minimum Wage

New Hampshire Republicans Double Down on Opposition to Strengthening Wages for Hard-Working Granite Staters

Republicans Use Debunked Claims About Effect of Minimum Wage on Job Creation;

Data Shows 2014 Job Creation Grew Faster in States that Raised the Minimum Wage

Concord, NH – Following Governor Hassan’s impassioned call for legislators to come together to finally restore and increase New Hampshire’s minimum wage, Republican leaders doubled down on their opposition to strengthening wages for tens of thousands of hard-working Granite Staters.

A WMUR Granite State Poll found that 76% of Granite Staters support raising New Hampshire’s minimum wage – including majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents.

“As Governor Hassan argued passionately in her Inaugural Address, it is long past time for members of both parties to come together to finally restore and increase our state’s minimum wage,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “Instead of recycling debunked talking points, Republican leaders need to listen to the voices of the people of New Hampshire and finally join with Governor Hassan to strengthen wages and move our economy forward.”

In her Inaugural Address, Governor Hassan stressed the importance of expanding opportunity and strengthening wages for New Hampshire families. But just moments after the Governor’s address concluded, Senator Jeb Bradley was already recycling the same old debunked Republican talking points, calling the minimum wage “a job-killer.”

The problem with such claims is that they’ve repeatedly been shown to be untrue. The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) found that job creation in 2014 was faster in the 13 states that had increased their minimum wage on January 1, 2014 compared with those that had not. Another study from the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment found “strong earnings effects and no employment effects of minimum wage increases.”

Even more mind-boggling was the argument from Deputy Speaker Gene Chandler, who told NHPR that New Hampshire should not increase the minimum wage because doing so “also raises the wage levels of everyone else up the line because if the minimum wage is raised, then other people are going to expect to get more money.”

“It’s ludicrous and just another sign of how completely backwards today’s New Hampshire Republican Party is that party leaders could argue that raising the minimum wage is a bad idea because it would help too many people,” added Buckley.

Fact-Checking Walt Havenstein

walt havensteinFACT CHECK: New Hampshire ALREADY has one of the BEST “Business Tax Climates” in the Nation

Fact: Despite Walt Havenstein’s misleading claims, the very study his campaign has cited – the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index – shows that New Hampshire’s business tax climate ranks 7th best in the country (and number one in New England).

The Council on State Taxation (COST) also tallied “all of the taxes paid by businesses in a given state, not just corporate income taxes, but property, sales, and personal income taxes as well” and found “that figure was 4.2 percent in FY 2012, markedly lower than the national average of 4.8 percent and less than 38 other states.” [NHFPI, 8/6/14]

FACT CHECK: So-Called “Right to Work”

Fact: Despite Havenstein’s claims, so-called “right to work” really means “right to work for less.”

The Economic Policy Institute’s report, “’Right-to-Work’ Wrong for New Hampshire,” explains that “Contrary to what RTW backers have claimed, the scientific analysis of right-to-work laws shows that they lower wages and benefits for both union and nonunion workers alike without exhibiting any positive impact on job growth.”

(Read NHLN coverage of Right to Work (for Less) here and here.)

FACT CHECK: Havenstein’s Misleading and Dishonest Budget Attacks

Fact: Governor Hassan has repeatedly pledged that she would veto an income or sales tax if one were to reach her desk.

Walt Havenstein’s false attack ignores that agencies are required by law “to submit both a maintenance budget that includes the cost of existing services going forward and a budget that incorporates new costs such as additional personnel or new legislatively mandated programs or technology.” [Union Leader, 10/14/14]

Havenstein’s misleading attack also ignores that Governor Hassan told state agencies their budget requests are non-starters, and already instructed agencies to submit lower proposals. [Union Leader, 8/7/14]

FACT CHECK: Havenstein’s Highway Fund Plan Cuts Troopers, Ignores Constitution

Fact: Walt Havenstein’s plan to cut the Department of Safety’s funding would take troopers off the road and make New Hampshire’s highways less safe.

The New Hampshire Constitution says that the highway funds shall be used for “the construction, reconstruction and maintenance of public highways within this state, including the supervision of traffic thereon.”  [NH Constitution, Part Second, Article 6-a]  The reference to the “supervision of traffic” allows highway funds to be given to the Department of Safety to fund state troopers.

In her bipartisan budget, Governor Hassan worked to maintain New Hampshire’s status as one of the safest states in the nation by putting more troopers on the road. By cutting the Department of Safety’s highway funding, Havenstein would reverse this effort and pull troopers off New Hampshire’s highways.

FACT CHECK: Havenstein’s Failed Record as CEO of SAIC

Fact: Failed CEO Walt Havenstein drove SAIC into the ground, the company lost millions, shed thousands of jobs, and saw its stock value nose-dive.

Despite Havenstein’s attempts to duck responsibility for the company’s performance during his disastrous tenure, the Nashua Telegraph pointed out that, “there’s little to dispute the company’s stock and job loss performance.”

Speaking of the strategy Havenstein put in place at SAIC to push for big government contracts, the Washington Post added, “The company struggled under the strategy, watching its profit and revenue decline.”

FACT CHECK: Over a Year Into Havenstein’s Tenure as CEO, SAIC Gave a 5% Raise to Consultants at Heart of Massive CityTime Fraud Scandal

Fact: During Walt Havenstein’s time as CEO of SAIC, the U.S. Department of Justice discovered that his company was involved in a massive, $500 million fraud scheme against taxpayers.

Despite Havenstein’s claims that he took action and held people accountable, the New York Daily News reported that, “In early December 2010, only weeks before federal agents launched the first arrests in the scandal, the city’s Office of Payroll Administration permitted SAIC to give 5% across-the-board pay increases to all consultants supplied by Technodyne.” [NY Daily News, 11/21/13]

The employees and owners of the TechnoDyne consulting firm were at the heart of the massive CityTime fraud scheme. Before the U.S. Department of Justice discovered the scheme, SAIC employees funneled $400 million in taxpayer dollars to TechnoDyne. [US DOJ Press Release, 6/20/11]

The across-the-board pay increase for all TechnoDyne consultants came over a year after Havenstein became CEO of SAIC on September 21, 2009. At the time of the raise, the CityTime project was already hundreds of millions of dollars over budget. [NY Times, 12/15/10]

See here for public documents showing that SAIC gave a five-percent raise to the TechnoDyne consultants on December 9, 2010, just six days before the U.S. Department of Justice’s first round of arrests in the case.


Concord Police Patrolmen’s Association Endorses Governor Maggie Hassan for Her Strong Bipartisan Leadership to Keep Our Cities Safe

Fifth Public Safety Organization to Endorse Governor Hassan for Re-Election

Maggie HassanConcord—Citing her strong bipartisan leadership to solve problems and help keep our cities safe, the Concord Police Patrolmen’s Association endorsed Governor Maggie Hassan for re-election.

“Governor Hassan is the strong bipartisan leader our public safety officials need, and she has never wavered in her commitment to strengthening public safety in the City of Concord and throughout the state,” said CPPA President Brian Cook. “We’re proud to endorse Governor Hassan for re-election because she has proven that she not only understands the support we need to keep our communities safe, but she also knows how to work across party lines to get results.

“As Governor, I’ve seen on nearly a daily basis how hard our police officers work to protect our communities while treating the public with the respect and dignity they deserve,” said Governor Maggie Hassan. “Ensuring the safety of our citizens is the most important responsibility of state government, and it’s a great honor to have earned the support of the Concord Police Patrolmen’s Association again this year. Through our bipartisan budget, we’ve made critical investments in public safety, without a sales or income tax, and I will continue working to bring people together across party lines to help keep our communities safe.”

“Together, we’ve maintained drug task force teams, restored the CHINS program, and expanded access to substance and alcohol treatment coverage, and we can’t afford to let my opponent pull us backward. My opponent has proposed a ‘plan’ that would blow a $90 million hole in the budget to give more tax giveaways to big businesses, undermining our bipartisan progress to provide our public safety officials with the resources they need to keep our citizens safe,” added Governor Hassan.

Through her bipartisan budget, Governor Hassan fought to protect critical investments in public safety – without a sales or income tax. The Governor restored the CHINS program, invested in drug task force teams, funded the cold case unit, and launched Media Power Youth, a public-private initiative to increase media literacy and reduce and prevent youth violence.

The Governor also worked across party lines to strengthen community-based mental health services and pass a bipartisan Medicaid expansion plan that is providing coverage for mental health and substance use treatment to thousands of hard-working Granite Staters, strengthening the safety and well being of our communities.

The CPPA is the fifth public safety organization to endorse Governor Hassan for re-election, joining the New Hampshire Troopers’ Association, Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire, New Hampshire Police Association, and Manchester Police Patrolman’s Association.

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