Tuition Reduction at New Hampshire’s Community Colleges. A Statement by Gov Hassan

Nashua Community College (Cropped) (Wiki Commons)

Nashua Community College (Cropped) (Wiki Commons)Statement from Governor Hassan on Tuition Reduction at New Hampshire’s Community Colleges

CONCORD – Following today’s announcement by the Community College System of New Hampshire Board of Trustees of a five-percent tuition reduction beginning in the 2014 fall semester, Governor Maggie Hassan issued the following statement:

“Making higher education more affordable for all of our families is one of my highest priorities as we work to build a stronger workforce that will lead to innovative economic growth. I applaud the leadership of the Community College System of New Hampshire for their decision to reduce tuition and their continued commitment to the success of our students. This important step forward for our workforce builds on the progress we made in last year’s bipartisan budget to restore investments in higher education in exchange for a tuition freeze.

“Our community colleges continue to modernize and innovate by developing nimble and cutting-edge programs, offering more online education options, and aligning their programs with the needs of the business community. Through these partnerships, we are developing a stronger workforce pipeline that can help existing businesses grow and attract new companies to our state, and we are helping students develop the skills they need for good jobs in the 21st century economy.

“I thank the Legislature for working with me last year in a bipartisan effort to provide the investment that helped make this tuition reduction possible, and I am grateful that CCSNH took this step to make higher education more affordable. I look forward to working with the higher education community, businesses, and legislators from both parties to continue our progress and ensure that New Hampshire’s workforce is the strongest in the nation.”

 

Governor Hassan Creates STEM Education Task Force

Maggie Hassan

Issues Executive Order Bringing Together Diverse Stakeholders to Help Modernize STEM Education 

CONCORD – Continuing 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 today creating the Governor’s Task Force on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education.

The Task Force brings together a diverse group of stakeholders from the education and business communities to make recommendations for modernizing STEM education in New Hampshire’s schools.

“To help young people develop the skills and innovative thinking needed for jobs that growing businesses are creating here in New Hampshire, we need to come together as a state to ask tough questions about how we can best educate our young people, especially in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math,” Governor Hassan said. “The members of this Task Force have a diverse background in teaching, school administration, higher education and business, including job creators and innovators in research and development. Their service will help our schools modernize STEM education, providing our young people with skills that our businesses believe in, our educators believe in, and our students and families believe in.”

The Governor’s Task Force includes members with relevant experience in STEM education in kindergarten through 12th grade, the Community College System of New Hampshire, the University System of New Hampshire, and New Hampshire’s private colleges and universities, as well as representatives from New Hampshire’s innovative businesses and a parent of three children who attend New Hampshire public schools.

The Task Force will be chaired by Dr. Ross Gittell, Chancellor of the Community College System of New Hampshire who is also the co-founder and co-director of the Green Launching Pad, an innovative business incubator that connects entrepreneurs and private industry with technical, scientific and business faculty and students throughout the state.

“For students to succeed, we must work together to strengthen education in the STEM fields,” Dr. Gittell said. “I applaud Governor Hassan for creating this Task Force, and I look forward to working with her and my fellow members to help modernize STEM education in our schools.”

Members will make recommendations to ensure that New Hampshire’s kindergarten through 12th grade STEM education is rigorous and extensive enough to prepare students to compete globally in today’s technology-driven society; examine New Hampshire’s existing science standards and science education practices and consider best science and education practices nationwide; examine New Hampshire’s existing math standards and requirements and consider whether mathematics requirements for high school graduation should be increased; examine current engineering and technology offerings and make recommendations for how to better integrate engineering and technology into existing school activities, how to provide academic pathways for students considering STEM careers and how to interest more students in STEM fields; consider whether improvements to other areas of the curricula, such as arts education, could improve students’ overall success; and identify barriers to implementing more rigorous STEM standards.

Other members are:

 

  • Dr. Brian Blake, Superintendent of Sanborn Regional School District and President-Elect of the New Hampshire Superintendents Association, representing the New Hampshire School Administrators Association;
  • Barbara Couch, Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility at Hypertherm Inc. and a member of the state’s Advanced Manufacturing Education Advisory Council, representing New Hampshire’s business community;
  • Joyce Craig, Manchester Alderman and mother of three children who attend Manchester public schools;
  • Susan D’Agostino, math professor at Southern New Hampshire University, representing New Hampshire’s private colleges and universities;
  • Greg Hallowell, member of the Nashua Board of Education and scientific researcher at MIT Lincoln Laboratory;
  • Mary Kate Hartwell, District Curriculum Coordinator for Raymond Schools, representing the New Hampshire Science Teachers Association;
  • Joseph J. Helble, Dean of the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College and a Professor of Engineering, representing New Hampshire’s private colleges and universities;
  • Caroline Herold, Middle Level Teacher at Lurgio Middle School in Bedford, representing the New Hampshire Teachers of Mathematics;
  • Jeremy Hitchock, CEO & Chairman of Dyn, representing New Hampshire’s business community;
  • Dean Kamen, New Hampshire entrepreneur, President of DEKA Research & Development and Founder of FIRST, representing New Hampshire’s business community;
  • Todd Lamarque, Principal at Lancaster Elementary School and former chair of the science department at Gorham Middle High School, representing the New Hampshire Association of School Principals;
  • Paul Leather, Deputy Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Education, designee of Department of Education Commissioner Virginia Barry;
  • Dr. Palligarnai Vasudevan, Professor of Chemical Engineering and the Interim Senior Vice Provost at UNH, representing the University System of New Hampshire.

 

The New Hampshire Department of Education will provide administrative support to the task force and will soon be announcing the first meeting.

The full text of the Governor’s Executive Order is attached.

 

Governor Hassan Proclaims Equal Pay Day, Urges Support for New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act

Image from Governor Hassan Facebook Page

Governor Submits Letter Encouraging House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee to Recommend Passage of Measure to Address Pay Equity 

CONCORD – Highlighting how pay equity will strengthen the economy and improve the financial security of working families, Governor Maggie Hassan proclaimed today Equal Pay Day in New Hampshire and submitted a letter to the House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee encouraging members to recommend passage of SB 207, the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation sponsored by Senator Sylvia Larsen of Concord that builds on the important equal pay law signed in 2000 by then Governor Jeanne Shaheen.

“Today, well over half of the women in our state are either the primary or co-breadwinners in their families. And yet, on average, women in New Hampshire earn 77 cents on the dollar compared to what men earn,” Governor Hassan wrote. “This disparity makes it more difficult for New Hampshire families to achieve financial prosperity and save for the future. It also puts further strain on our state budget and hurts our local businesses by taking money out of the pockets of consumers.

“The Paycheck Fairness Act of 2014 will strengthen New Hampshire’s economic future and improve the financial security of working families by providing the tools and protections needed to ensure equal paychecks for all Granite Staters,” Governor Hassan wrote.

The New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act updates state law by eliminating loopholes, increasing transparency in wages, and ensuring that all workers have the appropriate tools and resources to help them earn a fair and equal paycheck, without fear of retaliation.

“Eliminating the pay gap between women and men will strengthen our economy and the financial security of working families across the state,” the Governor’s letter continued. “I thank Senator Larsen and Speaker Norelli for sponsoring the Paycheck Fairness Act and encourage members of the committee to reaffirm the principle that an equal day’s work deserves an equal day’s pay.”

Full text of the Equal Pay Day proclamation

Governor Hassan’s full letter the Senate Commerce Committee is below:

April 8, 2014
Representative Andrew White, Chairman
House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee
Room 307
Legislative Office Building, Concord

Dear Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:

I write to you today in support of SB 207, the Paycheck Fairness Act of 2014, a critical piece of legislation for New Hampshire’s economy and working families. Today, well over half of the women in our state are either the primary or co-breadwinners in their families. And yet, on average, women in New Hampshire earn 77 cents on the dollar compared to what men earn in comparable jobs. This disparity makes it more difficult for New Hampshire families to achieve financial prosperity and save for the future. It also puts further strain on our state budget and hurts our local businesses by taking money out of the pockets of consumers. 

 The Paycheck Fairness Act of 2014 will strengthen New Hampshire’s economic future and improve the financial security of working families by providing the tools and protections needed to ensure equal paychecks for all Granite Staters. It builds on the important equal pay law signed in 2000 by then Governor Jeanne Shaheen by eliminating loopholes, increasing transparency in wages, and ensuring that all workers have the appropriate tools and resources to help them earn a fair and equal paycheck, without fear of retaliation.

Eliminating the pay gap between women and men will strengthen our economy and the financial security of working families across the state. I thank Senator Larsen and Speaker Norelli for sponsoring the Paycheck Fairness Act and encourage members of the committee to reaffirm the principle that an equal day’s work deserves an equal day’s pay. Please recommend passage of SB 207.

Thank you for your consideration of this important legislation.

With every good wish, 

Margaret Wood Hassan
Governor of New Hampshire

Much Rejoicing As NH Senate Unanimously Passes Paycheck Fairness Bill

sylvia larsen

“This definitive, bipartisan action by the full Senate affirms that both Republicans and Democrats agree we must act to close the wage gap in New Hampshire,” said Senate Democratic Leader Sylvia Larsen.

Senate Bill 207 has been cited by Senate and House Democrats as a top priority for the 2014 legislative session. All Senate Democrats have sponsored the legislation with House Speaker Terie Norelli serving as the leading House sponsor along with co-sponsors Rep. Shannon Chandley (D-Amherst), Rep. MaryAnn Knowles (D-Hudson), and Rep. Marjorie Porter (D-Hillsboro).

sylvia larsen

Senator Sylvia Larsen

“The New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act will give the more than 60% of women working in today’s economy, as the primary or co-breadwinners for their families, the much needed tools they need to combat the wage gap,” stated Larsen.

“It’s distressing that, in the year 2014, women in New Hampshire, who are working full-time jobs, still earn only 77 cents on the dollar compared to men. National studies have found that a pay gap exists between men and women in nearly every occupation. However, with this bipartisan, unanimous vote, we are sending a crystal clear message that the Legislature is on the side of all workers guaranteeing fair and equal paycheck, without fear of retaliation.”

Senator Larsen concluded her statement by saying, “I look forward to a quick House action, so New Hampshire can renew our commitment to the fundamental principle of, an equal day’s work deserves an equal day’s pay.”

“Today’s unanimous Senate vote to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act is an overwhelming, bipartisan affirmation of the principle that an equal day’s work deserves an equal day’s pay,” stated Governor Maggie Hassan. “This common-sense measure to help eliminate the pay gap between women and men will strengthen our economy and the financial security of working families across our state. I applaud the Senate for today’s bipartisan vote and encourage the House to pass this critical legislation in order to help all of New Hampshire’s workers earn a fair and equal paycheck.”

“We commend members of the Senate for voting unanimously to remove a remaining barrier to pay equity in New Hampshire,” stated Mark MacKenzie, President of the NH AFL-CIO. “Passing SB207 was the right thing to do for fairness and equality, and the right thing to do for the majority of Granite State working families who depend on women’s earnings to get by.”

“We commend the Senate’s unanimous adoption of the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act,” stated Zandra Rice-Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress. “This law would give employees the tools they need to challenge wage gaps. Data shows that New Hampshire women make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. Coupled with the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act already in law, these two acts can help to create a climate where wage discrimination is no longer tolerated.”

Along with the Democratic leadership in the House and Senate, community groups helped push legislators to pass this Paycheck Fairness bill.  Below are statements from some of the other organizations celebrating today’s vote.

Kary Jencks, Executive Director, NH Citizens Alliance for Action: “The Senate recognized today that ensuring equal pay for equal work is important to protecting New Hampshire working families.  A woman’s earnings, whether she is married or not, are crucial to family support. Closing the wage gap is the right action for New Hampshire to take for the economic security of Granite Staters.”

Devon Chaffee, Executive Director of the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union: “We applaud the Senate’s bipartisan approval of the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act. In approving this critical legislation, the Senate has taken an important step towards eliminating unfair gender paycheck inequities in the state of New Hampshire.”

Dawn Andonellis, Public Policy Chair for the American Association of University Women (AAUW) of New Hampshire: “We applaud the New Hampshire State Senate for passing the Paycheck Fairness Act in a bipartisan fashion and for taking this important step toward closing the wage gap and ending gender discrimination in the workplace. Moving this bill forward would give the women of New Hampshire a reason to actually celebrate Equal Pay Day on April 8. Finally, women are closer to achieving equal pay for equal work.”

Mary Jo Brown, Chair of the New Hampshire Women’s Initiative: “The New Hampshire Women’s Initiative applauds the Senate’s unanimous adoption of SB 207. SB 207 is a great step toward reducing the wage gap and promoting pay equity for all Granite Staters. The bill, which includes provisions towards paycheck transparency, honors NHWI’s agenda and findings from our 2013 statewide listening sessions with NH citizens. We are proud to thank Senator Larsen and her cosponsors for the bipartisan support of the bill. We are excited that the Senate has passed this important piece of legislation and look forward to working with the House.”

Fatima Goss Graves, Vice President for Education and Employment at the National Women’s Law Center: “This bipartisan vote reflects the simple fact that giving women tools to combat pay discrimination and close the wage gap is a common sense solution that everyone should be able to get behind.”

The NH Senate was realistically the only hurdle this bill faced in getting passed in New Hampshire.  The GOP controlled Senate was the only truly unknown in this bills likelihood of passing.  The bill will now moved to the Democrat controlled house, where I should pass with ease.  I expect the Governor could be signing this bill before May first.

 

The New Hampshire House Passes Minimum Wage Increase

NHhouse

The New Hampshire House of Representatives today by a vote of 173 to 118 approved HB 1403, a bill to increase the state minimum wage to $9.00 an hour over two years and apply cost of living adjustments in future years. New Hampshire’s current minimum wage is $7.25 an hour and the wage has remained at this level since 2008.

“New Hampshire’s current minimum wage leaves workers struggling to get by,” said New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute Executive Director Jeff McLynch. “Raising the minimum wage and ensuring it is adjusted for the cost of living in future years would help families make ends meet, boost sales at local businesses, and put New Hampshire on a path towards an economy that works for everyone.”

HB 1403 would increase the minimum wage to $8.25 per hour on January 1, 2015, and to $9.00 per hour on January 1, 2016. Beginning January 1, 2017, it would automatically increase New Hampshire’s minimum wage to account for inflation (based on the Consumer Price Index).

An analysis conducted by the Economic Policy Institute indicates that HB 1403 would either directly or indirectly increase the wages of 76,000 Granite Staters. Of those who would be affected, 72 percent are adults age 20 and older; 32 percent work full-time; 59 percent are women; and 14 percent are parents.

On average, those who would be affected by a $9.00 minimum wage would see their pay go up by $870 per year. As minimum wage workers spend every dollar they earn, this spending will boost the bottom lines of stores, shops, and businesses in communities across the state while adding $64 million to the New Hampshire economy over the next two years.

The WMUR Granite State Poll released on February 6 found that 76% of state residents support increasing the minimum wage to $9.00. The poll question asked respondents if they supported an increase to $8.25 in 2015 and to $9 an hour in 2016. Across the political spectrum, the majority of Democrats (91%), Republicans (64%), and Independents (70%) favored this proposed increase to the minimum wage.

“I applaud members of the House of Representatives for their recognition of the need to restore and increase New Hampshire’s minimum wage,” said Governor Hassan. “In order for 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.”

Governor Hassan continued, “This measure will help improve the financial security of working families and people of all ages and will support businesses by putting more money in the pockets of their consumers. I look forward to working with members of the Senate, as well as workers, businesses and all stakeholders, to strengthen our state’s economic future by restoring and increasing New Hampshire’s minimum wage.”

“The legislators were not swayed by false testimony or attempts to weaken the bill,” said Zandra Rice-Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress. “We all know that a strong minimum wage means more money in the pockets of families and more money in the cash registers of local businesses. Raising the wage is a win-win situation for our whole economy and we strongly encourage the Senate to support it.”

“The vote in the House today signals a strong desire to help working people and we are proud of the legislators who voted with us,” continued Rice-Hawkins.  “Three-quarters of Granite Staters, including majorities of Republicans, Independents, and Democrats, also support increasing the minimum wage to $9 per hour.”

Now everything lies in the Senate.  Will they do what is right for Granite Staters or hold fast to the anti-worker ideology of the current Republican Party?

Governor Hassan Shows Support For Two Key Labor Issues In State Of The State Address

State of the State 2014 GOV Hassan

On Thursday Governor Hassan gave her first State of the State address to a join session of the Legislature.   You can see the entire speech here on WMUR.  The full speech covered everything from the increase in home prices to current hot button issues like expanded Medicaid and casino gambling.   While these are important topics to discuss, today I wanted to highlight two issues that the NHLN has made a priority for this legislative session.

Governor Hassan on the Minimum Wage:

Truly accelerating our economic growth will only be possible when working families and individuals are confident in their own financial circumstances and able to purchase more goods and services.

We must restore and increase New Hampshire’s minimum wage.

I thank Representative Sally Kelly for taking on this issue, and I encourage the business community to work closely with the Legislature to identify the most appropriate level for our state’s minimum wage.

Because restoring and increasing this important protection will help our economy by putting more money in the pockets of hard-working people of all ages.”

Raising the minimum wage is one of the most important pieces of legislation the NH House is considering this year.  Thousands of hard working Granite Staters are barely surviving on the current minimum wage.  I am very pleased that the Governor has shown such strong support for raising the wage.

This week the NH Labor Committee will be holding their public hearing on the Minimum Wage bill HB 1403.  More information about the events going on in Concord on Feb 11th around the hearing, read here.

Governor Hassan on Paycheck Fairness

We must also renew our commitment to a fundamental principle: an equal day’s work deserves an equal day’s pay. 

Well over half of the women working in today’s economy are either the primary or co-breadwinners in their families. And yet, women in New Hampshire, who are working full-time jobs, earn only 77 cents on the dollar compared to men. Nationally, studies have found that a pay gap exists between men and women in nearly every occupation.

Senator Larsen has introduced legislation that will improve the financial security of working families by helping all of our workers access appropriate resources to help them earn a fair and equal paycheck, without fear of retaliation.

I ask the legislature to strengthen our economy and our middle class by passing the Paycheck Fairness Act.

This should be a no brainer.  It is despicable to think that this type of discrimination is going on in New Hampshire, but that fact remains.  Previous pieces of legislation to combat this discrimination made significant headway on the fight for equal pay, but it was not enough.

With the Governor’s strong support of Paycheck Fairness, hopefully we can pass the bill soon.

Governor Hassan And Senator Larsen Voice Support for Paycheck Fairness Act

Equal Pay for Equal Work (lilly ledbetter act)

Governor Hassan Submits Letter Urging Senate Commerce Committee
to Recommend Passage of Measure to Address Pay Equity

Senator Larson Urges The Senate To Pass SB 207 In Committee Hearing Today

CONCORD – Emphasizing the need to address pay equity between women and men in order to boost economic growth and support working families, Governor Maggie Hassan today submitted a letter (included below) to the Senate Commerce Committee in support of SB 207 – the Paycheck Fairness Act of 2014 – legislation sponsored by Senator Sylvia Larsen that updates state law to eliminate loopholes, increase transparency in wages, and ensure that all workers have the appropriate tools and resources to help them earn a fair and equal paycheck, without fear of retaliation.

“Today, well over half of the women in our state are either the primary or co-breadwinners in their families,” Governor Hassan wrote. “And yet, on average, women in New Hampshire earn 77 cents on the dollar compared to what men earn in comparable jobs. This disparity makes it more difficult for New Hampshire families to achieve financial prosperity and save for the future. It also puts further strain on our state budget and hurts our local businesses by taking money out of the pockets of consumers.

“The Paycheck Fairness Act of 2014 will strengthen New Hampshire’s economic future and improve the financial security of working families by providing the tools and protections needed to ensure equal paychecks for all Granite Staters.”

“Ensuring that both women and men can earn equal pay for an equal day’s work is essential to our economic future,” the Governor’s letter continued. “We must reduce the strain that pay disparity puts on thousands of families and help strengthen our middle class.”

Before a packed Senate Commerce Committee hearing today Democratic Leader Sylvia Larsen urged the passage of her prime sponsored bill SB 207, New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act, which would help women stand up for equal pay in the workplace.

“In 2014, it’s unimaginable that New Hampshire women working full time, year-round earn 77 cents for every dollar paid to male workers doing the same job. The existence of such pay disparities hurts working families, because it depresses the wages of working families who rely on the wages of all members of the family to make ends meet.”

“The New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act would build on the important equal pay law signed in 2000 by then-Governor Jeanne Shaheen. By eliminating loopholes, ending prohibitions against employees who inquire about their employers’ wage practices or disclose their own wages, and having employers display notices in the workplace informing employees of their rights under the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act.”

“The wage gap exists in every age group. Even after one year out of college, women working full-time were still not paid what their male peers were paid, according to a recent study that looked at the earnings of women and men one year after college graduation. Pay equity is vital.  Our daughters because of their gender do not get to pay less on their student loan payments, or rent, or even when they buy groceries at the store.”  And the evidence is if you are a woman earning the NH median wage you are losing roughly $11,000 a year to pay inequality.”

“The New Hampshire Legislature must act to close the gender gap and pass the New Hampshire Paycheck Fairness Act. We have a responsibility end this problem for our daughters.  We should not leave this for our daughters or their daughters to fix.”

Governor Hassan’s full letter to the Senate Commerce Committee is below:

January 23, 2014 

Senator Andy Sanborn, Chairman
Senate Commerce Committee
Room 101
Legislative Office Building, Concord 

Dear Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:

I write to you today in support of SB 207, the Paycheck Fairness Act of 2014, a critical piece of legislation for New Hampshire’s economy and working families. Today, well over half of the women in our state are either the primary or co-breadwinners in their families. And yet, on average, women in New Hampshire earn 77 cents on the dollar compared to what men earn in comparable jobs. This disparity makes it more difficult for New Hampshire families to achieve financial prosperity and save for the future. It also puts further strain on our state budget and hurts our local businesses by taking money out of the pockets of consumers.

The Paycheck Fairness Act of 2014 will strengthen New Hampshire’s economic future and improve the financial security of working families by providing the tools and protections needed to ensure equal paychecks for all Granite Staters. It builds on the important equal pay law signed in 2000 by then-Governor Jeanne Shaheen by eliminating loopholes, increasing transparency in wages, and ensuring that all workers have the appropriate tools and resources to help them earn a fair and equal paycheck, without fear of retaliation. 

The measure will also highlight New Hampshire employers who successfully take action to ensure equal pay for men and women by creating the Governor’s New Hampshire Award for Pay Equity in the Workplace. We know there are many businesses that have made pay equity a priority, and recognizing their efforts will encourage others to focus on improving paycheck fairness for all of their employees. 

Ensuring that both women and men can earn equal pay for an equal day’s work is essential to our economic future. We must reduce the strain that pay disparity puts on thousands of families and help strengthen our middle class. I thank Senator Larsen for sponsoring the Paycheck Fairness Act and encourage members of the committee to recommend passage. Thank you for your consideration. 

With every good wish,

Margaret Wood Hassan
Governor

Governor Hassan’s Statement on House Passage of Medicaid Expansion

NH House-2

 

CONCORD – Following House passage today of a measure to move forward with Medicaid expansion, Governor Maggie Hassan released the following statement:

“By not moving forward with Medicaid expansion, the State of New Hampshire has already lost nearly $4 million in federal funds this year, and for every day that we continue to delay, we will lose at least another half-a-million federal dollars that we can never recover and thousands of working families continue to go without the health coverage they need.

“Reaching a constructive compromise on a workable plan that allows New Hampshire to accept $2.4 billion in federal funds to expand Medicaid will strengthen the health and financial well-being of more than 50,000 hard-working people while boosting our economy and creating hundreds of jobs. These are real people and families, working men and women who deserve the security of health coverage. They are restaurant employees, construction and healthcare workers. They work in our schools and our local shops and grocery stores. And when they need care, without insurance their healthcare costs are shifted to all of our people and businesses.

“I thank the House for moving quickly on this opportunity to provide health coverage for hard-working Granite Staters. I will continue working with both the House and Senate toward a constructive compromise on healthcare expansion that will work from day one and for the long term in order to boost our economy, strengthen our healthcare system, and improve the health and financial well-being of New Hampshire’s working families.”

Governor Hassan Calls on Congress to Renew Emergency Unemployment Insurance

Maggie Hassan

Governor Hassan Calls on Congress to Renew Emergency Unemployment Insurance

1,350 Unemployed Granite State Workers Have Lost Emergency Benefits

CONCORD – To support New Hampshire’s unemployed workers and help protect the state’s economic recovery, Governor Maggie Hassan today sent a letter to Congressional Leadership calling on the United States House and Senate to quickly renew Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) benefits, which expired for 1,350 Granite State workers at the end of 2013.

“I am writing to strongly urge your support for the reinstatement of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program, a program that provides a critical lifeline to thousands of New Hampshire residents, and also stimulates the economy and creates jobs as unemployed workers purchase essential goods and services,” Governor Hassan said. “It is imperative that Congress takes up this important issue as soon as possible.

For each month that the EUC program is not available, an additional 500 to 600 New Hampshire citizens will exhaust regular unemployment insurance coverage, potentially impacting more than 8,500 New Hampshire citizens over the course of 2014 and resulting in a potential loss to the economy of as much as $14 million.

“As we continue to recover from the Great Recession, we must support measures that will encourage economic growth,” Governor Hassan said. “Although New Hampshire continues to experience lower unemployment rates than most states, there remains a critical need for the EUC program as our unemployed workers continue their efforts to secure employment throughout 2014. Failure to reinstate the EUC program will undermine our fragile economic recovery.”

The full text of the Governor’s letter to Congressional Leadership can be found below:

January 6, 2014

The Honorable Harry Reid                                     The Honorable John Boehner                               
Majority Leader                                                      Speaker of the House                                            
United States Senate                                              United State House of Representatives                 
Washington, DC 20510                                          Washington, DC 20510
 
The Honorable Mitch McConnell                          The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Republican Leader                                                 Democratic Leader
United States Senate                                             United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20510                                         Washington, DC 20510
                                                

Dear Majority Leader Reid, Republican Leader McConnell, Speaker Boehner and Democratic Leader Pelosi:

I am writing to strongly urge your support for the reinstatement of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program, a program that provides a critical lifeline to thousands of New Hampshire residents, and also stimulates the economy and creates jobs as unemployed workers purchase essential goods and services.  It is imperative that Congress takes up this important issue as soon as possible.

The expiration of the EUC program has abruptly cut off vital support for 1.3 million of our fellow Americans, including approximately 1,350 individuals in New Hampshire. For each month that the EUC program is not available, an additional 500 to 600 New Hampshire citizens will exhaust regular unemployment insurance coverage. More than 8,500 citizens of our state could be hurt over the course of the next year, resulting in a potential loss to our economy of as much as $14 million.

As we continue to recover from the Great Recession, we must support measures that will encourage economic growth. Although New Hampshire continues to experience lower unemployment rates than most states, there remains a critical need for the EUC program as our unemployed workers continue their efforts to secure employment throughout 2014. Failure to reinstate the EUC program will undermine our fragile economic recovery.

Again, I urge you to act quickly and reinstate the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program. We all need to work together to ensure that the economy continues to grow and that we continue to lend a helping hand to unemployed workers in New Hampshire and across the country.

With every good wish,

Margaret Wood Hassan

Governor

 

cc:        The Honorable Jeanne Shaheen, US Senator

The Honorable Kelly Ayotte, US Senator

The Honorable Carol Shea-Porter, US Representative

The Honorable Ann McLane Kuster, US Representative

 

Gorham Paper and Tissue Announce Layoffs

Gorham Paper and Tissue Logo

Gorham Paper and Tissue Logo

 

Yesterday news agencies throughout the state announced that Gorham Paper and Tissue would be ‘restructuring’ and are being forced to lay off workers.

NHPR reports:
Gorham Paper and Tissue, the town’s largest employer, is temporarily cutting back operations, a move that will lead to 20 to 50 employees losing their jobs.

The company says other employees will see week-long layoffs.”

The Union Leader reports:
“This is a temporary move to get us through the winter, until natural gas prices come back down to their seasonal norms in the spring,” said (GPT CEO Mike) Cummings.

The temporary layoffs are a result in a spike in natural gas prices. Cummings told state officials in an email obtained by the Concord Monitor, “We can’t run paper machines when production costs exceed prices for our products.” 

After the announcement was made, Governor Hassan released the following statement:

Gorham Paper and Tissue’s announcement is troubling news, and I have instructed state officials from the Department of Resources and Economic Development and New Hampshire Employment Security to provide every resource possible to assist and support any affected workers.

“DRED officials have been working directly with Gorham Paper and Tissue to identify ways to reduce and stabilize the company’s energy costs, and I remain hopeful that the situation can be improved. I encourage the company to strongly consider any options that could reduce the number of potential job losses.

“It remains clear that we must take steps to lower energy and natural gas prices throughout our region to help New Hampshire businesses and families, which is why I have joined with my fellow New England governors in a regional statement of commitment to increase cooperation on energy infrastructure issues, including accelerating the development of additional natural gas pipeline capacity. I will continue working closely with all of our partners to identify ways to build a stronger, more reliable energy future for New Hampshire.

This is very troubling news for the North Country.  After loosing the paper mill once, the towns of Berlin and Gorham were decimated by the significant loss of jobs.  The entire region is still trying to recover from the mill shutting down the first time, and many thought that when Gorham Paper and Tissue opened that it would lead to a small economic recovery.

I’m disappointed to hear that Gorham Paper and Tissue is facing layoffs and reduced hours for employees,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen. “I will continue to work closely with state, local and company officials, and remain committed to doing all I can to support the mill and its employees.”

The only good news is that Gorham Paper is offering some employees an early retirement option to reduce the number of layoffs.   Cummings told the NH Union Leader that the exact number of layoff and retirements is still uncertain.

“It won’t be less than 20 layoffs, but it’s too early to know exactly how many right now,” said Cummings.

Hopefully Governor Hassan and the Department of Resources and Economic Development can quickly find a solution to this problem and hopefully avoid any further layoffs.

UPDATE 1-5-13

Mike Cryans Statement on Gorham Paper and Tissue News

HANOVER – Grafton County Commissioner and Executive Council candidate Mike Cryans released the following statement today after hearing the news about Gorham Paper and Tissue’s restructuring.

“Today’s news is disappointing and my heart goes out to the workers and families impacted.  It is a reminder of the work that remains to be done to strengthen northern New Hampshire’s economy and lower energy costs.  I was in Berlin yesterday meeting with the unemployment chief, Mayor Grenier and other local officials.  I know they, along with state officials, are taking important steps to provide support for the hardworking Granite Staters impacted by the restructuring.

“The executive council has prominent role to play in strengthening the economy, especially in the North Country.  As a councilor I will work closely with the business community, Governor Hassan, state officials and the congressional delegation to preserve and expand the opportunities for good jobs at good wages throughout the North Country.”