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Maggie Hassan’s New TV Ad Highlights Approach to Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development

CONCORD – Maggie for NH today announced a new television ad, “Working,” highlighting how Governor Maggie Hassan’s approach to fiscal responsibility and economic development is moving New Hampshire’s economy forward.

As Governor, Maggie Hassan worked across party lines to enact two fiscally responsible, balanced budgets without an income or sales tax. She froze in-state tuition at New Hampshire universities for the first time in 25 years and reduced tuition at community colleges, cut taxes for research & development and small businesses and developed the award-winning “Live Free and Start” initiative to help start-up companies launch and grow. And she has taken a comprehensive approach to the heroin and opioid crisis, focused on prevention, treatment and recovery. 

“By working across party lines and focusing on fiscal responsibility, we’ve been able to get things done for hard-working Granite Staters and CNBC recently ranked New Hampshire the most business friendly state in the nation,” said Governor Maggie Hassan. “I will take this same fiscally responsible approach to the United States Senate to foster innovation, support job-creating businesses, and ensure that all Granite Staters who work hard have the opportunity to get ahead and stay ahead.”

Governor Hassan announced her Innovate NH 2.0 economic plan, which outlines the key priorities she will take to the United States Senate to build on New Hampshire’s economic progress and ensure that all Granite Staters are equipped to succeed in the changing American economy. Innovate NH 2.0 includes specific proposals in five key areas to ensure that hard-working families and small businesses have the opportunity to get ahead and stay ahead: encouraging business innovation and growth; developing a 21st century workforce; helping middle class families make ends meet; building a cleaner, more affordable energy future; and fixing our roads, bridges and other infrastructure systems. 

The six figure ad buy will run on New Hampshire and Boston broadcast stations as well as on cable and online.

Click here for the 30 second ad.

Senator Ayotte’s War On Women’s Health And Reproductive Rights

Senator Kelly Ayotte claims to be standing up for Granite State women but her votes on the “Blunt Amendment”, the Affordable Care Act, and Planned Parenthood tell a very different tale.

Over the last five years in Washington, Sen. Ayotte voted six times to defund Planned Parenthood, which provides critical health care services to thousands of New Hampshire women, including preventative care, birth control and cancer screenings.

She even submitted her own “women’s health” bill that women’s health experts called a “sham and an insult to women.” The bill would hurt women by making birth control more expensive–up to $600 more in out of pocket costs each year.

Increasing the cost of birth control does nothing to help women. When women are forced to pay more money out of pocket for their prescriptions, women lose while pharmaceutical companies line their pockets with their hard earned money.

So it comes as no surprise that Senator Ayotte has collected more than $200,000 dollars in campaign contributions from Big Pharma.

She also voted against allowing Americans to access safe and less expensive prescription drugs from Canada. She also blocked a measure that would help get more affordable generic drugs to market sooner.

“Kelly Ayotte has put her big pharma campaign backers ahead of the health of the people of New Hampshire,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “We deserve a Senator who will put New Hampshire first, stand up to predatory pharmaceutical companies, and help increase access to affordable medications and health care overall.”

In addition to voting to defund Planned Parenthood six times, Ayotte has also voted to cut all funding to the Title X Family Planning Program, which helps fund 4,200 Family Planning Centers that provide access to breast and cervical cancer screenings and other preventive health care to many low-income women.

And Ayotte opposes a woman’s right to choose. She said, “I certainly believe that Roe [v. Wade] should be overturned,” and cosponsored a plan which would have allowed employers to deny women insurance coverage for birth control.

Some have speculated that Ayotte’s failure to do her job and confirm a new Supreme Court Justice is because she is waiting for Donald Trump to nominate a justice who will overturn Roe v Wade.

Kelly Tries To Deceive Voters About Her Support Of Women’s Health On The Campaign Trail

Kelly Ayotte’s campaign continues to perpetuate the myth that she supports women’s health care. When confronted about her six votes to defund Planned Parenthood, Kelly Ayotte has the same pivot –– that she’d redirect money to community health centers. But there are a few major problems with her canned response.

First, Ayotte has repeatedly voted against federal funds to support community health centers. She repeatedly voted against the Affordable Care Act that provided $11B over five years to support Community Health Centers across the nation.

Second, Planned Parenthood health centers serve an outsized role in meeting the family planning needs for those who rely on federally-funded health programs.

A recent report found that in the 491 counties served by a Planned Parenthood clinic, “Planned Parenthood serves at least half of all American women who receive birth control from safety-net clinics. In one-fifth of these counties, a Planned Parenthood site is the only family planning center for clients who rely on subsidized help.”

The report also found that, “Although Planned Parenthood health centers comprise 10% of publicly supported safety-net family planning centers, they serve 36% of clients who obtain publicly supported contraceptive services from such centers.”

“Kelly Ayotte has spent six years voting to restrict access to women’s health care. Now that she’s up for reelection, she’s trying to moderate. The fact is that Ayotte’s votes against Title X funding and the ACA, have not only jeopardized care at Planned Parenthood health centers, they also aimed to restrict access to care for women and low-income families at the very Community Health Centers she claims to support. Granite Staters can see right through Kelly Ayotte’s election year politics,” said Victoria Bonney, Communications Manager for Planned Parenthood NH Action Fund.

This week, Maggie for NH released a new ad, “Six Times,” highlighting the six times Ayotte has voted against Granite State women by voting against Planned Parenthood.

“Kelly Ayotte has a long record of standing with her political party at the expense of Granite State families, and her six votes to defund Planned Parenthood and jeopardize access to critical health services including cancer screenings and birth control are yet another example,” said Maggie for NH Press Secretary Meira Bernstein. “Maggie Hassan believes that it’s unacceptable that politicians in Washington are still playing politics with women’s health care, and in the Senate, she will fight to protect a woman’s right to make her own health decisions and to safely and affordably access health care.”

The Trump/Ayotte Ticket

Now Ayotte may not be endorsing Donald Trump for President, though she says she will vote for him, they are walking hand-in-hand attacking women’s health and reproductive rights.

At a campaign event in New Hampshire on Thursday, Trump announced his support for Ayotte’s “sham” contraceptive bill that would force women to pay up to $600 more for their birth control prescriptions.

“Donald Trump’s support for (or is it an endorsement of?) Kelly Ayotte’s plan to make birth control more expensive makes it crystal clear that when it comes to undermining women’s healthcare Ayotte and Trump are in perfect agreement,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Press Secretary Melissa Miller. “New Hampshire women and people of all genders who care about access to affordable healthcare will reject this toxic ticket in the fall and send both Trump and Ayotte packing.”


More facts on Senator Ayotte’s war on women:

FACT: Ayotte has voted repeatedly to repeal the requirement that health insurance cover birth control without a copay.

FACT: At the urging of the Koch Brothers’ political arm, Kelly Ayotte voted to slash $1.3 billion from community health centers nationwide. This same bill would have also eliminated 750 community health center jobs in just New Hampshire.

FACT: The bill Ayotte touts regarding mammograms is dependent on the preventative care protections in the Affordable Care Act which Ayotte has voted five times to repeal. If Kelly Ayotte gets her way, 285,949 New Hampshire women will lose the guarantee that their insurance will cover preventative services like mammograms with no out of pocket costs.

FACT: Ayotte co-sponsored and voted for a measure that would have given employers the right to refuse insurance coverage for their employees of any medical treatments or services they disagree with–including birth control. This bill was opposed by the American Cancer Society because it would allow bosses to deny their employees coverage for important preventive health services.

FACT: On at least three different occasions, Ayotte voted against Paycheck Fairness legislation to ensure that women are paid equally for equal work.

According to the National Women’s Law Center, women make 76 cents for every dollar earned by men in New Hampshire. The numbers are worse for minority women: African American women earn 65 cents and Latinas 70 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men.

“Ayotte voted against Paycheck Fairness a whole bunch of times. And then, just for kitten-heel kicks, she and some of her fellow lady Republicans introduced their own adorable “Equal Pay” bill, which wouldn’t actually strengthen equal pay laws so much as weaken them by creating extra loopholes for employers. It’s like the same thing, only different,” wrote Kaili Joy Gray for Wonkette.

Legislative Committee Fails To Act On Governor Hassan’s “Gateway To Work” Program

Republicans Block The Proposal That Is Strongly Supported by New Hampshire’s Business Community 

CONCORD –Today, the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee failed to act on Governor Hassan’s Gateway to Work proposal, which would have strengthened workforce development in our state and has strong support from the NH Business and Industry Association. An attempt to remove the proposal from the table was defeated by the Republican majority on the Fiscal Committee.

Announced in Governor Hassan’s State of the State Address earlier this year, Gateway to Work will use repurposed existing federal funds to help New Hampshire’s citizens succeed in the workforce through strengthening job training, creating new apprenticeship opportunities, helping remove the barriers that cause too many citizens to fail in the workplace, and helping young people in the Granite State get a leg up on their futures.

“As we educate our young people and build the highly skilled workforce of the future, innovative businesses looking to grow here in New Hampshire need more workers now,” Governor Hassan said at the Gateway to Work kickoff event in March. “We have an opportunity to better use the talent of our own people right here in New Hampshire, helping our businesses thrive while closing the opportunity gap for New Hampshire’s children and families.”

“Through Gateway to Work, we can provide more of the workers our businesses need to thrive,” Governor Hassan said. “We can help give more of our families the opportunity to work their way to self-sufficiency and into the middle class. And we will do so using only existing federal funds, while achieving long-term savings for taxpayers by moving people off of public assistance,” added Hassan.  

The New Hampshire business community has continued to say that New Hampshire does not have enough skilled workers to fill the open jobs currently available now.  Recently the Washington Post highlighted New Hampshire’s growing need for skilled manufacturing workers as the majority of the workforce heads into retirement.

“While New Hampshire’s 2.8 percent unemployment rate is largely a good thing — it’s one of the nation’s lowest — it also means the labor pool is shallow. It’s created a squeeze for manufacturing companies in particular for two reasons: The industry’s workforce is aging at a faster than average rate, while fewer young workers have the proper skills — or interest — to fill the void of retiring workers,” wrote the Washington Post.

Governor Maggie Hassan issued the following statement after the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee failed to act on Governor Hassan’s Gateway to Work proposal:

“New Hampshire’s continued economic growth depends on our ability to meet the workforce needs of our businesses. As we work to retain existing businesses and attract new ones, the number one concern that I consistently hear from employers is their need for skilled workers.

“Gateway to Work has strong support from the business community because it would move people off of public assistance into sustainable careers, saving taxpayer dollars and providing innovative businesses with the workers they need to grow and thrive. With a strengthening economy and an unemployment rate that is among the lowest in the nation, the business community is desperate for workers. I am disappointed by the Fiscal Committee’s repeated delays with transferring the existing federal funds to launch Gateway to Work, and I am concerned that Republicans on the committee are allowing politics to prevent us from moving forward with this common-sense initiative to fill jobs at growing companies and help close the opportunity gap for New Hampshire’s children and families.”

After the vote, Sen. Lou D’Allesandro (D-Manchester), member of the Fiscal Committee, released the following statement: 

“I am frustrated and disappointed that the Joint Fiscal Committee played politics with our state’s economy today by voting against transferring TANF dollars to fund the innovative Gateway to Work program.  This program that has strong support from New Hampshire’s business community would have gone a long way towards strengthening our economy by providing potential employees with the skills and services they need to successfully gain employment.”  

“We hear constantly that with an improving economy, the most significant challenge our employers face today is finding skilled workers who are able to take jobs when offered. Gateway to Work targets potential employees who have barriers to employment such as reliable child care and transportation and helps lower those barriers to get them into the workforce. Every day that we delay implementation of this program, we leave both our unemployed constituents and our businesses behind.  We should be doing all we can to help Granite Staters escape poverty and move off of public assistance and towards self-sufficiency, and the vote by the Fiscal Committee today is a step in the wrong direction.” 

“Today’s action by the Republican majority forces our unemployed constituents to stay on public assistance programs instead of finding good employment and leaves our businesses without the workers they need to thrive and expand our economy.”

Representative Mary Jane Wallner (D-Concord) issued the following statement after the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee failed to act on Governor Hassan’s Gateway to Work proposal:

“I am extremely disappointed that Republicans continue to obstruct the implementation of the Gateway to Work initiative. It is a common sense program critical to New Hampshire’s future and should be approved as quickly as possible.

The Gateway to Work initiative would help workers, businesses, and the economy as a whole by investing in job training, apprenticeship opportunities and other supports for hard-working Granite Staters. There is no reason to delay an initiative that benefits everyone: Gateway to Work would help workers to get good-paying jobs, help businesses utilize a skilled workforce, and reduce government spending by moving people off public assistance and into stable careers. Republicans need to stop playing politics with our state’s future and approve Gateway to Work.”

By continuing to block programs like the “Gateway to Work,”  Republicans in Concord are showing that they are less interested in doing what is best for working people and businesses in New Hampshire and more interested in chasing wild conspiracy theories from doctored videos and sticking to their partisan opposition to Governor Hassan.

Republicans routinely complain about having too many people “living off the system” on public assistance and yet oppose one of the strongest proposals to help people “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” by providing them with the skills necessary to find a lasting career that will help lift them out of poverty.

Governor Hassan’s Statement on June Unemployment Rate

Maggie-Hassan-Headshot-WebCONCORD – Governor Maggie Hassan today issued the following statement on the announcement of the June unemployment data, which showed that the number of employed Granite Staters and the labor force continued to grow in June:

“As the number of employed residents and the labor force continued to grow in June, our unemployment rate still remains among the lowest in the nation. Despite these encouraging signs that indicate that our economy is moving in the right direction, we know that we still have more work to do to help all of our citizens access high-quality jobs and to support our innovative businesses who are looking for more skilled workers now.

“We must continue working together to build a stronger workforce with the skills and innovative thinking needed for success in the 21st century economy. This is why it’s more important now than ever to get Gateway to Work up and running as soon as possible. Gateway to Work will help us to develop and expand our workforce as our economy continues to strengthen, while at the same time closing the opportunity gap for our families. By strengthening job training, creating new partnerships between community colleges and businesses for apprenticeships and helping to remove the barriers that cause too many citizens to fail in the workplace, Gateway to Work will help us provide more of the workers our businesses need to thrive while helping our young people in the Granite State get a leg up on their futures.

“I remain committed to working with members from both parties to continue working together to support job-creating businesses, expand middle class opportunity and build a stronger, more innovative New Hampshire where all of our people who work hard have the opportunity to get ahead and stay ahead.”

Governor Maggie Hassan Files For US Senate

Maggie Files (Image by Laconia Democrats)

Image by Laconia Democrats

Joined by Hundreds of Supporters, Governor Hassan Officially Files to Represent New Hampshire in the United States Senate

CONCORD – Joined by hundreds of supporters, Governor Maggie Hassan officially filed today to represent New Hampshire in the United States Senate, vowing to stand up against special interests, to solve problems to get results for New Hampshire’s families and small businesses and to keep working to build a more innovative economic future where everyone has an opportunity to get ahead and stay ahead.

“I am running for Senate because I want to ensure that all of our people are included in our shared success, that we have a thriving middle class and that parents can once again feel confident that the next generation will have a brighter future than the last,” said Governor Maggie Hassan.

“Here in New Hampshire, we’ve shown that it’s possible to bring people together across party lines to lay the foundation for a new generation of innovative economic growth. We’ve made progress by working together – Democrats, Republicans and independents – to solve problems and get things done for hard-working Granite Staters, and it is long past time for Washington to take the same approach. I will always fight for New Hampshire’s priorities, and I will work to bring people together to build an economic future where everyone has the opportunity to get ahead and stay ahead,” added Governor Hassan.

As Governor, Maggie Hassan has worked to bring together members of both parties to build a stronger, more innovative New Hampshire where education and small businesses drive job creation. Working across party lines, Governor Hassan enacted two fiscally responsible, balanced budgets that invest in critical economic priorities while holding the line against a sales or income tax. The Governor expanded the research & development tax credit, cut taxes for small businesses and created a business-friendly environment that has New Hampshire’s unemployment rate at its lowest rate in 15 years and one of the lowest in the nation.

Governor Hassan also successfully froze tuition at state universities for the first time in 25 years and lowered tuition at community colleges, invested in fixing New Hampshire’s roads and bridges, and secured the passage and reauthorization of a bipartisan Medicaid Expansion plan that is providing nearly 50,000 Granite Staters with the health and economic security that comes with quality, affordable health insurance.

As Senator, Maggie Hassan will bring her bipartisan approach, common sense and commitment to problem solving to Washington to take on corporate special interests and get results for hard-working New Hampshire families and small businesses. She will fight for critical issues for New Hampshire families and small businesses such as encouraging business innovation, making college more affordable and reducing the burden of student loan debt, safeguarding Social Security and Medicare for New Hampshire’s seniors, and protecting every woman’s right to make her own health care decisions. She will also continue to focus on combating the heroin and opioid crisis and keeping our communities safe and secure.

Most importantly, just as she has as Governor, Maggie Hassan will be a Senator who will always put New Hampshire families and small businesses first.

“I look forward to Maggie Hassan continuing her tireless advocacy on behalf of the people of New Hampshire in the U.S. Senate next year,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “We’ve seen great successes as a state during her tenure as Governor, and to continue moving forward we need Maggie in the Senate to bring people together to get things done the Granite State way and fight the special interests who have rigged the system against middle class families.

“Since going to Washington, Kelly Ayotte has stood in lockstep with special interests including Big Oil, Wall Street and the Koch Brothers to protect their interests at the expense of Granite State families on critical issues like college affordability, retirement security, and women’s health,” added Buckley. 

Buckley concluded by stating, “New Hampshire deserves better; we need Senator Maggie Hassan.”

Planned Parenthood for Maggie Hassan for SenatePlanned Parenthood Action Fund members were cheering on Maggie Hassan today as she filed to run for US Senate. Hassan has a clear record of supporting women’s access to a full range of health care services, including leading efforts to successfully expand Medicaid, signing into law a bill that protects safety of patients while accessing health centers, voting to expand emergency contraception for Granite State women, and voting to block efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. 

Planned Parenthood in New Hampshire provided thousands of breast exams and thousands with birth control, administered nearly 20,000 STI tests, over 1,000 Pap tests, and engaged in sex education and outreach to nearly 2,000 individuals in 2015 alone. Both Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Action Fund have endorsed Maggie Hassan for US Senate.

“Maggie Hassan is a champion for women’s health, and has never wavered in her support for women to make their own choices about their private health care decisions, including abortion,” said Kayla McCarthy, Advocacy & Organizing Manager of Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund It is clear to us, and to the thousands of Planned Parenthood supporters in New Hampshire that Maggie Hassan will work hard to ensure the life saving services that Planned Parenthood of Northern New England provides remain affordable, high quality, and inclusive. New Hampshire wants a leader who will fight for reproductive health care and rights, not someone who will continue to try and take us backwards.”

Why The Passage Of The Net Metering Increase Is Important Today And In The Gubernatorial Election

Rooftop Solar Panels (Elliott Brown FLIKR)

Rooftop Solar Panels (Elliott Brown FLIKR)

In the past year we have seen an explosion in home solar panel leasing companies who provide panels at little to no cost. They promise to save you 5-10 cents per kilowatt-hour on your electricity bill. They do this by collecting energy from your rooftop panels and selling it to the electric company.

Think of this like backfeeding the electricity grid with clean solar energy so the electricity company can reduce the amount on energy they need to produce from coal power plants.

The solar company then subsidizes the cost of the electricity coming into your home saving you hundreds of dollars a year.

The process of selling solar to the electric company is called “net metering.” The net metering cap is simply how much an individual could sell their solar energy to the electric company. On Monday, Governor Maggie Hassan signed HB 1116 into law doubling the net metering cap.

“Solar and other small scale clean energy resources are critical to New Hampshire’s growing clean energy economy, which is creating good-paying, high-quality jobs, spurring economic development and helping combat climate change,” said Governor Hassan. Clean energy resources such as solar are also helping businesses and families across the state lower their energy bills and increase their energy independence, helping to build a more diverse and reliable energy supply that will lead to a more affordable and more innovative energy future for our state.”

“Lifting the cap on net metering is essential to the continued success of New Hampshire’s solar industry, and I am proud to sign this bipartisan bill so that our clean energy industry can continue to grow and thrive,” added Hassan.

In order to lower our dependence on fossil fuels, we as a state, must begin to shift to more renewable energy sources. Continuing to expand our renewable energy production will be a major issue for the next Governor.

“Fixing the barrier that was holding back solar development in NH is a huge win for everyone who cares about good jobs and a clean energy future.   It’s one more sign NH is moving in the right direction, and we need to keep it moving forward,” said Executive Councilor and Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Colin Van Ostern.

“Thanks to Governor Maggie Hassan’s leadership and the state legislature’s efforts, New Hampshire’s net metering cap has officially been raised—to double what it was. This is an exciting step in the right direction for renewable power and a great boost to our state’s growing clean-energy industry. And it’s exactly the kind of innovative, job-creating public policy I’m excited to build upon as Governor,” said Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Mark Connolly.

However not everyone is so eager to lift the metering cap or to expand our state’s solar energy production.

The law, HB 1116, had broad bipartisan support in the Senate, with “yea” votes coming from 9 Republicans and 10 Democrats.

State Senator and Republican Gubernatorial candidate Jeanie Forrester voted “nay.”  Forrester was one of only four senators who voted against the bipartisan bill boosting economic development and helping to fight climate change.

Unfortunately for the Granite State, she’s not the first GOP gubernatorial candidate to try to kill renewable energy investment. She’s merely the latest.

Executive Councilor Chris Sununu, unlike Executive Councilor Van Ostern, has consistently opposed renewable energy projects, voting against $4.1million in funding for a wind farm, $1.2million for a solar project in Peterborough and$450k for the city of Portsmouth for two solar projects. Sununu is also a climate change denier, telling Concord News Radiothe jury is still out” on climate change.

Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas shares Forrester and Sununu’s opposition to renewable energy. Last year, Gatsas opposed a Manchester Solar Project and lobbied two executive councilors, including Sununu, to vote against the project.

“It’s sad but not surprising that the Republican candidates for governor have much more in common with the Koch Brothers than with everyday Granite Staters,” said NHDP Chair Ray Buckley. “We need a governor who will continue investing in our future.”

Earth Day 2016: An In Depth Look At Climate Change And NH’s Congressional Delegation

Happy Earth Day

Where New Hampshire’s Elected Representatives Stand On Combating Climate Change 

Today we celebrate the “46th anniversary of the 1st Earth Day, in which 20 million Americans–Democrats and Republicans–took to the streets to rally for a healthy, sustainable future and demonstrated against the deterioration of the environment” said Catherine Corkery, Executive Director of the NH Sierra Club.

“Unfortunately, today the bipartisan spirit of the original Earth Day has been lost, even as the evidence mounts that not only is our planet experiencing Climate Change on an unprecedented scale, but that everyday Americans care deeply about laying the foundation for a sustainable future for their children and grandchildren,” continued Corkery.

Across the nation Democrats have been pushing for better regulations to protect our natural resources and reverse the effects of Climate Change on our planet.

On the other side of the aisle, Republicans have rejected scientific proof of the effects of Climate Change and have pushed legislation to further strip away our natural resources.

“In 2014 Politifact looked at the 278 Republicans in Congress and found that only 8 had publicly accepted climate change science” state Corkery.

“As a professor emeritus at the University of New Hampshire’s Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, I’ve spent years studying climate change’s impact on the Granite State and I can tell you this without a doubt: climate change is the gravest threat facing our state, country and planet today” said UNH Environmental Science Professor Barrett Rock.

“Persistently high temperatures are causing the massive ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica to melt at an accelerated pace, causing rising sea levels on the Seacoast and presenting a major threat to New Hampshire’s economy,” added Rock.

What are we to do? Is there anything that can stop this global trend that will eventually eradicate life on Earth as we know it?

“We need to invest in renewable energy sources like solar and wind, implement energy efficiency measures and start weaning ourselves off high carbon use. We need to use treaties like the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Rock advised. “We need to elect public servants who not only recognize that climate change is a clear and pressing danger, but who are willing to actually do something about it.”

Currently New Hampshire has two Democrats and two Republicans representing us in Washington D.C. The two groups could not be further apart on climate issues.

 

Senator Kelly Ayotte

Ayotte3This week, Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) wrote an op-ed for the Nashua Telegraph claiming, “Earth Day should be every day.”

Ayotte tries to make the case that because she likes hiking and running through Mines Falls Park that she is hero to the environment. The truth is that she has been working to repeal environmental protections since she took office in 2011.

In 2011, Ayotte voted for legislation the League of Conservation Voters called at the time “the greatest legislative assault ever on the environment” after the Koch Brothers political arm urged senators to do so. The bill included the “virtual elimination of the Land and Water Conservation Fund,” the premier fund dedicated to preserving land and water sites across the United States for both conservation and recreation.

And when it comes to air pollution, Ayotte voted for an amendment that would “repeal the scientific finding by the EPA that greenhouse gases endanger human health and the environment,” and permanently block the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, again after the Koch Brothers’ political arm urged senators to do so. During her first 4 years in Washington, Ayotte voted with the Koch Brothers nearly 90% of the time.

“Kelly Ayotte’s political spin is out of line with the reality of her true environmental voting record and not fooling anyone,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “New Hampshire voters know that Ayotte has consistently stood with special interest backers like the Koch Brothers against protecting our planet and conserving New Hampshire’s natural resources. Her attempts to pretend otherwise fly in the face of reality.”

Ayotte is facing fierce competition from New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan for her seat in the Senate. Hassan is a strong proponent of green energy and taking immediate action to combat Climate Change.

As a State Senator, and now as Governor, Hassan has pushed for New Hampshire to participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to lower carbon pollution.

“From sponsoring New Hampshire’s original Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and helping pass the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard in the State Senate, to signing legislation to strengthen those efforts and establish a long-term Energy Strategy as Governor, Maggie Hassan has always been a strong champion for New Hampshire’s environment,” said Campaign Communications Director Aaron Jacobs.

“Under Governor Hassan, New Hampshire was ranked among the top 5 states for renewable energy,” said NH State Senator David Watters.

 

Senator Jeanne Shaheen

Shaheen-021109-18432- 0009This week, Senator Shaheen (D-NH) celebrated a significant environmental win as the Senate finally passed the Shaheen-Portman Comprehensive Energy Efficiency bill, which was introduced in the Senate over five year ago. The bill pushes for expanded use of green energy solutions to address our growing energy problems and works to reverse the effects of Climate Change.

The Clean Distributed Energy Grid Integration Act, identifies and addresses obstacles limiting the use of clean energy technologies, thereby reducing energy costs and improving the power quality and resiliency of the electric grid. Specifically, the legislation directs the Department of Energy to identify the technical and regulatory barriers to integrating clean distributed energy sources on the grid, and to strive to overcome these barriers through research, stakeholder working groups and demonstrations.

Shaheen has put Climate Change and protecting the environment at the top of her legislative agenda. She recently praised the Paris Summit to address Climate Change.

“This agreement is an unprecedented achievement and affirms New Hampshire’s leadership reducing carbon emissions,” said Shaheen. “‎The United States must capitalize on this success and continue to lead by supporting stronger policies that speed the transition to a clean energy economy.‎ We owe it to our children and grandchildren to start today so we can avoid the worst impacts of climate change, while building strong communities resilient to the changes already underway.”

 

Congressman Frank Guinta

Frank Guinta (Image by Mark Nassal)

Frank Guinta (Image by Mark Nassal)

In the US House, Congressman Frank Guinta (R-01) is one of the many climate deniers in the US House. Guinta denies Climate Change science that has the support of 97% of the scientific community. “I’m not sure the science is accurate or complete on this issue,” Guinta said.  As a politician who has received major funding from the Big Oil and the Koch Brothers he would know better than 97% of the scientific community.

During the 2014 GOP Primary Congressman Guinta was videotaped saying “No” to the question, “Do you believe that the theory of man-made climate change has been scientifically proven?”

During Guinta’s time in office he voted to expand drilling rights on the outer continental shelf, block the EPA from regulating Greenhouse Gases, license new nuclear plants, and supported the Keystone Pipeline.

Guinta even went as far to oppose any legislation relating to Climate Change.

 

Congresswoman Annie Kuster

Ann kuster head shot LGNot everyone in Washington believes that Climate Change is a hoax.

In 2013, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (D-NH) took a bold stance to push for more action addressing Climate Change.

“We have a fundamental responsibility to confront the challenge of climate change head on – for the health of our environment, the strength of our economy, and the future of our children. I am eager to partner with members of both parties to take responsible, common sense steps that will reduce carbon emissions, make America more energy independent, and advance the development of renewable energy sources. Inaction on these fronts is simply not an option.”

Kuster continues to push back against proposals that will harm our environment like the Northeast Energy Direct (Kinder-Morgan NED) pipeline.

Yesterday, Kinder-Morgan announced they would no longer pursue the construction of the NED pipeline.

Kuster was overjoyed to hear the news.

“I was proud to lead the fight against the Kinder Morgan pipeline project, which, after countless site visits, forums, and meetings with constituents, I deemed a poor deal for New Hampshire – both for our natural environment and the safety of our neighborhoods.  While we must pursue smart energy policies that lower energy costs for New Hampshire, this particular project would have taken advantage of our natural resources without providing sufficient benefits for our state,” said Kuster.

Earth Day 2016

Earth Day - No YearThis Earth Day we need to look at who is representing us in Washington and what they are doing to reverse the effects of Climate Change. We need local and national policy changes that work to clean our air and reserve all of our natural resources for generations to come. As the 2016 elections are quickly approaching we must use our voices by electing representative who will make positive change in Washington, not work to repeal all of the environmental gains we have made in the last 46 years since the first Earth Day.

Very Active Day In The NH Legislature: Round Up Of Legislation Moved Today

NH House-2Today a ton of bills were passed and killed in the NH House and Senate.  They range in topics but all have an impact on the future of our state.  Below are press releases on a variety of bills that had votes today.


 

Senator Bette Lasky Applauds Senate Passage of Online Voter Registration

Concord, NH –Today, the NH Senate passed SB 507, authorizing online voter registration on a voice vote. Senator Bette Lasky (D-Nashua), the prime sponsor of SB 507 released the following comments after the Senate vote:

“Making the process of registering to vote and casting your ballot more consistent and accessible is something we can all agree on and I’m pleased that my Senate colleagues supported this important legislation,” said Senator Lasky. “Allowing our citizens to register to vote online would help create a more accessible system and increase the number of citizens exercising one of their most important rights. As the First-In-The-Nation Presidential Primary state, New Hampshire needs to continually move forward as technology advances and be an example to the rest of the country.”

23 states have already implemented online voter registration and 5 more states will be added to that list this year. Research has also shown in these states that online voter registration has sustained or increased voter registration.  

“New Hampshire has built a strong reputation for voter participation, but we can always do more to help busy Granite Staters take part in our elections. I thank my Senate colleagues for their support and for creating a more effective and efficient election process for our Granite State citizens.”


Statement from Governor Hassan on House Passage of Ten-Year Transportation Improvement Plan 

CONCORD – Governor Maggie Hassan issued the following statement on the Ten-Year Transportation Improvement Plan passed today by the New Hampshire House of Representatives: 

“A solid and modern transportation infrastructure is critical to the success of our people and businesses, and the Ten-Year Transportation Improvement Plan passed by the House today advances a number of critical transportation goals that will help build on our bipartisan progress over the last several years. This includes maintaining and preserving our roads and bridges, completing the widening of Interstate 93, accelerating construction of Exit 4A in Londonderry and Derry and the first phase of widening the portion of Route 106 critical for access to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

“However, I am disappointed that the leveraging of federal funds for the environmental and engineering work necessary to bring commuter rail from Boston to Nashua and Manchester was removed. The business community continues to call on us to take action because commuter rail will improve access to the entire region, provide new housing and transportation opportunities, spur economic development and create jobs. I remain committed to working with members from both parties, local communities, the federal government, our businesses and Massachusetts to find a consensus and make this vital project a reality.”


Senator Bette Lasky Praises Passage of Public-Private Partnerships for Intermodal Infrastructure and Transportation Projects

CONCORD- Today, the NH Senate pass SB 549, which would allow the state to enter into agreements with private entities in order to fund intermodal infrastructure and transportation projects. After the vote, Senator Bette Lasky (D-Nashua), prime sponsor of SB 549, released the following comments: 

“Enabling public-private partnerships (P3s) is an important step toward meeting our infrastructure needs with limited financial resources from the state and I thank the Senate for their support,” said Senator Lasky. “Improving our transportation infrastructure benefits all Granite Staters and by enabling the state to work with private funders, our state can access additional funding opportunities with greater efficiencies, which will save the state money.”

SB 549 was developed through the work of a public-private partnership (P3s) study committee and the committee’s recommendation that New Hampshire pursue this funding option. According to the study committee’s report, 33 other states already have laws authorizing P3s for highway and bridge projects. 

“A strong and dynamic transportation infrastructure helps sustain our families and businesses. Finding creative and innovative solutions to help finance transportation projects when state funds are unavailable is essential to not only expanding economic growth, but expanding opportunity for all Granite Staters. I am happy that the Senate moved this legislation forward so that we can sustain and promote the growth of our state’s businesses and economy, while protecting taxpayer dollars and minimizing the financial risk to our state.”


Senator David Pierce Statement on Tabling of SB 531 (Senate version of the Medicaid Expansion)

CONCORD – Today, the State Senate agreed to table SB 531, which would have reauthorized the NH Health Protection Program, in order to take up the reauthorization in HB 1696, which passed the House yesterday on a bipartisan vote. After the conclusion of the Senate session, SB 531 prime sponsor Sen. David Pierce (D-Lebanon) released the following statement: 

“While Senate Democrats would have preferred to reauthorize the NH Health Protection Program as drafted in SB 531, we are committed to finding a solution on reauthorization that has broad, bipartisan support and agreed to table our bill. Just as we did two years ago, we need to come together, across party and ideological lines to ensure that 48,000 hard working Granite Staters continue to have access to quality, affordable health care the health and financial security that comes with it.” 

“There’s no question that the NH Health Protection Program has been a success and met the goals we set out to achieve when we passed SB 413 in 2014. Our hospitals have seen a significant decline in inpatient, outpatient and emergency room visits by uninsured Granite Staters, leading to a decrease in uncompensated care, which is a hidden tax on us all. By reducing uncompensated care, we also reduce the healthcare cost-shifting onto our people and businesses.”

“Continuing the program is also essential as we continue to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic. Thousands of Granite Staters have accessed substance abuse and behavioral health services through coverage under expansion and reauthorizing the program is critical to increasing treatment capacity in New Hampshire.” 

“HB 1696, which was passed by a strong bipartisan vote in the House yesterday, will ensure that we continue this critical program that strengthens the health of our workforce and boosts our economy. I, along with my Senate Democratic colleagues, stand ready to renew this important program and we look forward to working with our Republican colleagues in the Senate to get this critical legislation to the Governor’s desk as soon as possible.”


Senator Martha Fuller Clark Praises Senate Passage of Legislation to Protect Children from Illegal Adoptions

Concord, NH –Today, the Senate passed SB 543, which prohibits unauthorized advertising for adoptions and ensures that all adoptions follow state guidelines. Senator Martha Fuller Clark (D-District 21), prime sponsor of SB 543, released the following comments after today’s Senate session:  

“SB 543 addresses a gap in our current law that we could have never thought about just a few years ago: advertising children for sale or adoption online. While this problem may seem outrageous, at the public hearing, we heard examples from other states where babies and children were being offered for sale or trade on websites.” 

“In our ever-changing world, we must make sure to protect our children and SB 543 ensures that if a parent decides to make the difficult decision to give a child up for adoption, it is done so through a safe and regulated process. I thank the Senate for unanimously supporting the passage of this much needed important legislation.”


Governor Hassan on House Vote to Pass Net Metering Legislation 

CONCORD – Following a bipartisan vote by the New Hampshire House of Representatives to pass House Bill 1116, relative to net energy metering, Governor Maggie Hassan issued this statement:

“The solar industry is a critical part of our growing clean energy economy in New Hampshire, which recently ranked New Hampshire as one of the top five states for renewable energy and is creating good-paying, high-quality jobs, spurring economic development and helping combat climate change. Businesses and families across the state are utilizing solar to lower their energy bills and to increase their energy independence, contributing to the diverse and reliable energy supply that is critical to a more affordable and more innovative energy future.

“Lifting the cap on net metering is essential to the continued success of New Hampshire’s solar industry, and I applaud the House for its bipartisan vote to pass this critical measure. The Senate has already supported this legislation, and I urge them to concur with the version passed by the House and send this bill to my desk as quickly as possible so that we can lift the cap on net metering.”


Senator Woodburn Praises Addition of Biodiesel to List of Renewable Energy Sources 

CONCORD – Today, the NH Senate passed SB 386, which adds biodiesel producers to renewable energy classes in order to incentivize more biodiesel production. After the vote, North Country Senator Jeff Woodburn released the following comments: 

“Encouraging the production and use of local renewable fuels like biodiesel not only makes sense for our environment, but helps boost our local economy. Innovative companies like White Mountain Biodiesel in the North Country are already using biodiesel to power the Mount Washington Cog Railway and passage of SB 386 helps to encourage more companies to do the same. As a co-sponsor of this bill, I was very proud to support not only expanding the use of domestically-produced renewable fuels, but I was proud to stand up for our North Country businesses.”


Senator Woodburn Praises Passage of Legislation to Protect Victims of Unauthorized Disclosure of Sexually Explicit Images

CONCORD – Following the bipartisan passage of SB 465, which closes a loophole in current law in order to protect victims of nonconsensual dissemination of private sexual images, Sen. Jeff Woodburn released the following statement:

“Disclosure of sexually explicit material without consent and for no legitimate purpose causes immediate, devastating, and potentially irreversible harm to victims of this crime,” said Senator Woodburn. “Unfortunately, rapid advances in technology have created a loophole in our state laws that prevent prosecution of this crime. SB 465 closes this loophole and establishes a penalty for this devastating crime.”

Twenty-six other states have enacted similar laws to deal with the unauthorized disclosure of sexually explicit materials. 

“The ability of people to gain access to and distribute private, sexually explicit material has raised all sorts of issues that we could have never imagined even just a few years ago. Police and prosecutors are seeing an increase in these types of crimes, but need the tools to protect victims of this crime. I thank my Senate colleagues, especially the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who worked to make this a better bill, for their support.”

NH Senate Passes Bill To Expand Renewable Energy In NH

Rooftop Solar Panels (Elliott Brown FLIKR)

Rooftop Solar Panels (Elliott Brown FLIKR)

Bill will allow New Hampshire to continue to expand renewable energy by raising the cap on net metering

Senate Democrats praised the passage of legislation to ensure the growth of renewable energy in New Hampshire during today’s Senate session. SB 333 raises the cap on group net metering and SB 378 ensures that space under the group net metering cap is being taken up only by those who are participating in the program, not speculators trying to game the system. 

“Passage of this critical legislation is great not only for our growing renewable energy market, but also for our economy and all electric ratepayers,” said Sen. Molly Kelly, author of the original group net metering law enacted in 2013. “Even though we have only had group net metering for a few years, renewable energy, particularly the solar market, has exploded across New Hampshire thanks to this program. It is critical for us to raise the cap to ensure the sustained growth of solar and other renewable energy sources here in New Hampshire that not only save Granite Staters money, but sustains thousands of good-paying jobs.”

“In the rapidly-growing renewable energy market, making changes to a vital program like group net metering is no easy task. But SB 333 and SB 378 offer meaningful progress to allow our renewable energy market to grow,” said Sen. Dan Feltes, member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “I urge our colleagues in the House to move quickly to pass SB 333 and SB 378 to continue the growth of renewable energy and our green job sector.”

“It was only a year ago that utilities testified that they were nowhere near the metering cap,” said Sen. Donna Soucy, prime sponsor of SB 378. “But the market has grown so rapidly that we needed to address the group net metering cap as soon as possible, as we did with SB 333. Part of the reason why we reached the cap so quickly was due to speculative developers taking up space under the cap while not yet providing service to customers. SB 378 addresses these concerns and ensures that families and businesses that the program was designed to benefit can take advantage of this rapidly-growing market.”

Governor Maggie Hassan also praised the passage of SB 333.

“Solar is one of many clean energy resources in New Hampshire that contributes to a diverse and reliable energy supply, and businesses and families across the state are utilizing solar to lower their energy bills and to increase their energy independence. The success of New Hampshire’s clean energy economy is creating good-paying, high-quality jobs, spurring economic development and helping combat climate change, and New Hampshire recently ranked as one of the top-five renewable energy states,” stated Hassan. 

“We must continue to build on this progress, and lifting the cap on net metering is essential to those efforts. I commend the Senate for its bipartisan vote to pass this critical measure, and I encourage the House to take similar action as quickly as possible so that we can continue our efforts to build a more innovative and more affordable energy future,” added Hassan. 

Governor Hassan Urges House Committee to Oppose Legislation Prohibiting State Implementation of Clean Power Plan

CONCORD – Continuing her efforts to protect the environment and to ensure that New Hampshire remains a leader in combating climate change, Governor Maggie Hassan today sent a letter to the House Science, Technology, and Energy Committee in opposition to House Bill 1659, relative to the implementation of the clean power state implementation plan, which would prohibit a state implementation plan. 

“New Hampshire has long been a leader in combating climate change and cutting carbon emissions,” Governor Hassan wrote. “Through programs like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), our state and region have reduced harmful emissions, created jobs, and encouraged innovation across our clean energy economy. The Clean Power Plan is an important step forward at the national level to address carbon emissions and climate change, and it is equally important that New Hampshire develop its own plan that meets our state’s needs, as opposed to having a plan imposed on us by the federal government.” 

As a State Senator, Governor Hassan sponsored New Hampshire’s original Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) legislation, which has brought numerous benefits to the Granite State, including reducing harmful emissions and helping to reduce energy costs, create jobs and encourage innovation in the state’s clean-energy economy. She also helped enact the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) law and consistently fights for clean air and water.

As Governor, she has signed bipartisan legislation to help maximize the benefits of RGGI for New Hampshire ratepayers, to update the RPS law and to establish a long-term New Hampshire Energy Strategy. New Hampshire also joined the Under 2 MOU in October 2015, a global compact among cities, states and provinces worldwide that supports the state’s efforts to combat climate change. 

“At a time when we need to continue the progress we have made to reduce power plant emissions, to reduce our energy usage, and to reduce risks and prepare for the impacts of climate change, this legislation would pull us backward,” Governor Hassan wrote. “Instead, we should focus on creating a robust state implementation plan that will continue our important work to combat climate change, and keep the planning process in the State’s hands.” 

In November 2015, the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office joined 24 states, cities and counties in filing a motion to intervene to defend the Clean Power Plan.

The full text of the Governor’s letter to the House Science, Technology, and Energy Committee is below.


February 2, 2016

The Honorable Robert Introne

Chairman, House Science, Technology, and Energy Committee

Legislative Office Building, Room 304

Concord, New Hampshire 03301

 

Dear Chairman Introne and Members of the Committee:

I write to you today in opposition to HB1659, a bill that would prohibit the Department of Environmental Services from expending funds to develop or implement a state implementation plan under the Clean Power Plan.

New Hampshire has long been a leader in combating climate change and cutting carbon emissions. Through programs like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), our state and region have reduced harmful emissions, created jobs, and encouraged innovation across our clean energy economy. The Clean Power Plan is an important step forward at the national level to address carbon emissions and climate change, and it is equally important that New Hampshire develop its own plan that meets our state’s needs, as opposed to having a plan imposed on us by the federal government.

At a time when we need to continue the progress we have made to reduce power plant emissions, to reduce our energy usage, and to reduce risks and prepare for the impacts of climate change, this legislation would pull us backward. Instead, we should focus on creating a robust state implementation plan that will continue our important work to combat climate change, and keep the planning process in the State’s hands.

From our mountains to our lakes to our beautiful seacoast, New Hampshire’s natural resources are critical to our economy and define us as a state. Addressing climate change and the harmful impacts of carbon emissions are economic imperatives. We must continue to work to address these issues while ensuring that we have the tools to invest in new energy resources as we develop our own plan to implement the Clean Power Plan.

I respectfully urge you to vote this legislation inexpedient to legislate. Thank you for your consideration.

With every good wish,

Margaret Wood Hassan

Governor

 

 

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