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Activists Rally at #KochProblem Event at St. Anselm College

Top Koch Industries PR officer visits New Hampshire
to spin about the Koch agenda that hurts everyday Granite Staters

Koch Problems Picture 1, 11.10.15MANCHESTER, NH – Granite State Progress and People For the American Way rallied outside of the St. Anselm Institute of Politics this morning against the Kochs’ latest PR event, a talk titled “Beyond the Political Spin: How Koch is Driving Freedom, Fairness, and Prosperity” given by Koch Industries Inc. chief communication and marketing officer Steve Lombardo.

“Faced with opposition from a growing number of concerned Americans over their big dollar contributions to politicians and campaigns that hurt working families, the Koch brothers have been on a public relations blitz this year to improve their image,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “This speaking tour is nothing but a public relations stunt to whitewash their bad practices.”

“More than two-thirds of New Hampshire voters want to limit big money in politics, regardless of party,” said PFAW New Hampshire Campaign Organizer Lindsay Jakows. “The Kochs’ PR events won’t change the fact that they are shamelessly attempting to buy political influence across the country. New Hampshire students and voters won’t support the big-money takeover of our democracy no matter how many publicity events the Kochs put on.”

Activists spoke out against the political activity of Koch front groups – like the LIBRE Initiative and Generation Opportunity – as well as the outsized influence the billionaires are able to buy on the federal, state, and local level. The LIBRE Initiative attempts to attract Latinos to the GOP’s base, yet advances policies—like opposing raises to the minimum wage—that disproportionately hurt Latinos. Similarly, Generation Opportunity reaches out to students while opposing policies—like the Affordable Care Act and student loan reform—that would make education and healthcare more affordable for millions of young people.

 The Koch network plans to spend nearly $900 million this election cycle.

Koch Problems Picture 2, 11.10.15

World Breastfeeding Week Kicked Off at NH State House With Calls for Family-Friendly Workplace and Public Policies


New Hampshire event part of Stand With Women campaign to secure public policy advances for women and their families

CONCORD, NH – Elected leaders and advocates for women and their families kicked off World Breastfeeding Week at the New Hampshire State House today with calls for family-friendly workplace and public policies. The theme of this year’s World Breastfeeding Week is “Breastfeeding and Work – Let’s Make It Work.”

“More women than ever are working outside the home, heading households and leading in the workplace,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress & Education Fund. “Though times have changed, policies and rules have lagged behind. We must work to prioritize laws to guarantee that women have full and fair opportunities to succeed and raise healthy families. One way to do that is to stand with women and support workplace policies that protect women from discrimination, harassment, and maternity penalties on the job.”DSC_4223

Speakers at the press conference highlighted SB 219 as an example of one of those polices. The bill would ensure all working nursing mothers have reasonable break time and a sanitary, private location – other than the bathroom – to express breast milk.  Federal law currently only covers hourly workers. SB 219 successfully passed in the Senate earlier this year, but was retained in House Commerce.

“We stand with New Hampshire women in support of their right to breastfeed where and when their babies need and their right to work place friendly lactation policies that allow them to express their milk during work breaks so that their children may continue to receive the proven benefits of breastmilk even when Mom is not nearby,” said Kary Jencks, executive director of NH Citizens Alliance. “As a mother who breast fed all three of my children I personally know the importance of creating breastfeeding supportive communities and workplaces.”


State Senator Martha Fuller Clark

Bill sponsor, Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, stated that, “SB 219 has my support, the support of the full Senate, and the support of the BIA because the bill will reasonably accommodate breast feeding families and support the businesses who employ them, improving New Hampshire’s productivity and making it an even better state to live and work.”

Prime bill sponsor, Senator Martha Fuller Clark, stated that, “SB 219 is an attempt to address the fact many working women never undertake breastfeeding  or stop nursing their children upon returning to work because they have no access to decent accommodation at their place of employment. Nationally when women stop breastfeeding prematurely, a total of $126.1 million in indirect costs is incurred in time away from work for sick employees and babies. Women make up half the workforce and are the primary breadwinners in 41% of families with children. And of the more than 350,000 working women in New Hampshire today, nearly half are between the ages of 20 and 44 – prime years for giving birth to children. Passage of SB 219 would encourage working mothers to breastfeed their children. It would help to ensure healthy and prosperous families and save New Hampshire businesses many thousands of dollars in sick days and the loss of able and skilled women employees.”


State Senator Martha Fuller Clark

On the federal level, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte are working on legislation to protect pregnant women and nursing mothers in the work place. Representatives from each office issued a statement for the “Breastfeeding and Work – Let’s Make It Work” press conference:

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen: “As Governor, I was pleased to sign into law the Breastfeeding Bill which protects the rights of mothers in New Hampshire to breastfeed in public. I was also proud to support the breastfeeding provisions in the Affordable Care Act, which requires insurance plans to cover breastfeeding support, supplies and counseling with no co-pay. I continue to work with the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure that these provisions are implemented as Congress intended. Women should have every right to reasonable workplace accommodations as they provide for their families and contribute to the economy. That’s why I introduced the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. This legislation would ensure that expectant mothers are not forced out of their jobs simply because they need minor adjustments to their duties to continue working during pregnancy. As more womenwork longer into their pregnancies, they should have the confidence that their safety, health and financial security are not at risk. And when they return to work following childbirth, they deserve every opportunity to provide for their child without retaliation or interference.”

U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte: “As someone who worked during both of my pregnancies and also breastfed, I understand the challenges facing pregnant women and new mothers in the workplace. To ensure that pregnant workers and nursing moms are treated equally in the workplace, Senator Shaheen and I recently introduced the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), bipartisan legislation that would require employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees and new moms. The PWFA is modeled on the legal standard in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and would ensure that pregnant workers and nursing moms are able to continue working while protecting them from being forced to take unpaid time off or leave their jobs altogether. The bill also prohibits employers from denying employment opportunities to women based on their need for reasonable accommodations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.”

Also at the press conference was Christine Dodson, co-founder of Mamava which creates lactation and breastfeeding stations, including the one at Fenway Park.

“When the idea for Mamava first struck, we were nursing mothers working for a breastfeeding friendly employer, and benefiting from Vermont’s progressive breastfeeding laws. At work we had a place to pump and the break time to do it. It was when we traveled for business that we ran in to challenges, often having to pump in restrooms, cars, and storage closets. We thought about all the other moms in other states, with less supportive employers and challenged ourselves to find a way to make it easier for mamas to meet their breastfeeding goals, and employers and communities to support them. So our free standing lactation suite was conceived from a place of empathy by nursing mothers who had to hit the road with our breast pumps. As it takes hold as an amenity for pumping and nursing we think of it as a billboard communicating that there are many, many breastfeeding moms who could use all the help they can get, actually bringing the discussion into the open – not hiding it in a bathroom stall or under a blanket.”

Following the press conference, Terie Norelli, President of the NH Women’s Foundation, led a count-down to the Big Latch On, a synchronized worldwide breastfeeding event at 10:30 am on July 31st and August 1st to raise awareness during World Breastfeeding Week.

DSC_4212The New Hampshire World Breastfeeding Week kick-off and day of events were hosted by NH Citizens Alliance, Granite State Progress & Education Fund, the NH Breastfeeding Rights Coalition & The Rustik Baby Project, with sponsor support.

About World Breastfeeding Week

On the 1st – 7th of August every year, to raise awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding and the need for global support, the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action organizes World Breastfeeding Week. World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated in 120 countries and marks the signing of the WHO/UNICEF Innocenti Declaration, which lists the benefits of breastfeeding plus global and governmental goals. To mark the occasion, on Friday July 31st and Saturday August 1st at 10:30 am thousands of breastfeeding women and their babies/children across the world gather in their own communities to take part in the Global Big Latch On, a synchronized breastfeeding event in multiple locations. Breastfeeding contributes to the normal growth and development of children, and children who are not breastfed are at increased risk of infant morbidity and mortality, adult obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and premenopausal breast cancer and ovarian cancer (both mom and baby.) The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months of a baby’s life to optimize these benefits, continuing to breastfeed for 2 years and as long thereafter as is mutually desired by a woman and her child. The New Hampshire Statewide Big Latch On took place during the kick-off and press conference at the NH Statehouse; additional Big Latch On’s were scheduled in Dover, Littleton, and Meredith.


About the Stand With Women Campaign

Times have changed. Today, women are central to our families and our economy. More women than ever are working outside the home, heading households and leading in the workplace. We must take action now to ensure that women have equal rights and receive fair treatment on the job, in health care and in the new economy. The Stand With Women campaign in New Hampshire is led by NH Citizens Alliance and Granite State Progress Education Fund.

NH House Republicans Push Through Their Immoral Reckless Budget


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Today hundreds of Granite Staters filled the State Capitol building holding signs and asking legislators to oppose these reckless cuts to the New Hampshire budget.  Labor leaders, community activists and concerned citizens delivered over 800 signed petitions opposing these reckless budget cuts.

“A budget is a statement of our priorities as a community and in that sense it is an expression of our values,” explained the Rev. Jonathan Hopkins, President of the NH Council of Churches and pastor of Concordia Lutheran Church. “Our faith leads us to pay attention to the common good, not just to the interests of individuals. Our faith calls for a budget that is fair and just.”

One area of the proposed budget cuts that drew outrage today were the cuts to social programs to help people overcome their additions to drugs and alcohol. Hundred gathered and participated in a “die in” on the State House steps. (Images above of the ‘die in’ courtesy of Steve Kloppenburg)

Their voices and concerns were ignored as the House Republicans pushed through their budget with devastating cuts to a variety of state programs.

“In amending the House Finance Committee-recommended budget that already hurt families, undermined business growth and took our economy backward, Republicans in the House of Representatives managed today to make a reckless budget even worse,” stated Governor Maggie Hassan. (Full Statement Here)

“To gain the support of Bill O’Brien and the Koch Brothers, House Republicans passed a budget today that is so extreme that even the Republican House Finance Chair admitted that our state would suffer if it were actually enacted,” said Ray Buckley, Chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party.

“The House did a fantastic job of making New Hampshire more free market and more competitive, and forth and for most it takes out all the tax increases,” said AFP State Director Greg Moore in an press conference last week.

During the debate on the House floor Representative William O’Brien, who pushed a similar budget cuts through the House in 2011 when he was Speaker, offered an amendment to raid the state’s “Rainy Day Fund” to find extra money to make their budget work.

“From raiding dedicated funds to downshifting costs onto local communities, the O’Brien-Jasper budget proves once again that New Hampshire Republicans can’t be taken seriously on fiscal responsibility,” said Buckley. “Possibly the most fiscally irresponsible action in the O’Brien-Jasper budget deal — and that’s saying something — is O’Brien’s floor amendment to empty the state’s rainy day fund.”

“As lawmakers entered the State House, today they were greeted by hundreds of protesters decrying the O’Brien-Jasper budget’s drastic cuts. But instead of listening to the outcry from every corner of the state, O’Brien and Jasper decided to wipe out the state’s rainy day fund and threaten a credit downgrade to make even deeper cuts, including cutting funding for community colleges, further cutting our already strained corrections system, and laying off nurses at New Hampshire hospital,” continued Buckley.

“Voters will not stand for the fiscally irresponsible Jasper-O’Brien budget that empties the state’s rainy day fund, raids dedicated funds, slashes critical economic priorities for small businesses and middle class families, and downshifts costs onto local property taxpayers,” concluded Buckley.

One of the budget tactics used by Republicans to fund their disastrous budget would reverse the pay increased negotiated by the State Employees Association. These are the same workers who are now facing the potential of massive layoffs.

“When I was a child growing up in NH, the state leaders were fiscally conservative and responsible,” said Richard Gulla, President of SEA/SEIU Local 1984. “The legislature was primarily Republican and when need be, they would find ways to raise revenue for items our state’s citizens needed and there was a good balance between revenue and spending. That is no longer the case.”

The Tea Party extremists have taken over the House and refuse to raise revenues even though the state desperately needs it.

“The members of SEA/SEIU 1984 want our state to be a safe place for everyone to live, work, and prosper. The NH House budget does not promote these priorities – it disrupts them,” wrote the State Employees Association. “Even though they did not prevail, we salute the legislators who voted in favor of funding the state employees’ contract.”

“While today’s vote was gravely disappointing, we now look to the NH Senate to prepare a budget that is frugal yet reasonable and responsible,” concluded the SEA.

Community groups and fiscal watchdogs were quick to blast Republicans in the House for passing this budget that is guaranteed to harm our state and our economy.

“The House version of the budget is foolhardy and shortsighted. It unnecessarily pits important state priorities against one another rather than making real investments in our community, our infrastructure, and our people,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress. “It kicks the can down the road on identifying reasonable revenue sources that ensure the wealthy and corporations are paying their fair share, and it turns its back on programs that, if funded today, will save our state money in the long run.”

“The House budget pits vital public services against one another in an attempt to achieve a misguided sense of balance. This budget puts many of our state’s most vulnerable residents at risk, forcing cities and towns — and local taxpayers – to take on greater responsibilities and to face higher costs in the long run,” said New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute Executive Director Jeff McLynch. (Full Statement Here)

Now we look to the New Hampshire Senate to see how they blend their two proposals together and craft the budget for the next two years. We already know that the Senate passed a business tax reduction that gives away millions to businesses while force deeper cuts to state agencies.

Will the Senate find a way to fix the cuts proposed by the House, or will they bend to the Tea Party extremists and force New Hampshire backwards?


Related article and recommended reading:

Republican Budget Cuts In New Hampshire Provoke Backlash From Clergy


NH House GOP Jeopardize Voter Privacy And Force Towns To Pay For Equipment In Voter ID Mandate

NH House Finance Republicans Vote to Pass Costly
Unfunded Voter ID Mandate on to Cities and Towns;
Jeopardize Voter Privacy

CONCORD, NH – In a party line vote yesterday afternoon, Republicans on the House Finance Committee voted to pass a costly and unfunded mandate on to cities and towns to implement the camera provision of the voter ID law. Amendment 2015-1103h eliminates the requirement that the Secretary of State provide each city and town the photography and printing supplies to implement the voter ID law. Each municipality will now be responsible for purchasing a camera, color printer, photo paper, and any other supplies necessary to comply with the provision of the law set to go into effect in September 2015.

“The House Republicans are passing a costly and unfunded mandate on to local towns and cities to implement an unnecessary camera provision of an already unnecessary voter ID law,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “It is clear from the hasty introduction of this amendment that sponsor Rep. Dan McGuire and the other Republicans who voted for it did not even take the time to read the current statute. McGuire told the committee that the state does not need to provide the equipment because cameras and electronic communication are already so common, implying that election moderators should just take a photo with a smart phone and email it to the SOS. However, the voter ID law specifically says the photo must be printed out in color and then the electronic copy immediately deleted.”

“If House Republicans want to change the voter ID law to an electronic record-keeping version, this raises real concerns over privacy. Under that scenario, moderators could use private phones and email accounts to transfer or store images of the electorate with no data protections whatsoever,” Rice Hawkins said.

Granite State Progress and other election protection advocates are calling for the New Hampshire legislature to eliminate the costly camera provision of the voter ID law, saving taxpayer dollars and preventing long delays at the polls.

Transcript of Rep. Dan McGuire (R-Epsom) remarks available here.

Video link 

After 5 Years Data Shows The ACA Is Working For Granite State Families

On 5th Anniversary of Affordable Care Act, Landmark Health Law is Covering More Families, Lowering Health Care Costs

CONCORD, NH – Today marks the fifth anniversary of the landmark health care law, the Affordable Care Act – otherwise known as Obamacare. Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins:

“The Affordable Care Act has provided New Hampshire families and small businesses with the security and stability they need in health care coverage. More than 53,000 Granite State consumers have enrolled for private health care coverage through the ACA marketplace, and an additional 37,000 of our neighbors have signed up for expanded Medicaid and can now access preventive care instead of relying on emergency rooms which drives up health costs for everyone. The ACA, or Obamacare as it is known to some, is achieving its goal of providing quality, affordable health care coverage to more Americans and bending the health care cost curve that was previously wildly out of control.”

According to HHS, 70 percent of New Hampshire consumers who signed up on the marketplace qualified for an average tax credit of $244 per month. Reporters can access more information on the impact of the Affordable Care Act in New Hampshire here. HHS also announced that the ACA has reduced hospital uncompensated care costs across the country by an estimated $7.4 billion in 2014. A report detailing the economic impact of Medicaid expansion and the overall accomplishments of the Affordable Care Act over the past five years are available on the HHS website.

New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley released the following statement on the 5th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act:

“Five years after the President signed the Affordable Care Act into law, it’s clear that the ACA is working here in New Hampshire.”

“To date, over 53,000 Granite Staters have enrolled in private coverage on New Hampshire’s Health Insurance Marketplace, not to mention the 37,000 Granite Staters and counting who have gotten covered through New Hampshire’s Medicaid expansion plan.”

“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, New Hampshire’s workforce is healthier and stronger and we’re already seeing a decline in the costs of uncompensated care, saving money for individuals and businesses.”  

“It is unconscionable that five years later, Kelly Ayotte and Frank Guinta are still fighting to take away health coverage from tens of thousands of Granite Staters and repeal critical new consumer protections that are not only saving money, but also saving lives. In 2016, voters across New Hampshire will hold them accountable for their backwards health care policies and elect Democrats who will fight for middle class families and small businesses.”

Ben Cohen Speaks About Corporations Buying Our Politicians At #WeRise Event In Concord


About 40 activists gathered at the New Hampshire State House as part of the nationwide #WeRISE Day of Action.

Stamp Stampede’s Ben Cohen speaks at “We Rise” Action at State House
National Day of Action to Put People and Planet First

The StampStampede.org joined with NH Citizens Action, the NH Rebellion, American Friends Service Committee, Open Democracy, Granite State Progress, People For the American Way, Every Child Matters and other New Hampshire organizations to protest “a political system rigged on behalf of big corporations and the wealthy.”

“Congress needs to stop acting like a wholly-owned subsidiary of multinational corporations,” said Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben&Jerry’s Ice Cream and Head Stamper of StampStampede.org. “When billions of dollars are being poured into our elections, government stops serving the people and serves the corporations instead.”


Stamp Stampede Head Stamper Ben Cohen spoke about the movement to pass a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

Cohen cited a Sunlight Foundation study showing that politically-active corporations get back $760 in government benefits for every dollar they spend influencing politics. “People watch this stuff happening, and they’re angry about it.  People in both parties are angry about it.  Our elected officials are supposed to be serving us, their constituents, and instead they’re spending our tax dollars subsidizing corporations.”

“It’s time to take our government back,” Cohen said.  “If ‘We the People’ can’t out-spend the corporations, we can at least out-shout them.  That’s why StampStampede.org is turning US currency into millions of miniature political billboards, by legally stamping it with messages like ‘Not to Be Used for Bribing Politicians.’” Every stamped dollar bill is seen by about 875 people.  That means if one person stamps three bill a day for a year, the message will reach almost 1 million people.   “It’s a petition on steroids,” said Cohen.

There are over 30,000 stampers across the country and hundreds in New Hampshire.  StampStampede.org has also recruited over 50 small businesses in the state to set up small point-of-purchase stamping stations where customers can stamp their dollars, buy a stamp and learn more about the influence of money in politics.

“Our goal is to stamp 3.4 million bills – that’s 10% of the currency in New Hampshire – before next February’s presidential primary,”  said Cohen, “It’s monetary jiu-jitsu – we’re using money to get money out of politics”

The Concord “We Rise” rally was one of a nationwide series of actions organized in affiliation with National People’s Action, Center for Popular Democracy, and USAction.   “All across the country, families are taking to the streets, parks and state capitols to send a clear message: ‘Our statehouses and our cities belong to us.  It’s time for legislators to enact our bold agenda to put people and planet first.’”


Granite State Progress Statement on NH House Voting Down HB 404, Ballot Selfies

 Concord, NH – The New Hampshire House voted inexpedient to legislate 233-131 today on HB 404, relative to showing a ballot. Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins

“Granite State Progress congratulates the New Hampshire House on this strong vote in favor of voter protection. HB 404 would have opened a slippery slope to voter intimidation and harassment, as well as social pressure to vote for a particular candidate or cause. New Hampshire’s current law protects an individual’s right to vote for the candidate or issue they feel most strongly about, without feeling accountable to anyone else. There are already several other ways for a voter to publicly show their support for a candidate – they can attend rallies, sign petitions, hold signs, distribute information, and publicly declare their intent to vote for or state that they actually did cast a ballot for a particular candidate. All New Hampshire’s law does is protect the privacy and secrecy of an individual’s actual vote by making it illegal to show or distribute pictures of one’s actual ballot.”

“This is not a freedom of speech issue as some may try to suggest as there are limitless other ways to demonstrate support for a candidate. There is one – and only one – thing that ballot selfies provide that other forms of democratic expression do not, and that is proof of your vote. New Hampshire should not endorse methods of proving who you voted for to others, and the House made the right decision with this vote.”

A copy of Granite State Progress testimony in opposition to HB 404 can be found online at http://www.granitestateprogress.org/press-release/statement-nh-house-voting-down-hb-404-ballot-selfies. It includes seemingly innocent examples of social pressure that could unfortunately harm the democratic process if ballot selfies were allowed.

About GSP and voter protection: Granite State Progress and its sister organization Granite State Progress Education Fund provide several forms of voter education and voter protection in New Hampshire – including publishing easy to access and understandable vote records of state legislators, hosting a website with information on how to register and rights at the polls, and manning a voter protection hotline on Election Day. Granite State Progress opposed both HB 404 and similar legislation HB 228, which will have a floor vote later today.

Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems. Press releases and other information available online atwww.GraniteStateProgress.org.


ICYMI: Coalition of NH Taxpayers Once Again Found Making False Accusations of Voter Fraud

Ed Naile and the Coalition of NH Taxpayers have no idea how to read a voter file, continue to make false accusations based on shoddy research 

Concord, NH – In an unsurprising development, Ed Naile and the Coalition of NH Taxpayer’s latest “voter fraud” allegation has once again been soundly debunked. For the last month, Naile, CNHT, and the NH Tea Party have relentlessly alleged fraud by a former New Hampshire voter, using social media graphics and posts on Granite Grok and Girard at Large to defame an American citizen who did his civic duty to vote in every election. An in-depth article in The Cabinet this week, pasted below, gives the real story.

Quote from Zandra Rice Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress:

“It’s clear that Ed Naile and the Coalition of NH Taxpayers have no idea how to read a voter file, and that they have once again based false accusations on shoddy research. Any allegations they make should continue to be scrutinized carefully, because even the simplest fact check quickly debunks their statements.”

The Cabinet story is below.


The Cabinet: Illegal voting allegations out of Wilton

Thursday, November 6, 2014


WILTON – According to an organization called Coalition of New Hampshire Taxpayers, and as shown on their website www.cnht.com, resident Jared Cram voted twice in presidential elections in 2008 and 2012, both in Wilton and near Philadelphia.

The website refers to Cram as a “Democratic Philly Lawyer,” and displays a picture apparently taken from a Facebook page. It offers no proof of the charge.

The accusation was also made at a recent candidates’ forum by Frank Edelblut, a Republican candidate for the state house of representatives, in answer to a question from the floor about voter fraud. He used Cram and his alleged voting record as proof there is a problem in the state.

He said, “Right here in the town of Wilton.”

Selectman Kermit Williams rebutted that accusation then, and is still doing so, pointing out that the accusations are false, that Cram had moved to Wilton well before the election.

On Monday, Oct. 29, Town Clerk Jane Farrell outlined what she had done in response to the case for the Board of Selectmen.

After the accusations were made, she said she had received a call from the Secretary of State’s Office asking for copies of the checked voter lists for the primary elections in those years in order to verify Cram’s voting history.

“Unfortunately, 2008 was a year we purged the checklist (as required periodically by state law).”

Checklists are scanned for the archives, and one appeared to show that Cram had voted twice.

However, further checking found that the scanned copy was of Cram’s father’s name and that Jared had not voted.

“We corrected that record,” she said.

As for 2012, she said, “It was alleged that he had voted in two state primaries, and he actually did, but Pennsylvania holds their primary in April in connection with municipal elections.” Cram was living there at the time and voted.

During the summer, he moved back to Wilton, where his parents live, to recuperate from a medical problem, and voted in the primary and general election here.

“None of the three races (in 2012) covered the same people,” Farrell said. She noted that New Hampshire state statutes allow for voting in different states if the elections are held on different dates.

“This is casting aspersions on us and on our secretary of State’s office,” Farrell said, and the “Secretary of State is very annoyed.”


Marilinda Garcia Says Marriage Equality Does Not Matter to Millennial Voters

Screen shot 2014-10-14 at 5.51.30 PMSo-Called “Millennial” Candidate Marilinda Garcia Says Marriage Equality Does Not Matter to Millennial Voters Despite Polling, Evidence to the Contrary

Garcia, a 31-year old candidate for Congress, voted against marriage equality, voted to repeal marriage equality, and voted to keep gay couples from adopting

*** Also: Video of Garcia’s extreme House floor remarks on marriage equality *** 

Concord, NH –Congressional candidate Marilinda Garcia (NH-02) says same-sex marriage and other issues of equality for gay and lesbian couples do not matter to millennial voters, despite widespread polling to the contrary.  On NHPR’s Morning Edition, Garcia recently told host Steve Inskeep that marriage equality is not an important topic for millennial voters, saying that “… it doesn’t really come up, you know, in elections and campaigns anymore because it’s just not an issue that they’re fighting about in the legislature anymore.”

But marriage equality and equal rights have been a topic of conversation, both in New Hampshire and nationally, and Garcia knows it. She voted against protecting or expanding LGBT rights as long ago as 2007 and as recently as 2014. In 2009, Garcia voted against passing marriage equality, and in 2010 and 2012 she voted to repeal it. National polls indicate that marriage equality is a priority for millennial voters. A Pew Research Center report in September 2014 found nearly 70% of millennial voters support same-sex marriage; a March 2014 report found 61% of young Republicans favor same-sex marriage. 

“Marilinda Garcia may be a young candidate but she is by no means a voice for the values of millennial voters,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress, and a millennial voter. “Garcia opposes same-sex marriage and voted to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples seeking to adopt. Nearly 70 percent of millennial voters nationwide support marriage equality and see equal rights as an important foundation, but if elected Marilinda Garcia will vote to discriminate against gay and lesbian individuals.”

“Garcia also defines marriage as solely about procreation, a belief that is out of touch with many young couples today who are waiting to start families or who have chosen not to have children at all,” Rice Hawkins said.

GSP Video: Marilinda Garcia’s House Floor Statement Against Marriage Equality


(includes statements regarding Garcia’s definition of marriage)

Excerpt: “Thank you Mr. Speaker, honorable colleagues. I rise in support of this amendment merely to voice support for the traditional definition of marriage. The case for marriage is based on the facts of biology and sociology. Marriage was not established to validate emotional and romantic love, sexual attraction, and the promise of commitment in heterosexual relationships. That conception of it is a modern luxury. Instead, marriage exists to solve a problem. That problem is a societal problem that rises from sex between men and women, but not from sex between partners of the same gender. That problem is what to do about its generativity.”

Other choice lines: “Your concern, as a state and a society, is with my gender-based reproductive capability when men are involved.” and “[Same-sex marriage is] illogical and invasive, while completely missing the biologically specific point of marriage in the first place.” Garcia also calls marriage “an institution that makes no sense for them.” [NH State Rep. Marilinda Garcia, NH House Floor Speech Against Marriage Equality, 3/21/2012]

Background: Garcia’s Record on Marriage Equality, LGBT Rights

  • In March 2007, Garcia voted against allowing unmarried adults – including gay and lesbian couples – to adopt children. While New Hampshire law at the time already allowed gay individuals to adopt, same-sex couples faced discrimination in adoption due to different interpretations of the law across the state. [HB 51, Roll Call #37, 3/21/2007; Portsmouth Herald, Gay adoption passes House, 3/22/2007]
  • In May 2009, Garcia voted against the historic passage of marriage equality in New Hampshire. [HB 436, Roll Call #148, 5/6/2009]
  • In February 2010, Garcia voted to repeal marriage equality. [HB 1590, Roll Call #82, 2/17/2010]
  • In March 2012, Garcia again voted to repeal marriage equality in New Hampshire. Garcia argued at the time that repealing marriage equality would strengthen New Hampshire families. [HB437, Roll Call #188, 3/21/2012]
  • In April 2014, Garcia voted against a New Hampshire bill to clarify New Hampshire’s marriage equality law to ensure that all married couples in New Hampshire receive the fair and equal treatment under the law that they deserve. [SB 394, Roll Call #217, 4/30/2014]

Additionally, in September 2014, the NH GOP revised platform strongly called on New Hampshire to only “recognize marriage as the legal and sacred union between one man and one woman as ordained by God, encouraged by the State, traditional to humankind, and the core of the Family.”

“Aggressive Progressives” Meet in Henniker (Via Arnie Alpert’s InZane Times)

Written by Arnie Alpert on InZane Times.


Atlant Schmidt and Cathy Goldwater at Bird-dogging workshop

The third annual New Hampshire Progressive Summit brought 150 activists to New England College yesterday for a conference devoted to practical political skills and information in a wide range of P6070068topics.  Renewable energy, youth organizing, preserving Social Security and Medicare, poverty, GMOs, use of social media, and more kept the crowd moving for the day.  There was even time for debate over the Northern Pass powerline project, an issue about which there is not unity in the New Hampshire Left.  

The Summit included 19 workshops and another 6 “mini-workshops,” plus sessions for elected officials and candidates.  I was able to catch ones on LGBT issues (with Mo Baxley and Jamie Capach) and on the perils of privatization (with Diana Lacey and Janice Kelble) plus 20-minute “mini workshops” on the American Legislative Exchange Council (with Caitlin Rollo and Rep. Marcia Moody) and reducing gun violence (with Janet Groat of Moms Demand Action).  The presenters all were masters of their subjects and led effective discussions.

I also sat in on a presentation about the NH Rebellion, a growing project to put P6070028pressure on candidates to end the “system of corruption” caused by the flood of cash in the political system. The rebels are planning to join four July 4 parades and assemble hundreds of people to walk from Hampton Beach to New Castle on July 5, all in the spirit of Doris “Granny D” Haddock.  Their supporters at the Summit included several old friends from Occupy NH. 

With Olivia Zink and Addy Simwerayi, I led a session on P6070057“bird-dogging” skills, i.e. how to let candidates know what is on our minds and find out what is on theirs. These sessions are always lively, fun, and hopefully useful.  We had a great assortment of activists concerned about trans rights, climate, GMOs, money and politics, and other issues, all eager to hone their skills.  With the 2014 election campaign heating up and the campaign for the 2016 NH Presidential Primary already underway there is plenty of bird-dogging to be done. 

In fact, the lobby outside the main meeting room was filled with tables from Democratic Party groups, including “Ready for Hillary.” 

What it means to be an “aggressive progressive” was the theme of Richard Kirsch’s keynote.  The speech ran through dozens of popular progressive concepts like aP6070009 higher minimum wage, defeat of “right to work,” the use of the tax code by the 1% to enrich themselves at the expense of everyone else, the need for paid sick leave, and the importance of not only preserving but expanding Social Security.  “We all do better when we all do better,” he said.  

Punctuated with applause, Kirsch’s remarks were deliberately formulaic, and in fact, he said they were drawn from the key message points of “An America that Works for All of Us,” a glossy brochure included in everyone’s conference packet (and available online).  From the speaker’s perspective “repeating, repeating, repeating and telling the same story,” what he calls the “progressive narrative,”  is the P6070080key to political success.

Coming out of movements based on direct action, I’m not totally sold on this “narrative” concept.  I think we create the “narrative” by our actions as much as by our words, but I agree it’s important to communicate effectively and have always believed that the “progressive agenda” – good schools, fair taxes, protection of civil rights and liberties, decent wages for workers, etc. — ought to be popular with the majority of Americans.  But let’s give attention to actions beyond voting and appeals to those who get elected.  I hope there’s still room for direct action on the progressive agenda.  

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