Governor Hassan Signs Bill Creating “Pathway to Work” Program

Maggie Hassan

SB 143 Creates Innovative, No-Cost Program Designed to Help Unemployed Workers Start Their Own Businesses

Maggie HassanCONCORD – Continuing her efforts to create jobs and strengthen New Hampshire’s economy, Governor Maggie Hassan signed today SB 143, which creates a “Pathway to Work” program designed to encourage and support efforts of unemployed workers to create their own jobs by starting their own small businesses.

“With this new law, we are able to expand the successful New Hampshire Working program by creating an innovative, no-cost program designed to encourage and enable unemployed workers to create their own jobs and perhaps provide jobs for others by starting their own small businesses,” Governor Hassan said. New Hampshire will now provide the pathway for unemployed participants to work with our state’s Small Business Development Center to engage in entrepreneurial training, business counseling and technical assistance. This will allow workers who are likely to exhaust their benefits to have access to the resources and training they need to establish a business and become self-employed.”

“I want to thank Senator Sylvia Larsen and her many co-sponsors for bringing this important piece of legislation forward. This new law will help Granite Staters create good jobs and build a more innovative economic future,” Governor Hassan said.

During her time in the state Senate, Governor Hassan sponsored a similar measure and worked with Senator Larsen to pass legislation creating the New Hampshire Working Program, a successful three-part jobs initiative that was enacted in 2010 to assist workers to Stay at Work, Return to Work and Get Ready to Work. Senate Bill 143 aims to build on that success by adding a fourth component, the “Pathway to Work.”

To participate in the “Pathway to Work” program, an unemployed worker must be: eligible to receive regular unemployment compensation; permanently laid off from his or her previous job; identified as likely to exhaust regular unemployment compensation; and a participant in activities such as entrepreneurial training, business counseling and technical assistance while engaged on a full-time basis in activities relating to the establishment of a business and becoming self-employed.

Two Different Views On The Northern Pass

White Mountains

White MountainsToday it was announced that there is a new proposed route to the controversal Northern Pass project.

“The new proposal includes an improved route, partially underground, through New Hampshire’s North Country, and was developed in response to concerns about potential visual impacts and property rights. “Over the past two years, we’ve met with landowners, citizens, key stakeholders, and public officials from across New Hampshire in an effort to better understand their concerns with our original proposal,” said Gary Long, president and COO of Public Service of New Hampshire (PSNH), a subsidiary of the project’s parent company, Northeast Utilities. “We have worked hard to develop a new proposal that is better for New Hampshire and responsive to feedback we’ve received.”

After the announcement, Joseph Casey, a Representative of the IBEW and President of the New Hampshire Building Trades Council released the following statement:

“The announcement today by the Northern Pass of a new route represents a practical, feasible compromise to the concerns raised about the initial project design, and is an important step forward for the working families of New Hampshire.

The Northern Pass project will be the largest green jobs project in New Hampshire history creating more than 1,200 NH jobs per year during the three-year construction phase.  At a time when many of our New Hampshire members must travel thousands of miles away for work opportunities and spend months away from their families to simply earn a living, this project will bring needed jobs and opportunity close to home.

Last week, five of the six New England states jointly recognized the critical need for additional Canadian hydropower to ensure our region’s future economic success, and this project answers that call by providing decades of clean, low-cost power to New Hampshire and New England.

As a critical stakeholder in this project, the New Hampshire members of the IBEW applaud the work and compromise offered by Northern Pass in this proposal.  We look forward to this project moving forward, and for the state process of review and permitting to get underway.”

Governor Hassan also release this statement.  She appears to be open to the new idea yet guarded about the implications to the landscape of the state.  She is still pushing for all the lines to be buried.

“It is encouraging to see that Northern Pass officials listened to people across New Hampshire and are not proposing to violate the Connecticut Lakes Headwaters easement. But it is clear that many questions remain regarding the impacts that the proposed project could have on the White Mountain National Forest, as well as on New Hampshire’s economy, environment, natural resources, communities and people. 

“As opposed to the first Northern Pass proposal, the newly proposed route appropriately buries transmission lines in some areas. However, from an initial review of the proposal I continue to believe that project officials must more fully explore options for burying more of the lines. I strongly encourage Northern Pass officials to continue to listen to the concerns of affected communities and the people of New Hampshire.

“Protecting the beautiful natural resources and scenic views of the North Country is integral to maintaining New Hampshire’s high quality of life and for keeping our tourism-driven economy strong. With the new proposal released, I encourage the federal government to thoroughly evaluate the plan, and I will work to ensure that, in accordance with the law, New Hampshire undertakes a rigorous review process that provides significant opportunities for public voices to be fully heard.”

You can read all about the new proposed route from the Northern Pass website.

Bipartisan State Budget Agreement Reached

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Governor Maggie Hassan today applauded the bipartisan budget agreement reached by House and Senate negotiators.

Senate Democratic Leader Sylvia Larsen released the following comments on the House and Senate negotiators reaching an agreement on a bipartisan balanced state budget:
“Senate Democrats have worked to protect many of the good initiatives of this budget — restoring education funding, Children in Need of Services, and mental health services, and creating a clear path toward accepting $2.5 billion in federal funds to extend Medicaid coverage to 58,000 people in our state.
There are also some things that Senate Democrats could not reverse that we will continue to work on next session. At the end of the day, this is a compromise, and the very fact that we can reach one is a good thing. It shows that together with the leadership of Governor Hassan, in New Hampshire we can still work together, find common ground, and make progress on important issues.

“This bipartisan, fiscally responsible balanced budget agreement represents true and meaningful progress on the priorities that matter to the people of New Hampshire and that are critical for creating good jobs and building a more innovative economic future,” Governor Hassan said.

“By restoring investments in priorities such as higher education, mental health, economic development, public safety and more, this bipartisan agreement will keep our state moving forward by encouraging innovation and maintaining the health and well-being of our families and communities.”

The budget significantly restores funding for the University and Community College systems to allow them to freeze tuition, returns a scholarship fund for New Hampshire students, and invests in other economic development activities such as tourism and trade promotion and technical assistance for businesses. It will allow the state to move forward with implementing its 10-year mental health plan, funds the waitlist for people with developmental disabilities, restores the Children in Need of Services (CHINS) program, improves public safety by adding additional state troopers, and increases aid to cities and towns.

The bipartisan budget also establishes a study commission that will report back on Medicaid expansion by October 15th.

“While I believe we could move forward now with accepting the $2.5 billion in federal funds for Medicaid expansion, I respect the Senate’s desire to study a New Hampshire-specific model and appreciate its willingness to do so in a timely way,” Governor Hassan said. “I am confident that once members of the Legislature see the results of the study, they will want to move forward as quickly as possible through a special session. Because, as both Democratic and Republican Governors across the country have found, Medicaid expansion is absolutely critical to the health and financial well-being of our citizens, and every day that New Hampshire delays after January 1st will cost us $1 million a day in federal funds.”

Governor Hassan also praised the work of lawmakers on the budget.

“Like all budgets, this agreement required difficult choices and compromises. But the bipartisan balanced budget agreement clearly demonstrates that the New Hampshire traditions of hard-work, collaboration, and commonsense problem-solving have returned to Concord. Both the House and Senate repeatedly showed a willingness to rise above ideology and listen to the people they represent in order to reach constructive compromises.

“I want to thank President Bragdon, Speaker Norelli, Senator Morse, Representative Wallner, and all of the budget negotiators from both chambers, as well as the staff of the Legislature, state agencies, and my office, for their tireless work that led to this bipartisan agreement.

“With this fiscally responsible balanced budget, the people of the Granite State can feel confident that their voices have been heard loud and clear. I encourage all members of both the House and Senate to send this budget to my desk for my signature so we can lay the foundation for a stronger, more innovative New Hampshire.”

Governor Hassan to Nominate Attorney James Craig as Commissioner of Labor

Maggie Hassan

Former House Minority Leader to Lead Efforts to Protect Workforce, Ensure Level Playing Field for Businesses

CONCORD – In order to protect New Hampshire’s workers and ensure that all Granite State businesses have a fair opportunity to succeed and create jobs, Governor Maggie Hassan announced today that she will nominate former House Minority Leader James W. Craig to serve as Commissioner of the Department of Labor.

“To seize the opportunity of the innovation economy, we must ensure that the rights of New Hampshire’s workers are fully protected and that our businesses have a level playing field to grow and thrive,” Governor Hassan said. “Jim Craig has a long record of standing up for workers, and an ability to listen to and work with the business community to make progress. He has a deep understanding of the legal and policy issues that affect both our workforce and business community, which will make him an excellent Commissioner of Labor and I thank him for agreeing to once again serve the people of New Hampshire.”

Craig, of Manchester, is a partner at the law firm of Craig, Deachman & Amann, PLLC, and has practiced law in New Hampshire for 30 years with a variety of experience in issues critical to the state’s workforce and business community. He served in the New Hampshire House of Representatives for five terms, including as Minority Leader from 2004-2006.

“Protecting workers and ensuring that all New Hampshire businesses are playing by the same rules are critical for growing the economy and strengthening communities, and I thank Governor Hassan for nominating me to undertake this important responsibility and opportunity,” Craig said.

Craig, who has also served as president of the Manchester Bar Association, received his BA from Keene State College, his MA from the University of Southern California, and his JD from the University of New Hampshire School of Law (formerly known as Franklin Pierce Law Center) in 1983.

Craig’s nomination is subject to confirmation by the Executive Council. Governor Hassan will formally nominate Craig to the Council at Wednesday’s meeting.

 

Governor Hassan Chastises Senate For Rejecting Federal Health Care Funds

Maggie Hassan

Maggie HassanGovernor Hassan on Senate Republicans’ Rejection of Federal Health Care Dollars: Wrong Decision for Families and Economy

CONCORD – In response to the announcement Wednesday evening by Senate Republican leadership that they intend to reject Medicaid expansion, Governor Maggie Hassan released the following statement:

“The decision by Senate Republican leadership to reject $2.5 billion in federal dollars will make health coverage more expensive for hard-working New Hampshire families and undermine our state’s economic recovery.

“They are rejecting health coverage for tens of thousands of working families, rejecting 700 jobs, and rejecting more than $92 million in savings for our state. Uncompensated care at our hospitals’ emergency rooms and health centers increases costs for everyone, and rejecting these dollars will mean more than 58,000 Granite Staters will continue to go without health insurance.

“Despite the fact that, across the country, leaders from both parties have agreed that expansion is a good deal and the right thing to do, Senate Republicans have made the wrong decision for our families, our economy and the ongoing efforts to innovate and strengthen our health care system. I urge New Hampshire’s Senators to rise above ideology and move forward with accepting these critical dollars that will strengthen the health of our people and our economy.”

Joe Casey President of NH Building Trades Blasts New Anti-Casino Group

NH Building Trades Logo

Group offers no plan to fund services, instead  “looking for the manna to come down from heaven” to fund the state’s essential services.

Concord – NH Building & Construction Trades Council President Joe Casey criticized the unveiling of the anti-gambling lobby’s latest “coalition” today for having no plan on how to create jobs for New Hampshire citizens and no plan for funding higher education and critical state services.

Casey took special exception to New Hampshire Representative Marjorie Smith’s (D-Durham) comments about “looking for the manna to come down from heaven” to fund the state’s essential services.  Smith also referred to the millions of dollars in new casino revenues as “monopoly money”.

“What we saw today is a bunch of nothing: no plan to fund services, no plan to restore funding for higher education, no plan help create jobs.  Their privileged indifference to the real needs of the people in our state is appalling. Governor Hassan has a plan to restore those services and to create jobs through private investment at a time when New Hampshire needs them most. It’s time for Representative Smith and her friends to offer real solutions to fund critical services and job growth or stop standing in the way.”

“This group represents the same tired old arguments from the same people who have been opposing expanded gambling for years. Maybe the people standing in this group don’t need the services that will be funded by SB 152 or the thousands of good-paying jobs it will create, but many in our state do. This group does not represent New Hampshire, “ said Casey.

“New Hampshire citizens overwhelmingly support a casino in our state.  They know it’s worked elsewhere and it can work here too. They know that if New Hampshire simply lets Massachusetts move along in this direction alone that Massachusetts will get all the benefits and New Hampshire only gets the costs.  That’s unacceptable.  That’s not what the public wants or deserves.”

“The people are looking for leadership.  The people are looking for plans to solve our challenges.  The time is now for this legislature to listen to the people.”
Hear the “Manna from Heaven” in this video.

Governor-Elect Hassan Announces Additional Details for Inauguration

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Open House at the State House to Include Exhibits by FIRST Robotics, Children’s Authors, Artists and Local Food

CONCORD – Governor-Elect Maggie Hassan today announced additional details for her Inaugural Ceremony and State House Open House on Thursday, January 3rd.

Hassan’s Inaugural Ceremony will begin at noon and will feature poetry, prayer and music from numerous Granite Staters, including performances by the Cecilia Ensemble, a choir of high school girls from Peterborough, and Briana Nadeau, a singer-songwriter from Durham who will sing the national anthem.

“From our rich history and culture to our beautiful scenic landscapes, New Hampshire is a truly special place with much to offer,” said Governor-Elect Hassan. “Our Inauguration features a diverse group of Granite Staters whose talents and commitment are representative of our state’s resources and character.”

“From our rich history and culture to our beautiful scenic landscapes, New Hampshire is a truly special place with much to offer,” said Governor-Elect Hassan. “Our Inauguration features a diverse group of Granite Staters whose talents and commitment are representative of our state’s resources and character.” 

In addition, attendees will be led in the Pledge of Allegiance by New Hampshire Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan of New Durham. Following the end of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, Morgan, who has been diagnosed with terminal breast cancer, has become a nationally recognized advocate in the effort to repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which bars her wife, Karen, from receiving military, Social Security and other benefits that would help her care for their five-year-old daughter Casey Elena.

Following the ceremony and receiving line, Hassan will hold a State House Open House starting at 4:30pm where she will greet citizens from across the state.  During the open house, volunteers from the City Year New Hampshire program will help greet visitors and serve as guides through the State House where the Senate, House and Executive Council chambers will all remain open.

Music will be performed by students from across New Hampshire throughout the open house and exhibits by participants in the FIRST Robotics Competition, an initiative founded by Granite Stater Dean Kamen to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology, as well as NH LEGO League teams will be set up in the cafeteria.

Children visiting the open house will be able to meet with and bring books to be signed by New Hampshire children’s authors, including Rebecca Rule, Erin Moulton and David Elliott, and Exeter artist Rose Bryant will work with children to create an art installation project.

Food and drink for the State House Open House and inaugural events has been generously donated by numerous New Hampshire businesses, including Common Man Restaurants, Crust & Crumb Baking Company, Lindt Chocolate, Me & Ollie’s Bakeries, Stonyfield Yogurt, Zampa’s, Blue Moon Evolution, and Washington Street Café. For more information about Hassan’s inaugural events, please visit www.hassaninauguration.org.

As Governor, Maggie Hassan will bring people together to keep New Hampshire moving forward by focusing on innovation, fiscal responsibility and common-sense solutions to our challenges. Hassan will work with members of both parties to develop a fiscally responsible balanced budget that protects New Hampshire’s priorities without an income or sales tax. She will work to implement her “Innovate NH” jobs plan, which focuses on building the best workforce in the country, providing tax credits to businesses, and giving businesses technical assistance to help them create jobs. And Hassan will reach out to legislators and citizens across the state to listen to their ideas on moving New Hampshire forward.

Governor-Elect Hassan Announces Inauguration Plans

Hassan - Inauguration Logos v3 MC12

Hassan Launches New Inauguration Website, Names Inaugural Committee Director and Co-Chairs 

CONCORD – Governor-Elect Maggie Hassan today announced details on plans for her inauguration as New Hampshire’s 81st Governor, including a series of events that will bring together citizens from across the state to participate in moving New Hampshire forward.

Hassan will take the oath of office as Governor of New Hampshire on Thursday, January 3rd at the State House in Concord. Later that day she will host a State House Open House to greet citizens from across the state.  More details on the open house will be released later.

The Inaugural Committee will host the Inaugural Ball on Friday, January 4th at the Radisson Center of New Hampshire in Manchester. Additionally the committee will hold a North Country Ball on Saturday, January 12th at the Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods.

To keep the public informed about inauguration activities, Hassan has launched a new website www.hassaninauguration.org, which will also provide online ticketing for events.

“New Hampshire is a special place where we come together as communities to support each other, address our challenges, and move our state forward,” said Governor-Elect Hassan. “The New Hampshire way means all of us chip in, and the people of New Hampshire expect their leaders to be accessible to their ideas and priorities. I want to ensure all of our citizens have an opportunity to participate as we begin our work together to build a stronger, more innovative New Hampshire where our businesses can grow, flourish and create good jobs for our people.”

Governor-Elect Hassan also announced the formation of her Inaugural Committee, which is working to organize and plan the inauguration.

The committee will be co-chaired by Alan Reische of Manchester, Anna Grace Holloway of Rye, Fred Seigel of North Hampton, and Tom Raffio of Bow.

Additionally, Hassan has named Matt Burgess, who previously served as her campaign manager, as Inaugural Committee Director.  J.P. Boyle, who served as the campaign’s deputy campaign manager will be the Inaugural Committee’s deputy director and Liz Purdy will serve as a senior advisor to the committee as she did on the campaign.

As Governor, Maggie Hassan will bring people together to keep New Hampshire moving forward by focusing on innovation, fiscal responsibility and common-sense solutions to our challenges. Hassan will work with members of both parties to develop a fiscally responsible balanced budget that protects New Hampshire’s priorities without an income or sales tax. She will work to implement her “Innovate NH” jobs plan, which focuses on building the best workforce in the country, providing tax credits to businesses, and giving businesses technical assistance to help them create jobs. And Hassan will reach out to legislators and citizens across the state to listen to their ideas on moving New Hampshire forward.

What Could Sweeter Than 2008 Election? 2012

Union Vote

After receiving a gut wrenching kick in the electoral stomach in 2010 we just witnessed an enormous 180 degree turnaround in just two years. We got almost everything we asked for except a Democratic Congress. That was gerrymandered out of reach by a Republican win in 2010. We did the next best thing though, we turned New Hampshire blue against an onslaught of the Citizen’s United enabled Republican money machine. Facts matter and we didn’t cave to the outside money interest that swarmed into the Granite State.

We now have some friends in Washington that we can count on. We gained in the House and the Senate. It will prove to be way friendlier to fixing the financial ills of the Postal Service than the previous Congress. We did all that we could and more. We had help from Massachusetts with the election of Elizabeth Warren. I pray they put her on a banking committee so she can ask the tough questions to Wall St. manipulators. You know the ones that squandered away trillions of hard earned workers savings! For us here in New Hampshire we have two wonderful women totally on board for Letter Carriers. Carol Shea-Porter has already proven herself with two terms previously and Ann Kuster was vetted in 2010 by our legislative department and was our endorsed candidate. They will be there 100% for us.

Governor Hassan and a Democratic New Hampshire House is just the cherry on top. We know that an attack on New Hampshire working families is just the precursor to an attack on all workers in the country including letter carriers. Besides our agenda in Washington which is fixing the financial woes of the Postal Service we need to protect bargaining agreements right here for State and municipal workers and teachers. Also in New Hampshire we need to begin the dialogue with our State government for a no fault absentee ballot and eventually a vote by mail system that seems to work fine in 26 other states. This will go a long way towards putting a damper on phony voter fraud legislation requiring us to provide ID’s at the polls.

Lastly I would like to thank the 70% of Letter Carriers that supported us in this last election by voting for our endorsed candidates. For whatever reason the other 30% could not support candidates that will vote to protect their jobs, good luck to you, you will still enjoy good wages and benefits. New Hampshire Letter Carriers scored among the top percentage of workers endorsing and going to the polls and actually voting. As a union President I could not be prouder. I was especially proud at my last union meeting when I read out the names and asked to stand the letter carriers that volunteered for the last election. A third of the room was standing. Way to Go!

New Hampshire Union Members Celebrate Enormous Electoral Wins

Labor 2012

For weeks now union members have been canvassing New Hampshire as part of the Labor 2012 campaign.  After making thousands of phone calls and spending every free moment knocking on doors, all of our hard work paid off!

With our help New Hampshire cast it’s four electoral votes for President Obama as part of his reelection last night. This is great news for New Hampshire and the rest of the Nation.

Here in New Hampshire many of the union locals are more excited about the other races.  We banded together to defeat Ovide ‘Scott Walker on Steroids’ Lamontagne in electing Maggie Hassan as our next Governor.  She has already assured us that she will veto any anti-worker legislation including Right To Work for less.  Ensuring that we have a labor friendly Governor was the most important part of  preserving collective bargaining in New Hampshire.  While Right To Work has already been proposed for next years session, we can rest assured it will not pass.

We also celebrated huge victories in our Congressional candidates.  Annie Kuster defeated Congressman Charlie Bass (NH-02).  We worked with Annie, who received the endorsement from almost every labor organization in the state.  Congressman Bass voted to turn Medicare into a Voucher system and gut Social Security.  While Annie campaigned on preserving the middle class and protecting our workers.

The big win did not come until after 2 am last night.  CNN was the first to call the NH-01 race for Carol Shea-Porter.  As the results were coming in, the results were all over the road.  Carol was up, then she was down.  Carol Shea-Porter will be returning to her seat in Washington DC, and removing one of the most anti-union legislators in Washington, Congressman Frank Guinta.   Congressman Guinta, who was backed by the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC),  pushed legislation to end project labor agreements and prevailing wage laws.

With Annie and Carol in our corner we can get back to rebuilding the middle class while we rebuild New Hampshire’s infrastructure. We will also have two amazing advocates for protecting all of our rights as workers in Washington.

New Hampshire workers almost received the biggest surprise of all.  Shortly after the polls closed it was reported that NH Speaker Bill O’Brien had lost the largest of the two towns in his district.  O’Brien was the one leading the anti-worker charge in the NH House with attacks on collective bargaining, and Right To Work.   After hours of waiting the results finally came in after midnight that Bill O’Brien retained his seat by 25 votes.  While we never expected O’Brien to loose his seat, it would have made all of our victories just a little sweeter.

The next legislative session will be very different in New Hampshire.  We are still awaiting final results on the breakdown of the NH House, we know that the GOP has lost their 3:1 majority.  Even after all the gerrymandering in the NH Senate districts the Democrats picked up seats.  Now the NH Senate is split with a slight GOP favor at 13-11

Now we start looking to the next legislative session where we can fight to repeal the Voter ID law and other extreme legislation that was passed over the past two years.

However our future looks brighter already.