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Kuster Announces Veterans’ Affairs Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Field Hearing in NH

Field hearing will examine issues at Manchester VA Medical Center, challenges to access to care for New Hampshire veterans

(Concord, NH) –Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02), the lead Democrat on the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, announced today that she will convene a field hearing of the Subcommittee in New Hampshire to examine reports of quality of care issues at the Manchester VA Medical Center. Kuster will be joined by the Chairman of the Subcommittee, Congressman Jack Bergman (MI-01). The field hearing will examine quality of care issues at Manchester VAMC as well as challenges in access to care for New Hampshire veterans. The whistleblowers who raised the issues of care at Manchester will be invited to testify at the hearing on September 18th. Time and location will be announced closer to the hearing date.

“The issues that have been raised about quality of care at the Manchester VA Medical Center need to be thoroughly examined and that means the VA Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee must hear directly from the whistleblowers,” said Congresswoman Kuster.I’m hopeful that by bringing the Subcommittee to New Hampshire we’ll be able to gain a greater appreciation for what went wrong in Manchester, how we can fix those issues, and how we can prevent this from happening in other areas. Granite State veterans deserve better, and we need to do all we can to ensure that they are able to access the services and care they need.”

“Congresswoman Kuster and I will hear directly from VA whistleblowers in Manchester next month,” said Chairman Bergman. “Our goal is to thoroughly examine the gross mismanagement and improper patient care at the Manchester VA Medical Center so this does not remain a problem for our Veterans. This field hearing will lead to greater accountability in the future within the Manchester VA Medical Center and the Department of Veterans Affairs as a whole.”

Congresswoman Kuster wrote to Chairman Bergman earlier this month to request that the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hold the hearing to examine the concerns raised by the VA whistleblowers. In her letter, Kuster outlined the unique challenges faced by New Hampshire veterans.

“These concerns are especially troubling to me because New Hampshire is the only state, except Alaska and Hawaii, which does not have a full-service medical center,” Kuster wrote. “As the Boston Globe explained, that means New Hampshire must send veterans to private-sector community providers or other VAMCs. Given the realities of veterans’ medical care in a state without a full-service facility, we must examine the Manchester VAMC’s usage of these critical programs.”

Her full letter is available here and below.

Congresswoman Kuster has served on the U.S. House Veterans’ Affairs Committee since taking office in 2013, and has served as the Ranking Member of the Veterans’ Affairs Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee since 2015. As Ranking Member, she pushes for increased transparency at the VA and helps to lead the charge in Washington on the need to improve access to care for veterans across the country. The daughter of a WWII veteran, Congresswoman Kuster has long advocated for the needs of New Hampshire veterans, and she frequently holds veteran roundtables, forums, and job fairs for Granite State veterans across the district.

170718_LTR_OI field hearing request on Manchester VA

Ted Gatsas To Seek Fifth Term As Mayor Of Manchester, Democratic Challenger Joyce Craig Responds

Manchester, NH – Today, in response to the announcement that Ted Gatsas will seek a fifth term for mayor, Joyce Craig, candidate for Mayor of Manchester, released the following statement.

“Manchester has great potential, but we need new leadership in the Mayor’s office to make real progress for our city”, said Joyce Craig.

“For eight years, Mayor Gatsas has let our city stumble from crisis to crisis. Drugs and violent crime continue to harm our city, millions of dollars of critical funding for schools has been mismanaged or lost, and city hall lacks a plan to grow an economy that works for all Manchester families.

Manchester needs a new Mayor with the vision, experience, and energy to address our challenges and provide a positive direction for our city. As an Alderman, I led bipartisan efforts to lower the tax rate while putting more police officers on the streets, improving our roads, and investing in our schools. As Mayor, I will make smarter decisions with taxpayer funds and work to make Manchester an outstanding place to raise a family, own a business and live a safe and prosperous life”, said Craig.

The Craig for Mayor Campaign also announced that later this month Joyce will kick off her “12 Wards in 12 Days” listening tour across the city. Joyce will participate in events in all 12 city wards in 12 days to hear from residents and business owners about their concerns and ideas, and to share her vision for Manchester’s future.

State Senator Donna Soucy Endorses Joyce Craig for Mayor

Craig also Announces State Representative Endorsements

MANCHESTER – This morning, Alderman Joyce Craig announced that Manchester State Senator Donna Soucy has endorsed her campaign for mayor of Manchester.

“Joyce Craig is the leader we need to get our city back on track,” said Senator Soucy.  “Having served on the School Board with Joyce, I know that she has long been a leader in Manchester and a strong advocate for better schools. As an Alderman, she has been instrumental in making our streets safer by leading the charge to hire more police officers and improving our city’s infrastructure.  I am proud to endorse Joyce Craig for mayor because I know she will be the problem-solver and strong leader that we need to move Manchester forward.”

Craig is also proud to announce the endorsements of Manchester Representatives Robert Walsh, Mary Freitas, Mary Heath, Joseph Lachance, Timothy Smith, Patricia Cornell, Robert Backus, and Jane Beaulieu.  She was also previously endorsed by Manchester State Senator Lou D’Allesandro and Alderman and State Representative Pat Long. 

“I am honored to have the support of Senator Soucy and Representatives Walsh, Freitas, Heath, Lachance, Smith, Cornell, Backus, and Beaulieu,” said Craig.  “We are the largest city in New Hampshire and our leader must have a more effective voice in Concord.  The Mayor’s failures on education, curbing the heroin epidemic and infrastructure have taken a heavy toll on our city. Time and again, Mayor Gatsas’s inability to work with others has harmed Manchester’s interests. During his six long years as Mayor, Manchester has missed out on numerous opportunities due to Mayor Gatsas’s inability to work with others. As mayor, I will keep an open and ongoing dialogue with state officials to make sure our city is getting the resources we need.  I will also work with local, county, state, and federal officials to improve our schools, combat the heroin epidemic, fix our crumbling roads, and meet the priorities of Manchester.”

Joyce Craig currently serves as the Ward 1 Alderman and is a candidate for mayor of Manchester. 

Support Grows For Patrick Arnold For Manchester Mayor

patrick-arnold-3MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE – Today the Arnold for Mayor campaign announced the endorsements of sitting Aldermen Ron Ludwig and Barbara Shaw.

“Patrick brings determination, passion and vision to his campaign for mayor of Manchester,” says Ludwig. “Patrick ran a strong campaign in 2013, focusing on issues most important to working families. I’m proud to support Patrick in 2015 as he continues efforts to move our city forward,” Ludwig continued.

Alderman Ludwig represents Ward 2 on the city’s Board of Aldermen. Alderman Shaw represents Ward 9 at city hall, and is currently serving her 8th term as a State Representative in the New Hampshire Legislature, where she represents Hillsborough County District 16.

“I’m honored to have continued support from Alderman Ludwig and Alderman Shaw,” says Arnold. “We worked hard in 2013 to bring new leadership to Manchester, and I look forward to working even harder this year to discuss our city’s challenges and plans to meet those challenges with new leadership in the corner office at City Hall.”

Patrick Arnold is a candidate for mayor of Manchester, New Hampshire. Arnold served as a Manchester Alderman from 2009 until 2014. In 2013, he was the Democratic candidate for mayor against Mayor Ted Gatsas, the Republican incumbent. Gatsas held off Arnold’s challenge in 2013 by 943 votes. In March 2014, the Manchester Board of Aldermen unanimously confirmed Arnold’s appointment to the city’s Conduct Committee. An attorney by trade, Arnold earned his law degree at the University of New Hampshire School of Law. He and his wife, Kathy, have a daughter, Abigail.

Alderman Patrick Arnold Running For Mayor Of Manchester, Announces 2015 Organizing Committee

 

patrick-arnold-3MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE – Former Alderman Patrick Arnold confirmed today that he will again run for mayor of Manchester in 2015.  Arnold, who served as an Alderman from 2009 until 2014, was the Democratic candidate for mayor in 2013 against incumbent Republican, Mayor Ted Gatsas.

“I’m running for Mayor because the residents and taxpayers of New Hampshire’s largest city deserve better than the complacency and failed policies of the status quo,” says Arnold. “Crime continues to rise. Our schools continue to struggle. Our city continues to bleed opportunities and resources under the current administration. Manchester can and should be leading in education, job opportunities and economic development. We can and should be the best place to live and raise a family in New Hampshire. Our campaign will continue efforts to bring new ideas and new leadership to City Hall and a new vision to Manchester by building on the grassroots organization that we developed in 2013.”

The Arnold for Mayor campaign also announced its 2015 organizing committee, which will focus on expanding the campaign’s 2013 voter contact program with special emphasis on new voters from 2014. “I’m proud of the support that our campaign has earned among our community’s strongest advocates and activists,” says Arnold.

“Patrick Arnold will be a hard working mayor of all the people,” says Manchester resident and former U.S. Ambassador George Bruno. “I am pleased Patrick is running to lead our city. He will fix the potholes, get a handle on crime, fix our schools, work harmoniously with others, but also provide a needed vision as to where our city is going,” Bruno continued. Bruno is a former chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party and served as a U.S. Ambassador in the Clinton administration.

“The closeness of the 2013 mayor’s race left us not deterred, but rather inspired that Manchester’s best days are ahead. Patrick will bring vision, determination, and truly collaborative leadership needed to move our city forward,” says Kathy Staub, at-large member of the Manchester School Board.

Patrick Arnold served as a Manchester Alderman from 2009 until 2014. In 2013, he was the Democratic candidate for mayor against Mayor Ted Gatsas, the Republican incumbent. Gatsas held off Arnold’s challenge in 2013 by 943 votes. In March 2014, the Manchester Board of Aldermen unanimously confirmed Arnold’s appointment to the city’s Conduct Committee. An attorney by trade, Arnold earned his law degree at the University of New Hampshire School of Law. He and his wife, Kathy, have a daughter, Abigail.

Arnold for Mayor – 2015 Organizing Committee

George Bruno, former U.S. Ambassador and NH Democratic Party Chairman

Kathy Staub, at-large School Board member

Bob Bossie, former State Senator and Alderman

Kathy Kelley Arnold, former at-large School Board member

Peter Sullivan, former Alderman and State Representative

Jean Jeudy, State Representative

Bill Clayton, former State Representative

Amy Bradley, School Board member

Chris Herbert, State Representative and former School Board member

John O’Keefe, business owner

Remi Francoeur, former Republican activist

Mary Sysyn, former Alderman

Paul Cote

Carl “CJ” Hebert, veterans advocate and activist

Carol Williams, former State Representative and Manchester Transit Authority Commissioner

Maurice Pilotte, former State Representative

Dr. David George, college professor and activist

Jon Hopwood, writer and activist

Dan Bergeron, former School Board member

Steve Dolman, former Alderman and School Board member

Katie Desrochers, School Board member

Roger Beauchamp, former School Board member and State Representative

Shelly Pratte

Ron Boisvert, State Representative

US Postal Unions And Community Activists To Hold “Stop Delaying America’s Mail” Rally In Manchester, NH (and Nationally)

Postal-Unions-Set-Day-of-Action-to-Protest-Service-Cuts-Mail-Delays_blog_post_fullWidthOn Nov. 14 postal workers across the country will come together for a National Day of Action to tell Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and the USPS Board of Governors: Stop Delaying America’s Mail!  Please join us! Whether you are postal employee, a small business owner, an individual customer, or someone who simply wants the U.S. Postal Service to survive and thrive, please get involved!

“The Postal Service is set to make severe cuts in mail delivery service that, if implemented, would cause hardships for customers, drive away business, and cause incalculable harm to its reputation,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said.

Why Now?

The Postmaster General is poised to make devastating cuts in service to the American people – cuts so severe that they will forever damage the U.S. Postal Service.

  • On Jan. 5, the USPS is slated to lower “service standards” to virtually eliminate overnight delivery – including first-class mail from one address to another within the same city or town.
  • All mail (medicine, online purchases, local newspapers, church bulletins, letters, bill payments, invitations) throughout the country will be delayed.
  • Beginning Jan. 5, 82 Mail Processing & Distribution Centers are scheduled to close.

These cuts will cause hardships for customers, drive away business, cause irreparable harm to the U.S. Postal Service, and lead to massive schedule changes and reassignments for employees.

Flawed Strategy

They are part of a flawed management strategy that has unnecessarily sacrificed service and failed to address the cause of the Postal Service’s manufactured financial crisis.

  •  More than 140 plants have closed since 2012;
  •  As a result, mail is delivered much later in the day, well into the evening;
  •  Retail work is being sent to Staples, at more than 1,500 stores throughout the country;
  •  Door delivery is being eliminated in most new housing developments;
  •  Chronic understaffing frustrates customers and slows the mail, and
  •  Six-day delivery is under constant threat.

The four postal unions are joining forces to protect service, fight for our livelihoods, and defend our great national treasure, the U.S. Postal Service. We have many allies in the fight against the proposed changes, including more than half the Senate and 160 U.S. Representatives.

Read the letter from the leaders of the four postal unions to Postmaster General Board of Directors.

Are the Cuts Inevitable?

The Nov. 14 date was selected because it coincides with the USPS Board of Governors’ last public meeting of 2014. On that day, the board will release the USPS financial reports for the fiscal year, and undoubtedly will once again bemoan “billions of dollars in losses.”

In fact, the USPS has earned more than $1 billion in profit from operations this year. The “losses” are the result of a bogus pre-funding requirement and have nothing to do with the cost of collecting, sorting and delivering mail.

The four postal unions, the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), National Postal Mail Handlers Union(NPMHU) and National Rural Letter Carriers Association (NRLCA), are urging their members and postal customers to send a message to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and the USPS Board of Governors:

Stop Delaying America’s Mail!

For those in New Hampshire, we will be hosting a candlelight vigil (details below) for others click here for a listing of events in your area

New Hampshire Candlelight Vigil

grim-reaperWhen: Friday, November 14, 2014

Where: 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. at City Hall Plaza, 904 Elm St., Manchester.

What: Those attending are encouraged to bring a candle/flashlight/ small light of some sort. Dress in Funeral attire. Even “Grim Reapers” would be appropriate.

Tee Shirts will be provided while supplies last. First come, first served.

Click here to download a sharable flyer for this event.

JUST ADDED! Informational flyers to be given out at Concord Post office and Nashua City Hall Plaza.  CLICK HERE for more details. 

Mayor Gatsas Gaffe-Prone in Mayor’s Youth Advisory Debate

 

Manchester – Last night at the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council debate at City Hall, Alderman Patrick Arnold scored a decisive victory in his race for mayor.

Major Gatsas gaffes include the following points:

·         Mayor Gatsas failed to recall that Alderman Arnold had voted against budgets in the last four years. Alderman Arnold, in fact, voted against the most recent city budget because it raised taxes while at the same time cutting services.

·         Mayor Gatsas exclaimed, “the budget process couldn’t be more transparent,” while demonstrating confusion himself about Alderman Arnold’s votes.

·         Mayor Gatsas defended the mayor’s office getting pay raises while at the same time cutting other departments and budgets.

·         Mayor Gatsas repeated several times that there have been no cuts to the school district under his watch, despite the fact that over 160 educators have been laid off leading to increased class sizes.

·         Mayor Gatsas blamed Alderman Arnold for failing to provide a budget proposal, when in fact it is the mayor’s duty and responsibility to provide a vision and a long-term plan for the city.

·         Mayor Gatsas continues to take sole credit for successes such as the Manchester School of Technology, which was a Board of School Committee decision, while at the same passing the buck on failed challenges, such as increases in violent crime and robberies and overcrowded classrooms in our schools. He wants to take credit for the city’s successes while overlooking his responsibility for the shortcomings.

·         Mayor Gatsas praised the first day of school this year as the best first day in a long time, ignoring the fact that teachers were shuffled around within the first month – weeks after the school year had begun.

 

Voters are encouraged to watch the debate in its entirety on Manchester Public Television.

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