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Senator Hassan Commends Harbor Homes For Work Fighting Veteran Homelessness

Senator Hassan Commends Harbor Homes, Community Leaders for Efforts to Effectively End Veteran Homelessness in Nashua,
Highlights Work Ahead to Support Veterans and their Families

NASHUA – Friday, Senator Maggie Hassan participated in the celebration of the greater Nashua region’s effort to effectively end veteran homelessness, where she commended Harbor Homes and community members for their efforts and emphasized that more work must be done to end veteran homelessness in New Hampshire and across the nation. 

Senator Hassan speaking at Harbor Homes in Nashua.

The celebration brought together local stakeholders, community members, veterans, and elected officials to celebrate the City of Nashua for receiving certification from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness for having effectively ended homelessness among veterans in the region. 

“All citizens, especially our brave veterans who have sacrificed for our freedoms, deserve the opportunity to live healthy, productive lives,” Senator Hassan said. “I commend Harbor Homes for its tireless efforts to effectively end veteran homelessness through its ‘Veterans FIRST’ program, as well as local and state veterans groups for their commitment to this important issue, but we know that our work is far from over. We must continue working together at all levels to ensure that our veterans, service members, and their families have the support and resources they need – and deserve – to thrive in our economic and civic life.”

As Governor of New Hampshire, Senator Hassan worked with Harbor Homes on the Housing Choice Vouchers for Veterans Program to help veterans transition to permanent housing in the community, helping to open more beds to serve homeless veterans at Harbor Homes. Also as Governor, the Senator’s office coordinated regular calls with community agencies aimed at developing housing plans for individual homeless veterans in Nashua and across the state. 

In the Senate, Senator Hassan has continued her efforts to end veteran homelessness. This week, the Senator joined her colleagues in introducing bipartisan legislation to assist and empower women veterans, which included measures that will work to combat homelessness among women veterans. The Senator also joined in introducing legislation that would provide education benefits to service members and veterans who often have to leave behind schools, jobs, and homes to serve their country. Yesterday, the Senator joined Senator Shaheen in introducing the VA Appeals Modernization Act of 2017 to help streamline the appeals process for veterans to access their benefits. 

Dan Weeks Is Ready To Take On David Wheeler In Executive Council Race

Weeks Remarks on Officially Democratic Nomination for Executive Council District 5 

Nashua, NH – Dan Weeks (D-Nashua), former Executive Director of Open Democracy and the New Hampshire Rebellion, officially became the Democratic Nominee for the New Hampshire Executive Council’s fifth district and has released the following statement:

“I am deeply honored to officially receive the Democratic nomination for Executive Council in New Hampshire’s Fifth District. 

The past few months have been an incredible and humbling adventure. We began this campaign in the spring by filing for office the grassroots way with hundreds of petitions from ordinary citizens in all 33 towns – a first for New Hampshire. We continued over the summer with handshake tours, ice cream tours, parades, fairs, house parties, and service projects in every corner of the District 5. And we have kept the focus on citizens not special interests, engaging hundreds of volunteers and raising over 1,000 small donations.

Our message is one of empowering the everyday citizens in our political system, instead of those with the deepest pockets. It is one of taking care of our most vulnerable neighbors by fighting to continue the Medicaid expansion which serves over 50,000 Granite Staters. It is a message that we respect women and families, and their rights to affordable and accessible healthcare through continued funding of Planned Parenthood.

And it is a message that we must bring New Hampshire into the 21st century through broadband and clean energy projects that are good for our economy and our environment. Projects like commuter rail, the greatest economic opportunity for New Hampshire in a generation, which will bring over 5,600 new permanent jobs and millions in outside investment to our state. And projects like moving to a 100% renewable energy smart grid, complete with expanded broadband access, which will bring even more good-paying jobs, while protecting our precious natural resources.

I have been honored to receive support from such outstanding individuals as Nashua’s Mayor Jim Donchess, Former Executive Councilors Debora Pignatelli and Bernie Streeter, former NH First Lady Dorothy Peterson, and former Chief Justice of the NH Supreme Court John Broderick. Our campaign has also been endorsed by groups like the American Federation of Teachers – NH, the State Employees Association, and many other labor and grassroots organizations. The list of supporters grows each day. 

In the 55 days remaining until the general election, we will draw stark contrasts with our opponent, whose message could not be more different from our own. Although I respect Councilor Wheeler’s long tenure in state politics, I believe his record is one of misguided allegiance to the values of the Koch brothers, not Granite State values. Values that pledge to block the Medicaid expansion, to prevent funding for Planned Parenthood, to deny the stark reality of climate science, and to stand in the way of the progress on expanding opportunity for every New Hampshire child. 

Staying true to my proven record and background of good governance, I have worked tirelessly to engage my opponent in a series of public debates so these issues can be addressed for the benefit of the voters. My opponent has steadfastly ignored my requests. Unfortunately, his refusal to engage with me is in line with his long history of ignoring his constituents and individuals who hold views that may differ from his own ideology.

New Hampshire and the Fifth District deserve to be represented on the Executive Council by someone who shares their values and aspirations, someone who will listen to their needs and will return their calls. I promise to work my heart out to earn the support of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents all across District 5, and to faithfully represent your needs and interests on the Executive Council. “

Dan is a 12th generation Granite Stater, a community leader in Nashua, and a proven advocate for good-government reform. Raised on a small community farm in Temple, Dan left home at age 18 to serve with AmeriCorps, attend Yale and Oxford on scholarships, and work on democratic development abroad. He returned to New Hampshire to start a family and continue his public service.

Nashua Firefighters Donate Over 370 New Coats To Nashua Children

As part of Operation Warm, the Nashua Firefighters Union raised nearly $17,000 to purchase new winter coats for deserving
children in the Nashua area.

Nashua Firefighters Union Coats Operation Warm

Nashua Firefighters Union Coats Operation Warm

Nashua, NH – The Nashua Firefighters Union (International Association of Firefighters Local 789) will be delivering more than 370 new, American-made coats to needy children in the Nashua area.

“Operation Warm” is a national program created by the International Association of Firefighters to ensure that every child has a warm coat for the cold winter months.  IAFF locals in hundreds of cities and towns are raising money to buy new winter coats for children in their own communities. 

“Operation Warm is just another way that our members give back to the city we so proudly serve,” said John McAllister, President of the Nashua Firefighters Union. “We look forward to seeing the children’s smiling faces as we hand them their own new winter coats.”

In their second year of the program, the Nashua Firefighters Union raised nearly $17,000 – helping the union to purchase 372 coats that will be delivered to local children this week. 

“This would not have been possible without the generous donations from local businesses and community groups. We look forward to continuing to expand Nashua’s Operation Warm until every child has a warm winter coat,” added McAllister.  

Nashua Firefighters plan to buy 450 coats next year, and are already hard at work to raise the funds needed.  If you would like more information on Operation Warm or to pledge your support towards next year’s drive contact John McAllister at (603) 888-4200 or by email at president@iaff789.org

LTE: Chris Williams Leaves A Trail Of Job Losses In His Wake

Chris Williams tell us that Nashua’s mayoral election is about Moving Nashua Forward.

Fair enough. It’s a race between a candidate who’s done that (former mayor and current alderman-at large Jim Donchess) and a candidate who hasn’t (Chris Williams).

When Williams claims that working for the Chamber of Commerce qualifies him to be mayor, he overlooks his enthusiastic cheerleading for the sale of Verizon landlines to FairPoint.

There was plenty of evidence that the sale was a bad idea that made sense only for Verizon and a handful of FairPoint top executives.

At public hearings, witness after witness testified that it was irresponsible for the NH Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to let a small North Carolina company take on $1.7 billion in debt to buy a company six times its size. Apparently that wasn’t a concern for Williams.

Telecommunications expert Susan Baldwin, who analyzed the sale for the PUC’s Office of the Consumer Advocate, concluded that “although serious problems exist with Verizon NH’s present operations, acquisition by FairPoint would be yet worse for New Hampshire’s consumers.”

The FairPoint bankruptcy, the long strike provoked by hedge fund investors, and the loss of hundreds of good jobs have proved Baldwin right.

Chris Williams’ record doesn’t show the judgment needed to Move Nashua Forward.

Dexter Arnold
UAW 1981

NASHUA: Supporting Write-in Candidates Is The Right Thing Do For Our Schools


By Deb Howes, Chairwoman of the Nashua Labor Coalition. 

Deb Howes

Deb Howes, chairwoman of the Nashua Labor Coalition

Many Nashuans are upset over the Board of Education risking the safety and security of our schools, on the myth that privatizing the custodians will save many.

The Chelmsford Police just arrested their fourth contracted custodian for stealing school property and other drug related charges. By outsourcing these jobs there is little to no oversight as to who will be working in our schools. When contractors pay rock-bottom wages, you invite problems like this.

We in Nashua know all about the failings of privatizing out our school services. Our contracted bus service has steadily climbed at 3% a year until 2014 when it jumped up 20%. And it is increasing another $250,000 this year. Can we reasonably say that we are still saving money by contracting out our bus services?

The vote to privatize the custodians was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The disregard shown for long-time, dedicated employees shocked us all and left us wondering who is next. The Board even admitted they do not know if this move will save any money. This Board is failing Nashua taxpayers and our schools are being left to suffer. We have many problems in our schools and adding a disregard for the safety and security of our children is too much to bear.

Something must be done. It has become painfully obvious that Nashua needs new members who will work to improve our schools and who value the dedication of our public employees.

Who fits the bill and who will answer the call for change?

Ray Guarino, Gwen Mikailov, Donald Jean, Allison Nutting, and Atlant Schmidt decided they have had enough and announced that they will be running a write-in campaign for the Board of Education. All 5 are concerned Nashua citizens with direct, positive connections to our public schools.

Mounting a last minute write-in campaign is no small task. There is no time to fundraise for campaign flyers or signs and little time to hit the streets to meet the people. Just the fact that they will not have their names on the ballot presents a monumental hurdle.

This write-in campaign will be like running up Mount Washington in January, but something must be done. We cannot just sit back and let the current candidates run unopposed. I am glad these people are selflessly volunteering to take a position on the board because the current board is taking us in the wrong direction.

I encourage everyone to write-in Ray Guarino, Gwen Mikailov, Donald Jean, Allison Nutting, and Atlant Schmidt for Nashua Board of Education on November 3rd.


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Letter to Editor: Profile Of Donald Jean Candidate for Nashua Board of Education

Donald Jean is one of five write-in candidates for the Nashua Board of Education.  Donald Jean, 76 years young, Nashua native, Nashua High School Graduate. Donald is married with 5 children who graduated from Nashua High School and 6 grandchildren in the Nashua Public School System.

Below is the letter he sent explaining why he decided to become a write-in candidate for the Nashua Board of Education.

I am a write-in candidate for the Board of Education because I oppose the firing of one hundred janitors who will lose their livelihood because of Board of Education budget constraints.Donald Jean

What kind of economic value is the B.O.E. communicating to the teachers, students and citizens of Nashua? Hiring contractors to work for less money is a race to the bottom. This mind-set does not enhance family values.   I believe safety and responsibility belongs to the city. Hiring a for profit contractor and distancing the B.O.E. from accountability is reckless, foolhardy and opens the city to expensive lawsuits.

I’ve been gainfully employed for fifty years, serving in the U.S. Army at 18 and retiring from the Railroad at 69 years of age. I believe my life experiences and ability to process information qualifies me to serve on the Board of Education.

I ask for your write-in vote for Board of Education Tuesday, November 3, 2015.

Respectfully submitted,

Donald Jean

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Rep Annie Kuster Hosts Regional Passenger Rail Summit in Nashua

Rep. Kuster welcomes the audience at her passenger rail summit in Nashua.

Rep. Kuster welcomes the audience at her passenger rail summit in Nashua.

 Nashua, NH – Today, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) hosted a passenger rail summit discussing ongoing and upcoming rail projects around the Northeast. The summit convened federal, state and local transportation experts as well as over 100 stakeholders from across New England to provide updates on key projects and to highlight the economic impact of passenger rail across the region. 

During the summit, representatives from the Federal Railroad Administration, the Federal Transit Administration, and the New England states’ departments of transportation gave presentations addressing the challenges facing passenger rail projects across the region, as well as the role of passenger rail on the local workforce and economy.  Following the last presentation, attendees were able to ask questions directly to Congresswoman Kuster and the other presenters.

“Our transportation networks in New Hampshire serve as vital economic engines that drive economic growth and create jobs in our communities,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “If we are to expand passenger rail both in New Hampshire and around New England, it is essential that we coordinate our efforts across all states to build a continuous rail system that meets the needs of our workforce, our employees, and our families. I am so thrilled that representatives from leading transportation authorities across the region and the nation were able to join me for this summit toady and share updates as well as best practices when it comes to ongoing and upcoming rail projects. I look forward to working together to strengthen our transportation infrastructure so we can best meet the needs of our residents, businesses and tourists alike, today and for many generations to come.” 

Today’s summit gave transportation professionals a chance to share their expertise, suggestions, and concerns with Congresswoman Kuster on how Congress can better support rail infrastructure in the Granite State and across the region. Experts were also able to use Monday’s summit to hear comprehensive updates on nearby rail projects so that they can identify best practices and better coordinate strategy to drive forward ongoing and future rail projects across the region.

Congresswoman Kuster has been a strong advocate for federal funding for projects to repair and expand New Hampshire’s transportation infrastructure. She is a member of the High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail Caucus, and she has consistently supported appropriations for Amtrak during her time in Congress. Kuster also recently led 60 members of Congress in a request to the House Appropriations Committee to provide robust funding for capital projects to expand or establish rail transit. She has long supported expanded transportation options in southern New Hampshire, which would connect Granite Staters in New Hampshire’s largest population centers to Boston and help boost the New Hampshire economy and create jobs.


Nashua Custodians Take Their Case To The People At Nashua’s Fall Festival

Nashua custodians took to the streets today to inform Nashuans that the Board of Education is not looking out for the best interests of the Nashua’s schools, with their plans to privatize the school custodians’ jobs.

The Board of Education has made the wrong choice but are unwilling to listen to the people of Nashua who are trying to show them the error of their ways.

AFSCME Council 93 members, the union that represents the custodians in the Nashua school district, were at today’s fall festival passing out informational flyers (include below the image) about the effects of privatization on our schools and the city.

Do you want some low-wage stranger walking around you kids schools? Or do you want a dedicated, professional, public servant with years of experience and personal connections to the schools and the children?  The choice is clear.

If you live in Nashua, please contact the Board of Education members (below) and tell them that you oppose this plan to privatize the custodians’ jobs and ask them to reconsider their decision.


AFSCME Council 93 members passing out information at the Nashua Fall Festival (image courtesy of AFSCME 93)

Privatization is Wrong for Nashua: Save the 101!

  • When these positions are contracted out, there is a revolving door of strangers, with unknown histories and backgrounds, as opposed to a custodian who is part of the fiber of the school community. Look no further than our neighboring Chelmsford, MA where privatized custodians were caught stealing children’s prescription drugs from the nurse, food from the school cafeteria, raiding students’ lockers, and stealing computer equipment. Do we feel safe knowing this will become our children’s’ education environment?
  • Private contractors cut corners to increase profits which come at the expense of quality. Current Nashua school custodians always go the extra mile to ensure our students have the cleanest environment possible. Many things they do now, like snow removal, will not be covered by the private contractor and result in additional costs.
  • When services are privatized, there is a loss of accountability and control. When Nashua residents have a complaint about a contracted service, the Board of Education becomes only a “middleman” who can often do little more than complain in turn to the contractor or enter into costly contract renegotiations or termination proceedings. Currently, if there is an issue, parents can come directly to the school, the custodian, or the union. Are we ready to give up control, Nashua?
  • When school employees, who are parents and grandparents of district schoolchildren, lose good jobs in our schools, they are pushed into unemployment and poverty. The local economy and stability of neighborhoods is harmed and the School District is obligated to cover unemployment insurance costs. School employees, instead of strengthening the community, will need public benefits just to make ends meet. Does that align with the values us as residents of Nashua hold dear?

Custodians need YOUR help to clean up the Board of Education’s mess! Please contact the Board of Education and tell them you are opposed to the elimination of 101 custodians!

Member Phone
George Farrington (603) 889-2779
Steven G. Haas (603) 889-1326
Robert G. Hallowell (603) 888-6488
William E. Mosher (603) 889-5526
David K. Murotake (603) 889-4568
Dorothy Oden (603) 880-8772
Elizabeth Van Twuyver (603) 883-5723
Sandra Ziehm (603) 883-2882

Residents of Nashua: Are These the Type
News Headlines We Want For OUR Schools?

Please contact members of the Nashua School Board NOW
and tell them to abandon their plans to privatize school custodian services.


The Nashua Labor Coalition Announces Endorsements For Nashua’s Municipal Election

Nashua Labor Coalition LogosThe Nashua Labor Coalition, composed of unions in the Nashua area, are proud to announce our list of supported candidates for the upcoming municipal election.

“This election is very important and will shape the direction that Nashua takes in the next couple of years,” said Deb Howes, chairwoman of the Nashua Labor Coalition. “We have chosen to support those candidates who are trying to strengthen our public schools, working to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, and keep Nashua moving in the right direction.”

“We abhor this decision to privatize the Nashua school custodians, laying off 100 hard working city employees, putting our children and our city budget at risk due to uncontrollable cost increases,” stated Howes. “Because of the Board of Education’s plans to privatize the school custodians’ jobs, the NLC opposes the incumbents’ reelection.”

“The Nashua Labor Coalition applauds Kim Kleiner for being the sole opposition in the vote to eliminate the custodians union contract, and we are proud to endorse her for Ward 3 Alderman,” added Howes.

Previously the Nashua Labor Coalition endorsed Alderman Jim Donchess for Mayor, who has always been a strong advocate for working families.

The Nashua Labor Coalition endorses the following:

Mayor Alderman Jim Donchess
Alderman-at-Large Brian S. McCarthy
Michael O’Brien
Lori Wilshire
Ward 1 Janice Schmidt
Ward 2 Richard A Dowd
Ward 3 Kimberly Kleiner
Ward 4 Thomas Lopez
Ward 6 Benjamin Clemons
Ward 7 June M. Caron
Ward 8 Mary Ann Melizzi-Golja

“We are not endorsing candidates in Wards 5 & 9 as the candidates running there are unopposed and do not have a good track record of supporting working families,” Howes added. “We urge all those who care about the future of Nashua, and who want to keep it a great place to live for hard working families, to support these candidates when they go to vote on Tues. Nov. 3.”


The Nashua Labor Coalition Endorses Jim Donchess for Mayor of Nashua.

Donchess has the vision and the practical experience to make Nashua a great city again for all of its residents. 

Nashua Labor Coalition LogosNashua – Today, the Nashua Labor Coalition, a chapter of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO that brings together a variety of labor unions, community organizations and community activists, endorsed   Jim Donchess for Mayor of Nashua. 

“Jim Donchess has a proven track record of balancing the need for funding strong city services, which keep Nashua a community where working families want to live, with keeping the tax rate stable so working families can afford to live here,” said Deb Howes, Chair of the Nashua Labor Coalition and member of the Nashua Teachers Union (AFT 1044).  

Donchess was Mayor from 1984-1991. Under his leadership, Nashua was named “The Best Place to Live in America” by Money Magazine. He has served two terms as Alderman-at-Large, most recently from 2011 to the present.  

Nashua Labor Coalition members were impressed by Donchess’ proven track record of supporting fair contracts for city workers. He understands that fair pay and benefits help to attract and retain good quality employees, which means good quality public services. He has also shown willingness to invest in necessary services while still working to keep taxes low. 

“I am proud to have the support of the Coalition. Thank you for everything you do for the economy of our city and our state,” said Donchess. “At the city level, our workers are critical in delivering the high quality services that the people of Nashua deserve.” 

“The Nashua Labor Coalition is proud to endorse  Jim Donchess for Mayor of Nashua. We strongly urge all Nashua residents to vote   for Jim Donchess for Mayor of Nashua in the Primary on September 8th,” concluded Howes. 

More information on Jim Donchess can be found at www.jimdonchessformayor.com.

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