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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.

Congresswoman Kuster Unveils Working Families Agenda in Nashua

Annie Kuster In Nashua 9-1-15

Rep. Kuster was joined by local advocates and experts who shared their stories and called for Congress to prioritize Kuster’s initiatives to support working families in the Granite State.

Nashua, NH – Today, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) announced her Working Families Agenda, a plan for Congress to prioritize legislative initiatives that help support working families in New Hampshire and across the country.  Congresswoman Kuster was joined for the announcement by a diverse group of community members, and she heard from them about their experiences and about how the challenges they face underscore the need for Congress to support working families in New Hampshire and across the country. 

“We are lucky in many ways to live in a state with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country,” said Congresswoman Kuster, “But as many Granite Staters continue to face underemployment, soaring child care costs, lack of access to family leave, and so many other issues that are vital for the success of our working families, there is still work to be done to improve the quality of the jobs offered, and to ease the burden on working families who are struggling to get by. Today, I was proud to unveil my Working Families Agenda, which outlines a list of initiatives that Congress must pursue in order to support working families in the Granite State and across the country so that they can thrive in the workplace and at home.” 

Kuster’s new Working Families Agenda includes initiatives to address pay equity, family leave time, and access to affordable child care and health care, among other issues. Participants in the announcement include the Executive Director of Nashua’s Adult Learning Center, a Work Readiness Coordinator from Nashua Community College, and the CEO of Lamprey Health Care, and a child care professional, among others. 

“I was so grateful to hear from local advocates and experts who shared their stories today. Despite all the work that must be done to ensure our working families can succeed in this economy. Their stories inspire me and demonstrate the need for Congress to prioritize the initiatives outlined in my Working Families Agenda. When I return to Congress in the coming weeks, I will bring with me today’s conversation, share it with my colleagues, and continue to fight for these issues that are crucial to the success of working families.”

Kuster has long worked to increase accessibility to vital services like child care, health care, and affordable education that can otherwise impose a tremendous burden on working families in today’s climate. Kuster has cosponsored a number of bills to reduce the strain on working families, including the Healthy Families Act, which would require employers to provide one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, and the CARE Act, which allows more families to benefit fully from a valuable child tax credit and afford child and dependent care. During Tuesday’s event, Kuster will discuss new legislative initiatives she’ll be fighting for as part of her Working Families Agenda. Kuster has also held numerous roundtable discussions and other events throughout the district to hear from working New Hampshire families about what Congress can do to better support them, which has additionally helped shape her Agenda leading up to Tuesday’s announcement.

Governor Hassan Ceremoniously Signs Legislation Moving NH Closer to Expanding Passenger Rail to Manchester


Governor Maggie Hassan ceremoniously signed two pieces of legislation today at Nashua City Hall aimed at getting the state closer to bringing passenger rail to Manchester. The legislation will make the New Hampshire Rail Transit Authority more efficient and more appealing to state agencies seeking to provide funding for rail infrastructure projects. A second piece of legislation calls for a legislative committee to study public-private partnerships for infrastructure improvements, which will be integral in the effort to expand passenger rail along the New Hampshire Capitol Corridor. Governor Hassan was joined, from left to right, by: Adam Hlasny, Transportation Planner with the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission; State Senator Bette Lasky; David Preece, Executive Director of the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission and Vice-Chairman of NHRTA; Michael Skelton, President and CEO of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce; Nashua Mayor Donnalee Lozeau; NHRTA Chairman Michael Izbicki; and Tracy Hatch, President and CEO of the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce.

SB 88 allows NH Rail Transit Authority to operate more efficiently and SB 63 establishes a legislative committee to study public-private partnerships for infrastructure projects

Nashua, NH – Governor Maggie Hassan ceremoniously signed two bills this morning in Nashua pushing the state closer to extending passenger rail to Manchester along the New Hampshire Capitol Corridor. Senate Bill 63 will help make the Rail Transit Authority (NHRTA) both more efficient and more appealing to federal agencies seeking to invest in states with well-organized rail authorities, and Senate Bill 88 establishes a committee to study public-private partnerships for intermodal transportation projects. During the signing ceremony at Nashua City Hall, Governor Hassan was joined by NHRTA Chairman Michael Izbicki, State Senator Bette Lasky, Nashua Mayor Donnalee Lozeau, Michael Skelton, President and CEO of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, and Tracy Hatch, President and CEO of the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce, along with business leaders and rail supporters.

“Senate Bill 88 and Senate Bill 63 mark important steps in the process of expanding rail along New Hampshire’s Capitol Corridor, which could have a transformative impact on our state’s economy,” said Michael Izbicki, Chairman of the New Hampshire Rail Transit Authority. “Along with helping NHRTA operate more efficiently, this legislation could help open the door for New Hampshire to seek out alternative funding sources for critical infrastructure improvements, including rail. NHRTA, the state’s two largest Chambers of Commerce, 68% percent of New Hampshire residents and a growing list of businesses all agree that we need to invest in the state’s rail infrastructure, and this legislation gets us closer to that goal.”

Along with streamlining the membership of NHRTA’s board of directors, Senate Bill 63 also establishes an advisory board for NHRTA. Under Senate Bill 88, a legislative committee will identify potential revenue sources to fund passenger rail and other intermodal transportation options. These new sources of funding could help shift the burden from the state and enable New Hampshire to invest in its crumbling transportation infrastructure.  The legislative committee has already begun studying these types of partnerships.

“A modern, safe transportation infrastructure is critical to the success of our people and businesses, and bringing commuter rail from Boston to Nashua and Manchester will help ensure that our people and businesses have the full range of modern transportation options that they need, help bring more young people to New Hampshire and help spur economic growth. Commuter rail is one of my priorities for attracting more young people to the Granite State and encouraging innovative economic growth, and I am proud to have signed these two bills that represent an important part of the process to moving commuter rail forward into law.”

Across the country, public-private partnerships are becoming a more viable option for financing needed infrastructure improvements. With $1 billion in private financing, a public-private partnership in Denver called the Eagle P3 Project is helping to construct three new commuter rail lines. The Louisville and Southern Indiana Bridges Authority is developing a major tunnel and bridge project as part of the Ohio River Bridges Project through a public-private partnership. The Virginia Department of Transportation is relying on a public-private partnership to redevelop a 14-mile stretch of its Capital Beltway, creating a managed-lane model.

“These types of partnerships carry a number of potential benefits, like engaging private sector innovation to help drive down costs which can help and sustain price certainty, even in long-term budgeting,” Izbicki added.

The bill signing ceremony today comes on the heels of an announcement last week that the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission (SNHPC) had been awarded a $30,000 challenge grant to continue public education and advocacy for advancing commuter rail to Manchester. In an effort to keep up the momentum, SNHPC is using the challenge grant to engage key stakeholders, business leaders and the public to continue to build on a still-growing base of rail supporters.

Earlier this year, the state released the NH Capitol Corridor Study, which analyzed the 73-mile corridor from Boston, MA to Concord, NH.  The study indicated that the Manchester Regional Rail alternative, which would serve two stations in Nashua, one in downtown Manchester and one at the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, would offer the greatest economic benefit with a relatively moderate investment.

The next step in the rail expansion process is the critical project development phase, which costs $4 million and consists of establishing a detailed financial plan, preliminary engineering, environmental permitting and preparation of funding applications for submission to the Federal Transit Administration and Federal Rail Administration.

To learn more about efforts to expand passenger rail in New Hampshire, please visit www.nhrta.org.

About the NH Capitol Corridor Study 

In early 2015, a comprehensive analysis of the 73-mile corridor from Boston, MA to Concord, NH known as the NH Capitol Corridor Study was released which indicated that the Manchester Regional Rail alternative, which would serve two stations in Nashua, one in downtown Manchester and one at the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, would offer the greatest economic benefit with a relatively moderate investment. After reviewing the results of the study, NHRTA voted to formally support extending passenger rail service to Manchester, with continued interest in extending passenger rail to Concord.

According to the study, the Manchester Regional Rail alternative would create approximately 230 jobs through construction of the rail line and an additional 3,390 construction jobs would be created to build real estate development generated by rail. Beginning in 2030, the expansion of rail would create 1,730 new jobs every year. Real estate development would add $750 million to the state’s output between 2021 and 2030, with reinvested earnings would add $220 million per year beyond 2030.

The total capital investment to bring passenger rail to Manchester is estimated at $245.6 million, but New Hampshire’s investment could shrink to $72 million with contributions from regional partners coupled with 50% federal support.  The investment required to cover debt service on a 20-year bond and annual operating and maintenance costs would be $11 million annually.  

About the NH Rail Transit Authority

The NH Rail Transit Authority (NHRTA) was established in 2007 and is tasked with encouraging and overseeing the redevelopment of passenger rail services throughout New Hampshire with an initial emphasis on the NH Capitol Corridor. The NHRTA is administratively attached to the New Hampshire Department of Transportation and consists of a nine-member board of directors comprised of the NH Department of Transportation, the NH Department of Resources and Economic Development, a member of the NHRTA advisory board, two representatives from the House Transportation Committee and four appointees by the governor. NHRTA’s board of directors takes guidance from an advisory board comprised of broad based membership from 14 cities and towns, 9 regional planning commissions, the NH College and University Council, the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport and three members appointed by the governor. Learn more at www.nhrta.org

Ayotte Votes to Cut Million$ in Funding for NH School Districts

Senator Kelly AyotteConcord, N.H. – Kelly Ayotte is once again working against the interests of New Hampshire’s students and families, voting for an amendment to the Senate’s education reform bill that would cut $1.7 million in federal funds for the Manchester School District.

Ayotte’s vote would also cut $420,000 from the Nashua School District$207,000 from the Franklin School District$150,000 from the Conway School District, and $160,000 from the Berlin School District.

“Since going to Washington, Kelly Ayotte has put her special interest backers first, working to roll back Wall Street reform and protecting tax breaks for big oil companies and outsourcers, while also voting against the interests of New Hampshire’s students and families,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Press Secretary Aaron Jacobs. “Ayotte’s vote to cut $1.7 million in federal funds from the Manchester School District, and to cut hundreds of thousands more from Nashua, Franklin, Conway and Berlin, would lead to huge cuts to education funding, higher local property taxes, or both.”


Read Kelly Ayotte Votes Against New Hampshire’s Best Interests In Budget here.

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