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Van Ostern Discusses Ways To Modernize State Government, Cutting Red Tape

SALEM, N.H. – Today, Democratic nominee for Governor, Colin Van Ostern met with New Hampshire business leaders to discuss ways to modernize state government and cut red tape. Joined by leading voices in the business community at Motivis Learning, an education technology firm in Salem, Colin offered examples of how to modernize state government functions, cut red tape and inefficient spending, and improve customer service.  

“To strengthen New Hampshire’s economy, we must take the next step forward in modernizing state government and make it work more efficiently for New Hampshire people and businesses,” said Colin Van Ostern, Democratic nominee for Governor. “I’ll bring that fiscal responsibility to the Governor’s office and I’ll cut inefficient spending, get rid of red tape, and use innovative solutions to save money with no broad-base income or sales tax. And I’ll invest those savings in our future, creating clean energy jobs, protecting affordable healthcare, strengthening our workforce, and ensuring our children can go to college without being crushed by debt.”

Colin offered five examples of ways New Hampshire can modernize state government functions, cut red tape, cut inefficient spending, and improve customer service – with no sales tax and no income tax:

  1. Move more business creation services online so business owners don’t need to be forced to stand in line – often in Concord – to obtain state business certificates, trade names, trademarks, or other professional licenses and certifications.
  2.  Digitize and streamline the state contracting process for routine contracts. Allow small businesses and nonprofits to work more efficiently with the state by moving to digital contracting options and avoiding redundant filings.
  3. Expand digital payments to replace more snail-mail check processing  and mailed communications. The state currently spends millions of dollars on snail-mail check processing and other printed and mailed communication that can be saved by moving to digital payments and electronic communications as the default mode of correspondence, where allowed by law.
  4. Incentive state agencies and employees to find new efficiency and savings. New Hampshire can modernize existing employee incentive programs so that employees and agencies who identify cost-savings can keep a small portion of the savings, with the balance of cost savings returned to the general fund or taxpayers.
  5. End the cap on solar & renewable energy development. Right now the state has a cap on the number of solar panels we can have in New Hampshire. As Governor, Colin will work to eliminate that cap holding back private investment in renewable energy and move to a sustainable model that is fair to all consumers.

To learn more about Colin’s plans to grow New Hampshire’s economy, visit: www.vanostern.com/economy

Colin Van Ostern Unveils Plan To Expand Opportunities For NH Women And Their Families

Colin Van Ostern 7-6-16Van Ostern Says He’ll Work To Improve The Health And Economic Security
Of New Hampshire Women And Their Families

NASHUA, N.H. – Today, at a roundtable discussion with community leaders active on issues that impact New Hampshire women and their families, Democratic candidate for Governor, Colin Van Ostern released a plan to keep moving New Hampshire forward. The plan and discussion focused on permanently expanding Medicaid and ensuring continuous access to family planning services, combating domestic violence, promoting women in technology and the sciences, and several other key areas where state government can support women’s interests.

“I’m proud to stand with community leaders to unveil a plan to improve the health and economic security of New Hampshire women and their families,” said Colin Van Ostern, Democratic candidate for Governor. “As Governor, I will work to ensure that women and their families have uninterrupted access to critical health services, live in safer communities and I’ll promote initiatives that create a more inclusive economy. Strong and successful women make a strong and successful New Hampshire.”

“From leading the charge on the Executive Council to successfully restore funding for critical medical care like cancer screenings, annual exams and family planning services to promoting a more inclusive economy, Colin has the record and experience to be a strong advocate for women as Governor of New Hampshire,” said State Senator Molly Kelly.

Van Ostern’s plan to improve the health and economic security of New Hampshire women and their families focuses on key policy priorities, including:

  • Protect Family Planning Health Services, Permanently Expand Medicaid, and Always Protect A Woman’s Right To Choose
  • Bring More Young Women And Girls Into Sciences, Technology, Engineering, Arts And Math (STEAM) Educational Program And Industries
  • Increase The State Minimum Wage
  • Ensure Full Day Kindergarten In Every Town
  • Improve Family Leave Policies and Promote Family Friendly Workplaces
  • Expand Sexual Violence Prevention Initiatives, Restore State Matching Funds For Victims Of Sexual Violence And Reduce Sexual Violence On Our College Campuses

Van Ostern is a business leader and Executive Councilor that has championed issues that affect New Hampshire’s women and their families. On the Executive Council, Van Ostern has twice successfully helped restore funds for essential health services like cancer screenings and annual exams for women and families. In 2015, he was recognized for this work by NARAL Pro-Choice NH and was named the state’s “Champion for Choice.” As a candidate for Governor, Van Ostern is supported by a majority of New Hampshire legislators and some of the state’s leading women including Congresswoman Annie Kuster. He is the first candidate for Governor of New Hampshire in 2016 to release a plan addressing women and their families.

(You can download Van Ostern’s newly release plan here)

Upcoming Vote To Restore Planned Parenthood Funding Shapes NH Governor’s Race

Approximately 1 in 5 women have relied on a Planned Parenthood health center at some point in their lifetime.

planned-parenthood-logoEarlier this week, the New Hampshire Executive Council meeting agenda was announced. On June 29th, Executive Councilors will vote on whether or not to restore funding to Planned Parenthood health centers throughout New Hampshire.

The lines are quickly being drawn as Colin Van Ostern urged his fellow Councilors to restore funding to Planned Parenthood.

“For nearly a year, New Hampshire women and families have been deprived of significant funding for critical medical care for birth control, cancer screenings, and annual exams when the Executive Council voted to restrict funding for Planned Parenthood,” said Colin Van Ostern, Executive Councilor and Democratic candidate for Governor. “It’s well past time to vote yes, and approve these funds, and stop playing politics with women’s health.”

“I will vote to approve funding for women’s health care on Wednesday and I encourage Councilor Sununu and his colleagues to vote yes, as well,” Van Ostern concluded.

Van Ostern has consistently been an outspoken advocate for Planned Parenthood and against any attempts to take away women’s reproductive rights. He has made women’s health a priority by working to restore funding for Planned Parenthood three of the past four years. In 2015, he was recognized by NARAL Pro-Choice NH for his work on this issue and was named the state’s “Champion for Choice.”

Executive Councilor and candidate for NH Governor, Chris Sununu is also weighing his decision on the upcoming vote. However, WMUR tweeted that Sununu has no comment on the upcoming Planned Parenthood vote and said, “He hasn’t seen the contract yet.”

Considering that Sununu voted to defund Planned Parenthood last year and the Republican Party as a whole is against Planned Parenthood, I expect he will vote against it as well.

Mayor Ted Gatsas, who is also running for Governor, was quick to show his misguided opposition to Planned Parenthood in a statement urging Chris Sununu to oppose the contract.

“I have consistently opposed public funding for Planned Parenthood and believe that there are many community health organizations that can provide alternate, high quality health care options for women. As governor, I will ensure that Planned Parenthood does not receive tax dollars.”

Jennifer Frizzell, Vice President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, was quick to point out how as Mayor, Gatsas has failed the people of Manchester when it comes to providing quality healthcare.

“For fifty years, tens of thousands of New Hampshire women, men, and young people have chosen Planned Parenthood of Northern New England as their healthcare provider, while Ted Gatsas has been working against public policies and programs that improve their health and safety.

“Under Ted Gatsas’ tenure as Manchester mayor, the City has consistently had the highest teen pregnancy rate in the state and the Manchester Health Department even shut down its STD/HIV clinics. Now Gatsas wants to further deny women, men and young people life-saving medical services such as cancer screenings, breast exams, access to contraception and STI testing and treatment.”

“Ted Gatsas is campaigning to spread his dangerous anti-women’s health agenda across the state and it is clear that the reproductive health of women and families and the public health of our communities is at great risk.”

“When it comes to funding for critical women’s health services Ted Gatsas is on the wrong side of public opinion, the wrong side of public health, and the wrong side of history. New Hampshire voters are watching and they will remember in the fall,” Frizzell concluded.

Thousands of working women rely on Planned Parenthood to provide quality, low cost healthcare in the Granite State. This should not be a partisan issue. These Councilors should put the health and safety of the people they swore to represent above partisan political bickering.

We urge all of the Executive Councilors to vote to restore funding to Planned Parenthood in New Hampshire.



Planned Parenthood Action Fund will be hosting a “rally in pink” to urge Councilors to restore funding to Planned Parenthood prior to the Executive Council meeting on June 29th at 9am.
(More details on PPAF’s Facebook Event)

Also take a few seconds to sign the petition urging Executive Councilor to restore funding for Planned Parenthood health centers.


Three Gubernatorial Hopefuls Face Off for First Time

Forum-062016-120SEA/SEIU Local 1984 Hosts Candidate Forum for Members 

Earlier this week, the three Democratic Gubernatorial Candidates met on the same stage for the first time.  Colin Van Ostern, Steve Marchand and Mark Connolly participated in a town hall style forum hosted by the State Employees’ Association/SEIU Local 1984.  The Forum took place at NHTI in Concord and was open only to union members and their families. 

Members of the union asked questions the candidates each had the opportunity to answer. Candidates were asked what they would do, if elected, about issues that are important to the state’s public workers. Topics included high student debt, revenue shortages, infrastructure challenges ranging from bridges to passenger rail, and retiree health benefits.

“This was a great opportunity for members to hear from the candidates face to face,” said Rich Gulla, President of SEA/SEIU Local 1984. “This sort of interaction with the potential new Governor will allow members to make a more informed decision when they head to the polls this fall.” 

Member reaction to the Forum was positive and many stated they liked some of what each candidate had to say. “This experience has given me more knowledge about my choices in the election of our next Governor, and will help me make a decision about who I support in the upcoming race” said Cheryl Towne, a member of the union. “Each of the candidates came across well and they all seemed capable of the job.  I was very happy to have had this opportunity, I know this doesn’t happen easily and I thank the union staff and members who made this event possible,” she added. 

“I think it is very important for public employees to get to know all of the candidates,” said Towne. “After all, the person who wins this race will be our ‘boss’ and they will be the one putting together the next state budget. I like hearing that they have been listening to our issues. I thought they answered our questions with ease and showed they were very knowledgeable about our concerns.  Their budget will fund the services that we provide and drive policies that affect the delivery of services, as well, so we need to learn as much about the candidate’s as possible.”

“All three of them have great vision for what New Hampshire should look like going forward,” said Diana Richard, Chapter 16. “Because there were a lot of similarities between all three of them, it’s going to make the choice very difficult on who would do the best job as governor.”

Candidate Mark Connolly agreed that the forum was a positive experience. “Monday night’s SEA Candidates Forum offered an important and thoughtful debate, and I was excited to join state employees to directly discuss the issues that matter to them and to working families across the Granite State,” he said. “As Governor, I look forward to partnering with SEA and its members to continue building a government that works for all of us. Together, we’ll push for more secure retirements for public employees and forward-thinking state budgeting, and we’ll keep New Hampshire moving in the right direction.” 

Executive Councilor Van Ostern also commented on the event. “It was a privilege to meet and learn from the hardworking members of SEA,” said Van Ostern. “I’m proud to have stood with state employees against so-called right to work legislation and as Governor, I’ll work with state employees to continue moving New Hampshire forward.” 

Candidate Marchand also spoke highly of the evening. “I appreciate the opportunity to speak with public employees in New Hampshire. We need to be honest about the need for additional revenue to make the public investments which attract private investment, young talent, and new jobs to New Hampshire. Maintaining a high-quality public sector workforce is a critical part of that vision,” said Steve Marchand.  “As Governor, I am committed to strengthening and valuing the partnership with our public employees essential to making New Hampshire an amazing place to start a family, and start a business.”

SEA/SEIU Local 1984 is currently planning a similar forum for the Republican Gubernatorial candidates to take place later this summer.

Connolly’s Statement On Filing For Gubernatorial Candidacy Paperwork With Sec of State Gardner

CONCORD — Today, after filing his declaration of candidacy with the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s office surrounded by family, friends, and supporters from across the state, Mark Connolly released the following statement:

“Since launching my campaign in November, I’ve been honored to travel across the state, talking to voters about my track record of putting the people of New Hampshire first and discussing how we can work together to tackle the challenges of a 21st century economy. Over the next five months, I’m looking forward to continuing to build a campaign that represents the diverse and dynamic heart of New Hampshire so we can get to work expanding educational opportunities, growing our innovation sector, and making government work for every day Granite Staters.” 

“As Governor, I will be a strong, progressive voice for Granite State families, with a sharp focus on those core principles. Every New Hampshire student deserves a world-class education that aligns with the diverse and evolving economy that await them after graduation. Through collaborative engagement, we can keep New Hampshire prosperous, safe, and free for the next generation—and I look forward to leading that charge.”

Mark Connolly is a New Hampshire native and a former State Representative who has served over 30 years as a business and community leader. From 2002–2010, he served as New Hampshire’s top financial watchdog. Mark currently resides in New Castle.

Vast Differences Between Republicans And Democratic Gubernatorial Candidates On Raising The Minimum Wage

Republican Candidates For Governor Of New Hampshire, Reject Overwhelming Voter Support For Raising The Minimum Wage.

Whether or not to raise the minimum wage in New Hampshire will undoubtedly be one of the biggest issues in this year’s Gubernatorial race. Large majorities of both, Republicans and Democrats, support raising the minimum wage. However as we have routinely seen in the New Hampshire Legislature, the elected representatives have made raising the minimum wage a completely partisan issue.

On Thursday, WMUR reported that all of the Republican candidates for governor—Executive Councilor Chris Sununu, Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, State Senator Jeanie Forrester and State Representative Frank Edelblut—oppose the establishment of a state minimum wage, despite the fact New Hampshire is tied for the lowest minimum wage in the country at $7.25-an-hour.

“State Sen. Jeanie Forrester said clearly during her economic rollout news conference on Monday that she opposes the establishment of a state minimum wage,” wrote John DiStaso.

Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas “does not believe in increasing the minimum wage nor establishing a state wage,” spokeswoman Alicia Preston told WMUR. Gatsas voted against raising the minimum wage when he was a State Senator in 2007.

State Representative Frank Edelblut “opposes raising the minimum wage and voted against establishing a state minimum wage in the current legislative session,” added DiStaso.

Executive Councilor Chris Sununu is attempting to play both sides.

“I oppose establishing a state minimum wage. I am open to a responsible increase in the federal minimum wage, provided there is a strong economic and moral case for it,” Sununu told WMUR.

Given the current political environment in Washington against raising the minimum wage, Sununu can safely say that he is “open” to an increase at the federal level knowing it will probably not happen anytime soon.

“The Republican candidates’ steadfast opposition to establishing a minimum wage highlights how vastly out-of-touch they are with New Hampshire’s working families,” said NHDP Chair Ray Buckley. “Everyday Granite Staters are hurting, but Republicans continue to stick with the failed trickle-down economic policies of the past. It’s clear the GOP primary is deteriorating into a race to see who can run the farthest to the right, and they’re all tied.”

The Democratic candidates for governor—Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern, former State Securities Bureau Chief Mark Connolly and former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand—all support establishing a state minimum wage.

“New Hampshire has the lowest minimum wage in the country. As governor, I’ll fight to establish a state minimum wage that rewards hard work and grows our economy,” said Executive Councilor, Colin Van Ostern.

“A full-time employee making the federal minimum wage earns just over $15,000 a year—it’s simply not enough. I strongly support establishing a state minimum wage in New Hampshire, because every Granite Stater deserves to be paid a fair, living wage for their hard work,” said Mark Connolly.

minimum wageAcross the board, 76% of Granite Staters surveyed supported raising the minimum wage. Even more astounding is that 59% of New Hampshire Republicans surveyed said they would support current proposals to raise the New Hampshire minimum wage.

Raising the minimum wage is not a partisan issue nationally or here in New Hampshire. Nationally, 63% of those surveyed support a $15 minimum wage by 2020, and 71% support the elimination of the tipped minimum wage.

Research from the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute shows that just increasing the state’s Minimum Wage to $9 an hour would benefit over 76,000 people. That money would almost immediately be pushed right back into our local economies as low-wage workers spend almost everything they bring home in their paycheck.

“No matter who wins the primaries, voters will have a clear choice this November between a Republican who opposes raising the minimum wage and a Democrat who supports it,” Buckley added.

Democracy for America Endorses Colin Van Ostern For New Hampshire Governor

Colin Van Ostern announces his run for Governor of New Hampshire in Manchester, New Hampshire on Thursday, October 8, 2015. Copyright 2015 Rob Strong

Colin Van Ostern announces his run for Governor of New Hampshire in Manchester, New Hampshire on Thursday, October 8, 2015.
Copyright 2015 Rob Strong

Progressive grassroots organization with over 17,000 members in New Hampshire announce their support of Van Ostern 

BURLINGTON, VT – This morning, Democracy for America (DFA) announced its endorsement of Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern for Governor of New Hampshire during a press conference call featuring DFA Executive Director Charles Chamberlain and Van Ostern.

This is DFA’s very first gubernatorial endorsement of the 2016 election cycle and the grassroots PAC’s second endorsement of Van Ostern. DFA previously supported Van Ostern in his successful 2012 race for New Hampshire’s Executive Council.

“Colin Van Ostern has the deeply rooted progressive values, the backbone of steel, and the proven track record of working with the grassroots to fight for the big, bold, populist progressive ideas that our country needs in its leaders and Granite Staters deserve in their Governor,” said Charles Chamberlain, Executive Director, Democracy for America

“With Donald Trump now the presumptive Republican nominee for president, today’s endorsement of our campaign for Governor by one of New Hampshire’s biggest grassroots progressive organizations comes at a critical time in this race,” said Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern after the announcement.

“Together we can build a stronger economy where everyone has the chance to succeed, not just those at the top,” added Van Ostern.

“I’m honored that Democracy for America will be marshaling their 18,000 New Hampshire members to stand with me in making sure we keep New Hampshire moving forward in this fall’s election for Governor,” Van Ostern concluded.  

In citing Colin’s record of progressive accomplishments, DFA praised Colin for his record of fighting to restore funding for Planned Parenthood, expand Medicaid to 50,000 Granite Staters, his advocacy for debt-free college and standing up for consumers and workers to help resolve the Fairpoint strike.

Democracy for America joins six local labor affiliates, the mayors of four of New Hampshire’s four largest cities, New Hampshire’s lone democratic member of U.S. House of Representatives, Annie Kuster, 75 state representatives and thousands of New Hampshire activists.

Democracy for America is a member-driven, people-powered progressive PAC committed to taking on income inequality, money in politics, and structural racism.

In the 2016 cycle, DFA has already endorsed Carol Shea-Porter in her bid for New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District.  Previously, DFA led grassroots efforts in the Granite State to encourage Senator Warren to run for President in 2015, helped efforts to flip the State Senate to Democratic control in 2014, and supported Rep. Ann McLane Kuster’s bids for Congress in 2012 and 2010. 

Berlin Mayor Paul Grenier Endorses Mark Connolly For NH Governor

 BERLIN — Today, four-term Mayor Paul Grenier of Berlin endorsed Mark Connolly for Governor: 

“Today, I’m announcing my support for Mark Connolly for Governor. I believe that Mark’s broad experience in both public service and the private sector and his history of fighting to level the playing field for New Hampshire families make him the ideal candidate,” Grenier said. “Like Governors Shaheen, Lynch, and Hassan, Mark has shown a strong commitment to continuing to bring economic development to the North Country, and I look forward to working with him in the coming years.” 

“Paul’s work as Mayor has exemplified how a truly collaborative approach can bring jobs back to his city and build it anew,” Connolly said. “He’s a master of municipal management, and he’s earned his popularity through his tireless commitment not only to Berlin but also to Coös County as a whole. I’m proud to have his endorsement, and I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and work with him as Governor to build on his good efforts and keep Berlin, and the North Country as a whole, moving forward.”

Mayor Paul Grenier first took office in 2010 and was re-elected last year with nearly 70 percent of the vote. A champion of the North Country and the Vice Chair of the Coös County Commissioners, Grenier has led the economic redevelopment of Berlin, creating jobs, rehabilitating housing, and more. 

Mark Connolly is a New Hampshire native and a former State Representative and Deputy Secretary of State. He has served over 30 years as a business and community leader. From 2002–2010, he was New Hampshire’s top financial regulator. Mark currently owns a business and resides in New Castle. 

NH GOP Gubernatorial Candidates Race to the Right on Women’s Health

 Concord, N.H. – Voters hoping for a more moderate Republican Party better not look too closely at the Republican candidates for governor. The entrance of Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas makes it certain that an anti-women’s health agenda will be a central tenet for every candidate in the Republican primary. 

Gatsas told NHPR Sunday, “I can tell you that in the Senate I voted against funding for Planned Parenthood in the past. I would vote against any public funding for Planned Parenthood.”

Unfortunately for Gatsas, he’s playing catch up with Executive Councilor Chris Sununu in the race to become the GOP’s most anti-women’s health candidate.

Sununu actually cast the deciding vote to defund Planned Parenthood in New Hampshire even after admitting explicitly that in his council district, women wouldn’t have any choice without Planned Parenthood, telling NHPR, “Planned Parenthood is the only facility that offers care like low-cost birth control, STD testing and cancer screenings.”

At the time, this unpopular vote—exit polls from 2012 show that 71 percent of New Hampshire voters supported a women’s right to choose—drew praise from none other State Rep. Frank Edelblut, another far-right Republican candidate for governor. 

Even after grand juries across the country found no wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood and the GOP-led New Hampshire House voted not to investigate the organization, Sununu doubled down saying, “They proved themselves to be bullies and I don’t do business with bullies.” 

“Chris Sununu took away healthcare from nearly 12,000 Granite State women when he cast the deciding vote to defund Planned Parenthood and Ted Gatsas’ only regret is he didn’t get to do the same,” said NHDP spokeswoman Holly Shulman. “Politicians like Sununu, Gatsas and Edelblut are putting politics ahead of Granite State women. No matter who wins the primary, the Republican candidate will be in favor of defunding Planned Parenthood and cutting women’s health funding.”

Governor Hassan Continues “Innovate NH” Tour with Visit to PillPack

Governor Hassan (center) with PillPack Co-Founders TJ Parker (left) and Elliot Cohen (right) during a visit to PillPack’s Manchester facility.

Governor Hassan (center) with PillPack Co-Founders TJ Parker (left) and Elliot Cohen (right) during a visit to PillPack’s Manchester facility.

MANCHESTER – Continuing her “Innovate NH” Tour to highlight and support innovative businesses that are creating good jobs and strengthening New Hampshire’s economy, Governor Maggie Hassan today visited PillPack, a full-service pharmacy that is simplifying medication management for patients across the country. 

“Through its innovative way of simplifying the management of medications for patients across the country, PillPack is making a difference in people’s lives while creating good jobs that expand middle class opportunity and strengthening our economy,” Governor Hassan said. “PillPack also serves as an example for responsibility with prescription drugs, offering a service that simplifies the process for patients living with chronic pain or illness. I am proud to celebrate PillPack as one of the many innovative businesses that have positioned New Hampshire as a leader in the innovative economy of the 21st century, and I look forward to their continued growth and success in the Granite State.”

“It was an honor to host Governor Maggie Hassan at our pharmacy in Manchester today,” PillPack Co-Founder TJ Parker said. “Her commitment to supporting growing companies in New Hampshire and her focus on improving the lives of patients through innovative ideas was evident throughout our conversation. We are more excited than ever to continue to grow our business in New Hampshire.” 

PillPack was founded in 2013 to make managing medications simpler and easier for patients living with chronic conditions, providing personalized rolls of pre-sorted medication and delivering it directly to patients. The Manchester office currently employs over 160 employees and is planning to expand later this year. For more information, visit https://www.pillpack.com/.

The Governor’s “Innovate NH” tour includes visits to innovative businesses across New Hampshire and conversations with local leaders, workers and citizens as part of her efforts to reach out to Granite Staters for their input on building a stronger, more innovative New Hampshire.

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