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Hillary Clinton Receives Endorsement Of Eight NH Mayors

hillary clinton (WisPolitics.com FLIKR)

Hillary Clinton (WisPolitics.com FLIKR)

New Hampshire Mayors Endorse Hillary Clinton, Citing Her Commitment to Strengthening Our Economy and Investing in Infrastructure 

Manchester – Eight New Hampshire mayors and mayors elect endorsed Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee for president this morning, citing her new infrastructure investment plan. Each elected official spoke about the importance of having a partner in the White House who will work with cities and towns to grow their local economies and support New Hampshire families. Specifically, the leaders applauded Clinton’s comprehensive infrastructure investment agenda, which was released earlier today.

“As a mayor, I know how critical things like dependable and updated roads and bridges are to growing our local economy,” said Rochester Mayor TJ Jean. “Hillary has the experience and determination to harness public and private capital to achieve her goals. Goals that include: fixing and expanding our roads and bridges, expanding public transit options, investing in a national freight program, and ensuring that everyone has broadband internet access. These goals are achievable, we just need a leader who has the fight in her to get it done. Hillary is that candidate, and I endorse her for President of the United States.”

“The infrastructure plan that Hillary released is just the latest example of her commitment to fighting to improve the lives of people in New Hampshire,” said Concord Mayor Jim Bouley.  “In Concord, families are often directly and economically impacted by the quality of our infrastructure. Whether it’s the small businesses on Main Street who will benefit from the expanded roadway or the small farmers who need their roads to be repaired in order to move their crops, New Hampshire businesses and families need a fighter who will make infrastructure a priority. Hillary Clinton has a plan—and that is just one reason that I enthusiastically endorse her as the Democratic nominee for President.” 

“Over the years, Hillary Clinton has continued to impress me. Her commitment to addressing the issues that keep Granite State families up at night is evident in everything she does,” said Somersworth Mayor Dana Hilliard. “Hillary’s comprehensive infrastructure plan is a $275 billion dollar investment in the future of our country. It would be a surge for local businesses, and a signal that she believes our economy has room to grow substantially. If she were to succeed, her plan would improve the lives of New Hampshire families every single day. I am proud to support Hillary for President, because as a mayor, there would be no greater ally in the Oval Office than Hillary Clinton.”

 “In Keene, we depend heavily on our roads because we are somewhat isolated and rural,” said Keene Mayor Kendall Lane. “Infrastructure is a major economic factor for small businesses, farmers, and manufacturers—and for years, the federal government has been underinvesting in our country’s future.  By announcing a $275 billion dollar infrastructure plan—with specific goals, including allocating $25 billion for a national infrastructure bank—Hillary has shown that she is more forward-looking than any person running for President. I support Hillary Clinton for President and believe that she is going to be an ally to state and local governments that need a fighter.” 

“Leadership is not only being able to identify the areas that need improvement, but being able to come up with comprehensive policy proposals that tackle the big issues,” said Portsmouth Mayor Bob Lister. “Hillary Clinton has shown that she is serious about getting things done. She’s a fighter. And whether it’s the substance abuse epidemic or the high levels of student debt, Hillary has shown that she is working for Granite Staters. This is the latest evidence that she hears us, and is working for us. I am devoted to seeing her as our next President.”

“As I campaigned to succeed Mayor Lister in Portsmouth, I heard from families that believe we can do more. By working with the state and federal government, they believe that our local economy can find ways to continue to expand and grow,” said Portsmouth Mayor-Elect Jack Blalock. “But we cannot do that if our infrastructure is a limiting factor. Hillary knows that, which is why she has put together such an ambitious, well-thought-out plan that will create more than $1 million jobs, improve safety, grow our economy, and cut red tape—all while combating climate change. The families of Portsmouth have great hope for the future of our city. And I do too. Which is why I believe we need Hillary Clinton in the White House.” 

“Hillary Clinton’s comprehensive infrastructure investment plan will help us here in Nashua,” said Nashua Mayor-Elect Jim Donchess. “Whether it’s her commitment to the future of passenger rail, her goal of fixing and expanding our roads and bridges, her plan to allocate $25 billion for an infrastructure bank, or her commitment to help solve our heroin crisis, Hillary Clinton is committed to improving our economy and keeping families in southern New Hampshire safe. Hillary’s infrastructure bank could help pay for the capital improvements necessary to bring passenger rail to Nashua…Hillary’s support for Medicaid Expansion will enable people in Nashua to continue to get treatment and achieve recovery from the scourge of heroin addiction – something we definitely need here in Nashua.  As the former and future mayor of New Hampshire’s second largest city, I urge my fellow Nashuans to support Hillary in the race for president. Hillary has shown she is a serious candidate with a vision–and the experience to get things done. I endorse her as my choice to be the Democratic candidate for President.”

“Hillary Clinton is by far the most experienced candidate running for President,” said Rochester Mayor-Elect Caroline McCarley. “I have no doubt she would provide strong leadership for our country at home and abroad, something we desperately need in these challenging times.”

Red Cross Encourages Donors To Give With Meaning This Holiday Season

American Red Cross LogoHelp save lives through blood and platelet donation, by hosting a blood drive 

MANCHESTER, NH — This holiday season, the American Red Cross urges individuals to give something that means something – a blood or platelet donation. This simple, potentially lifesaving act can give patients in need another holiday season with loved ones. 

“During the winter months and especially around the holidays, blood donations tend to decline,” said Mary Brant, external communications manager of the Red Cross Northern New England Blood Services Region. “Long holiday weekends, like Thanksgiving, pose an extra challenge when many donors are traveling to be with family and friends. The Red Cross encourages people to make an appointment to donate blood or platelets and give a meaningful gift to a patient this holiday season – the gift of life.” 

Blood donors with all types, especially O negative, B negative and A negative, are urged to give. Platelet donors and those with type AB blood are also continually needed. To encourage donations around Thanksgiving, those who come to give blood or platelets from Nov. 25-29 will receive a limited-edition Red Cross mixing spoon with recipes from celebrity chefs John Besh, Richard Blais, Rocco DiSpirito, Mike Isabella, Ellie Krieger and Ali Larter, while supplies last. 

How to donate blood

To make an appointment, download the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donors can use RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, from a computer or laptop. Visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass to get started.

A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood drive hosts needed

This time of year, there are also fewer blood drives on the calendar. Many sponsoring groups postpone blood drives while people are busy with holiday activities, and severe weather may cause scheduled blood drives to be canceled. With fewer opportunities for donors to give, the Red Cross typically experiences a seasonal decline in blood donations.

Because more than 80 percent of blood donations are made at blood drives, organizations are needed to host blood drives this winter to help ensure a sufficient blood supply for patients in need. More information on hosting a blood drive is available at redcrossblood.org.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

Candlelight Vigils Tuesday In Support Of Refugee Resettlement

Candlelight (Lisa Widerberg FLIKR CC)

Candlelight (Lisa Widerberg FLIKR CC)

Candlelight vigils will be held tomorrow, November 24, outside the offices of U.S. Senators in Manchester, Nashua, and Dover and at Four Corners in Conway to call for New Hampshire’s elected officials to keep our doors open to refugees fleeing violence in Syria, Iraq, and other war-torn areas of the world. 

The vigils, sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee and the NH Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees, will take place from 4:30 PM to 5:45 PM at the following locations:

MANCHESTER – Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s Manchester office at 2 Wall Street, moving to Senator Kelly Ayotte’s office at 1200 Elm Street.  Local contact:  Eva Castillo, (603) 661-2873.

NASHUA – Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s office at 60 Main Street, moving to Senator Kelly Ayotte’s office at 144 Main Street.  Local contact:  Sylvia Gale, (603) 557-8417.

DOVER – Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s office at 340 Central Avenue.   Local contact: Maggie Fogarty, (603) 988-7115.

CONWAY – Corner of Route 16 and Route 153.  Local contact: Andrea Walsh, (603) 447-2113.

The solemn vigils were motivated by passage last week of a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives which adds serious obstacles to the refugee resettlement process, said Maggie Fogarty of the American Friends Service Committee.  The Senate is expected to vote on a similar measure during the first week of December, she added.  

The vigils will include songs, prayers, and periods of silent reflection.

“Turning our backs on refugees is a betrayal of our nation’s highest values,” said Eva Castillo of the NH Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees. 

Participants have been asked to bring candles and signs with respectful messages welcoming refugees.

Retired Gay Trooper: NH State Police ‘Rife’ With Gender Bias

Nancy West Photo

Carrie Nolet is pictured in her Chocorua home (Nancy West Photo)

Written by Nancy West of InDepthNH.Org

Carrie L. Nolet is suing New Hampshire State Police claiming she was twice passed over for promotion from lieutenant to captain because she is a woman and a lesbian.

During her 20 years in State Police, Nolet said she was subjected to sexual harassment in a “good-old-boy” culture that so severely intimidated her and other women that she still suffers from anxiety and depression two years after retiring in 2013.

During her entire career, “the New Hampshire State Police culture has been rife with pervasive incidents of gender bias and sexual harassment too numerous (for her) to recall every instance or every exact date,” Nolet wrote in the lawsuit filed in May in U.S. District Court in Concord.

Nolet, who lives in Chocorua, said she was also terrified that her colleagues would find out she is gay.

“There was a lot of derogatory talk about gay troopers,” Nolet said during interviews. “It’s not seen as something people can openly discuss. It was very stressful.”

Assistant Attorney General Rebecca Woodard filed the state’s response to the suit on Oct. 9 denying Nolet’s allegations. Beyond the court filing, Woodard said the state would have no comment.

Nolet described New Hampshire State Police as a male-dominated organization in which men commonly used language that belittled women, minorities and homosexuals.

“Male troopers called each other “P—-” to imply that they were not being tough enough and/or acting like women,” wrote Nolet, who is representing herself in the lawsuit.

“Other lewd and demeaning comments from both troopers and sergeants alike included emailed jokes,” Nolet wrote.

Nolet’s lawsuit claims she was passed over for captain by two men with less experience, education and training, including having no military leadership experience. They were promoted, she said, because they were friends with Col. Robert Quinn, commander of State Police.

One of the men retired soon after being promoted to captain, which boosted his retirement pay and opened the position again, Nolet said. The next man promoted to captain had less education, experience and training as well, Nolet said.

“Generally among the rank and file, the atmosphere is that it is unfair for everyone,” Nolet said. “Statistically, I intend to show it is more unfair for women.”

“No one is happy with the promotional process.”

Nolet cross-filed her discrimination complaint in 2013 with the state Human Rights Commission, and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

In February, the EEOC notified Nolet of her “right to sue,” stating it didn’t have enough information to determine whether any laws had been violated. The EEOC required the lawsuit be filed within 90 days.

Assistant Attorney General Woodard responded to Nolet’s sexual harassment allegations in the suit by writing: “The Defendant is without personal knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truthfulness of the allegations in this paragraph and therefore they are denied.”

To the allegations of gender discrimination in employment, Woodard wrote: “To the extent facts are alleged, they are denied.”

Last week, Col. Quinn said he would get more information to respond to InDepthNH.org, but as of Nov. 1 hadn’t done so.

Hoping for support, Nolet said she sent a copy of her lawsuit to Gov. Maggie Hassan, but she hasn’t heard back from Hassan or anyone in the governor’s office.

InDepthNH.org requested an interview with Hassan, but she didn’t return phone messages. Her spokesman, William Hinkle, sent an email.

“All allegations of this nature are taken seriously and investigated thoroughly by the state. As this is an ongoing case at the federal level, I would refer you to the pleading or the New Hampshire Department of Justice, which is representing the Department of Safety in this case,” Hinkle wrote.

Anti-woman atmosphere

Vulgar conduct was rampant in State Police, Nolet said.

“When speaking about women in leadership within NHSP and women in high positions in politics, male troopers used the terms ‘b—-‘ and ‘C’ word,” Nolet wrote.

Nolet recalled one incident in which a male supervisor stared at her breasts while commenting that instead of having corrective eye surgery, she should have given him “something better to look at.”

She took that to mean she should have had breast augmentation surgery.

“I can remember even as a probationary trooper hearing stories about a woman being brought to tears in training by one firearms instructor,” Nolet said. It became an often-repeated joke, she said.

Comments were made that women were weak and didn’t belong on the job, she said.

“Certain guys didn’t want women on their shift because they didn’t think they could back them up,” Nolet said.

Military Background

Nolet, 48, a Berlin native, is also retired from the U.S. Army Reserves where she attained the rank of major.
After graduating from Berlin High School, Nolet went on to Worcester Polytechnic Institute on a four-year Army ROTC scholarship. At Worcester Polytechnic, she captained the field hockey and softball teams and was inducted into the sports hall of fame.

In 1989, Nolet was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserves as a military police officer and was promoted to first lieutenant in 1992.

She deployed as Alpha Company Commander of the 368th Combat Heavy Engineer Battalion to the combat zone Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 where she commanded 135 soldiers for a year in a desert remote outpost.

Employment survey

Although Nolet found the male behavior insulting soon after joining New Hampshire State Police, she did not think she could avoid it because it was so deep a part of the culture, she said.

There was no way she could complain to supervisors, Nolet said, because they were engaged in the same kind of behavior.

A 2012 employment survey of all of State Police personnel showed Nolet’s concerns were on the minds of others as well, according to an email Col. Quinn sent to all State Police personnel. It provided an overview of the survey results.

The email, dated Feb. 23, 2013, was copied to Safety Commissioner John Barthelmes.

“I want to focus on the major topics sexual harassment, safety, morale, communications, promotions, discipline, working environment, training, equipment, etc.,” Quinn wrote, according to a copy of the email obtained by InDepthNH.org.

“I have identified many areas where I can make improvements and areas where I can do a better job,” Quinn wrote.

Reaction anticipated

“I filed suit primarily because I was tired of being passed over for promotion by less qualified men and seeing other women going through the same sort of ordeal,” Nolet said.

She wants the promotional system changed to be an objective, transparent and fair process, Nolet said.

Assistant Attorney General Woodard’s filing said Nolet failed to state a claim and failed to make a case for discrimination.

Woodard wrote that 15 female troopers have attained the rank of sergeant, four females have obtained the rank of lieutenant and one of those troopers attained the rank of captain, major and executive major.

That’s not enough, Nolet said.

Nolet said she expects a backlash, but believes she is doing the right thing.

She hopes to spare those still working the pain she has endured, Nolet said. Her lawsuit does seek damages as determined by a jury, but she said money is not the reason behind the lawsuit.

“It’s not about money,” Nolet said. “I just want (the discrimination) to stop.”

When Will NH Manufacturers Quit Fabricating Stories About Not Having Qualified Workers

Manufacturing Tech Expo at College of DuPage 2014 (COD Newsroom FLIKR)

Manufacturing Tech Expo at College of DuPage 2014 (COD Newsroom FLIKR)

This morning the Union Leader posted an article about New Hampshire manufacturers, like GE, who are looking for highly skilled, highly educated workers to fill vacant jobs.

“Signal processing, navigation, optics and measurement are particularly advantaged in New Hampshire,” she said. “No other state is doing this type of advanced manufacturing to the same degree as New Hampshire.”

The state also shines in semi-conductors, complex electronics, precision machining, aerospace and defense, medical devices and technology. But there’s a problem.

“Take precision machining,” said Lands. “We found the average age of a worker in that field is in the mid-50s, which means that precision machining knowledge is walking out the door, and is not easily replaced. It is not something that can be learned from a textbook. It is something that has to be apprenticed at the hands of an experienced machinist.”

Folsum from GE Aviation pointed out that the average age at his plant is 50, and he is trying to hire 300 people. “I think we are representative of a lot of manufacturers,” he said. “That’s why we’re here.”

…”Employers are not expecting high schools or community colleges to turn out master machinists. They’re looking for entry-level employees with the basic skills needed to succeed in an apprenticeship program.”

Two things jump out at me instantly when I read this article.

1. Your aging workforce has probably been working there for decades and those workers started when manufacturing paid workers well and was the gateway to the middle class.   They started when working in a manufacturing plant was a prestigious, well respected position for many people and especially for those who choose not to go to college or were unable to make it.

Manufacturers would hire workers, and in partnership with the union, train them to do the job.  Together the union and the employer would continue to train workers so they could move up and make better money and stay right inside the plant.

Now manufacturing has changed.  It is highly technical and many employers require college degrees before they will even consider an employee.  This leads into my second question.

2. What are you paying these “apprentices” in your manufacturing plants?

You cannot expect college graduates, most likely with massive student loan debt, to jump up and take a job in a manufacturing plant at rock-bottom wages.  Now I do not know what GE, or the others, offer in starting pay (because they do not post it on their jobs listings), but I would venture a guess that it is not high enough.

For a long time now New Hampshire has had a problem with our young workers leaving the state and our population growing older and older.  The “graying” of the workforce is a combination of low-wages offered by employers and high cost of living, so young people are fleeing the state.  (This is also in part to our extremely high cost of college.)  They go off to find jobs in cheaper places to live.  They are not finding better jobs, but they feel they are making more because they spend less to live.

I am glad the Governor, Colleges and Universities, and business leaders are coming together to talk about the needs of the business community, however you have to stop telling us that there are no workers with the education you require.

According to national data from EPI, the unemployment rate of 2015 college graduates is 7.9% and an under-employment rate of 14.9%.

The people are out there but what are NH manufactures willing to do to attract them here?  The simple solution is to raise the wages and you will attract highly educated, highly qualified individuals who would like to live and work in New Hampshire.

Manufacturing’s problem is not that there are not enough educated workers out there to do the job, it is there are not enough college educated adults willing to do the work for the wages you offer.

Granite State Rumblings: NH’s Child Poverty Rate Is Still Too High

New data released by the Census Bureau on September 17th show that poverty remains stubbornly high. In New Hampshire, 9.2 percent of people were poor in 2014 – roughly the same as in 2013 when 8.7 percent were poor.

The child poverty rate rose, with 13 percent of New Hampshire children living in poverty in 2014 – an increase from 2013 when 10.2 percent of our children were poor.

Disappointingly, our country’s economic recovery is hardly reaching New Hampshire’s poor, and progress remains slow. Nationally, the poverty rate fell slightly from 15.8 percent in 2013 to 15.5 percent in 2014. However, even if poverty keeps declining at the current rate – an extremely optimistic estimate – it would still take more than 25 years just to cut poverty in half across the U.S. It would take even longer – nearly 35 years – to bring child poverty down to that level.  

In order to speed up the pace, New Hampshire and the nation need to maintain and expand investments in programs with proven success in helping people out of poverty. The new Census Bureau findings add to the mounting evidence that programs like low-income tax credits, SNAP/food stamps, and subsidized housing reduce poverty now and improve children’s chances of gaining economic security in the future. But some effective programs do not reach enough of the nearly 118,000 Granite Staters and the 48 million Americans struggling in poverty every day, and others, like SNAP, could do more good if their benefits were higher. Even the modest progress beginning to show in the Census data will stall unless Congress acts to end spending cuts known as sequestration scheduled to hit many of these programs this fall.

Deep and Disproportionate Poverty

For a family of four in 2014, the official poverty line was less than $24,230. Despite this low threshold, more than 47,000 Granite Staters live on far less, below half of the poverty level.  Across the nation poverty disproportionately affects people of color. Nearly 27 percent of African Americans and 24.1 percent of Latinos in the United States are poor. In contrast, poverty for non-Hispanic whites is 10.8 percent. Nearly 22 percent of children are growing up in poverty, and the statistics are worse for children of color: 36.9 percent of African American children and 32.1 percent of Hispanic children nationally are poor.

We Can Speed Up the Pace in New Hampshire

Proven human needs programs lift millions out of poverty. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) lifted 16,000 Granite Staters, including 8,000 children, out of poverty each year, on average, during 2011 to 2013.  In 2014, housing subsidies lifted 2.8 million Americans out of poverty, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) lifted 4.7 million people out of poverty across the U.S.

Numerous research studies also show that investments in quality, affordable child care and early childhood education also lead to long-term gains for children, families and our economy. For example, Head Start participants are more likely to attend college and be employed and less likely to be a teen parent or in poor health compared to siblings who didn’t benefit from Head Start.

Congressional Cuts will Thwart Progress in New Hampshire

As effective as these programs are, their effectiveness is limited because of underfunding, and proposed Congressional cuts threaten these programs further. First imposed in 2013, sequestration’s impact through the end of 2014 resulted in 8 of the 18 agencies administering housing vouchers in New Hampshire reducing the number of households they served by 132 (some agencies in New Hampshire were able to increase the number of households served through 2014).  The 2013 sequester cuts also denied Head Start services to 146 New Hampshire children.  Thousands of rental vouchers were restored when Congress partly halted sequester cuts in FYs 2014 and 2015, and the numbers of children served by Head Start returned to previous levels in most areas.

Unfortunately, spending bills Congress has advanced so far this year assume that sequestration cuts will return in FY 2016. These House and Senate bills undercut the gains of the nation’s successful anti-poverty programs. Their proposed appropriations would mean that 1,300 fewer children in New Hampshire would have access to full day, full year Head Start when compared to President Obama’s budget. The House spending bill not only fails to restore the 67,000 rental vouchers still lost due to sequestration in 2013, it would cut even more, failing to renew 28,000 existing vouchers nationwide.  As a result, 130 fewer New Hampshire families would have the use of housing vouchers in 2016. The Senate spending bill is even harsher, failing to renew 50,000 existing vouchers nationwide, leaving 230 New Hampshire families without this assistance. 

More than 130 human needs programs have seen their funding cut since 2010, adjusted for inflation; about one-third were cut by 15 percent or more.  Further cuts to these programs threaten to halt the progress made in 2014 in reducing poverty. The Congressional Budget Office also estimated that maintaining sequestration could lead to losses equal to as many as 1.4 million jobs over the next two years.  Compounding these losses, as many as 10,900 fewer workers in New Hampshire would have access to job training and employment services if Congress has its way, compared to the President’s budget. New Hampshire would lose as much as $3 million in federal funding for K-12 education in low-income schools (Title I).  We need more investments – not less – in programs that are proven to reduce poverty so more Americans who need help can get it.

There is talk that Congress might avoid the sequester cuts by cutting safety net programs that don’t rely on annual appropriations, like SNAP and Medicaid. This is the wrong approach. The U.S. Department of Agriculture found that 13.9 percent of New Hampshire households were “food insecure” over the years 2012-2014 – that is, they could not always afford enough food.  SNAP reduces such hardships, but cuts in SNAP that occurred at the end of October 2013 cut the average benefit from $1.70 per meal to $1.40. According to health researchers Children’s HealthWatch, that cutback made SNAP households with children under age three 23 percent more likely to be food insecure, placing the children at risk for bad health and education outcomes.  If Congress seeks to offset the cost of stopping sequestration, it should close tax loopholes or end a few corporate tax breaks. Ending the extra tax breaks for hedge fund managers, for example (a proposal with bipartisan support), would save nearly $1.4 billion a year, nearly enough to fund the $1.5 billion to cover a full year, full day program for all children in Head Start.

In addition, if Congress fails to renew improvements made in 2009 to the EITC and CTC before they expire in 2017, 16 million people – including 8 million children – will be pushed into or deeper into poverty across the U.S.

Congress Needs to Stop the Cuts

Our state and our country are continuing to recover from the Great Recession, and too many Granite Staters are still being left behind. By 2020, more than half of children in the U.S. are expected to be part of a minority racial or ethnic group.  If the shamefully high poverty numbers for African American and Latino children stay so high, the future economic growth of New Hampshire and our country will be endangered as a larger proportion of our children grow up with less education and less connection to good-paying jobs. Increasing investments in programs like Head Start and safe, secure housing will give these children a better start and will benefit New Hampshire and our country as a whole as they become adults.

Members of Congress have a choice to make. They can continue to cut, forcing more Granite Staters into poverty and pushing our country backwards. Or they can stop the sequestration cuts so New Hampshire and the whole nation can expand – not cut – programs that prevent and eliminate poverty. And they can do so without cutting safety net programs like SNAP, low income tax credits like the EITC and CTC, and Medicaid.

This report was prepared by Every Child Matters in NH and the Coalition on Human Needs.

Growing Up Granite 

Our friends at the NH Fiscal Policy Institute released the following based on the census data:

The latest pieces of the puzzle regarding New Hampshire’s economic health reveals a mixed bag. According to data released yesterday by the US Census Bureau, more residents have health insurance, yet household incomes are barely rising and poverty reduction remains elusive.

GSR151Following two years with very little change, in 2014, the number of New Hampshire residents without health insurance fell by nearly 20,000, from 140,252 to 120,456. A decline was reasonably expected given that New Hampshire began enrollment in its Health Protection Program, which expands health insurance access for low-income adults, in August 2014. Previously released telephone survey results from Gallup corroborate the Census findings. For context, 9.2 percent of the state population is estimated to not have health insurance. This places New Hampshire in the middle of the pack among states, with Massachusetts (3.3 percent) and Texas (19.1 percent) being the states with the lowest and highest shares of its residents without health insurance.

Additionally, the Census data does not fully capture the effects of expanded Medicaid in the New Hampshire because the state began the program mid-year. In contrast, respondents to the American Community Survey, the tool the Census Bureau uses to capture this information, received the survey at various points throughout calendar year 2014. Thus, if a resident received a survey in March and was uninsured, but then obtained a policy in August through the Health Protection Program, they would still be counted by the Census Bureau as uninsured. Consequently, this time next year, a further decline in the number of uninsured is probable.

GSR152On the other hand, New Hampshire residents continue to struggle with exiting poverty, especially those in households with children. Between 2013 and 2014, the total number of Granite Staters in households with income below the poverty line rose from 111,495 to 117,983. While this increase is not statistically significant, it does indicate that our least fortunate residents are making minimal headway in climbing the economic ladder. Notably, New Hampshire’s poverty rate of 9.2 percent is the lowest in the nation.

Mississippi, at 21.5 percent, has the highest share of its population living in poverty. Nevertheless, the issue of households not earning enough for basic needs has become more pervasive since the turn of the century, with the number of New Hampshire residents living in poverty having almost doubled since the year 2000.

For households with children, the situation appears to have worsened again. In 2014, 12.5 percent or nearly 32,900 related children under age 18 lived in households with incomes below the poverty line. This is a statistically significant rise from 2013, when it was estimated that 9.7 percent or nearly 25,600 children were in households earning less than the official poverty level.

Finally, in 2014, the state’s median household income – the income level representing the middle of all the state’s households – was $66,532. While it is encouraging that this figure, adjusted for inflation, has stabilized over the last two years, the fact remains that the purchasing power, or ability to buy goods and services, of the median income household is about 7 percent lower than it was in 2007.

NH Worker To Legislature: Current Revenue And Spending Levels Fail The People Of NH

An open letter to the NH Legislature 

Hello my name is Paula.  I want to thank you for the work you all do for New Hampshire but it is not enough.  State employees and the citizens of New Hampshire need you to develop new revenue!  

I work for you and the citizens of New Hampshire.  I earn approximately $20.00 an hour.  I perform the regular duties of two positions, one of which was taken away when someone retired.  I process applications, which means I certify applicants to our program based on a child’s chronic health care needs and I also pay bills on behalf of many families for the program.  Presently, besides my regular duties, I am also covering for another program within the department – helping with invoicing and everything that goes along with it.  I also help coordinate other things in my office and covering a portion of another job due to someone’s vacation.  

I worked in the private sector while my children were growing up and when they became older I decided to apply for state service so that I could give something back to a state I loved so much.  I have loved to work for this state and our citizens for the past 12 years (prior to that I worked as a temporary employee for the state).  I know how important my job is to get things “done” for the people we serve.  Because, if I can’t or don’t perform my duties then the children and their families will not receive the services they need. 

I am writing to not just ask for a 2% raise but to “beg” for it and I have never “begged” for anything in my life.  My husband can no longer work.  He worked for 45 years as a surveyor and the job has taken a toll on his body due to debilitating arthritis.  He can no longer work.  We also help family members through their hard times.  I worked a part time job for about eight months last year and I was too exhausted to continue.  I also earn extra money at some of the fairs around the state in the fall.

We, state employees, worked without raises for many years, gave up benefits, paid more for our insurance, etc.  We haven’t caught up to what we have given back to our beloved state and the people we serve.  I need the money for food, to help pay my monthly bills, which includes a mortgage, to pay taxes, and to pay for gas.  I would really appreciate my 2% raise and invite any of you to walk a day in my shoes beside me and tell me I don’t deserve it because you can’t find the revenue!

IBEW 490 And 2320 Endorse Joyce Craig For Mayor Of Manchester

Joyce Craig MayorThis morning, Alderman Joyce Craig announced that IBEW Local 490 and IBEW Local 2320 have endorsed her campaign for mayor of Manchester.  Together, they have over 350 members in Manchester.

“Alderman Joyce Craig has long been a strong advocate for the priorities of working families in Manchester,” said Denis Beaudoin, Business Manager of IBEW Local 490.  “She is a proven consensus builder who understands the true potential of Manchester and the importance of prioritizing education, combating the drug epidemic on multiple fronts, and fixing our roads and infrastructure, and has consistently displayed this during her years of public service.  She has proven her leadership skills as a marketing executive, School Board member, and Alderman.  It is time Manchester had a leader who understands the needs of working families, and that is why we are supporting Alderman Craig’s campaign for mayor of Manchester.”

“We are thrilled to endorse Joyce Craig’s campaign for mayor of Manchester,” said Steven Soule, Business Manager of IBEW Local 2320,    “This is a critical election and it is important we have a candidate who cares about working people in our city.  Joyce has a vision to grow our city and plans to improve our schools, curb the heroin epidemic, and improve Manchester’s local infrastructure.  Her ability to work with others and find compromise is precisely what is needed in the mayor’s office.  We know Joyce will continue to stand up for working families and that is why we are supporting her campaign to be the next mayor of Manchester.”

“It is an honor to have the support of IBEW Local 490 and IBEW Local 2320, whose members have spent decades working in Manchester,” said Craig. “As mayor, I will continue to stand up for and protect Manchester workers and residents.  Over the past six years, we have seen the Mayor bully his way through School Board meetings, refuse to engage with other stakeholders to combat the drug epidemic, and ignore our failing infrastructure.  It is time Manchester reached its potential and I will be the leader to unite our city to combat the drug epidemic, improve our schools, and protect Manchester workers and families.”  

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

Joyce Craig Files To Run For Mayor Of Manchester

 Joyce Craig Mayor

MANCHESTER – This morning, Alderman Joyce Craig filed paperwork at City Hall to run for mayor of Manchester.

“I’m running for mayor because it’s time Manchester reaches its full potential,” said Craig.  “Unfortunately, over the past six years our city’s growth has stalled under Mayor Gatsas’s poor leadership.  Our schools are in worse shape, the drug epidemic is escalating, our roads are deteriorating and our infrastructure is outdated, yet the Mayor has put forth no concrete plans on how to tackle these problems.  It is time our city has a mayor who will work with all partners to solve these citywide problems.  I’m running for mayor to be the leader to move our city forward together and once again make Manchester a city that attracts families and businesses.”

Born and raised in Manchester, Joyce began her public service in 2007. As the mother of three young children, she was concerned by the many challenges facing Manchester’s schools. Joyce ran for and won a seat on the Manchester School Board in 2007 and has served as an Alderman since 2009.  Joyce was joined this morning by her husband, Michael, and their three children, William, Sarah, and Kathryn.

Colin Van Ostern: Should NH be more like TX?


By Colin Van Ostern

Heads turned sharply in Concord this week when NH Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley and House Speaker Shawn Jasper both shared a press release inviting local businesses to relocate from New Hampshire to Texas. It was sent out originally by the Governor of Texas to New Hampshire political reporters Thursday, “Inviting New Hampshire Businesses to Seek New Opportunities in Texas.” All because Governor Hassan won’t approve an unbalanced state budget that, among other problems, creates special corporate tax giveaways without paying for them.

I can’t imagine a public policy dispute with a member of the other party that would cause me, as an elected official, to actively invite businesses to leave my state as Senator Bradley and Speaker Jasper did this week.  But let’s look past the backwards priorities and political gimmicks – on the substance, are they right?  Should New Hampshire try to be more like Texas?

Taxes?  It’s true Texas has low corporate taxes.  To keep them low, they rely on a hefty sales tax – which New Hampshire does not have. An Austin businessman pays an extra 8.25% on every supply he buys. So taken on the whole, the Tax Foundation found this year that Texas’s overall business tax climate ranked 10th in the nation.  Not bad, but still behind New Hampshire at 7th.

Workforce?  I’ve managed a $100 million business for a local manufacturer and currently work in a leadership role at our state’s fastest growing large employer – and I can tell you unequivocally that the most important resource for every great business is its people.  In New Hampshire, 91% of adults have a high school degree – the 4th highest state in the country, with high rates of bachelor’s and advanced degrees as well. Texas is dead last; 50th of 50 states. More Texans work at the minimum wage than almost any other state.  Only one in three adults in Texas have health insurance; again, 50th in the nation.

Quality of life? New Hampshire famously ranks as the #1 state in which to live, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development. #1 in the country to find a home. #1 state to earn a living. #1 safest state.  On those rankings, Texas scores 38th, 47th, 25th, and 30th. And yes, our unemployment rate is 3.8% vs Texas’s 4.3%.

Welcoming & inclusive to all?  New Hampshire was one of the first states in the nation to embrace marriage equality; in Texas, a state constitutional amendment bans this basic human right. New Hampshire town meetings are famous. Our voter turnout leads the nation; Texas – well, you get the idea (47th).

The point is not just to compare brag sheets. New Hampshire succeeds because of a smart, balanced, and forward-looking portfolio of unique competitive advantages: our world-class workforce, best in the nation quality of life, inclusive community, and uniquely low taxes.  The ideologically-driven approach to state budgets that the Governor of Texas, Jeb Bradley and Shawn Jasper are pushing would undermine our workforce, weaken our high quality of life, and add a $90 million hole in the budget. 

It’s simply not worth spiking in-state college tuition, threatening to kick 41,000 NH citizens off newly expanded healthcare, undermining safe roads and bridges, and passing a deeply unbalanced budget that would result in even more cuts or tax increases later in the year, all to draw high-fives from conservative Republican governors in the Deep South.

Texas is a great state and it certainly has competitive advantages of its own (its beef brisket is admittedly hard to deny).  But when it comes to our overall tax climate, our workforce, our communities, and our quality of life – well, don’t mess with the Live Free or Die state.  That goes for Texas Governors and lawmakers here in New Hampshire alike.

Colin Van Ostern (www.vanostern.com) represents 49 towns across the state on New Hampshire’s publicly elected Executive Council, including Rochester, Dover, Concord, Franklin, and Keene.



Quality of life & related stats:http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/10/07/why-the-south-is-the-worst-place-to-live-in-the-u-s-in-10-charts/

Educational attainment: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_educational_attainment

Business tax climate: http://taxfoundation.org/article/2015-state-business-tax-climate-index

Uninsured: http://www.texmed.org/uninsured_in_texas/

Minimum wage: http://www.bls.gov/regions/southwest/news-release/MinimumWageWorkers_Texas.htm

Sales Tax: http://window.texas.gov/taxinfo/local/

Unemployment: http://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm

Marriage equality: http://www.freedomtomarry.org/states/entry/c/texas

Voter turnout: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/03/12/the-states-with-the-highest-and-lowest-turnout-in-2012-in-2-charts/

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