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The DNC Sanctions Additional Democratic Debate In New Hampshire

Debbie Wasserman Schultz and NHDP Chair Buckley
on the Addition of a Democratic Debate in New Hampshire
 

Today, the DNC released the addition of a Democratic presidential debate between the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.

DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz issued the following statement:

“I’m pleased to share exciting news on behalf of our two candidates. As with our previous debates, town halls and forums, voters will have several more opportunities to see them share their vision for how to build on 7 years of progress and keep America moving forward. Our Democratic candidates have asked the DNC to sanction and manage additional debates in our primary schedule, including one this week in New Hampshire ahead of the First in the Nation primary, in conjunction with the New Hampshire Democratic Party. Having our candidates in agreement on their desire to add debates to our sanctioned schedule, the DNC has sanctioned an MSNBC debate on February 4th at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.

“The candidates have also agreed to participate in three newly scheduled DNC sanctioned debates to be held in addition to the February 11th PBS News Hour, and March 9th Univision debates already planned. The first of these new debates is confirmed to take place in Flint, Michigan on March 6th, with the remaining two taking place in April and May with times and locations to be determined. We will continue to work closely with both campaigns as we finalize the remaining details.

“Our debates have set viewership records because of our candidates’ ideas, energy, and the strength of their vision to build on the progress we’ve made over the last seven years. We look forward to seeing them continuing to share Democrats’ vision for the country.”

The following is a statement from New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley: 

“We’re thrilled to be a co-host of the New Hampshire Democratic Presidential Debate this week. It’s been an exciting campaign here in the Granite State already and we couldn’t be more excited to have another chance to host the candidates before our First-in-the-Nation primary.

“I’m pleased that the two campaigns, NBC, and the party were able to reach this agreement. I want to thank DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz for her work brokering this compromise. There are many who deserve credit for this agreement and the New Hampshire Democratic Party is pleased to have had a role in the effort that will benefit our candidates, our party, and, most of all, the voters of New Hampshire and across the country. We’re excited to help co-host this debate because we know that whoever our Democratic nominee is will win in November along with Democrats up and down the ballot.”

“We have incredible Democratic candidates running for president and Wednesday’s CNN town hall along with Thursday’s scheduled MSNBC Debate and Friday’s historic NHDP McIntyre-Shaheen 100 Club Celebration broadcast live on NH1 News and C-Span just days before the New Hampshire Primary provide three great opportunities for voters in New Hampshire and around the country to hear our candidates’ plans to build on the progress we’ve made over the last seven years.”

7 Out 10 NH Minimum Wage Workers Are Women

7 in 10 Granite State Minimum Wage Workers Are Women, But Kelly Ayotte Sided With Koch Brothers & Voted Against Giving Them A Raise

Concord, N.H. – Today, the New Hampshire Democratic Party continues to mark this week’s anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act by highlighting another way in which Kelly Ayotte sided with the Koch Brothers over the interests of working women in New Hampshire. Nearly 7 of 10 Granite State minimum wage workers are women, but Kelly Ayotte voted against giving them a much-needed raise because the Koch Brothers told her to.

In 2014, the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity urged Senators to vote against a measure to raise the minimum wage to $10.10, and Kelly Ayotte turned her back on her constituents and obliged.

In fact, a recent poll found that 70% of Granite State voters support raising the minimum wage to at least $10 an hour, but on this issue among many others, Kelly Ayotte puts the wishes of her special interest backers before the wishes of the people she was elected to represent.

And she’s not the only one. Every single Republican presidential candidate opposes a minimum wage increase. Marco Rubio called a minimum wage increase a “waste of time,” Chris Christie said he was “tired of hearing” about the issue, and Jeb Bush suggested there should be no federal minimum wage at all.

“On vote after vote, including her opposition to giving hard-working Granite State women and families a raise by modestly increasing the minimum wage, Kelly Ayotte puts the Koch Brothers and special interests ahead of the priorities of her constituents,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Press Secretary Melissa Miller. “Raising the minimum wage is a widely-supported move that would have a real impact on the economic wellbeing of women across the Granite State, but Kelly Ayotte decided the wishes of the Koch Brothers were more important than these women and their families.”

Background:
Based On An Analysis Of 2014 Data From The Bureau Of Labor Statistics, About 7 In 10 Minimum Wage Workers In New Hampshire Are Women. “Today NWLC released new analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 data, featuring an interactive map that shows the share of minimum wage workers in each state who are women…In New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Maine, about seven in ten minimum wage workers were women.” [National Women’s Law Center, 5/20/15]

April 30, 2014: Ayotte Voted Against Increasing The Federal Minimum Wage To $10.10.“The U.S. Senate bill would have raised the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour, but it didn’t cross the 60-vote threshold for passage on a vote of 54-42. U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte , a Republican, voted against the bill.” [Concord Monitor, 4/30/14;CQ, 4/30/14; S. 2223, Vote 117, 4/30/14]

April 29, 2014: AFP Urged Senators To Vote Against Increasing The Federal Minimum Wage To $10.10.   “Dear Senators: On behalf of more than two million Americans for Prosperity activists in all 50 states, I write to urge you to vote NO on S. 2223, increasing the minimum wage to from $7.25 to $10.10. This is a misguided policy that will mean fewer jobs in this sluggish economy.” [Americans For Prosperity Scorecard, 4/29/14]

Governor Hassan Announces Job Training Grants for Eight New Hampshire Companies in December

Matching Grants Will Help Train 235 Workers in New Skills 

CONCORD – Continuing her efforts to help New Hampshire workers develop the skills and innovative thinking needed for good jobs in the 21st century economy, Governor Maggie Hassan announced today that eight New Hampshire companies have been awarded job training grants to help them train 235 workers in new skills.

The job training grants total $77,865 and the companies matched the training funds to bring the total amount for training workers to $155,730. 

“I am proud to announce the most recent round of important grants to help prepare workers for success at growing businesses,” Governor Hassan said. “New Hampshire’s Job Training Fund is a valuable and critical resource that has helped thousands of workers develop skills needed for success in the innovation economy. By maintaining our commitment to higher education and job training, we can attract innovative businesses, help existing companies grow, and support the creation of good jobs that will expand middle class opportunity and help keep our economy moving in the right direction.” 

  • Symmetry Medical Manufacturing Inc. of Manchester received a grant of up to $41,204 to train 185 employees in lean fundamentals from the NH Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NHMEP) and in leadership, blue print reading, GD&T and Excel from Manchester Community College (MCC).
  • A grant of $10,958 was awarded to Wire Belt Company of America, Londonderry to train 18 employees in leadership at MCC.
  • Knott’s Land Care LLC of Amherst received a grant of $4,000 for two employees to be trained at Nashua Community College (NCC) in customer service, business and management.
  • Neoscope LLC of Portsmouth will use a grant of $1,848 to send one employee to the RSA Conference for internet security, analytics and privacy training.
  • High Liner Foods of Portsmouth received a grant of $6,125 to train 15 employees in 5S Kaizen and leadership at NHMEP.
  • TestVonics Inc. of Peterborough received a training grant of $5,500 for three employees to join the ISO 9001 Collaborative Program at NHMEP.
  • Extrusion Alternatives, Inc. of Portsmouth received a grant of $5,500 for four employees to participate in the ISO 9001 Collaborative Program at NHMEP.
  • Bigelow and Ashton, PA of Wolfeboro will use a $2,730 grant to train seven employees in the cyber security program development course at Neoscope Inc.

The Job Training Fund has awarded $8,478,760 in grants since October 2007, with employers contributing $11,165,588 for a total of $19,644,348 in new training for 24,900 New Hampshire workers. Companies interested in applying to the Job Training Fund should visit the fund’s web site at www.nhjobtrainingfund.org.

NextGen Climate NH: From Paris To NH — Why An International Climate Agreement Matters Here At Home

IMG_5606-2For  two weeks, world leaders gathered in Paris for COP 21, a climate change conference that resulted in a bold international agreement to address climate change and transition to clean energy.

Paris was an opportunity to solidify America’s leadership on climate action, but the work doesn’t end at COP21. We must seize this momentum in the weeks and months that follow, by continuing to push for even more aggressive targets if we want to avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change.

We already have solutions at hand to help tackle this problem, and American businesses are taking bold steps to address climate change and take advantage of the opportunities created by the transition to a clean energy economy—and the world should take note.

“Right now, we have in Paris more global leaders in one place at one time than ever before in history,” NextGen Climate President Tom Steyer told Amanda Little of the New Yorker Magazine. “That alone delivers a message to businesses that whoever is doing this, whoever is on the cutting edge in terms of providing the technology and services for this global project—they’re going to be giant. And whoever continues doing business as usual will wither.”

Transitioning to clean energy isn’t just good for the environment—it will create millions of new jobs and help ensure a prosperous economic future for our country.

In the weeks and months following COP21 in Paris, we must urge candidates and elected officials at every level to outline specific plans to tackle climate change—a problem that threatens both our local communities and our entire world.

Here in New Hampshire we’ve already shown climate leadership by joining a coalition of more than 50 state, provincial, and city governments that have pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050 through the Under2MOU.

Americans know that instead of saying this problem is too big or waiting for other countries to solve it, we must set ambitious goals and lay out a plan to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy and tackle this crisis head on. That’s how America will lead.

Climate change is the kind of challenge America was created to answer. We’re ready to make America the clean energy superpower of this century, which will cut pollution and protect our children’s health, while creating jobs and growing our economy.

(Video of NextGen Climate President Tom Steyer in Paris briefly explaining the importance on addressing the climate on a global scale.)

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.

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