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NH House Kills Planned Parenthood Investigation And Defunding Bill

Planned_Parenthood_logo.svgBipartisan majority rejects HJR 3, which called for an investigation into Planned Parenthood and defunding for all health centers providing abortion services

87 Republican Representatives join Democratic Colleagues in Rejecting Attacks on Reproductive Health Provider

Today, a bipartisan majority in the New Hampshire House rejected HJR 3, a bill that called for a state investigation into a variety of inflammatory and disputed allegations directed at Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.  The bill also would have blocked funding for women to get basic preventive services at Planned Parenthood health centers across the state — including affordable birth control, cancer screenings, HIV testing and other essential care. The measure was soundly defeated on a vote of 227 – 100.

“Planned Parenthood has been a trusted source of high-quality, compassionate and affordable health care in New Hampshire for 50 years — and that’s not going to change, no matter what our opponents throw at us,” said Jennifer Frizzell, vice president of the Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund.

“Today we saw our elected leaders from both parties stand up for New Hampshire women and families and reject the false and fraudulent attacks that are coming from a group of extreme legislators. That’s because despite what some politicians and pundits might say — access to reproductive health care is not a partisan issue in the Granite State,” continued Frizzell.  

“New Hampshire is a solidly pro-choice state and we applaud the House for standing up for their constituents to reject HJR 3. HJR 3 relied on the edited videos and claims of extreme, ideologically driven organizations that seek to interfere in a woman’s access to the full range of reproductive health options. We continue to stand with our allies at Planned Parenthood and other community health centers as they face a barrage of attacks from extreme politicians and organizations. Instead of protecting outdated workplace policies that discriminate against women and limiting reproductive rights, our priority in New Hampshire should be to guarantee fair opportunities for women to succeed and to take care of their families, and this vote is a step in the right direction,” said Kary Jencks, executive director of NH Citizens Alliance.

“Having children has huge personal, health, and economic impacts on women and their families, so guaranteed access to reproductive health care, including birth control, abortion, pre-natal and maternity care, is tied inextricably to a woman’s economic security,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress & Education Fund. “We thank Planned Parenthood and other community health centers for their dedication to ensuring women and their families, particularly those in medically underserved areas, have access to quality health care. Today’s vote against a nationally orchestrated smear campaign was the right one.”

Today’s vote comes just days after a 3-month investigation wrapped up in Texas, where the grand jury cleared Planned Parenthood of breaking any law. Of note, that same grand jury did hand down indictments for two individuals who were involved in making the allegations against Planned Parenthood public via covert recordings and illegal tactics. These findings and the similar exoneration of Planned Parenthood affiliates in more than 10 other state investigations in recent months has led to a national call for the GOP to give up its crusade against Planned Parenthood and the reproductive health care services it provides.

“The citizens of our state want their elected officials to keep us moving forward – not backward – on women’s health. Today’s vote demonstrates that legislators from both parties reject these coordinated attacks that seek to end access to safe, legal abortion, ” concluded Frizzell.

More than 14,000 women, men and young people rely on Planned Parenthood health centers in New Hampshire for high-quality, affordable health care. With 33 percent of Planned Parenthood health centers providing care in rural or medically underserved areas statewide, Planned Parenthood serves as an essential source of primary and preventive health care in New Hampshire.

New Hampshire Issue Advocacy Groups Join Forces, Rally Ahead of Democratic Presidential Debate

Rally and Downtown March Called on Democratic Candidates to Articulate Vision for a Clean Energy Future, Invest in Economic Security for Families and Small Businesses, and Put Voters Ahead of Special Interests

2015-12-19 march 1MANCHESTER, NH – Today, more than 20 issue advocacy groups gathered in Manchester to share a collective vision for a better future in advance of the New Hampshire Democratic Primary Debate.  The march and rally, titled “The Future We Want,” made its way down Elm Street in a show of unity. The march began at the Radisson Hotel, where leaders from across the region discussed how the activist community is coming together to demand action on the issues that matter to New Hampshire and the nation.

“There are so many great organizations doing important work in the state,” said Mike Padmore, State Director for NextGen Climate New Hampshire. “Every group here is working together for justice and progress, by protecting our planet, restoring democracy through campaign finance reform, supporting reproductive rights, investing in economic security for working families and defending the refugees seeking safety and a better life.”

Close to 200 people attended the event. Participants discussed how their work supports a unified vision to move our state and country forward and the importance of working together to ensure a fairer and more just future for all Americans. New Hampshire has a long tradition of using its First-in-the-Nation Primary status to vet candidates on the issues that matter most to Americans and for months Granite State “bird dogs” – issue advocates that follow the candidates and pin them down on the tough questions – have worked the Democratic Primary field. Rally speakers pointed to tonight’s Democratic Primary Debate, happening just two miles away at St. Anselm College’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics, calling it an opportunity for candidates to be champions of justice and progress.

“In New Hampshire, we have a unique opportunity to be in the spotlight of the national conversation in the months leading up to the First in the Nation primary” said Will Hopkins, Executive Director of New Hampshire Peace Action. “With that opportunity comes an important responsibility to engage with the candidates and articulate a vision for the future that demands strong leadership on the issues that matter to Granite Staters.”

The participating organizations from today’s rally and march will continue to work together to articulate and demonstrate a fair, just, and progressive vision for America during the Presidential Primary.

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NextGen Climate NH is a non-profit, non-partisan dedicated to averting climate disaster and promoting prosperity for all Americans. NextGen is calling on our elected leaders to get America to 50% renewable energy by 2030.

350 Action is pushing presidential candidates during the New Hampshire Primary to keep fossil fuels in the ground. It empowers New Hampshire residents to use creative direct action and bird dogging to influence our leaders.

Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems.

People For the American Way is dedicated to making the promise of America real for every American: Equality. Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. The right to seek justice in a court of law. The right to cast a vote that counts. The American Way. Our operational mission is to promote the American Way and defend it from attack, to build and nurture communities of support for our values, and to equip those communities to promote progressive policies, elect progressive candidates, and hold public officials accountable.

Moms Clean Air Force is a community of parents working together to combat air pollution, including the urgent crisis of our changing climate – to protect our children’s health.

The American Friends Service Committee’s “Governing Under the Influence” project is a non-partisan, educational effort to raise awareness about the excessive power held by the ultra-wealthy and major corporations, especially those that profit from militarism and incarceration.  To date the project has trained more than 1000 NH people to be effective “bird dogs,” brought its giant GUI banners to dozens of political events, sponsored educational programs with hundreds of participants, and engaged all major presidential candidates in substantive discussions about nuclear weapons spending, the immigrant detention mandate, the influence of the military industrial complex, and other issues.

The cross-partisan NH Rebellion has mobilized thousands of citizen rebels to #FightBigMoney in politics by walking the talk for democracy all across the Granite State – 30,000 miles and counting. #NHRebellion educates candidates and voters on how our democracy could be fixed through its We the People pledge,  including overturning Citizens United, ending the Legislator to Lobbyist revolving door, requiring donation transparency, and other reforms. #NHRebellion is part of Open Democracy, the nonpartisan organization founded by legendary reformer Doris “Granny D” Haddock.

The New Hampshire AFL-CIO is a strong statewide voice for all working people, bringing together the unions of New Hampshire under one banner to fight for economic and social justice in our workplaces and communities.

Rights and Democracy is bringing people together to take action to build healthy communities and make the values of our communities guide the policies of our government. Together, we create change through grassroots organizing, educating and mobilizing around the issues that affect our communities, recruiting and training candidates to run for office, and working through the political and electoral process to advance progressive policies that lead to happy, healthy, and just communities for everyone.

New Hampshire Sierra Club represents over 15,000 Members and Supporters who care about the environment and the future of the Granite State. NHSC supports pollution-free clean energy future that can benefit the local economy and create jobs, like energy efficiency, wind and solar energy. Our goal is to have a zero carbon polluting economy by the year 2050.

The members of New Hampshire Peace Action are dedicated to making a contribution to world peace. We envision a world in which nuclear disarmament, mutual security, global understanding, international cooperation and respect for human rights create social, economic, and environmental benefits for all humanity.

Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England in New Hampshire. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including legislative education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy. Follow us on Twitter.

After nearly 40 years NH Citizens Alliance continues to lead the movement for social and economic justice in the Granite State. We focus on creating a more engaged electorate through issue education, leadership development and voter engagement and mobilization. Central to our work is a women’s economic justice framework. We must take action now to ensure that women have equal rights and receive fair treatment on the job, in health care and in the new economy.

Better Future Project works to build powerful grassroots movements to address the climate crisis and advance a rapid and responsible transition beyond fossil fuels in Massachusetts and beyond.

350 Massachusetts for a Better Future is building a powerful statewide social movement to confront the climate crisis, hold our politicians accountable and undermine the destructive influence of the fossil fuel industry.

 The UNH Peace and Justice League is a social justice advocacy group.  We have worked on issues ranging from the student debt crisis at UNH to the nationwide issue of money in politics.

Divest UNH is pressuring the University of New Hampshire to divest their endowment from fossil fuels.  No one, especially universities, should be profiting of the devastating effects of climate change.  Our goal is not just to push the University of New Hampshire to divest but to create a long lasting student movement to fight for climate justice.

At the Organic Garden Club we manage an organic farm on campus.  Our goal is to provide a place for students to learn how to garden and to educate our community on where their food comes from.

The UNH Student Environmental Action Coalition is a collaborative of sustainability initiatives and committees seeking to promote a better environment and a stronger community

350NH is a climate movement of neighbors. We work as a community to turn off new fossil fuel infrastructure and turn on New Hampshire’s potential for a renewable energy future.

Rallying for Democracy at the State House

2015-04-02 McCutcheon Rally 1

Democracy activists held dozens of rallies around the country today to mark the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s McCutcheon decision.

Nationwide, the rallies focused on public disclosure of political contributions by federal contractors. Organizers urged President Obama to issue an executive order requiring any company that receives a federal contract to disclose its campaign contributions.

In New Hampshire, that issue was also raised last week by presumed presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul.  “I think special interests have too much influence in Washington,” he told the Conway Daily Sun.  “I think what makes people mad is, say you’re a contractor and you get a billion-dollar contract, the first million you take is to hire lobbyists to get you more.”

The Sunlight Foundation recently studied the 200 corporations which have been most politically active at the federal level.  The Foundation found that for every dollar spent influencing politics, the corporations received an average of $760 back from the government in contracts, tax breaks or other support.

Groups around the country organized rallies today to draw attention to the issue of political activity influencing federal contracts, and to pressure President Obama to take action on the issue.

However, at the New Hampshire State House today, the McCutcheon anniversary rally took a more rebellious tone.

Speaker Jim Reubens, a Republican candidate for US Senate in 2014, spoke about the campaign for a Constitutional Convention which could revise our form of government and reduce the influence of Big Money.

Speaker Arnie Alpert, NH Co-Director of the American Friends Service Committee, led rally attendees in a reading of Article 10 of the New Hampshire Constitution:

[Art.] 10. [Right of Revolution.] Government being instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security, of the whole community, and not for the private interest or emolument of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.  June 2, 1784

As the Stamp Stampede mobile billboard circled the State House, some attendees reflected on “Head Stamper” Ben Cohen’s observation to the Portsmouth Herald last month. “It’s becoming the rule of the corporations and the ultra wealthy elite instead of the rule of the people,” he said. “The whole history of this country has been people revolting against elitism.”

The two dozen activists returned to the State House today less than a day after a massive rally protesting decisions by the House of Representatives to cut needed government programs rather than raise tax revenues. “These are the types of decisions that cause voters to question the loyalty of our elected officials,” said Paul Brochu, StampStampede Lead Organizer-NH.  “Budgets are, above all else, choices about priorities.  In a more-perfect world, our elected officials would make these sort of decisions based on the best interests of their constituents. But we live in a world where political donations speak louder than votes.”  Read more here and here.

Today’s rally was organized by the New Hampshire Rebellion, in partnership with the Stamp Stampede, AFSC-Governing Under the Influence project, People for the American Way and NH Citizens Alliance.

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The Stamp Stampede is tens of thousands of Americans legally stamping messages on our nation’s currency to #GetMoneyOut of Politics. As more and more stamped money spreads, so will the movement to amend the Constitution and overturn Citizens United.

You can get your own stamp online at www.stampstampede.org. Or, if you’re a member of CWA, you can get a stamp from your LPAT coordinator. The average stamped bill is seen by 875 people – which makes stamping a highly-effective way to get the message out about how money in politics is corrupting our government.

It’s time to #GetMoneyOut of politics and take back our government.

NH House Republicans Push Through Their Immoral Reckless Budget

 

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Today hundreds of Granite Staters filled the State Capitol building holding signs and asking legislators to oppose these reckless cuts to the New Hampshire budget.  Labor leaders, community activists and concerned citizens delivered over 800 signed petitions opposing these reckless budget cuts.

“A budget is a statement of our priorities as a community and in that sense it is an expression of our values,” explained the Rev. Jonathan Hopkins, President of the NH Council of Churches and pastor of Concordia Lutheran Church. “Our faith leads us to pay attention to the common good, not just to the interests of individuals. Our faith calls for a budget that is fair and just.”

One area of the proposed budget cuts that drew outrage today were the cuts to social programs to help people overcome their additions to drugs and alcohol. Hundred gathered and participated in a “die in” on the State House steps. (Images above of the ‘die in’ courtesy of Steve Kloppenburg)

Their voices and concerns were ignored as the House Republicans pushed through their budget with devastating cuts to a variety of state programs.

“In amending the House Finance Committee-recommended budget that already hurt families, undermined business growth and took our economy backward, Republicans in the House of Representatives managed today to make a reckless budget even worse,” stated Governor Maggie Hassan. (Full Statement Here)

“To gain the support of Bill O’Brien and the Koch Brothers, House Republicans passed a budget today that is so extreme that even the Republican House Finance Chair admitted that our state would suffer if it were actually enacted,” said Ray Buckley, Chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party.

“The House did a fantastic job of making New Hampshire more free market and more competitive, and forth and for most it takes out all the tax increases,” said AFP State Director Greg Moore in an press conference last week.

During the debate on the House floor Representative William O’Brien, who pushed a similar budget cuts through the House in 2011 when he was Speaker, offered an amendment to raid the state’s “Rainy Day Fund” to find extra money to make their budget work.

“From raiding dedicated funds to downshifting costs onto local communities, the O’Brien-Jasper budget proves once again that New Hampshire Republicans can’t be taken seriously on fiscal responsibility,” said Buckley. “Possibly the most fiscally irresponsible action in the O’Brien-Jasper budget deal — and that’s saying something — is O’Brien’s floor amendment to empty the state’s rainy day fund.”

“As lawmakers entered the State House, today they were greeted by hundreds of protesters decrying the O’Brien-Jasper budget’s drastic cuts. But instead of listening to the outcry from every corner of the state, O’Brien and Jasper decided to wipe out the state’s rainy day fund and threaten a credit downgrade to make even deeper cuts, including cutting funding for community colleges, further cutting our already strained corrections system, and laying off nurses at New Hampshire hospital,” continued Buckley.

“Voters will not stand for the fiscally irresponsible Jasper-O’Brien budget that empties the state’s rainy day fund, raids dedicated funds, slashes critical economic priorities for small businesses and middle class families, and downshifts costs onto local property taxpayers,” concluded Buckley.

One of the budget tactics used by Republicans to fund their disastrous budget would reverse the pay increased negotiated by the State Employees Association. These are the same workers who are now facing the potential of massive layoffs.

“When I was a child growing up in NH, the state leaders were fiscally conservative and responsible,” said Richard Gulla, President of SEA/SEIU Local 1984. “The legislature was primarily Republican and when need be, they would find ways to raise revenue for items our state’s citizens needed and there was a good balance between revenue and spending. That is no longer the case.”

The Tea Party extremists have taken over the House and refuse to raise revenues even though the state desperately needs it.

“The members of SEA/SEIU 1984 want our state to be a safe place for everyone to live, work, and prosper. The NH House budget does not promote these priorities – it disrupts them,” wrote the State Employees Association. “Even though they did not prevail, we salute the legislators who voted in favor of funding the state employees’ contract.”

“While today’s vote was gravely disappointing, we now look to the NH Senate to prepare a budget that is frugal yet reasonable and responsible,” concluded the SEA.

Community groups and fiscal watchdogs were quick to blast Republicans in the House for passing this budget that is guaranteed to harm our state and our economy.

“The House version of the budget is foolhardy and shortsighted. It unnecessarily pits important state priorities against one another rather than making real investments in our community, our infrastructure, and our people,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress. “It kicks the can down the road on identifying reasonable revenue sources that ensure the wealthy and corporations are paying their fair share, and it turns its back on programs that, if funded today, will save our state money in the long run.”

“The House budget pits vital public services against one another in an attempt to achieve a misguided sense of balance. This budget puts many of our state’s most vulnerable residents at risk, forcing cities and towns — and local taxpayers – to take on greater responsibilities and to face higher costs in the long run,” said New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute Executive Director Jeff McLynch. (Full Statement Here)

Now we look to the New Hampshire Senate to see how they blend their two proposals together and craft the budget for the next two years. We already know that the Senate passed a business tax reduction that gives away millions to businesses while force deeper cuts to state agencies.

Will the Senate find a way to fix the cuts proposed by the House, or will they bend to the Tea Party extremists and force New Hampshire backwards?

 

Related article and recommended reading:

Republican Budget Cuts In New Hampshire Provoke Backlash From Clergy

 

Granite Staters Ask Senator Ayotte To Take The Minimum Wage Challenge

Image from NH Alliance For Retired Americans

Image from NH Alliance For Retired Americans

This week members of the New Hampshire Alliance for Retired American, New Hampshire Citizens Alliance, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) challenged Senator Kelly Ayotte to live on minimum wage for a week.

The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour that leads many to make choices between feeding their families and filling their gas tanks. This is why millions of Americans support raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.

Senator Ayotte supported the GOP filibuster that blocked an “up and down” down of raising the minimum wage.

Activists argued that Senator Ayotte should spend a week in the shoes of a minimum wage worker by joining Reps. Jan Schakowsky, Tim Ryan, Barbara Lee, Mark Takano, and former Gov. Ted Strickland in taking the Minimum Wage Challenge and living on $77 for a week, the take home pay of a minimum wage worker.

“In 1992, my family and I fled our country, the former Yugoslavia, due to the civil war,” said Nina Mujakovic, small business owner. “Since 1998, my family and I have worked very hard to 77 dollars a weekgain back what we lost. We have obtained our American Dream and others need to have the opportunity to achieve theirs. An increase in minimum wage will help them along that path.”

Activist displayed what the reality of a $77.00 food basket looked like.

“Raising the minimum wage is a no-brainer in so many ways,” added Lucy Edward, a member of the Alliance for Retired Americans. “Better incomes lead to a better standard of living, and better health, reducing health care costs. Better incomes lead to better funding for schools, leading to more educated young people who will again have better jobs and even start their own businesses. Raising the minimum wage, and other policies that support working families, are a positive feedback economic engine.”

At the event, Lucy Edwards highlighted how raising the minimum wage will help strengthen our Social Security system.

“Once you understand that the Social Security benefit is calculated on lifetime earnings, and that the Trust Fund is funded from current earnings, you can immediately see that if a person makes more money, not only do their benefits on retirement increase, but the amount they pay into the Social Security Trust Fund increases today. Raising the Federal minimum wage, passing the Paycheck Equity legislation through Congress, and funding projects that create jobs all bring immediate returns to the Trust Fund, extending its ability to pay full benefits into the future.”

You can read Lucy’s full statement at the NH Alliance For Retired Americans Blog.

Activists vowed to watch and wait to see if Senator Ayotte would accept the challenge to live on minimum wage for a week. They are hopeful that she will then understand the difficulty of getting by on $77 a week.

Will Senator Ayotte accept the Minimum Wage Challenge and take one week to see what it is like for the millions of Americans struggling to survive on the minimum wage?   Odds are against it, but with pressure from people like you, that could change.

How Free Local Programs Are Building Strong Community Leaders (by Rep Sylvia Gale)

Looking for Leaders …..Everywhere
By Rep Sylvia Gale

Rep Sylvia Gale

Rep Sylvia Gale

We are at that time of year when many schools and colleges are wrapping up the academic year and graduation time looms near.

I have noticed over the past several years that many Leadership Programs have also been established, often by local Chambers of Commerce and other government and business oriented organizations to identify and develop those who are identified as leaders for the future.  Some, if not all of these Leadership programs charge fees for the privilege of participation and these programs vary in length, but often run concurrently with the traditional academic calendar. Over the past year I have become aware of several other Leadership Programs that are cultivating Leadership among much more diverse and somewhat surprising demographics.

One of the longest-standing peer-Leadership programs is the NH Women’s Leadership Series sponsored and developed by New Hampshire Citizens Alliance.  Now in its 7th year, this program offers a 6-week course which teaches skills from Analyzing Power and Fundraising 101 to How to Run a Successful Issue or Political Campaign.  Over the years, more than 200 women from all walks of life throughout New Hampshire have participated, ranging in age from 16-89 years old, and to date at least three former attendees have now been elected to the NH House of Representatives!  Other participating members have gone on to open new businesses and to accept leadership roles in various grassroots organizing campaigns.

This year, the NH Coalition to End Homelessness initiated the NH Granite Leaders Program.   Over the course of six months, more than 25 individuals from across the state who have been homeless in the past, or who are currently without safe and stable housing have participated in this inaugural program.  Through a variety of community and corporate sponsorships and partnerships this program was designed and delivered to build Leadership skills within the homeless and formerly homeless community, increasing their capacity to take on influential roles on issues pertinent to their lives.

As an elected member of the NH House of Representatives I was honored to host this class at the NH State House for one of their first sessions.  In collaboration with the League of NH Women Voters and Senate President Morse and Senator D’Allesandro the participants were provided with information as to How a Bill Becomes a Law and a vigorous question and answer session as to how voters can bring their ideas  forward into the Legislative arena as well as how to fully participate in that process from voting, to testifying in Committees and how best to convey their concerns and positions to their elected officials throughout all levels of state and municipal government.

Two weeks ago I had the honor of attending the Graduation Exercises for the Emerging Leaders Program in Nashua that was produced and delivered through a collaboration between the Adult Learning Center and the Granite State Organizing Project, with support from the Greater Nashua Interfaith Council.  During this event each of the nineteen graduates delivered a speech on what the 6-week sessions had meant to them and what they were taking away with them as a result of having completed this program.  Each of these very proud graduates, coming from a vast array of cultural, educational, and socio-economic backgrounds gave the program high praise and expressed gratitude for the self-esteem building and personal goal-setting skills that they had gained from their participation.

What is common to all of these Leadership Programs is the strength of relationship building that goes on throughout the time these program participants are spending together on a shared course of learning and development.   I applaud the accomplishments of all of those who have completed their individual and group course and project requirements this year, and look forward with great excitement to see these emerging leaders take their next steps toward making our local and statewide communities more welcoming, inclusive, and accessible to all!

Representative Sylvia E. Gale
Hills 28- Nashua Ward 1

 

 

 

Special Session On Medicaid Expansion Tomorrow. Sen Larson Says There Is Still Work To Be Done

The debate over expanding Medicaid to over 50,000 Granite Staters in New Hampshire is coming to a head.  Legislators will meet for a special session, hopefully to vote on the expansion.   Legislators need to reach an agreement now so we can begin the expansion on January 1st.

The issue is that there is two different plans for the expansion in the Senate. While there has been compromise on both sides, the GOP in the Senate is refusing to take the final step to seal the deal.

Senate Democratic Leader Sylvia Larsen released the following statement on behalf of the Senate Democratic Caucus:

“We continue to be open to accepting constructive ideas that will create a functioning system to get people coverage and we recognize Senate Republicans for continuing to seek ways to strengthen the health and financial well-being of hard-working families by expanding healthcare coverage to over 50,000 of our residents.”

“But a health insurance plan that fails before it gets started, that doesn’t work, like the Senate Republican plan, is not a plan at all. Senate Democrats will not vote for the Republican Senate bill that fails the people of New Hampshire and forces thousands to lose coverage, all to meet an artificial, politically-imposed timeline.”

“The Governor and Democrats in the Legislature have offered a significant compromise. Now it is time for our Republican colleagues in the Senate to be willing to compromise and work with us on a plan that can be implemented with a timeline that our insurance providers, health providers and federal oversight agencies agree can be rolled out responsibly. Despite how far we’ve come, despite how close our proposals are, Senate Republicans refuse to consider any timeline other than the unworkable plan in their bill.”

“Ideology does not separate these two bills, it’s practicality. The Republican Senate bill doesn’t work, we look forward to negotiating constructively to develop realistic deadlines.”

You can help make your voice heard on the expansion of Medicaid.  The New Hampshire Citizens Alliance is hosting a Medicaid Expansion lobby day at the State House tomorrow.  Be at the State House at 9:30 am tomorrow (11/21).  As your Representatives and Senators come into the special session take a moment and tell them you want them to support the expansion.

If you cannot make it tomorrow, take a couple of minutes to contact your Representatives and Senators tonight to tell them how you feel.

NH Citizens Alliance and NH Peace Action Oppose Chained CPI And Call For End To Pentagon Waste

As everyone already knows the President has released his budget and the masses have begun to revolt.  The main issue of the revolt is cuts to Social Security.  The cuts at face value appear minor but will result in  a significantly lower Social Security check for those who are already struggling to stay afloat.

Many organizations including the AFL-CIO have come out against the Presidents budget and specifically the ‘chained CPI’.  Today a New Hampshire based organization has come out opposing cutting Social Security as well as proposed a solution.

The first of two statements come from Will Hopkins, Executive Director of NH Peace Action. Hopkins is an Iraq war veteran from Company Cco3-172nd INF NHANG based in Iraq from March 2004 to February 2005.

Left Melissa Bernardin, Right Will Hopkins, at Senator Ayotte's office on 2-27-12 calling to 'Pull the Pork' on Pentagon Spending

Left Melissa Bernardin, Right Will Hopkins, at Senator Ayotte’s office on 2-27-12 calling to ‘Pull the Pork’ on Pentagon Spending

“Since 2001, Pentagon spending has skyrocketed, more than doubling over the decade. We spend tens of billions more on the Pentagon today than we did during either Vietnam or the Cold War, even adjusting for inflation. At a time when almost no one in Washington agrees on anything, almost everyone agrees it’s time to cut Pentagon bloat. Military leaders, national security experts — even some forward-looking Pentagon contractors — agree that reductions are necessary and coming.

“Reshaping the bloated Pentagon budget to fit our actual needs saves money to be invested in other priorities right here at home, and it can be done without jeopardizing our troops or our safety.  As a veteran whose boots were on the ground in Iraq, I resent that members of Congress are even considering gutting programs that benefit the American people, in order to keep outdated and unnecessary Pentagon programs and bloated CEO salaries. This should be an easy choice. Congress needs to Pull the Pork from the Pentagon instead of exploring options that hurt the pocketbook of American veterans.”

Echoing Hopkins is Melissa Bernardin, Coordinator for NH Citizens Alliance’s Campaign to End Pentagon Waste.

“There is absolutely no reason why Congress should even consider cutting benefits for seniors and veterans when there are clear examples of Pentagon waste that could be addressed first, like the amendment to eliminate the ‘missile to nowhere’ that Senator Kelly Ayotte introduced.

“It’s time for Congress to commit once and for all to ending Pentagon waste and instead shift that spending into housing, health care, education, and infrastructure repair. We are calling for a fundamental restructuring of our priorities so that we can pay for programs that create jobs and protect our communities.”

U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte introduced and secured passage of an amendment in late March to eliminate the “missile to nowhere” program – a weapons system that the Army will never procure. Advocates say it is one of many examples of Pentagon waste that could be eliminated to allow Congress to instead use the budget in a more appropriate way for domestic priorities.

According to a recent Forbes article, several veterans’ organizations have come out against chained CPI, including Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), AMVETs and the Blinded Veterans Association. U.S. Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter was one of 107 House Democrats who signed a Feb. 15 letter opposing benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

NH Citizens Alliance Now Accepting Summer Associate Internship Applicants

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NH Citizens Alliance 2012 Interns

New Hampshire Citizens Alliance is looking for a few motivated, bright progressives to participate in its summer associate program, a volunteer internship opportunity at its downtown Concord office. NHCA is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a thirty-five-year history of working towards social, economic, and political justice in the Granite State. Be sure to apply today at www.NHCitizensAlliance.org!

The program is open to college students, recent graduates, and anyone looking to learn more about a career in progressive advocacy and education at a non-profit. It provides in-depth and hands-on training in the areas of policymaking, non-profit management, research, communications, and community organizing. It is also a great chance to network with members of the progressive community in New Hampshire.

This is not your average summer internship – past summer associates have taken on a variety of projects, including:

  • Planning, recruiting, and presenting at educational events on various topics
  • Helping to plan and implement large fundraising events
  • Developing an informational website about the impact of the new federal health care law on women, senior citizens, and small businesses
  • Meeting with Congressional leaders’ staff about important issues affecting Granite Staters
  • Participating in rallies on various issues
  • Asking tough questions of candidates and elected officials at public events
  • Researching candidate positions on issues
  • Helping with communications including drafting media releases, maintaining organization website, and updating social media
  • Maintaining day-to-day office operations
  • And much more!

NH Citizens AllianceThe 2013 program runs from June to early August and associates give 10 hours per week. Most work is done out of NHCA’s Concord office, but associates may also have the opportunity to travel to events around the state. The program is unpaid, but associates receive a small stipend for travel and parking.

To apply and learn more about NHCA and the summer associate program, please visit www.NHCitizensAlliance.org. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until positions are filled.

Protect Millionaires? The Sequester Didn’t Have to Be

NH Citizens Alliance for Action calls on Congress to end the cuts by reining in Pentagon Waste and Making Big Corporations and Millionaires pay their Fair Share 

NH Citizens AllianceConcord, NH — NH Citizens Alliance for Action Interim Executive Director Kary Nealle Jencks issued the following statement on the automatic federal spending cuts, or “sequester”:

“Sequester never had to happen. And it should not have happened. At a time when our communities and our families are just starting to do better, the last thing we need is one million people forced out of work between now and the end of the year. The last thing we need is services to families cut, things like nutrition for mothers and babies eliminated, teachers laid off, and food inspectors and air traffic controllers furloughed.

“Instead of standing for a common sense budget solution Congressional Republicans chose to side with corporate campaign contributors. They made it happen to protect millionaires and big corporations from paying their fair share. But there is a way out of this mess.

“Everyone must pay their fair share. Congress needs to end tax breaks for corporations that ship jobs overseas and start requiring the wealthiest Americans pay taxes at the same rate they paid in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. And once and for all, it is time to put an end to wasteful Pentagon spending – beginning with the albatross known as the F-35 fighter jet.

“The issue before us today is not the size of our government. The issue is who our government works for – the super-rich and CEO campaign contributors or working families and the middle class? We need a Congress that stands – and an America that works – for all of us. Because we are all in this together.”

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