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Seventy-Eight New Hampshire State House Reps Endorse Hillary

Seventy-Eight New Hampshire Democratic State Representatives Endorse Hillary Clinton for President in Open Letter, Less than Sixty Days Ahead of the Primary

Manchester – Seventy-eight New Hampshire state representatives endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, in an open letter to the House Democratic caucus, citing her comprehensive plans to tackle student debt, lower prescription drug costs, encourage profit-sharing, and combat substance abuse. The group of respected legislators represent diverse communities across the Granite State.  

“We are coming together to support Hillary Clinton – and hope more of our colleagues will join us – because her tenacity, passion, and depth of knowledge are unmatched,” said Concord State Representative and former House majority leader Mary Jane Wallner. “Representing towns and families across the state, we know about the challenges that keep them up at night.  All through the summer and fall, Hillary Clinton has been laying out bold, detailed proposals to tackle those concerns and make a difference for Granite State families as President.”

The joint endorsement is the latest evidence that support for Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire continues to grow.  The seventy-eight legislators represent nearly half of the Democratic caucus in the State House and are close to double the percentage of total Democratic state representatives that endorsed her candidacy in New Hampshire in 2008.

“I am supporting Hillary Clinton because she has a real plan to address gun violence in this country–and she has been working hard on this issue for most of her career,” said Rep. Katherine Rogers of Concord. “As a country, we need to take a hard look at this issue and tackle it head on. Hillary Clinton is the only candidate who I trust to do just that.”

“Hillary Clinton is committed to supporting small businesses and growing local economies, which is exactly what families in New Hampshire need: the opportunity to get ahead and stay ahead,” said Rep. Ed Butler of Hart’s Location. “Through her visits and relationships with many Granite Staters, Hillary has come to know New Hampshire well – and we have gotten to know Hillary. I am certain she’s the candidate we need.”

“I’ve been impressed with Hillary Clinton’s commitment to solving the issues that impact Granite Staters,” said Rep. Mary Heath of Manchester. “Whether its her plan to tackle student debt and college affordability–which New Hampshire families struggle with–or her commitment to addressing the gender pay gap, Hillary knows our state and will be our champion.”

“What has impressed me so much about Hillary Clinton is the way that she took what she heard in Keene and crafted an in depth policy that would really help our communities,” said Rep. Will Pearson of Keene. “Hillary has engaged with Keene voters in an unprecedented way–and her comprehensive plan to tackle substance abuse is proof that she hears us and will fight to help.”

“I’ve gotten a chance to meet Hillary Clinton several times, and she is the hardest working, most committed candidate I’ve seen in a long time,” said Rep. Sharon Nordgren of Hanover. “She does not over-promise. She is realistic, and doesn’t back down from a fight. Her plans are smart and won’t result in a massive tax increase on working and middle class families. I endorse her as the Democratic candidate for president, and I hope others will join me.”

“In the southern part of the state, families cannot afford a president who is singularly focused on one issue,” said Rep. Latha Mangipudi of Nashua. “Our country continues to face huge obstacles and confront serious issues. We need a tried and tested leader with the type of experience and determination that is part of the fabric of who Hillary Clinton is.”

“Whether it’s her plan to tackle prescription drug costs or her determination to protect and improve on the Affordable Care Act, Hillary will not turn her back on seniors and families struggling to make ends meet,” said Rep. Thomas Sherman of Rye. “She knows that we cannot afford a tax increase, but we need a champion in the White House. I believe she’s the leader we need.”

“The fact that Hillary Clinton came to New Hampshire, heard about substance abuse, and immediately got to work on putting together a plan to combat this issue has convinced me that she is the best candidate in this race,” said Rep. Bill Hatch of Gorham. “Hillary will make a real difference for the north country.”


Letter to the House Democratic Caucus:

To our fellow members of the New Hampshire House Democratic Caucus:

The New Hampshire primary is an ongoing conversation, from the day each candidate announces to the day Granite Staters cast their votes. We have the opportunity to shape the national discussion – and the responsibility to shine a light on the issues that affect our communities.

Though the primary is still months away, Hillary Clinton has already proven that she is listening to us – and responding with real solutions.  It demonstrates her real concern for the issues facing us in New Hampshire, and for the people who live here.

Here are just a few of the new initiatives she has proposed so far:

Tackling student debt: By now we should all be aware that New Hampshire students carry some of the highest average student debt in the nation. Our state colleges and universities are excellent and we should be proud of them – but we need to make sure our students can afford to attend them. Clinton’s New College Compact could save families thousands per year.  It would allow every public college student to graduate without borrowing for tuition, allow anyone who has debt to refinance it at a lower rate and make community college free.

Lowering prescription costs: New Hampshire is one of the oldest states in the nation. Seniors here also pay more than the national average for prescription drugs.  Combined we have a costly problem.  As a solution, Hillary Clinton is proposing bold initiatives: demand a stop to excessive profiteering and marketing costs by encouraging innovation, lower costs by limiting out-of-pocket spending, leverage America’s negotiating power, and with careful protections for safety and quality, allow Americans to import prescription medication.   We can also count on her to defend Obamacare from repeal and strengthen it by making it more affordable for more people.

Encouraging profit-sharing to raise wages: Nationally corporate profits are close to record levels, but Americans’ paychecks have not kept pace. The vision for the economy Clinton has presented prioritizes raising hard-working Americans’ incomes with a tax credit for businesses that implement profit-sharing.  One local example is Market Basket, which gives employees a stake in the company’s success through a generous profit-sharing program. In short, Clinton believes workers should share in the profits they help produce.  We do too.

Combating substance abuse: We all know the grave toll that addiction and substance abuse has taken in New Hampshire. We hear stories from our neighbors every day, perhaps the epidemic has even touched our own families. Hillary Clinton has taken this issue seriously from the moment a New Hampshire voter raised it with her on the first day of her campaign – and she has released by far the most comprehensive policy plan to combat substance abuse in our communities.  She would help communities implement evidence-based educational prevention programs, expand access to treatment and recovery, equip first responders with the potentially life-saving antidote, prevent dangerous overprescribing of prescription drugs, and prioritize rehabilitation and treatment over incarceration.

Our next president must protect our recent successes and find common ground to build on them with future achievements. Hillary Clinton has a clear vision for our country and the tenacity to get us there. We are proud to support her candidacy for president– and we encourage you to join us. 


Rep. Mary Jane Wallner of Concord

Rep. Laura Pantelakos of Portsmouth

Rep. David Borden of New Castle

Rep. Mike Cahill of Newmarket

Rep. Will Pearson of Keene

Rep. David Karrick of Warner

Rep. Karen Ebel of New London

Rep. Pam Gordon of Portsmouth

Rep. David Woodbury of New Boston

Rep. Ken Gidge of Nashua

Rep. Patricia Lovejoy of Stratham

Rep. Caroletta Alicea of Boscawen

Rep. Mel Myler of Hopkinton

Rep. Sharon Nordgren of Hanover

Rep. James Mackay of Concord

Rep. Lucy Weber of Walpole

Rep. Skip Berrien of Exeter

Rep. Bill Hatch of Gorham

Rep. Mary Stuart Gile of Concord

Rep. Yvonne Thomas of Berlin

Rep. Ben Baroody of Manchester

Rep. Wendy Piper of Enfield

Rep. Andrew O’Hearne of Claremont

Rep. Mary Heath of Manchester

Rep. Tom Southworth of Dover

Rep. Ed Butler of Hart’s Location

Rep. Latha Mangipudi of Nashua

Rep. Rebecca Brown of Sugar Hill

Rep. Alexis Simpson of Exeter

Rep. Mary Freitas of Manchester

Rep. Tom Buco of Conway

Rep. Martha Hennessey of Hanover

Rep. Thomas Sherman of Rye

Rep. Alan Turcotte of Allenstown

Rep. Marjorie Porter of Hillsborough

Rep. Suzanne Gottling of Sunapee

Rep. David Cote of Nashua

Rep. Jim Verschueren of Dover

Rep. Naidia Kaen of Lee

Rep. David Doherty of Pembroke

Rep. June Frazer of Concord

Rep. Pam Brown of Nashua

Rep. Douglas Ley of Jaffrey

Rep. Larry Converse of Claremont

Rep. Ray Gagnon of Claremont

Rep. Deborah DiFranco of Portsmouth

Rep. Kris Roberts of Keene

Rep. Paula Francese of Exeter

Rep. Jean Jeudy of Manchester

Rep. Mario Ratzki of East Andover

Rep. Susan Treleaven of Dover

Rep. Jacqueline Cali-Pitts of Portsmouth

Rep. Linda Kenison of Concord

Rep. Robert Walsh of Manchester

Rep. Christy Dolat Bartlett of Concord

Rep. Michael Abbott of Hinsdale

Rep. Suzanne Smith of Hebron

Rep. Harold Rice of Concord

Rep. Linda DiSilvestro of Manchester

Rep. Robert Backus of Manchester

Rep. Gerry Ward of Portsmouth

Rep. Rebecca McBeath of Portmouth

Rep. David Luneau of Hopkinton

Rep. Katherine Rogers of Concord

Rep. Patricia Cornell of Manchester

Rep. Janet Wall of Durham

Rep. Marge Shepardson of Marlborough

Rep. Susan Almy of Lebanon

Rep. Deanna Rollo of Rollinsford

Rep. Ken Ward of Rollinsford

Rep. Paul Berch of Wesmoreland

Rep. Gladys Johnsen of Keene

Rep. Lee Guerette of Nashua

Rep. Richard Ames of Jaffrey

Rep. Deb Wheeler of Northfield

Rep. Kermit Williams of Wilton

Rep. Paula Bradley of Concord

Rep. Kevin Maes of Thornton


Canterbury Residents Push For Medicaid Expansion In Town Meeting (InZane Times)

Twenty Canterbury residents exchanged perspectives with their three State Representatives at the town’s Meeting House Saturday morning.  Long-time Representative Priscilla Lockwood, and first-termers Howard Moffett and Lorrie Carey fielded questions on topics including unsatisfactory road conditions, tar sands, burdens on municipal government, building codes, GMOs, and the influence of corporations on elections and policy-making.

Responding to a question for Doris Hampton, who organized the session, Rep. Moffett gave a passionate call for the state to expand Medicaid.  “The House is going to support Medicaid expansion as often as it’s given the opportunity to do so,” he said, but explained that the resistance is coming from Republican Senators.

“It’s partisan,” agreed Rep. Lockwood, who made sure to say she was one of six Republican Representatives who voted for it.

canterbury state reps 1-25-14 004
Rep. Howard Moffett

“What i have seen coming out of Republican Senators just doesn’t hold water,” Rep. Moffett said.  Medicaid expansion would bring two and half billion dollars – money we’ve already paid in federal taxes – back to the state “to create jobs and provide health insurance,” he observed.

“It feels like a war on the poor,”  Rep. Moffett said.  No one in the room seemed to disagree.  Rep. Carey threw in an anecdote about a landscaper badly injured on a job across the street from Concord Hospital who was afraid to seek medical attention for fear of getting a bill he’d be unable to pay.

“We can’t let any member of our population think they need to bleed to death because can’t afford care,” she said.

Rep. Moffett hopes pressure can be exerted on Republican Senators – only two are needed to join the unified Democrats and create a majority – in order for the Medicaid proposal to pass.

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Rep. Lorrie Carey

Rep. Carey is a member of the State-Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs Committee, which tends to get responsibility for non-binding resolutions that if adopted express the sense of the legislators on a wide range of topics.  Last year the House adopted a resolution calling for a Constitutional Amendment to overturn the Citizens United decision and declare that constitutional rights are intended for natural persons, not corporations.  The Senate refused to take it up, but the issue has re-surfaced this year, with two resolutions in Rep. Carey’s committee calling for a Constitutional Convention to be convened on this matter.

“Is there a lot of money being pumped in by the corporations?” she asked.  “The answer is yes,” she responded to her own question.

Despite what the Representatives indicated was strong support for something to be done, none of them felt that passing resolutions makes any difference.  “Resolutions in the end are meaningless,” Rep. Carey said.

The presence of two town Selectmen guaranteed that state-municipal relations was on the agenda.  The Selectmen, Tyson Miller and Bob Steenson, worry the legislature could adopt bills intended to increase transparency but which would have the effect of impairing the ability of volunteer town officers to manage local affairs.  They also were eager for funds for road improvement.  The three State Representatives were supportive of proposals to raise taxes on gasoline, with Rep. Carey pointing out that it hasn’t been hiked since 1991. 

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Rep. Priscilla Lockwood

The Representatives said they read all their email, but that messages which appear to be form letters crafted by advocacy groups tend to be ignored.  So write your legislators, use your own words, and make sure you let them know you’re a constituent.

Rep. Lockwood, a legislative veteran who has also served on the Select Board, said she plans to step down after the current term.

This story was cross posted with permission from InZane Times.

A Message From Granite State Progress On STATE Reps Plan To Bring Guns To NH House to “REMOVE THESE PEOPLE”

Breaking: Failed State Senate Candidate ‘Likes’ NH Man’s Plan to Bring a Gun to the State House Today and “Remove These People”

Failed State Senate Candidate Josh Youssef and current Rep. George Lambert, Al Baldasaro encouraging angry mob to attend House Rules Committee Today, 2:00 pm

Concord, NH – Failed State Senate candidate Josh Youssef and current State Representatives George Lambert and Al Baldasaro are among those encouraging an angry mob to attend the House Rules Committee today, Thursday, December 20 at 2:00 pm in opposition to potential policy changes.

On the Facebook event page, Youssef ‘liked’ the status of a man planning to attend who posted: “I say march in peacefully with open carry and remove these people.”

The comment was made by Gary Vago of Nashua in response to an event page created by Lambert. Representatives Pam Tucker, J.R. Hoell and Al Baldasaro are also listed as supporters of the event.

“This isn’t about gun rights, it’s about political intimidation,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, director of Granite State Progress. “This individual stated that he wants to flash a gun around and forcibly remove elected state officials. That type of language is unacceptable, particularly in light of the events of the past week. Representatives Lambert and Baldasaro have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their constituents and colleagues and allowing this kind of rhetoric to go unchallenged could lead to severe and horrible consequences in New Hampshire.”

The committee is scheduled to meet this afternoon in LOB 301 and will take up guns on the State House floor and the controversial Redress of Grievances Committee as part of its regular agenda. Allowing guns on the State House floor was the very first legislative action taken under former NH Speaker Bill O’Brien in 2011; he also started the Redress of Grievances Committee which upset several community members and victim advocates for discussing confidential family court documents in a public setting.

The Facebook event can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/394987917249446/

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. Press releases and other information available online at www.GraniteStateProgress.org.

NHLN Labor and Election Coverage for 9/9/12: SUPER PACs Go After State Reps Who Oppose RTW in NH House, Guinta and Porter Debate on 9/17, Private Prison Bad For NH, VT Sen Sanders Speaks in NH, NH GOV News, Chicago Teachers on The Verge of Strike,

Speaker say private prison may not fit NH | New Hampshire NEWS02: “Caroline Isaacs, program director at the American Friends Service Committee in Tucson, wrote a report titled “Private Prisons, the Public’s Problem: A Quality Assessment of Arizona’s Private Prisons.” She spoke to a small gathering at the Nashua Unitarian Church last week, one stop during a three-day visit to the state.

“This is a very big decision in New Hampshire,’’ Isaacs told the group. “The biggest thing (in Arizona) was the promise to save money with private prisons. However, this has not proven to be the case in Arizona. We found we were losing money on our private contracts and paying more to those operators than we would to hold (inmates) in a state equivalent unit.””

Sanders “confronts” critics of Social Security at St. Anselm’s College: ““The American people should not be fooled by the misinformation that will be spread at these ‘grassroots’ gatherings backed by some of the most powerful Wall Street, insurance, and corporate CEOs in the country,” Sanders said. “The goal of these ‘town meetings’ is to convince the people of New Hampshire and the rest of America that the only effective way to address the deficit crisis is to balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor. Don’t believe it!””

Garry Rayno’s State House Dome: A smorgasbord for NH voters | New Hampshire NEWS0604: “READY FOR TUESDAY: Gardner says he does not expect the state’s new photo identification law to creat any problems during Tuesday’s primary. The law requires voters to show photo identification or fill out a challenged-voter affidavit to vote.

During Tuesday’s primary, voters will be asked for a photo ID, but they can still vote even if they don’t produce one.

Voters will, however, need a photo ID in the November general election or they will have to fill out the affidavit.

Gardner said his office held 10 regional meetings attended by about 2,000 election officials, and Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan has held an additional six or so meetings.”

Chicago Teachers May Strike, Teach Political Lesson | New Hampshire Public Radio: “Twenty-five thousand Chicago teachers are planning to walk off the job Monday if they don’t have a contract by midnight Sunday. As the Democrats look to unions to help them get out the vote, a strike by Chicago teachers might just put a crimp in those plans.

On Friday during rush hour, a handful of parents and students stood on a bridge over the Eisenhower Expressway, holding signs that read, “Honk if you support teachers.” Among them is Rhoda Gutierrez, who has two children in a Chicago public elementary school.”

Guinta accepts Manchester Chamber Debate, so Shea-Porter accepts BIA Debate

Today, Naomi Andrews, Campaign Manager for Carol Shea-Porter, Candidate for Congress in the First Congressional District, released the following statement about the proposed NH Business & Industry Association (BIA) Debate with Congressman Frank Guinta.

“Congressman Guinta refuses to debate in front of small business owners at the local Chambers of Commerce anywhere near the seacoast, home to thousands of business owners, but since Frank Guinta finally just decided 48 hours ago to accept the debate offer that was sent June 22 from the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, Carol Shea-Porter accepts the BIA debate offer, with gratitude to BIA for helping to highlight Guinta’s refusal, and we hope they will now urge Congressman Guinta to debate in front of business members on the seacoast.”

Shea-Porter accepts invite to Sept. 17 candidates forum | New Hampshire NEWS06: “Former U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter has accepted an invitation from the New Hampshire Business and Industry Association to participate in a Sept. 17 candidates forum at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College.

The association is sponsoring the forum with the New Hampshire Union Leader, New Hampshire Public Radio and New Hampshire Public Television. The Institute of Politics is at Saint Anselm College.”

The Republican Liberty Caucus is going after current state reps who opposed Right To Work legislation this term as being anti-liberty.

Garry Rayno’s State House Dome: A smorgasbord for NH voters | New Hampshire NEWS0604: “Rep. Lee Quandt, R-Exeter, who is exploring a run for House speaker to unseat Speaker William O’Brien, called the group “domestic terrorists” who want to beat all the Republicans they don’t agree with.

“Republican groups calling themselves Republican this or Republican that are going to bring down the Republican Party,” Quandt said. “People are walking away from it.”

While the Liberty Caucus is targeting the group, the Citizens for a Better New Hampshire, another PAC, will spend $33,000 helping the six targeted Republicans along with 17 other Republicans with direct mail pieces.

The 23 Republican House members supported by the group all voted against the right-to-work legislation pushed by O’Brien and others.”

This state election has been on the back burner – NashuaTelegraph.com: “DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY

Maggie Hassan: 47 percent.

Jackie Cilley: 44 percent.

Bill Kennedy: 9 percent.

Hassan came into this race with the perfect Lynch predigree to win this one going away.

She’d quickly risen up the ladder in the Democratic majority in the state Senate, carried plenty of water for Lynch’s cautious agenda and had already proved herself to be a capable fundraiser.

But Hassan ran into a pit bull opponent in Cilley, who parlayed organized labor dissatisfaction with Hassan over retirement reform into key endorsements from powerful public employee labor unions.”

Head or heart? The Dems’ choice for governor | New Hampshire OPINION01: “In choosing a nominee for governor, New Hampshire Democrats must decide whether to go with their heads or their hearts. If it is their heads, Maggie Hassan will win the nomination. If their hearts, Jackie Cilley.

Both Hassan and Cilley are liberals who want a larger, more active state government. Both despise the Tea Party, which they delight in denouncing, and both talk passionately about undoing what they view as the last two years of radical spending cuts perpetrated by extremist Republicans in the Legislature. And both support same-sex marriage and oppose the death penalty.”

Campaign 2012: Cilley, Hassan clashing | Concord Monitor: “The Democratic primary race for governor has focused on the pledge against a sales or income tax because it clearly divides the candidates. Maggie Hassan took it while Jackie Cilley refused to and then ran a political ad calling pledge-takers zombies.

But their voting records in the state Senate, where Hassan served six years and Cilley four, offer some interesting contrasts too. They differed on capping high-interest loans, a smoking ban in restaurants, a self-defense bill and penalties for employers who violate labor laws.”

NH House Democratic Leader Terie Norelli new president of national legislative group: “New Hampshire House Democratic Leader Terie Norelli is the new president of a national legislative group.

Norelli became president of the National Conference of State Legislatures last month. She succeeds Kansas Senate President Stephen Morris, a Republican.

NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the nation’s nearly 7,400 state lawmakers. Leadership alternates between the parties each year.

Norelli, who’s from Portsmouth, said it’s important to have a bipartisan group like NCSL because the political tone in the country has become divisive.

Norelli is serving her eighth term in the House. She served two terms as speaker — the only Democrat in nearly 100 years and only the second woman to hold the post.”

Letters: Mitt Romney Distorts the Facts – Nashua, NH Patch: “Before the ACA, the government overpaid private insurance companies that participated in Medicare Advantage, and these overpayments went to profit, not care. Many of these companies pay their CEOs obscenely high salaries, and offer millions more as “golden parachutes” when executives are shown the door. This sounds like corporate welfare to me, and it is one level of waste I’m glad has been eliminated by the ACA.

Mitt Romney distorts the facts when he says that the ACA cuts $700 billion from Medicare. He leaves out one important detail: The cuts come from corporate profits, not from our benefits and care. Medicare Advantage is actually working better since the ACA was passed. Premiums are 16 percent lower and enrollment has increased by 17 percent. Benefits have not been curtailed.”

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Gary Vermillion Tells NHLN Why He Is Running For State Rep

My name is Gary Vermillion and I am a candidate for State Rep. for Rockingham County in Londonderry. I have been a Union carpenter for the last 14 years when I moved to New Hampshire in 2003 I have been fighting against the so called right to work bills, protested the cancellation of the job corps building project in 2009 and try to get expanded gaming in New Hampshire. I have worked on the clean air project and the Bow power plant and I get to work the outage and refueling maintenance at the Seabrook station plant. I am privilege to work with the Granite State Organizing Project that helps working families and non-represented workers in New Hampshire. We all need to stand in solidarity to win back the State House and bring back respect and dignity. As a red white and blue collar American I need your support.

Thank You
Gary Vermillion

Below are some follow up questions asked by the New Hampshire Labor News (NHLN).  Gary’s responses are marked with GV.  Be sure to visit and like Gary’s Facebook Page to ask him your own questions. 

NHLN: In your opening statement you mentioned that you have been fighting the so-called “right to work” bills, What is it about these right to work bills that you are against? 
GV: In states where their is right to work laws the employment for pay is 30% less and jobs site safety is almost does not exist.

NHLN: Can you tell us a little more about the Granite State Organizing Project?
GV:  The GSOP advocating for safe decent. affordable housing. Working in Manchester and Nashua to help sustain and grow efforts to fight bed bugs through policy change and grassroots abvocacy. Working with the organization United Valley Interfaith Project to fight the return of usurious pay day and car title lending shops. Supports Manchester students fighting for equal education. Supports our brothers and sisters in the labor movement and working communities in their struggle for decent, living wage jobs, affordable healthcare and collective bargaining rights.

NHLN:  Many people have come out in support of expanded gambling. Why do you support expanding gambling in NH?
GV:  I am in support of one casino in southern New Hampshire to create jobs and a steady stream of revenue for the state.

NHLN:  Earlier this I heard a story about some Union Carpenters in Durham who helped some non-union workers when the company stole their money and tools. Do you know anything about this? Were you involved in this at all? 
GV:  No I was not involved but I did know the organizers who help some workers that stopped getting paid by the labor broker who hired them to work on some off campus student housing they were told to move out of the place that they were renting from the same person that they worked for after the workers asked to be paid for there work. The carpenters and GSOP work together the help out the workers.

Thank you
Gary Vermillion
Rockingham District 5

5 Aspen Circle
Londonderry NH 03053
Member of Local 118 New Hampshire

Lucy Edwards, State Rep Candidate, Explains Why Labor Is Important And How She Will Work To Preserve It

Lucy Edwards For State Rep, Rockingham District 1

Lucy Edwards

I have never belonged to a union.  As a woman, I know that that was my loss.  I was for many years a stay-at-home parent, and then I worked as my husband’s business manager for his small business.  The cost of health insurance for two aging people drove me back into the job market, to home health, non-profit office work, and administration for an investment firm, none of which were unionized.  

I understand that if I had been able to join a union my retirement would have been a good deal better funded.  As the Center for Economic and Policy Research has reported:
“…unionization raises the wages of the typical woman worker by 11.2 percent compared to their non-union peers. The study goes on to show that unionization also increases the likelihood that a woman worker will have health insurance and a pension. The report also notes that union membership results in health care and pension gains on par with the gains of a college education.”
I have been a student of economic history for many years and know that the growth of the middle class, which was the driver of the vibrant economy we enjoyed after World War II, was due to a great extent to the good union jobs available to so many Americans in that time period.  That, and high marginal tax rates on the top income brackets, made us the leading economy across the globe.  Then, beginning around 1980, a backlash led to fewer and fewer union jobs, cut after cut of taxes for the top 1%, and the slow slide of the middle class into its current state of malaise.  The political history of this period is worth a close look, but that is not the subject of this piece. 
Governor Lynch was exactly correct when he vetoed the so-called “Right to Work” bills in NH.  The government has no place in coming between employers’ and employees’ rights to contract with each other for mutual benefit.  Right to Work – FOR LESS has led to lower wages, fewer benefits and more injuries and deaths for workers in every state where it has been implemented.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is playing games with statistics.  RTW for Less is not being legislated at the request of business in NH, it’s a product of organizations like ALEC.  I’ve written about ALEC on my campaign blog,  http://lucyedwards4staterep.blogspot.com/2012/06/what-is-alec-letter-to-editor.html, and listed resources to consult about it on one of the pages.  
We need our middle class desperately.  Despite the claims that the top 1% should continue to get 80% of the benefits of income growth in this country because they are the “job creators,” the middle class consumer is the real engine of job growth in this country.  I have written more about income inequality in this letter to the editor that I have posted on my blog: http://lucyedwards4staterep.blogspot.com/2012/06/income-inequality.html
As a legislator, I will support public education and the unions for our educators.  I will work to make sure that I, and many of my neighbors in this rapidly aging state, http://www.nhpolicy.org/reports/aging_and_the_healthcare_system_final.pdf, no longer have to worry, as retirees, that voting for school budgets and teachers’ contracts may drive our property taxes so high that we have to sell our houses and move away.  I hate thinking that I may have to make a choice between the future of all our children or my staying in my community.  In a state with one of the highest per capita incomes in the country, there is no reason why we should be facing this dilemma! 
I will work to preserve and expand the union workforce in NH so that all our children can find good jobs here if they wish to stay.  Healthy unions raise the wages and benefits for union and non-union jobs. We are losing our young people to other parts of the country, or even to our neighboring states.  NH will face challenges over the next decades, from the global economy, climate change and other factors, and we need a diverse and educated population to move the state forward, rather than attempting to return to some imaginary golden age, which sounds more and more like the Gilded Age of the 1890s.  There really is no going back.  
We have the skills, the tools, the knowledge and the means to solve all our problems, all we need is the political will. We have a great group of smart, thoughtful candidates for office running this year.  We can turn this around.  Ask questions, get the facts, think it through, and most of all, vote!
Lucy Edwards
Northwood NH
Candidate for the NH House, Rockingham District 1
Like her on Facebook

NH Labor News 2012 Election News: Romney Attacks Public Workers, Wanted Good Candidates For Rep, Bass Files for Re-Election, and more

NHLN: Be sure to check back to the NH Labor News for more information about State elections.  We have started a new segment that allows people who are running for office to tell our followers why labor is important this election.  We want to hear what you as an elected official will be doing to fight back against anti-worker legislation.

Mitt Romney: Firefighters union blasts Romney | Concord Monitor: “On a conference call yesterday organized by the Obama campaign, Dave Lang, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire, said he was “thoroughly disheartened” by Romney’s comments, which Lang said provided a view into “what his America will look like.”

“In my estimation, New Hampshire deserves better than that,” Lang said. Every day, firefighters and paramedics go to work – whether full time, part time or volunteer – “and they answer the call and they respond. The only thing they ask is what do you need, how do we get there and how do we help?”

“There is no more labor-intensive job than that of a firefighter or paramedic,” Lang said. “They haven’t invented a computer program yet which can advance a hose line or throw a ground ladder, rescue someone from the third floor. They haven’t done it. If they do, I suspect the people of New Hampshire will buy a couple.””

Romney’s long assault on firefighters – Salon.com: “Mitt Romney came under fire this weekend from Democrats after he suggested that we shouldn’t hire more firefighters. Then top Romney surrogate John Sununu, the former governor of New Hampshire, doubled down on Romney’s firefighter comments today, telling MSNBC they were not a “gaffe.” This is hardly the first time the presumed GOP nominee has tangled with firefighters.

In fact, he has a long, bitter history with them. As governor of Massachusetts, Romney often ended up sparring with firefighters and their unions. He proposed stripping collective bargaining rights for firefighters and police officers in a city that needed a state bailout, and cut funding to a fire station to be built on the site where six firemen died. He also proposed tripling the state police budget to deal with homeland security concerns in the years after 9/11, but didn’t offer a dime for firefighters, angering many at the time.”

Wanted: good candidates for the Legislature | Concord Monitor: “The filing period for state and federal political offices in New Hampshire runs through Friday. If you’ve ever thought about running for the House, now is the time.

The recent rancor in the House has convinced some current lawmakers not to run for re-election – old-timers and newcomers alike. That’s not hard to understand. Democrats have complained since 2011 that they are treated poorly by the majority Republicans. Republicans who don’t vote in lockstep with their leaders have been yanked from committees. Those out of favor have been punished with lousy seats in Representatives Hall. One legislator was so distraught after being scolded by the speaker of the House that she filed legislation to outlaw bullying within the Legislature, much the way it’s discouraged in middle schools across the state. Name-calling among Republicans in long, caustic email chains speaks to the unhappiness.”

Bass files for re-election, setting up a rematch with Kuster – NashuaTelegraph.com: “CONCORD – Congressman Charles Bass said Monday that jobs is the top issue but getting the federal deficit and debt under control are essential to American’s financial health.
Bass, a Republican, officially filed for re-election Monday casting himself as an independent voice who challenged Democratic and Republican leaders to adopt a federal budget that cut spending and future deficits.
The bipartisan plan Bass co-wrote with five other members of Congress got only 38 votes.
“The time has come for us to stop fighting and start solving,” said Bass, a Peterborough resident.”

John DiStaso’s Granite Status: Obama, Romney camps spar on private, public sector jobs, economy | New Hampshire NEWS0602: “As Republicans pounced on those comments, Romney last Friday said of Obama, “He wants to hire more government workers. He says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin where Gov. Scott Walker won a recall election last week after taking on public employee unions? The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.”

Romney surrogate former Gov. John H. Sununu backed up Romney’s comments, saying on Monday that in areas where student populations are dropping, taxpayers want fewer teachers.”

NH Elections: Aaron Gill for State Rep, Pushing Back Against The Attacks On Workers

NHLN: This is the first in our LTE’s section about the elections.  We are looking for people who are running for  office in New Hampshire to tell the people why they are running and why working with labor and the workers of New Hampshire is important to your campaign. Email us for more details.

Why I’m running for the House
Aaron Gill, Deering

We have high standards in New Hampshire, and we expect a lot from our citizen legislators.

We expect their personal conduct to reflect the character of New Hampshire residents, that the work of the people will be conducted openly, fairly and consistently, and that our neighbors in Concord will make independent decisions.

Most important, we expect members of the House to represent us free from the constraints of pledges, free from rigid ideology, and free from the goals of out-of-state interests.

I filed to run for state representative in Hillsborough County, District 39, covering Deering, Goffstown and Weare because Speaker Bill O’Brien’s House did not meet New Hampshire’s standards.

Over the past two years, we have watched the House majority leader resign after falsifying records, the closing of the House gallery to the public and Washington-written legislation pushed on New Hampshire with leadership’s consent.

Some legislators are operating under a Free State Project decree to move to New Hampshire, get elected to our House of Representatives and make our state in their image.

This denigration of New Hampshire occurred under O’Brien’s guidance. Beyond the shame of New Hampshire’s repeated mocking in the national media, his legacy is rising property taxes, laid-off hospital workers, higher in-state tuition, and baseless attacks on public workers, teachers, unions and marriage equality.

We are New Hampshire, and we can do better. Let’s bring common sense back to Concord.


Aaron Gill for NH State Representative
Hillsborough County District 39: Deering, Goffstown & Weare
Twitter: Gill4NHStateRep

Straight Talk with Marjorie Porter….

This is an editorial from State Rep Marjorie Porter (Hillsboro-1) on the scandal surrounding DJ Bettencourt and Bob Mead.  She also talks about other issues surrounding the NH House leadership.

Straight Talk June 7th…
 “If you’ve been following statewide news at all, you could hardly have missed the various scandals that have been roiling the NH House this past month. Majority staffer Bob Mead resigned over allegations he charged the state mileage to recruit Republican candidates for the coming election. Rep. Vaillancourt (R, Manchester), during a heated interchange with the Speaker, uttered an emotionally-charged German phrase and was expelled from the chamber. And former majority leader Bettencourt resigned in disgrace after falsely reporting to UNH Law School on 165 hours of internship work he never did, and claiming to the world via Facebook he had graduated when in fact he had not.

In a very early Straight Talk I said that from a teacher’s point of view, the Speaker had poor classroom management skills. Vaillancourt’s outburst was the culmination of nearly eighteen months of a poorly managed House. Decorum is often lacking. Sometimes, but not always, we are reprimanded for it. (It depends on which side of the House is doing it.) Procedural house rules are often changed mid-stream, so no one really knows what the rules are any more.

It was this rule-changing that caused the uproar with Vaillancourt. While a Democrat was giving a floor speech, the Speaker stopped him to say rules did not allow him to refer to testimony heard in committee while speaking at the well. (New rule.) The next representative up was a Republican, who spoke about testimony heard in committee. The speaker allowed it. Vaillancourt questioned this inconsistency, and all heck broke loose.

I don’t condone what Vaillancourt said, but I can understand the anger and frustration that caused it. As for the uproar about the German I will say this: there was no uproar from Leadership when Rep. Mirski (R, Enfield) sent an email to all representatives calling liberal politicians “Marxists and fascists.” Meanwhile, Rush Limbaugh talks about those “feminazis,” and pictures of the President with a Hitler moustache are all over the web.

Bettencourt’s downfall is, by the classic definition, a true tragedy. A bright and promising young man with a lot of power, his pride allowed him to believe he could perpetrate this deceit and not get caught. Some are calling it a bad mistake, but this was no mistake. Like a smoker who lies to get a lower life insurance rate, or a lawyer who forges a signature on a legal document, writing reports with made-up facts about work you never did is fraud. The consequences of his bad choice will follow him the rest of his life.

As upsetting as these two incidents are, the Mead mess is even more disturbing, but is getting much less press. As it involves taxpayer money, it should be of deep concern to us all.

With 400 House seats to fill, recruiting and training people to run for office becomes a full time job in election years. Traditionally, the political parties have done this work, not House staffers who are paid with taxpayer dollars.

The Committee to Elect House Democrats rents space off site for meetings. Fundraisers are held, and that money is used to hire staff to help recruit and train. The training is done off site too. No taxpayer money is used; no state workers or property are used. Nor should they be. That would not be proper.

After the 2010 election, Bob Mead resigned his House seat to become chief of staff to the Speaker, at a salary of $80,000. In January, we learned that Greg Moore would be replacing him as chief of staff, and Mead would be serving in the newly created position of “Legislative Liaison” doing “legislative outreach.” His salary was reduced to $64,000.

Last month the Concord Monitor reported Mead had charged the state close to $500 for mileage to and from community outreach meetings. Those in attendance at these local Republican party functions reported he was there recruiting candidates to run for office. When this story broke, nobody in the majority leadership seemed to know just what Mead’s job was exactly, or who authorized his work. Moore signed off for the mileage payments. Leadership assured us Mead paid back the mileage received. Soon after, Mead resigned.

Last week the Monitor reported that, in fact, Mead had not repaid the mileage money. He refused, because, he said, he was doing the job he was told to do. It was also discovered that Mead, Speaker O’Brien, and Bettencourt held a candidate training program on a Saturday in April in the Legislative Office Building (LOB) in the state house complex.

Lots of questions should be popping into your head by now. Was Mead being paid $64K a year to recruit and train candidates? If so, who knew about it? When did they know? Who authorized it? Was the LOB used for free?

Since the story broke, the Democratic leadership has been asking these very questions, but House leadership has said they are too busy to answer, and that it’s a “personnel issue.”

We have now asked for an independent investigation to come to the truth in this matter. We’ve received no reply. You should be asking too. New Hampshire simply doesn’t have the money to pay staffers to perform the work political parties should be doing. If it is happening, it is an improper use of your money. You need to know.
(Reposted with permission)

Where Do We Go From Here? A Look Into The 2012 Elections.

 If we have learned anything from the scandalous actions of DJ Bettencourt it is that we need to make sure that we know who we are voting for. This election will be vitally important not just to our community but to our jobs.

If you follow this blog regularly then you know that I am opposed to Right To Work (for less) and have worked tirelessly to educate the workers in New Hampshire of the attacks on them from the state house. This session has been led with a complete disregard for the will of the people in pushing an out of state agenda. We learned of programs like ALEC that are funneling huge amounts of money in order to get legislation passed. This legislation is aimed at bringing workers down, bringing environmental regulations down, and allowing corporations to increase their profits. After the news of ALEC started to become known, Granite State Progress released an in-depth look at the Right To Work law and its ties to ALEC proposed legislation.

Now as the 2012 session comes to a close, we start moving into the election season. This is where we need to be smart. I could stand on my soapbox and tell you exactly who to vote for, but that is not effective. You need to know who you are voting for and why.

I challenge you to first look at yourself. What are your priorities? Is your highest priority stopping an income tax? Is your priority funding education? Or, if you are like me, is your job you highest priority? It is only after you know what your priority is can you truly begin to decide who it is you want to represent you in office. This applies to candidates for State Rep and all the way up to the Presidential Campaign.

Once you have you priorities straight then you need to look at the people who are running for office. You need to look beyond party lines and really look into the person. See what their priorities are. Did you know that we have Republicans who are are also members of these fringe organizations in our State House? We have Tea Party Republicans, Libertarians, Free Staters, and a few plain old conservatives. Each on of these organizations has a different message they are pushing. This is what campaigning is all about. This is your chance to meet with candidates and see what they really stand for. Do they want to see NH become a Right To Work state? Do they want to boost the education system? Are they pro-big business or pro-worker and NH small business?

This is especially important for those State Reps and Senators who are looking for re-election this year. There were a number of bills this year that were out-right attacks on NH Workers. How did they vote on HB 474, HB1677, HB1206, and HB 383? These bills should be the litmus test for whether they support workers or are they continuing the partisan politics that is crippling Washington DC right now. (You can see how your current reps voted on HB 474, the so called Right To Work for less bill in 2011)

Take the time to challenge them now before they are elected. Then hopefully we wont have to fight with them once they are in office. “How many times have you heard from your rep: I will take your suggestion to oppose HB383, however I plan to support it”. This is unacceptable for a representative to say. They are there to “Represent” you! Your vote can send them to Concord or it can keep them from going.

Be sure to follow the NH Labor News for more information about the 2012 elections.  We will be focusing on how current reps voted this year and what candidates are saying about next year.

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