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Joyce Craig Releases Plan To Address Opioids and Crime While Gatsas Plays Games With Voters

This week, the Manchester mayoral race ratcheted up a notch as Joyce Craig unveiled her plan to address the opioid epidemic and the current Mayor, Ted Gatsas, looks to score political points with additional funding to the ‘Safe Station’ program and a new solar power project.

On Tuesday morning, Joyce Craig released her plan to address the opioid crisis and crime in the city, titled “Safe Streets, Opioid Crisis, and Recovery Services Plan.” The plan includes important provisions involving early education, support for expanded Medicaid, and receiving support from the state.

“The opioid crisis is continuing to harm Manchester. Programs like Safe Station are vital to our response, but we need to be doing more. I believe we need a comprehensive approach including early education, prevention, peer recovery support, strong enforcement, and increased advocacy. As the largest city in the state, Manchester needs to lead the effort to combat the opioid crisis. As mayor, I will fight for state and federal resources and empower our community service providers to respond effectively. The safety of every resident of Manchester is my first priority, and my plan reflects the steadfast approach I will take to addressing opioid and safety issues in our city,” Craig said.

Although the city of Manchester has been making efforts to combat the opioid crisis, the problem is as severe as ever and remains a top concern for residents. This past September saw the most overdoses in Manchester in a single month with 147, and every month this summer saw increased overdoses from last year. Policies such as Safe Station are important, but more must be done if we want to see an end to this crisis.

Craig’s plan includes:

  • Continue regular ride-alongs with the police and fire departments to understand the challenges our community and first responders face
  • Develop and implement an evidence-based substance use prevention education program for schools and the community
  • Hold landlords accountable for problem properties where drugs are being sold and used and crimes are committed
  • Lead weekly interdepartmental meetings between the mayor, fire, health, police, office of youth services, the superintendent and key community organizations to ensure we are working together to comprehensively address the opioid crisis
  • Track and report outcomes based on funding to identify the most effective programs and improve services that combat the opioid crisis
  • Monitor indicators such as arrest data, emergency room admission rates, respite center admission rates and average wait time to identify key areas that need improvement
  • Compile citywide overdose data and utilize the data to identify and target interventions to reduce overdoses and overall opioid misuse
  • Establish partnership with the state to address this statewide problem. Over 65% of Safe Station entrants come from outside of Manchester, we need the state to recognize and invest in this program as a statewide resource
  • Advocate for resources from state and federal agencies that city departments and community service providers need to make a lasting difference in this fight, such as recovery housing throughout the state
  • Maintain a full police complement at all times to ensure resident safety
  • Support and advocate for expanded Medicaid. Without it, Safe Station would end and treatment options in Manchester would significantly decrease
  • Develop and implement a comprehensive plan to address chronic homelessness

In a surprising announcement yesterday, Mayor Gatsas and Governor Sununu announced additional funding for the ‘Safe Station’ program.

“I want to thank Governor Chris Sununu, Drug Czar David Mara, and Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeff Meyers for working with the City of Manchester to ensure the continued success of the Manchester Safe Station program. The immediate $150,000 commitment by Governor Sununu and his leadership team will assure the continuation of Manchester Safe Station and the programs in place to provide the services to Safe Station. I am confident that as we move forward we will secure additional funding for the future,” Gatsas said.

This announcement is surprising because it was Mayor Gatsas who opposed an additional $50,000 requested by Chief Goonan to be moved to Serenity Place as part of the Safe Station program in July of this year.

Gatsas is hoping that with today’s announcement people will forget about all of the times he opposed increased spending on the Safe Station program.

During her campaign for mayor, Joyce Craig has advocated on multiple occasions for state funding for Safe Station. Joyce recognized that Safe Station is a statewide resource in the fight against the opioid crisis and should receive support from the state.

In a written statement, Craig said, “This is good news for Manchester’s Safe Station program and those dealing with substance misuse. Safe Station has been a great tool to help people receive recovery services and I am thankful to our first responders for implementing this program.

Unfortunately, Ted Gatsas didn’t bother to take action to make sure Safe Station is recognized as a statewide resource until three weeks before his next election. I’ve advocated for state recognition for months and I am glad Mayor Gatsas decided to take my lead and ask for funding in Concord this week. We need a mayor who works for Manchester every day, not just in the weeks leading up to an election.”

Another example of Gatsas playing games with the people of Manchester is his new solar power project.

“The proposal consists of a twenty five-year power purchase agreement for solar energy and the construction of a solar array on Mount Manchester, also known as the former city dump, that will generate at least three mega watts of power,” reported Girard at Large.

In 2015, Gatsas killed a proposal that was fully supported by the Board of Alderman to install solar panels at the former landfill in Ward 12.

Craig called out this proposal for what it is, a half-baked idea to “score political points” with voters just prior to the election.

“It was clear from the presentation this evening that this proposal was nowhere near ready to be presented to the full Board of Mayor and Alderman. Although he acknowledged being aware of the issue for weeks, Mayor Gatsas failed to provide any information to the Aldermen until tonight. Mayor Gatsas is attempting to rush this issue through the board to score political points before the election. He should have followed the usual protocol and sent this to the city’s energy committee for proper vetting.”

Craig was also quick to criticize Gatsas for his failure to support a similar proposal in 2015.

“Manchester would already be realizing energy savings and revenue if Mayor Gatsas didn’t kill a fully vetted and approved solar project for the landfill in Ward 12 that was overwhelmingly supported by the aldermen in 2015.

I’ve been a strong advocate for renewable energy as an alderman and during my campaign for mayor. While I appreciate Mayor Gatsas is finally endorsing renewable energy, the city would have been better served had the mayor supported a fully vetted project two years ago. Manchester needs a mayor who serves the city every day. Unfortunately, Mayor Gatsas is scrambling to fix his record with rushed plans three weeks before the election.”

Joyce Craig Says ‘Mayor Gatsas Is Failing Our Students’

Mayor Ted Gatsas (Image By Marc Nozell)

Today, the Union Leader reported through the anonymous whistleblowing of public school teachers that Manchester public schools don’t have enough math textbooks or workbooks for students. The story revealed that Manchester hasn’t had an elementary math curriculum in the city for three years, and teachers are defaulting to old, out-of-date textbooks. Teachers are being forced to reach into their own pockets to pay for school materials. As Chairman of the School Board, Mayor Gatsas has direct oversight of the school district and is not addressing critical issues in our schools that directly impact student success.

From the Mark Hayward at the Union Leader:

When Manchester schools started earlier this month, it marked the third year without a common, district-wide program for teaching mathematics in elementary schools, a situation that is drawing criticism from school officials, teachers and parents.
Critics, some who asked to speak anonymously for fear of reprisal from fellow teachers, say children in the city’s 14 elementary schools don’t get the same textbook or workbook — or even any book — that provides the tangible, step-by-step continuity that is helpful to mathematics instruction.

Without a district-wide curriculum, teachers cobble together lessons from various sources, meaning no conformity for lesson plans and teaching material in the district.

…Teachers use math workbooks left over from previous years, the teacher wrote.

They also download material from websites such as teacherspayteachers at their own expense (one 3rd-grade workbook bundle goes for $72). Lesson plans cost less for individual topics. For example, a lesson plan about sums costs $7. The district provides some materials.

…At another elementary school, a veteran teacher said teachers collaborate, but it comes down to whatever a teacher decides is best for her class. The teacher did not want her school or name published, fearing repercussions. Manchester students come from such diverse backgrounds, she said, that she’s not sure one curriculum would work for all.

“I wish we did have some kind of a book or program we all could use,” she said, “but on the other hand, I don’t know what it would be.”

She uses the teacherspayteachers website for some lessons. Her school, she said, has an active parent-teacher group that provides stipends that cover the lesson. Other schools don’t.

“There are a lot of teachers buying a lot of things,” she said. She said teachers also use their own printers at home to print out the lessons.

A teacher of more than 20 years, she relies on her experience.

“You’re pulling pieces of what you used to use, a game, a book,” she said. “For a new teacher, I don’t know what they’re doing.”

After the article published, Manchester Mayoral candidate, Joyce Craig issued this statement:

“As Chairman of the School Board, Mayor Gatsas is failing our students with his mismanagement of resources and lack of oversight of the school district. Textbooks and curriculums are a basic necessity for a quality education. Mayor Gatsas lets problems go unaddressed and shows he is not focused on leading discussions to improve student achievement.

My 13-year-old daughter is learning algebra, but she doesn’t even have an algebra textbook. There are hundreds of kids with the same problem. We can and must do better, and we can’t let Mayor Gatsas continue to shortchange our children’s education. We need fresh leadership that takes a proactive approach to solving our city’s problems and our families can’t afford more of Mayor Gatsas’ inaction.

My vision of Manchester is one where students and teachers have the resources they need to learn and succeed. As mayor, I will set goals and review results with the school board and community on a regular basis to ensure we are focused on improving student achievement.”

Joyce Craig will face off against Manchester’s current Mayor, Ted Gatsas, in the citywide elections on Nov. 7th.

Gatsas Files For 5th Term As Mayor Of Manchester, Joyce Craig And Firefighters Respond

Today, Mayor Ted Gatsas filed his paperwork to run for a fifth term as Mayor of Manchester.  The Manchester Mayoral race is shaping up to be a rematch between Joyce Craig and Ted Gatsas.  Craig lost the last election by only a few votes.

“Over the last eight years Manchester has stumbled from crisis to crisis and Mayor Ted Gatsas keeps claiming he doesn’t know when there are problems in the city,” said Joyce Craig.

“In just the last two weeks, Mayor Gatsas claimed he didn’t understand the “severity” of a violent crime in a school, claimed he didn’t know that the City Solicitor’s office was failing to prosecute domestic violence cases, and he didn’t realize his budget would result in the closure of fire stations. Mayor Gatsas is responsible for effectively managing the city and claiming he doesn’t know what is going on is not an acceptable excuse.”

“I’m ready to have an honest conversation about the challenges our city is facing and get to the hard work of making Manchester a better place for all families. Manchester has endless opportunities, but is being held back by a Mayor who doesn’t understand and doesn’t address problems until they are crises,” Craig concluded.

In his statement, Mayor Gatsas claimed he “saved a fire station from closing,” however local Firefighters disagree.

“The people of Manchester are tired of Teddy’s tall tales. Mayor Gatsas’ claim to having ‘saved a fire station from closing’ skirts the fact that the Mayor’s proposed budget underfunded the Manchester Fire Department from the start. Chief Goonan and his administration warned the Board of Mayor and Aldermen repeatedly that restricting his budget would result in station closures,” said the Manchester Professional Fire Fighters Association and the Manchester Association of Fire Supervisors in a joint statement.

“Not until the final warning came and sufficient plans were presented did the Board act to keep Station 9 open in an emergency meeting. Mayor Gatsas’ careless delays and ignoring public safety professionals’ warnings put lives at risk, and now he wants the credit for fixing a problem he created. Enough is enough,” the firefighters added.

Yesterday, a group of women from Manchester wrote an open letter to Mayor Gatsas highlighting his failed leadership surrounding the rape of a girl at West High School.

“As women of varied ages and backgrounds who are mothers, sisters, daughters and residents of Manchester, we are writing to express our shock over your clear misunderstanding of the severity of any incident of sexual assault and why we expect better from the Mayor of our city,” the women wrote.

The people of Manchester deserve better than two more years of Gatsas’s failed leadership.

The Gatsas Economic Plan Is Full Of Holes

Mayor Ted Gatsas (Image By Marc Nozell)

Mayor Ted Gatsas (Image By Marc Nozell)

Ted Gatsas’s economic plan, the “Granite Growth Agenda,” is just a reinvention of Regan’s failed “trickle down” economic policy and is so full of holes you could strain pasta with it.

Yesterday, Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas was traveling the state promoting his economic plan that focuses heavily on helping the business community.

“As governor, I will be a partner in working to strengthen and grow New Hampshire’s economy,” said Gatsas at an event in Nashua. “No matter who you are, where you live or how big your business is, the Granite State economy will work for you.”

“As governor, I will get Concord off (the) backs of New Hampshire families and businesses and out of your wallets,” Gatsas continued.

How will he accomplish this? With GOP magic, cut business taxes and magically the economy will flourish.

Gatsas told the Concord Monitor Editorial Board that “he would like to see the Business Profits Tax and the Business Enterprise Tax either rolled back or cut altogether.”

First Gatsas wants to cut taxes reducing our state’s revenue at the same time he wants to increase the state’s contributions to the NH Retirement System.

Gatsas told the Monitor that he thinks the State should “pay its fair share of retirement costs.”

“Gatsas said he thinks municipalities would like to see the state’s retirement system contribution returned to its original 40 percent,” wrote the Concord Monitor. Gatsas also admitted, “I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

But wait there is more!

Gatsas also says he would like to see cities and towns adopt full day kindergarten. He told the Monitor that it would not be mandatory but he would “encourage” all communities to join.

At least Gatsas realizes the problem with instituting full day kindergarten.

“The most obvious barrier is funding,” Gatsas said. “To encourage districts to adopt full-day kindergarten I will work with the legislature to adjust the education funding formulas to count each kindergarten student in a public full-day program to be reimbursed at the full-day rate.”

So the Gatsas’ plan is to cut tax revenue while increasing state expenses.

“Rehashing failed Republican economics and repeating far-right talking points can’t hide the fact that Ted Gatsas’ ‘plan’ would do nothing for middle-class families trying to get ahead,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair, Raymond Buckley. “His record offers more of the same. Gatsas has spent his time in office blocking investment in New Hampshire’s clean energy future and implementing deep education cuts that led to massive layoffs.” 

Because the Legislature is required to pass a balanced budget, the loss in revenue and increase in expenses, means that cuts will have to be made in other departments as well.


Maybe Gatsas can explain how cutting taxes will help to fix the hundreds of “red listed” roads and bridges across the state? How are we going to attract new businesses to New Hampshire when they do not have access to the infrastructure needed to move their products?

New Hampshire also has a significant problem retaining young workers. Many leave the state because the cost of living is so high and wages are so low. Local companies are already struggling to find workers to replace their aging workforce. Why would any new business want to relocate to a place where they will not be able to find an adequate labor force?

Trickle down economics is a scam to help businesses at the expense of working people and our communities. We do not need more austerity politics. We need more investment in our future. We cannot make the investments needed if we continue to cut our revenue streams.

Mayor Gatsas, your pasta is ready.


ICYMI: Forrester Joins Edelblut in Pledging to Pass “Right to Work”

Concord, N.H.—State Senator and candidate for governor Jeanie Forrester made her fealty to the ultra-conservative Koch brothers official Monday, signing the 2016 Americans for Prosperity Pledge.

By signing, candidates pledge to “work tirelessly to… Pass a Right to Work Law in New Hampshire.” The Pledge also includes commitments to pursue right-wing economics and oppose all forms of the Affordable Care Act in New Hampshire, including Medicaid expansion, a program that has extended health benefits to nearly 50,000 Granite Staters.

In signing the pledge, Forrester joins state Representative Frank Edelblut as the first two candidates for governor to have signed the 2016 Pledge. Chris Sununu has signed the Pledge in the past, while Ted Gatsas has stayed silent on whether he’ll pledge allegiance to the Koch brothers.

“Jeanie Forrester’s pledge to support the Koch brothers extreme far-right agenda should put to rest any questions about whose interests she’d serve as governor,” said NHDP Press Secretary Evan Lukaske. “She now has officially declared that her priority will be to do the bidding of out-of-state billionaires and to strip health care from nearly 50,000 Granite Staters. Any notion that she’d fight for middle-class families just went out the window.”

Headquartered in Virginia and funded by the ultra-conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch, Americans For Prosperity is an out-of-state special interest group that supports right-wing candidates and far-right ideology. AFP is known for spreading misinformation about climate science and promoting failed and debunked trickle-down economic policies. Former Trump Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski previously served as their executive director.

Connolly Campaign Issues National Republican Platform Questionnaire to New Hampshire GOP Candidates

image from the Mark Connolly for Governor Campaign

Mark Connolly for Governor Campaign

CONCORD — Today, the Connolly for Governor campaign issued a questionnaire to the four candidates currently running for the Republican nomination for governor, asking for clarification on their policy positions relative to the Republican National Committee platform that has been adopted at the Convention in Cleveland.

“It’s hard to believe that, in 2016, national Republicans believe that their dangerously regressive platform is what Americans want for the future of their country,” said Connolly for Governor Campaign Manager Colin Pio. “That outlook is absolutely wrong for New Hampshire, and it’s fair for Granite State residents and voters to know whether the individuals vying to be our next Governor support the values of their national party.”

The text of the Connolly campaign’s questionnaire—along with the real facts on each issue—is below and available at markconnollynh.com/stopthegop.

1.  Do you believe that marriage is “between a man and a woman”? If so would you make it a priority of your administration to repeal same-sex marriage in New Hampshire, in place since 2010?

NH FACT: In 2007, New Hampshire became the first state in the country to embrace same-sex civil unions. Polling indicates that 67 percent of general election voters in New Hampshire—and 49 percent of likely Republican primary voters—support expanding same-sex marriage to every state in the country.[1]

2. Do you believe in defunding health care providers such as Planned Parenthood?[2]

NH FACT: Planned Parenthood provides critical care to more than 12,000 Granite Staters who rely on affordable access to their services and has offered cancer screenings, STI treatments, and contraception in New Hampshire for more than fifty years. 66 percent of Granite Staters believe that the organization’s local clinics should receive funding as healthcare providers.[3]

3. Do you endorse “conversion therapy” as a means of “curing” LGBT youth? Would you make it a priority of your administration to repeal New Hampshire’s prohibition on conversion therapy passed in 2016 with the support of six Republican State Senators?[4]

NH FACT: “Conversion therapy” has been widely debunked by psychologists and has been criticized by the United Nations Committee Against Torture.[5] Even Trump VP-runner up Chris Christie believes that “exposing children to these health risks without clear evidence of benefits outweigh these serious risks is not appropriate.”[6]

4. Do you believe that pornography is a bigger “public health crisis” in New Hampshire than the opioid epidemic? Would you prioritize combatting the “pornography crisis” over continuing Governor Hassan’s leadership on opioids?

NH FACT: According to New Hampshire’s Chief Medical Examiner, as of July 8, 161 overdose deaths have been reported in the state in 2016, and 86 more are still pending assessments. The projected year-end total of overdose deaths in 2016 is now 494; in 2012, the total was 163.[7]

5. Do you believe that coal is “an abundant, clean, affordable, reliable domestic energy source”?[8] Do you agree that coal should be classified as a “clean” energy resource? What sources of energy do qualify as “dirty,” and should we cut back on using them?

NH FACT: Coal, according to National Geographic, is “the dirtiest of fossil fuels,” and produces 39 percent of global CO₂ emissions. It kills thousands a year in mines, many more with polluted air.”[9] 72 percent of Republicans favor transitioning to clean energy, and 80 percent of them felt this was important “so that America will have cleaner, healthier air and less pollution.”[10]

6. Do you support the construction of a physical wall across the entirety of the U.S.-Mexico border?[11] How about along the 58-mile stretch of New Hampshire that borders between the U.S. and Canada? Would you prioritize funding a U.S.-Canadian border over increased funding for health care, education, and transportation?

NH FACT: Mexico is New Hampshire’s second-largest international customer, representing $450 million to the Granite State economy. New Hampshire’s trade with Canada, its largest international customer, is also significant; in 2014, New Hampshire exported $783 million worth of merchandise and services to Canada.[12]

7. Would you support a “bathroom bill,” which prevents men and women from using the facilities that correspond with their gender?[13]

NH FACT: There are no recorded cases of transgendered individuals threatening or harming anyone while using bathrooms corresponding to their gender; however, roughly 70 percent of transgendered respondents to a recent UCLA study reported having been harassed, denied access, or experiencing physical assault while trying to use the appropriate bathroom.[14]

8. Do you agree that our current gun control laws are sufficient to protect the safety of the American people? Would you support the continuation of the federal Dickey Amendment, which stifles federal funding for research into gun violence?

NH FACT: A recently renewed legislative relic from 1996, the Dickey Amendment stripped funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to research gun violence; in 2011, congressional Republicans extended the ban on research to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Former Congressman Jay Dickey, who spearheaded the original legislation, now says he regrets implementing such restrictions in the first place.[15]


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


[1] http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-05-12/new-hampshire-poll-voters-strongly-favor-expanding-gay-marriage-rights

[2] http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/barbara-hollingsworth/gop-platform-committee-calls-defunding-planned-parenthood-0

[3] https://www.plannedparenthoodaction.org/files/9514/5013/2839/Polling_Roundup.pdf

[4] http://www.wmur.com/politics/senate-passes-bill-banning-conversion-therapy-for-minors-in-nh/39525820

[5] http://www.politicalresearch.org/2014/11/14/while-u-n-condemns-conversion-therapy-u-s-right-continues-promoting-debunked-practice-in-africa/#sthash.truaaVS4.dpbs

[6] http://www.politico.com/story/2013/08/chris-christie-gay-conversion-therapy-new-jersey-095666

[7] http://www.nh1.com/news/projected-overdose-death-total-nears-500-in-nh-recent-data-shows/

[8] https://www.facebook.com/theclimatedesk/videos/1300064623354570/

[9] http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2014/04/coal/nijhuis-text

[10] https://nh.nextgenclimate.org/2016/04/22/a-conservative-case-for-climate-change-and-clean-energy/

[11] http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/07/13/gop-draft-platform-will-include-trumps-proposed-border-wall.html

[12] http://www.trade.gov/mas/ian/build/groups/public/@tg_ian/documents/webcontent/tg_ian_005343.pdf

[13] http://www.vox.com/2016/7/11/12148806/draft-republican-platform-gop

[14] http://www.npr.org/2016/05/15/477954537/when-a-transgender-person-uses-a-public-bathroom-who-is-at-risk

[15] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/jay-dickey-gun-violence-research-amendment_us_561333d7e4b022a4ce5f45bf

Van Ostern says Sununu’s Pledge to “Gut the Board of Education” is “The Sort of Insult and Threat You’d Expect from Donald Trump”

At Debate last week, Sununu said, “I’m Going To Gut The Board Of Education”

Teacher calls threat “offensive” and School Board member says it’s “totally irresponsible”

Colin Van Ostern

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

MANCHESTER, N.H. – Yesterday, educators and education advocates joined Democratic candidate for Governor, Colin Van Ostern in a conference call, where they condemned Chris Sununu for pledging to “Gut the Board of Education” at last week’s Republican gubernatorial debate.

“We need to invest in education, not ‘gut’ education in our state,” said Colin Van Ostern, Democratic candidate for Governor. “Chris Sununu’s rhetoric is as bad as Ted Gatsas’s record. We’ve seen what happens when that sort of a threat gets put into practice, that’s the attitude Ted Gatsas had as Mayor in Manchester. We’ve seen budgets slashed, class sizes ‘swollen’ and surrounding towns going out of the school district. Now, unfortunately Chris Sununu is trying to out-Gatsas Ted Gatsas.  […] This is the sort of insult and threat that you’d expect from Donald Trump.  A Governor needs to bring people together to solve problems, not tear them apart and insult them. As Governor, I will work with teachers, parents and education leaders to make sure every kid has the chance at a world-class education.”

New Hampshire educators also offered a stern rebuke of Chris Sununu’s remark, including Karen Ladd who has worked very closely with New Hampshire’s Board of Education to deliver innovative and award-winning curriculum to her students at Sanborn High School.

“Chris Sununu’s words are offensive and they treat educators and education leaders like enemies. I was deeply offended – as a teacher and as a taxpayer,” said Karen Ladd, an art teacher at Sanborn High School in Kingston. “New Hampshire has some of the best schools in the country and by cooperating with education leaders at the state school board, we’re decreasing reliance on standardized tests and other states look to NH as a model for what we are doing.”

She added that the Board “has had a profound impact on my ability to provide the best educational opportunities for my own students. Having the Board of Education available to help monitor and coordinate our efforts, to provide this education regardless of zip codes and where students are in the state, really ensures that I can spend more time working with my students and design an engaging curriculum. Frankly, we need a Governor that will support this joint effort, not undermine it.”

“The very thought that somebody could say that we should gut the Board of Ed is just totally irresponsible,” added Leslie Want, a Manchester School Board member who represents Ward 4.

UPDATED: Ted Gatsas Releases His New Education Plan Expecting People To Ignore Manchester’s Education Problems

The Manchester School District is underfunded and overcrowded but Ted Gatsas is praising it in his candidacy for Governor

Today, Ted Gatsas, current Mayor of Manchester and candidate for Governor of New Hampshire, released his “Comprehensive Plan for Education in NH.” Education is always a crucial part of any campaign for Governor. Gatsas’ plan focuses on  “choice” and “funding.”

Ted GatsasLike many Republicans, Gatsas is pushing more school voucher programs to allow tax dollars to be used to pay for private schools giving parents a “choice” in their child’s education. At the same time he is talking about the unbalanced funding problems plaguing school districts throughout the state.

The irony is the two are directly connected and conflict each other. By taking taxpayer money away from public schools this further reduces the amount of money available to public schools.

Executive Councilor and Democratic candidate for Governor, Colin Van Ostern, was quick to criticize Gatsas’ new plan.

“Ted Gatsas’ education proposals threaten to cut funds for our public schools, stifle innovation and invite dysfunction and controversy — just like his failed record as Mayor has resulted in deep budget cuts to Manchester schools, increased class sizes, and prompted surrounding communities to withdraw from the School District,” said Democratic candidate for Governor, Colin Van Ostern. “As Governor, I will work to keep New Hampshire moving forward by strengthening our schools, our workforce and our economy.”

“Mayor Gatsas’s legacy of deep cuts to public education has led to layoffs and increased class sizes—which, in turn, have meant higher property taxes for city residents as surrounding communities have left the Manchester school system. Our state can do better than that, and we must,” said Mark Connolly, Democratic candidate for Governor. “As Governor, I’ll work with mayors and local officials to deliver a world-class education to every New Hampshire student, beginning in preschool and culminating at graduation with career-ready skills relevant to our innovation economy.”

 Van Ostern and Connolly was not the only one to blast Gatsas on his double speak about supporting eduction.  Former Alderman, school board member and mother of children in Manchester public schools Joyce Craig, spoke out against Gatsas’ new plan. 

“If Ted Gatsas’ new ‘education policy’ looks anything like his actual record on education, we can expect proposals that result in cuts, layoffs and struggling schools. Gatsas’ tenure as mayor and chairman of the school board have led to a loss of over $10M of tuition revenue from Auburn, Candia and Hooksett, large class sizes, and fewer course offerings.  While some good things are happening in Manchester public schools, this loss of tuition revenue has resulted in an increase in taxes for Manchester property owners.  If the solution is simple, why hasn’t Mayor Gatsas worked with state and local officials to improve education for all students in Manchester? Ted Gatsas should get it done in Manchester before he starts proposing statewide programs.”

Over the past few years, the city of Manchester has been plagued with funding issues and overcrowding.  In 2012, NHPR reported that some classrooms had more than 40 students, ten more than allowed by the teacher’s contract allowed at the time.  The overcrowding forced the towns of Hookset and Candia to leave the Manchester School District resulting in a $300,000 loss in revenue to the school district.

“We had students sitting on the floor with a clipboard,” Jim O’Connell, the president of the Parent-Teacher Organization at Hillside Middle School told the New York Times. “It’s one degree separated from a 1700s classroom with chalk and a slate.”

The Manchester schools are grossly underfunded. “The district’s growth has not kept up with its tax revenues, and Manchester now has some of the state’s lowest per-pupil spending, at $10,283.77 per student (the state average is $13,159.15)” wrote the NY Times.

Would the Gatsas plan to overturn the Claremont Decision that provided a foundation for all public school funding in New Hampshire, help all the schools in the state? How will his plan to take taxpayer money and give it to charter schools or religious institutions help the students who remain in the public school system? Do we want the problems plaguing the Manchester School District to become the problems of all school districts in NH?


Post updated to include statement from Mark Connolly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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


Teamsters Local 633 Endorses Patrick Arnold for Mayor

Manchester – Teamsters Local 633 announced its endorsement of Patrick Arnold for mayor of Manchester, citing Alderman Arnold’s vision for a better Manchester.

“Our members, who represent city employees, drivers, school administrators, and other workers, voted overwhelmingly to endorse Alderman Arnold in his race for mayor because we all believe that Patrick will fight to restore, renew, and reform our great city. We know that we can do better than current leadership at City Hall. On November 5, we encourage all Manchester voters to vote for Patrick Arnold and we look forward to better jobs, stronger schools, and safer streets under his leadership,” said Teamsters Local 633 Secretary-Treasurer David Laughton.

Patrick Arnold added, “I’m proud to have the support of the working men and women from Local 633 and our grassroots campaign is stronger with the Teamsters on our side. Together we can, we must, and we will do better for Manchester’s future.”

In addition to the Teamsters Local 633, Patrick Arnold has earned the endorsement of the following organizations: New Hampshire Young Democrats, Manchester Education Association, National Education Association – New Hampshire, Manchester Professional Fire Fighters, IBEW Local 2320, IBEW Local 490, Ironworkers Local 7, Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire, State Employees’ Association, Steel Workers Local 8938 and hundreds of grassroots activists.

For a full list of endorsements, visit: www.arnoldformayor.com/endorsements



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