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Nuns on the Bus Stop in Concord for Rally to “Mend the Gaps”

2016-07-22 Nuns on the Bus Sr Simone Campbell

Sr. Simone Campbell addresses the crowd, while some of the Nuns on the Bus take shelter from the heat under umbrellas.

About 125 Granite Staters braved today’s heat to meet Sister Simone Campbell and the Nuns on the Bus at a State House rally to “Mend the Gaps” between us that weaken society, including gaps in income, healthcare, housing and access to democracy.

Campbell and nearly 20 Catholic sisters from around the country are visiting 13 states and both major party conventions on a tour that began July 11.  The tour’s goal is “to bring a politics of inclusion to divided places, change the conversation to mending the vast economic and social divides in our country, and counter political incivility with our message of inclusion.  NETWORK’s 44 year-old faith-filled political message is an alternative to the anger, fear, and polarization of this election cycle.  We believe in faithful citizenship, which compels us to travel the country to listen to the lived experiences of people in their communities and hold elected officials accountable to the promises they have made to legislate for the common good.”

The sisters are caucusing with local advocates in Manchester tonight, and will hold a rally in Boston tomorrow starting at 10:00 am on the front lawn of Boston College High School, 150 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston, MA 02125.  The full tour schedule is available at www.nunsonthebus.org.

At today’s rally, the sisters distributed brochures comparing candidates’ positions on “Mending the Gaps.”  Download the brochure comparing Kelly Ayotte with Maggie Hassan here and the brochure comparing Hillary Clinton with Donald Trump here.

Granite Staters shared their stories about the growing gaps in our economy which are making the American dream unattainable for too many families.

  • Jazmine Langley and Olivia Zink of Open Democracy signed the Bus before it left Concord, on the way to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

    Jazmine Langley, a Democracy Fellow with Open Democracy/NH, spoke about the challenges facing her as a biracial woman. “I have seen oppression up close. I have witnessed the gaps woven into the fabric of our country that are very much racially and socioeconomically based. From drug addiction to poverty. From police brutality to mass imprisonment. From strict voter ID laws to felon disenfranchisement. Our elected representatives and ourselves need to be held accountable for mending this gap. Whether that is by trying to spark legal reform in getting big money out politics, registering more voters, or fighting voter suppression laws, doing non-profit work dedicated to some aspect of this issue, or just educating yourselves, families, friends, and children about the issue at hand – it all makes a difference. This is our democracy, so this is our fight!”  You can watch Jazmine’s speech here.

  • Amy Shaw, a mother of two living in Rochester spoke about the challenge of finding affordable childcare. “Even with both my husband and I working, we couldn’t afford to send our kids to daycare. I had to quit my job because my monthly income wasn’t going to cover my childcare costs.” Watch Amy’s remarks here.
  • Jen Cole, of Pittsfield, said “Low wages make it challenging to pay the bills week to week but nearly impossible when life throws you a curveball. My husband was diagnosed with cancer four years ago and could not work for several months. We had to survive off of my income and rely on family and friends to help us through what was already a difficult time. If someone is working full time they should be able to make ends meet and not have to fear they’ll lose everything if they get sick.”
  • Sister Eileen Brady, of Nashua, is a Social Worker and Advocate at the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter. As a Sister of Mercy, she has been a staunch advocate for peace and justice for decades.  “The Sisters of Mercy have been trying to ‘Mend the Gaps’ since 1858,” Sister Eileen said.  She shared stories of people she has met through the Nashua Soup Kitchen, “My friends who have no place to live tonight.”  You can watch her remarks here.

“Pope Francis challenges all people to come together to work for the common good,” said Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, executive director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, which launched the first Nuns on the Bus tour during the 2012 presidential campaign. “On our journey as Nuns on the Bus we will talk to those Pope Francis voters and, hopefully, inspire them to make mending the gaps the defining issue of the 2016 election.”

2016-07-22 Nuns on the Bus crowd2

Part of today’s crowd on the State House lawn.

“Every New Hampshire family deserves a fair shot at the American dream but rising costs, stagnant wages and unfair workplace policies are putting that dream out of reach for too many working people,” said Amanda Sears, director of the Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy, a co-sponsor of the Concord rally.  “The visit from the Nuns on the Bus today highlights the need for family friendly policy solutions that lift workers and make our communities stronger.”

Today’s program was emceed by Gail Kenney of the United Church of Christ Economic Justice Mission Group.  Jack Bopp and Arnie Alpert led everyone in a rousing rendition of “We’re All Riding with the Nuns on The Bus.”  Opening prayers were offered by Rev. Gary M. Schulte, the Conference Minister of the New Hampshire Conference of the United Church of Christ, and Woullard Lett, president of the Manchester, NH branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Today’s rally was cosponsored by organizations including AFSC’s NH Program, NH Voices of Faith, Granite State Organizing Project, United Church of Christ Economic Justice Ministry, NH Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy, NH Sisters of Mercy, and Stamp Stampede.




Governor Maggie Hassan Files For US Senate

Maggie Files (Image by Laconia Democrats)

Image by Laconia Democrats

Joined by Hundreds of Supporters, Governor Hassan Officially Files to Represent New Hampshire in the United States Senate

CONCORD – Joined by hundreds of supporters, Governor Maggie Hassan officially filed today to represent New Hampshire in the United States Senate, vowing to stand up against special interests, to solve problems to get results for New Hampshire’s families and small businesses and to keep working to build a more innovative economic future where everyone has an opportunity to get ahead and stay ahead.

“I am running for Senate because I want to ensure that all of our people are included in our shared success, that we have a thriving middle class and that parents can once again feel confident that the next generation will have a brighter future than the last,” said Governor Maggie Hassan.

“Here in New Hampshire, we’ve shown that it’s possible to bring people together across party lines to lay the foundation for a new generation of innovative economic growth. We’ve made progress by working together – Democrats, Republicans and independents – to solve problems and get things done for hard-working Granite Staters, and it is long past time for Washington to take the same approach. I will always fight for New Hampshire’s priorities, and I will work to bring people together to build an economic future where everyone has the opportunity to get ahead and stay ahead,” added Governor Hassan.

As Governor, Maggie Hassan has worked to bring together members of both parties to build a stronger, more innovative New Hampshire where education and small businesses drive job creation. Working across party lines, Governor Hassan enacted two fiscally responsible, balanced budgets that invest in critical economic priorities while holding the line against a sales or income tax. The Governor expanded the research & development tax credit, cut taxes for small businesses and created a business-friendly environment that has New Hampshire’s unemployment rate at its lowest rate in 15 years and one of the lowest in the nation.

Governor Hassan also successfully froze tuition at state universities for the first time in 25 years and lowered tuition at community colleges, invested in fixing New Hampshire’s roads and bridges, and secured the passage and reauthorization of a bipartisan Medicaid Expansion plan that is providing nearly 50,000 Granite Staters with the health and economic security that comes with quality, affordable health insurance.

As Senator, Maggie Hassan will bring her bipartisan approach, common sense and commitment to problem solving to Washington to take on corporate special interests and get results for hard-working New Hampshire families and small businesses. She will fight for critical issues for New Hampshire families and small businesses such as encouraging business innovation, making college more affordable and reducing the burden of student loan debt, safeguarding Social Security and Medicare for New Hampshire’s seniors, and protecting every woman’s right to make her own health care decisions. She will also continue to focus on combating the heroin and opioid crisis and keeping our communities safe and secure.

Most importantly, just as she has as Governor, Maggie Hassan will be a Senator who will always put New Hampshire families and small businesses first.

“I look forward to Maggie Hassan continuing her tireless advocacy on behalf of the people of New Hampshire in the U.S. Senate next year,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “We’ve seen great successes as a state during her tenure as Governor, and to continue moving forward we need Maggie in the Senate to bring people together to get things done the Granite State way and fight the special interests who have rigged the system against middle class families.

“Since going to Washington, Kelly Ayotte has stood in lockstep with special interests including Big Oil, Wall Street and the Koch Brothers to protect their interests at the expense of Granite State families on critical issues like college affordability, retirement security, and women’s health,” added Buckley. 

Buckley concluded by stating, “New Hampshire deserves better; we need Senator Maggie Hassan.”

Planned Parenthood for Maggie Hassan for SenatePlanned Parenthood Action Fund members were cheering on Maggie Hassan today as she filed to run for US Senate. Hassan has a clear record of supporting women’s access to a full range of health care services, including leading efforts to successfully expand Medicaid, signing into law a bill that protects safety of patients while accessing health centers, voting to expand emergency contraception for Granite State women, and voting to block efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. 

Planned Parenthood in New Hampshire provided thousands of breast exams and thousands with birth control, administered nearly 20,000 STI tests, over 1,000 Pap tests, and engaged in sex education and outreach to nearly 2,000 individuals in 2015 alone. Both Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Action Fund have endorsed Maggie Hassan for US Senate.

“Maggie Hassan is a champion for women’s health, and has never wavered in her support for women to make their own choices about their private health care decisions, including abortion,” said Kayla McCarthy, Advocacy & Organizing Manager of Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund It is clear to us, and to the thousands of Planned Parenthood supporters in New Hampshire that Maggie Hassan will work hard to ensure the life saving services that Planned Parenthood of Northern New England provides remain affordable, high quality, and inclusive. New Hampshire wants a leader who will fight for reproductive health care and rights, not someone who will continue to try and take us backwards.”

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