Senator Shaheen’s New Ad BURDEN: Fighting For Student Loan Refinancing

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New TV Ad: Jeanne Shaheen Is Fighting Rising College Costs, Working To Make A Difference For New Hampshire Students And Their Parents

Manchester, NH – A new television ad from Jeanne Shaheen’s campaign highlights how Shaheen is working to lower college costs for New Hampshire students and their parents by giving them the freedom to refinance their college loans, just like they can with a home mortgage or car loan.  The ad, running 30 seconds, began airing Sunday on televisions stations in New Hampshire.

“Jeanne Shaheen has deep roots in New Hampshire. She raised her family here and her record proves she shares our values. She understands the importance of education to our kids and their future,” said Campaign Manager Mike Vlacich.  “That’s why as Governor she expanded public kindergarten and created a tax free tuition savings program, and why as Senator she’s introduced new legislation to lower the cost of college loans.  New Hampshire comes first for Jeanne Shaheen and always has.”

In the Senate, Jeanne Shaheen was an original cosponsor of the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinance Act that would allow students in New Hampshire and across the country to refinance their loans at lower interest rates.  While the legislation was blocked by congressional gridlock and a Republican filibuster, it would have helped 25 million borrowers across the country save thousands of dollars on their loan payments.  Individuals with older loans at higher interest rates would be able to refinance at rates below 4 percent.

New Hampshire college graduates leave school with $33,000 in student loan debt on average.  It is the second highest rate of debt in the country.  Over half of the more than 200,000 Granite Staters with federally backed student loans would benefit from Senator Shaheen’s legislation.

Independent economists point to the relatively low share of first-time home buyers in today’s market compared with historical levels as a result of increasing levels of student loan debt.  Graduates with high monthly student loan payments are less likely to qualify for a mortgage or have been able to save money for a down payment on a home.

“New Hampshire students leave college on average with $33,000 in debt. It can slow them down for years. But right now, our students can’t refinance their loans the way you can refinance a car loan or a mortgage,” says Senator Shaheen in the new television ad.  “I want to change that.  I am fighting for a bill to allow students to refinance their loans. It will lower rates and save families thousands of dollars.”

Watch the new television ad here

Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire Respond to Governor Romney’s Endorsement of Scott Brown

Massachusetts Senator Brown

Today in Stratham, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney endorsed Scott Brown for US Senate here in New Hampshire. Romney and Brown share similar views regarding fire fighters and public safety. Their views are not supported by the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire.

“Mitt Romney’s endorsement of Scott Brown for US Senate today comes as no surprise to us, because both of these individuals have not shown a commitment to safety in our communities. Scott Brown voted against the Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act that would have provided $1 billion to rehire laid off fire fighters, law enforcement officers and teachers. He voted against the American Jobs Act, which would have put thousands of fire fighters and police officers back to work making our communities safer,” stated David Lang, President of the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire. “Both of these previously elected officials have a history of not supporting policies that would make our communities safer. Their priorities do not protect the people of Main Street, and are not helpful here in New Hampshire. This is yet another reason why the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire are supporting Senator Jeanne Shaheen,” Lang continued.

“The citizens of New Hampshire deserve better than Scott Brown. They deserve someone who has a proven track record of fighting for fire fighters and for public safety every single day. We didn’t buy Romney’s plan in New Hampshire during the 2012 campaign, and we certainly won’t buy the same plan spoken by a different Massachusetts politician. Both Scott Brown and Mitt Romney failed fire fighters in the Bay State, and we won’t give Brown the chance to do that to us here in New Hampshire,” stated Chuck Gallant President of IAFF Local #4411 Professional Firefighters of Rye.

The Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire represent over 2,000 active and retired fire fighters and paramedics across New Hampshire in 43 locals.

AFT Pres. Weingarten Praises Senate Passage Of The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Calls For Action From US House


WASHINGTON—Statement of AFT President Randi Weingarten on the Senate’s bipartisan passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act:

“During a time of unprecedented partisan gridlock in Washington, today the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan bill that will extend the ladder of opportunity to middle-class workers and families by addressing one of the most pressing challenges facing this country—training the American workforce for the 21st-century economy.

“Our new economy continues to change, and our workers must too. As we continue to dig out from the Great Recession, America has an urgent need to educate, train and retrain workers so they can compete for good jobs. This bill will empower young people, the disabled, the long-term unemployed and those barely getting by on hourly wages, to become economically self-sufficient.

“The American people expect leadership out of Washington, and today members of the Senate proved they could put their differences aside to advocate on behalf of the middle class and stand with our nation’s workers. It’s time for the House of Representatives to show the same commitment and pass the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act immediately.”

Senate Passes Shaheen Backed Legislation To Improve On-The-Job Training Programs

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Jobs legislation expands on-the-job training 

(Washington, DC) – The U.S. Senate approved bipartisan legislation today to improve the nation’s workforce development system and prioritize on-the-job training (OJT) programs that have been championed by U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). With OJT programs included, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) will modernize and improve existing federal workforce development programs, help workers attain the skills necessary for 21st-century jobs, and foster the modern workforce that evolving American businesses rely on to compete.

“On-the-job training programs are a proven way to help the unemployed find and keep a job while making sure businesses have incentives to hire,” Shaheen said. “The bipartisan jobs plan the Senate passed today is great news for New Hampshire’s economy and job seekers around the country, and I urge the House to pass this common-sense plan so we can help Americans who need jobs find and keep work.”

Shaheen has been a strong advocate for workforce training programs that give American workers the knowledge and skills needed to compete for quality jobs, and has introduced bipartisan legislation with Senator Thad Cochran (R-MI), the On-the-Job Training Act, to help Americans obtain employment and learn the skills they need to keep it.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act significantly expands opportunities for OJT, supporting access to real-world education and workforce development while encouraging businesses to expand hiring. The legislation requires state workforce investment boards to disseminate information identifying OJT opportunities and boosts incentives for employers to participate in OJT programs. Additionally, the bill focuses on career pathways and prioritizes work-based learning opportunities for out-of-school youth, including OJT, to give them the support they need to build successful careers.

OJT programs connect unemployed workers with jobs and provide employers with training subsidies, and have a proven track record as one of the most effective ways of helping unemployed workers gain new skills to find and retain employment. In New Hampshire, OJT, or “earn while you learn,” has proven particularly beneficial for long-term unemployed workers who might otherwise have not been able to find work and for employers who have been able to bring on additional staff to sustain and grow their businesses. According to a 2014 White House report, OJT agreements have been established with more than 170 New Hampshire companies in numerous industries including the manufacturing, service, information technology, telecommunications, engineering, medical, construction, energy and administration industries. As of the report’s January release, 96 percent of exited New Hampshire OJT participants remained employed six months after exiting the program, 86 percent of whom were still on the payroll of their OJT employer or OJT-related employer, rates significantly above other federal job training programs.

In New TV Ad, NH Republican Tells How Jeanne Shaheen Saved Her Home

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Jeanne Shaheen took on the big banks to help 1,200 NH families solve mortgage issues

Concord, NH – The Shaheen campaign’s newest television ads tell the story of how Jeanne Shaheen helped a New Boston homeowner keep her home, one of more than one-thousand New Hampshire families Jeanne Shaheen has helped solve home mortgage issues.  The two new ads, one 60 seconds and another 30 seconds, are set to begin airing today. Both ads feature Ursula Gordon, a registered Republican and a homeowner in New Boston, New Hampshire, who was in danger of losing her home after her husband got sick.

“It means everything to be able to keep your home. There is nothing more sacred than your home,” Gordon says in the ad.  “I am a registered Republican but Jeanne Shaheen is the one that came through for me. I wouldn’t be in this house if it wasn’t for Jeanne Shaheen.  She is the one who got the job done.  She is the one who cared.”

In the Senate, Jeanne Shaheen took on the largest mortgage providers and called for meaningful reforms, including penalties on banks that fail to evaluate homeowners swiftly and a review process for improper denials.  Other safeguards that she championed, like providing borrowers with a single point of contact and prohibiting foreclosures while borrowers are being considered for a loan modification, were later included in the National Mortgage Settlement of 2012 as a way of protecting American homeowners from unnecessary foreclosures.

“Jeanne Shaheen took on the big banks to help people in New Hampshire refinance and keep their homes,” said Campaign Manager Mike Vlacich.  “As our Governor and now as our U.S. Senator, she has always put people first and worked to find commons sense solutions that make a difference for people.  Her leadership makes a difference for New Hampshire.”

Across the state, stories like Ursula’s and Jeanne Shaheen’s work to help her, have repeated more than 1,200 times.

Video 1 (1:00 min)

Video 2 (30 sec)

The Koch Brothers Are Trying To Buy Scott Brown A Senate Seat To Protect Their Big Oil Tax Breaks

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Scott Brown supported billions in special breaks for Big Oil and Wall Street, they are spending millions to get him back to Washington

Jeanne Shaheen 3There is no denying that Senator Scott Brown is a friend to Wall Street.  After the insanely popular Elizabeth Warren kicked Brown to the curb, Brown took a lobbying job on behalf of “financial services industry.” He used his political connections as a Senator to lobby on behalf of the poor, overworked, underpaid hedge fund managers of Wall Street.

Brown’s ties to Wall Street go back even further to when he was an the actual Senator from Massachusetts, where lived from many years until about three seconds ago when he decided to run for the Senate from NH. Senator Scott Brown was instrumental in the passage of the “STOCK Act.

“Brown’s STOCK Act reflected the wishes of lobbyists who did not want to see real reform.” (Republic Report)

That only made Wall Street love Scott more.  They knew it would be good for business, and mostly their wallets if, Scott Brown stayed a Senator, and Warren -who wants to put bankers in jail for destroying the economy- were to continue teaching instead of moving to Washington.   That is why lobbyists like Wayne Berman invested heavily in his campaign for election in 2012.

He’s (Berman) a lobbyist, but also a major fundraiser for Brown. Berman has thrown financial industry fundraisers for Brown, and is leading efforts to steer cash toward Brown’s reelection effort.” (Republic Report)

Now suddenly, Scott Brown is driving his truck all over New Hampshire trying to tell people that he is from here, and that he should be OUR Senator.  Not many people are buying it, and so Brown is going to need some significant funders to help him buy the Senate seat in his newly adopted state.

Now the Koch Brothers funded Americans For Prosperity and other third party groups have now spent over $2 million dollars on attack ads against Senator Shaheen.  This is probably why Senator Brown is still refusing to sign the “peoples pledge” to keep all the third party money out of the race, simply because he cannot afford to buy the Senate seat on his own.

“Big Oil special interests and the Koch Brothers are spending millions to buy Scott Brown a Senate seat because they know he’ll work to protect their interests,” said Shaheen spokesman Harrell Kirstein. “As a Senator from Massachusetts, Brown voted to give Big Oil and Wall Street billions in special breaks and they gave his campaigns millions of dollars.  Now the Koch brothers are spending big money on attack ads supporting Brown’s campaign because they desperately want him back in the Senate again voting to protect their interests, not New Hampshire’s.”

The Koch Brothers want to defeat Jeanne Shaheen because she opposed special breaks for Big Oil but New Hampshire voters won’t be fooled by their attack ads. They know Jeanne Shaheen is fighting to make a difference for New Hampshire and that’s what she’ll continue doing,” added Kirstein.

Scott Brown and the Koch Brothers are trying to pull the wool over your eyes about how Scott Brown is in bed with Wall Street, a complete sellout, and willing to do whatever his rich and powerful masters tell him to do.

 I for one will not be fooled, will you? 

Shaheen Campaign Statement on Scott Brown Officially Entering New Hampshire’s U.S. Senate Race


Time for Scott Brown to Sign the Same People’s Pledge He Proposed and Signed for Massachusetts

Concord – With Scott Brown officially entering the U.S. Senate race in New Hampshire, it is time for him to sign the People’s Pledge for the Granite State and stop out-of-state third parties from spending millions on attack ads here.  Brown proposed and signed this exact same People’s Pledge in his last race in Massachusetts, and as recently as just a few weeks ago, bragged about how well it worked.

“In 2012, Scott Brown said Massachusetts voters deserved better than outside third-party attack ads.  Well, the people of New Hampshire deserve better too.  We hope, now that he is officially a candidate, Scott Brown will commit to the same standard he set in his last race on the other side of the border and tell the special interests to stay out,” said Shaheen for Senate Campaign Manager Mike Vlacich.

Vlacich continued, “As our Governor and now our U.S. Senator, Jeanne Shaheen has always put New Hampshire first. She is a common sense leader who makes a difference for people here: strengthening job-creating small businesses, expanding job training and opportunity, and protecting taxpayers and consumers.”

The Rules change that could end gridlock in the US House

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Record dysfunction in Congress: it’s NOT just the Senate, and NOT just the filibuster.

Republican extremists in the House have also been using parliamentary tricks to block legislation – including bills that had bipartisan support and would have passed if our elected Representatives were actually allowed to vote.

“The use of ‘closed rules’ has excluded most House members from full participation in the legislative process,” Rep. Louise Slaughter, ranking Democrat on the House Rules Committee, wrote earlier this week.

“Under a closed rule, no amendments are allowed on the House floor. As a result, House Republicans are able to pursue a politically driven agenda without allowing commonsense amendments that could achieve bipartisan compromise.  This approach has also empowered the most extreme members of the House to pursue narrow policy goals at all costs.”

Like, say, the government shutdown.

“On Sept. 30 — the eve of the government shutdown — Republicans on the House Rules Committee changed the rule so only House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) could call up a Senate-passed clean funding bill — a bill that has the votes to pass the House and would end the shutdown, if it were given a vote.”

One man, standing in the way of a vote that impacts millions of Americans.  (Remind you of anything?  Such as: then-Senator Scott Brown single-handedly blocking an extension of unemployment benefits, back in 2010?  The Senate couldn’t vote until they added an extension of Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy.)

This is what’s REALLY wrong with Congress:  our elected Representatives aren’t being allowed to vote on legislation that has bipartisan support.

GOP leadership is using the “closed rule” process to keep the House from passing legislation.  Last year was the most “closed” year in House history.  “In fact, the House GOP passed as many closed rules in a single week in October as during the entire last year of Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) speakership.”

The Senate is finally reforming the filibuster.

Isn’t it time for the House to reform the “closed rule” process?

The NH AFL-CIO Hosts Annual Labor Day Breakfast (Video’s of speeches)

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NHAFLCIO breakfast 10The struggle and successes of New Hampshire workers was the basis of the this year’s Labor Day breakfast hosted by the NH AFL-CIO.

The event opened with short and fiery speech from NH AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie. He started the morning off by reminding everyone of the connection between labor unions and the community.  Reflecting on the anniversary of the March on Washington, MacKenzie highlighted how we defeated Right To Work for less and the rule of Bill O’Brien.  We also worked as a community to elect Maggie Hassan and flip the NH House.  MacKenzie talked about the dream that car wash workers and McDonalds workers have of a higher minimum wage, a living wage enabling workers to live a decent life. Everyone deserves an opportunity to live the American Dream: to have a good job, a pension, and decent healthcare.

MacKenzie also addressed the attacks on voting rights across this country.   He said “When people wake up in this country, they have a dream that they can go to the polls without harassment. Voter rights is still an issue in this nation and we have to put this behind us.  Everyone should have the right to vote.

After President MacKenzie, we heard from Governor Maggie Hassan.  Her speech was a list of all that we have accomplished since she took office.  Unlike other some other Governors (for instance, Scott Walker), Governor Hassan admires and respects our dedicated public employees.

“You make up the highly skilled workforce that attracts innovative businesses and allows them to succeed. You are the ones who make our communities strong and protect the well-being of our people.” 

She also focused on the issue of mis-classification of workers.  “We must continue to enforce existing laws to prevent the mis-classification of workers, so that workers receive the full benefits and protections they deserve.”

After an introduction that included a long and distinguished list of her accomplishments, we heard from NH’s senior Senator, Jeanne Shaheen.

“It is wonderful to be with all of you to celebrate the enormous contribution that working men and women and organized labor have made to build a strong New Hampshire.”

She spoke about the obstructionism that fills the US Senate.  The GOP has been blocking every one of President Obama’s nominees.  She said she still would like to see the filibuster rule changed.

Sen. Shaheen also spent a few minutes on the subject of Syria.  When she returns to Washington, she will listen to classified briefings and be part of the decision about what our country should do.

Congresswoman Annie Kuster also addressed the crowd.  The last time she was at the Breakfast, she was campaigning for New Hampshire’s Second District seat.  Now she is the sitting Congresswoman representing the largest geographical portion of the state.  She took a moment to thank the people in the room who helped elect her.

“I want to thank all of our friends in labor. It is very clear to me that I would not be standing here without each and every one of you.”

She also talked about her ‘Congress in your company’ campaign, that is working to connect Congress with local businesses and manufacturers, in a effort to strengthen our ‘Made in America’ brand.

Just before we ate Reverand Gail Kinney offered a prayer.  Rev. Kinney is an ordained minister from South Danbury, as well as a dedicated union member (UAW) and long time activist.

Her blessing for workers is so strong and powerful that I cannot begin to tell you about it, just watch it for yourself!

Below are a few random images from the event.  All photos and video were taken by Matt Murray.

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AFSC Says Senate Immigration Bill Much Less Than Meets the Eye

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Bill’s narrow path to citizenship still sustains human rights hardships

CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE — The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) finds the Senate immigration bill passed today “offers much less than it should, and at great sacrifice to quality of life for all US residents.”

The bill creates a narrow path to citizenship for some immigrants and makes modest progress on some worker rights issues, the Quaker organization said.  “But the dramatic expansion of current failed policies make it a far cry from the just and humane reforms that immigrant communities, faith, labor and advocacy groups have been calling for,” commented staff for the organization’s New Hampshire Program.

“The Senate bill makes it possible for some share of undocumented people currently living in the U.S. to embark on a path toward legalization. But  it would not end the current cruel, costly and inefficient system of detention and deportation, and it provides for astounding investments in the border militarization industrial complex – meaning billions for the contractors and continuing crises for people on both sides of the border,” said Maggie Fogarty, who coordinates the AFSC’s New Hampshire Economic Justice Project.    

“The path to legalization is a precarious one, likely to leave many people behind,” commented Arnie Alpert, AFSC’s New Hampshire Coordinator.  Under the terms of the Senate bill, many commonplace situations—such as a period greater than 60 days of unemployment during the ten year provisional period—will make immigrants ineligible for Legal Permanent Residency, he said.

“Making the highly flawed E-Verify system a requirement for all employers is a recipe for further exploitation and marginalization of immigrant workers and people of color,” said Fogarty, who coordinates AFSC’s national Campaign for Humane Immigration Policies.

Fogarty also noted that the bill’s original provisions for border militarization and other enforcement programs were “already excessive.”  Despite hearing directly from border communities about the impacts of living in a militarized area, Senate amendments added more money for “‘border security’ measures that will make border communities less secure,” she added.

With the immigration debate shifting to the House of Representatives, the AFSC implores Representatives to adopt compassionate, effective immigration policies, grounded in the following principles:


•           Develop humane economic policies to reduce forced migration.

•           Protect the labor rights of all workers.

•           Develop a quick path to legal permanent residency and a clear path to citizenship.

•           Respect the civil and human rights of immigrants.

•           Demilitarize the U.S.-Mexico border.

•           Make family reunification a top priority.

•           Ensure that immigrants and refugees have access to services.

AFSC detailed its recommendations in A New Path,  which outlines policy priorities for immigration reform that protects the human rights of all.  The New Path principles are derived from nine decades of work with immigrant communities, whose voices guide AFSC’s work on immigration policies.

From its origins working with civilians affected by war in Europe during World War One, AFSC has decades of experience working with people who have left their homes due to violence, discrimination, and economic desperation.

For more on AFSC’s immigrant rights work, visit and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that includes people of various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace and humanitarian service. Its work is based on the belief in the worth of every person and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice.