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Is Maggie Hassan Fundraising With A Koch Brothers Lobbyist?

This morning, this headline came across my desk: Hassan Raises Money with Koch Lobbyist

After seeing this, and reading the article, I was still not convinced that our Maggie would be taking money from a Koch brothers lobbyist.  So I decided to dig a little deeper.

The entire article is based on the fact that Maggie attended a fundraiser hosted in part by David A Castagnetti. The Free Beacon connected the fact that Castagnetti’s lobbying firm lobbied for Koch Industries from 2007-2013.  The also say that Castagnetti was named as the Koch Industries’ lobbyist, but offer no proof of the claim.

The fact is that lobbying firms like Mehlman, Vogel and Castagnetti, are major players in Washington and lobby for dozens of groups every year.  In 2011, Mehlman, Vogel and Castagnetti, lobbied for nearly sixty different corporations, including Koch Industries.  More recently Castagnetti’s firm has lobbied for Everytown For Gun Safety and Sandy Hook Promise.   

Another fact that the Free Beacon conveniently omitted is that Castagnetti has been Chief of Staff to Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont),  Rep. Norman Mineta (D-Calif.) and Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.).  Casagnetti describes himself as a “Democrat who understands how to talk to business.”

Castagnetti also has a long history of working with, and for, prominent democrats.  This includes fundraising.  Open Secrets notes that in this cycle Castagnetti has given $80,000 in campaign donations and $75,000 of that to democrats.

Let me just recap this a little more accurately than the Free Beacon.

Maggie Hassan attended a fundraiser, hosted by proven and prominent democrat, who also happens to one of top lobbyist in Washington D.C., and has lobbied on behalf of hundreds of different groups from Adobe to Yahoo.

If anything this highlights the convoluted nature of our political lobbying system and how it is intertwined with campaign fundraising.

Ayotte Fact Check: Opposing Efforts To Help Working Families

Kelly Ayotte (Gage Skidmore Flickr CC)

Kelly Ayotte (Gage Skidmore Flickr CC)

Concord, N.H. – As part of the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s “Ayotte Fact Check” accountability project, we will be highlighting a different area of Kelly Ayotte’s true Washington record every day this week.

Today’s focus is Ayotte’s record of opposing efforts to help working families.

“In Washington, Kelly Ayotte has repeatedly voted to put lobbyists and special interests before New Hampshire’s hard-working families, and Granite Staters deserve better,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Raymond Buckley. “From saying that guaranteed paid leave should be left to the whim of employers to voting against equal pay for women, Ayotte has continually voted directly against the interests of New Hampshire families.”

“Despite Ayotte’s attempts to cover up her record with sham bills that have nice titles but would actually do damage to New Hampshire families, voters will see right through her transparent attempts to save her political career and hold her accountable for her real Washington record,” added Buckley.

See below for the facts on Kelly Ayotte’s record of opposing efforts to help working families:

Ayotte said she “certainly” thinks guaranteed paid leave is “an issue that should be addressed by employers rather than mandated by the government.”

And she followed up those comments by introducing a sham paid leave bill with Mitch McConnell that would actually force workers to choose between overtime pay and leave time, a proposal which experts have called an “empty promise” that “would give workers less flexibility and less pay.” Others have pointed out it’s a “Trojan horse” that means “ripping off workers.”

When asked why she voted against equal pay for women, Ayotte said, “The reason that I voted against that specific bill is that, I looked at it, and there were already existing laws that need to be enforced.”

So instead of supporting the Paycheck Fairness Act, Ayotte introduced a deeply flawed equal pay bill that creates loopholes for employers to prohibit discussion of pay.

For additional facts about Ayotte’s record on women’s economic issues, see here.

EMILY’s List Puts New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte “On Notice”

Kelly Ayotte

Image from Emily’s List http://republicansonnotice.tumblr.com/

WASHINGTON D.C. – EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, put New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte “On Notice” for 2016. “On Notice” is a list of incumbent Republicans at all levels of government who will be held accountable for their anti-woman, anti-family records in the 2016 elections. 

“Senator Kelly Ayotte has proven time and again that her extreme Republican colleagues can depend on her to help them advance their anti-woman agenda and to stand with them in the way of policies that give working families a fair shot,” said Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List. “No matter how much Senator Ayotte tries to whitewash her record, there’s no escaping the fact that she opposes raising the minimum wage, refused to support paid leave for working families, voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act four times, cosponsored and voted for legislation to defund Planned Parenthood, and introduced legislation that would make affordable birth control less accessible even for women with health insurance. Senator Ayotte is a staunch supporter of policies that are downright dangerous for women and families in New Hampshire and across the country, and that’s why EMILY’s List is putting her ‘On Notice.’”

Sen. Ayotte’s Record:

Introduced GAP Act, Which Would Not Strengthen Equal Pay Laws and Weaken Protections for Employees. “And then, just for kitten-heel kicks, she and some of her fellow lady Republicans introduced their own adorable ‘Equal Pay’ bill, which wouldn’t actually strengthen equal pay laws so much as weaken them by creating extra loopholes for employers. It’s like the same thing, only different.” [Wonkette, 10/15/15] 

(1) Voted Against the Paycheck Fairness Act. In June 2012, Ayotte voted against a procedural vote to move forward with S. 3220, Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (also known as the Equal Pay Act), “to revise remedies for, enforcement of, and exceptions to prohibitions against sex discrimination in the payment of wages.” The Paycheck Fairness Act would require a clarification in reasons for differences in wages paid to men and women doing the same work. The motion was rejected 52-47. [S. 3220, Vote #115, 6/05/12] 

(2) Again…Voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act. In April 2014, Ayotte voted against a motion to address the Paycheck Fairness Act. According to Congressional Quarterly the vote was a “Motion to invoke cloture (thus limiting debate) on the Reid, D-Nev., motion to proceed to the bill that would require employers to demonstrate that wage gaps between men and women with similar qualifications and in similar jobs have a business justification. It would prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who share salary information and authorize the Labor secretary to seek additional compensatory or punitive damages in a sex discrimination action. The bill also would require the Labor Department to provide training and collect wage information.” The motion was rejected by a vote of 53-44. [S 2199, Vote #103, 4/09/14]

(3) And again…Voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act. In September 2014, Ayotte voted against a bill to strengthen federal equal pay laws for women. [S. 2199, Vote #262, 9/15/14]                                                       

(4) And again. In March 2015, Ayotte voted against Senator Mikulski’s proposal to “establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to amending the Equal Pay Act of 1963 to allow for punitive damages, limit the any factor ‘other than sex’ exception, and prohibit retaliation against employees who share salary information.” The amendment failed 45-54. [S. Con. Res. 11, Vote #82, 3/24/15] 

Voted for Blunt Amendment, Extreme Legislation Allowing Employers to Deny Health Care Coverage for Moral or Religious Reasons. In March 2012, Ayotte voted against tabling S. Amdt. 1520, also known as the Blunt amendment. The amendment would amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to “protect the rights of conscious with regard to requirements for specific items and services.” In other words, employers would be able to deny health care coverage for moral or religious objections. The amendment was attached to S. 1813, MAP-21, a transportation reauthorization bill. The motion passed 51-48. [S. Amdt. 1520 to S. 1813, Vote #24, 3/01/12] 

Cosponsored and Voted for a Bill to Defund Planned Parenthood. In July 2015, Ayotte signed onto a bill to end federal funding to Planned Parenthood. In August 2015, she voted for the defunding measure. The motion to proceed did not pass 53-46. [S. 1881, Vote #262, 8/03/15; Cosponsored 7/29/15] 

Ayotte Argued That Roe v. Wade Should Be Overturned. According to the Nashua Telegraph, “Ayotte said the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion should be overturned, but states should regulate abortion rather than adopt a constitutional change.” [Nashua Telegraph8/20/10] 

Voted for a National Abortion Ban. In September 2015, Ayotte voted for a bill that would prohibit abortions in cases where the probable age of the fetus is 20 weeks or later and would impose criminal penalties on doctors who violate the ban. It would provide exceptions for cases in which the woman’s life is in danger as well as for pregnancies that are a result of rape if, as amended, for pregnancies that are a result of rape against an adult woman, the woman received counseling or medical treatment for the rape at least 48 hours prior to the abortion. An exception would be provided for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest against a minor if the rape or incest had been previously reported to law enforcement or another government agency authorized to act on reports of child abuse. [HR 36, Vote #268, 9/22/15] 

In 2010, Ayotte Opposed Employers Offering Paid Sick Leave to Workers. According to the Nashua Telegraph, “Hodes endorsed raising the minimum wage to include increases in cost-of-living, giving unions the option of organizing by collecting names of supporters rather than through a secret ballot vote and mandating employers offer paid sick leave to their workers. Ayotte opposed all three proposed changes in federal labor laws.” [Nashua Telegraph, 9/23/10]

2014: Ayotte Voted Against Bill to Increase the Federal Minimum Wage To $10.10. [S. 2223, Vote #117, 4/30/14] 

  • Increasing the Federal Minimum Wage to $10.10 Would Have Meant a Raise for More than 100k Workers in New Hampshire. Increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10 would mean a raise for 113,000 New Hampshire workers. [Economic Policy Institute12/19/13]

2015: Ayotte Voted Against an Increase in the Minimum Wage. [S.Amdt. 881 to S.Con.Res. 11, Vote #93, 3/26/15] 

The “On Notice” list can be found at http://republicansonnotice.tumblr.com and EMILY’s List will be communicating about those on the list to its network of over three million members nationwide. “On Notice” will continue to be updated throughout the election cycle and will feature incumbents at all levels of government who have exhibited extreme anti-woman and anti-family positions through statements, policy, and voting records. 

EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, has raised over $400 million to support pro-choice Democratic women candidates – making it one of the most successful political organizations ever. We recruit and train candidates, support strong campaigns, research women’s issues, and turn out women voters. We’ve trained over 9,000 women to run and helped elect over 100 women to the House, 19 to the Senate, 11 governors, and over 700 to state and local office. Since its founding in 1985, almost one-third of the candidates EMILY’s List has helped elect to Congress have been women of color – including every single Latina, African American, and Asian American Democratic congresswoman currently serving.

EMILY’s List Endorses Maggie Hassan for Senate in New Hampshire

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, endorsed Maggie Hassan for Senate in New Hampshire.

“Maggie Hassan is a tireless champion for New Hampshire women and families,” said Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List. “Throughout her career of public service Maggie has fought to create jobs, expanded health insurance coverage to over forty thousand Granite Staters, defended women’s access to health care, and made college more affordable. Her extraordinary leadership as governor was critical in passing two bipartisan budgets that give working families a fair shot. Extreme Republicans depend on Kelly Ayotte to advance their failed agenda, but Maggie is running for Senate to fight for New Hampshire women and families in Washington. With control of the Senate in the balance, the stakes could not be higher for New Hampshire and for women across the country – and the EMILY’s List community of over three million members is thrilled to stand with Maggie Hassan.” 

Maggie Hassan is running to represent New Hampshire in the U.S. Senate, where she’ll fight for hardworking women and families in the state. When her son Ben was diagnosed with cerebral palsy 26 years ago, Maggie realized that the reason he would be able to go to school with the other children in their community was “because of the advocates and families who had come before us.”  Shortly after Ben’s diagnosis, Maggie became an advocate herself, balancing her job as an attorney with working with Concord politicians to make better policies for children. Growing up, her father taught her that “policies that don’t help people are bad policies,” and Maggie has spent her career in public service motivated by that same belief.

From her time in the New Hampshire state legislature to her years serving as the state’s governor, Maggie has shown she knows what to do to get things done—and she’s done it with pragmatism and compassion. Because of Ben’s diagnosis, issues like equal pay, access to public education, and access to affordable insurance are deeply personal for her. Maggie is pro-choice and strongly supports the right of women to make their own reproductive health care decisions. As governor, she worked to expand access to Medicaid coverage for some of New Hampshire’s most vulnerable citizens and, under her watch, New Hampshire was named one of the best states in the country for child well-being. When she is elected, Maggie will bring her New Hampshire values with her to the U.S. Senate, believing that “the equal devotion to individual freedom and community [that] we share in New Hampshire is what makes America unique in the world.” 


EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, has raised over $400 million to support pro-choice Democratic women candidates – making it one of the most successful political organizations ever. We recruit and train candidates, support strong campaigns, research women’s issues, and turn out women voters. We’ve trained over 9,000 women to run and helped elect over 100 women to the House, 19 to the Senate, 11 governors, and over 700 to state and local office. Since its founding in 1985, almost one-third of the candidates EMILY’s List has helped elect to Congress have been women of color – including every single Latina, African American, and Asian American Democratic congresswoman currently serving.


Suddenly Sen Ayotte Supports Working Pregnant Women But What About All Working Moms?

It is official Governor Maggie Hassan announced she is challenging Senator Kelly Ayotte for her seat in the US Senate. Let the games begin!

Senator Ayotte is coming out swinging with her first online ad entitled “Workplace Fairness,” that focuses on her new legislative proposal, co-sponsored by Senator Shaheen, which would help to end workplace discrimination for pregnant women.

I don’t say this often but I actually agree with Sen. Ayotte that something needs to be done to protect pregnant workers from workplace discrimination and provide pregnant women alternative work during their pregnancy, however I have been pushing for this type of legislation for years now.

Senators Shaheen and Ayotte introduced this legislative in June of this year after the Supreme Court ruled that UPS discriminated against Peggy Young by not offering her light duty work after her doctor instructed her not to lift heavy things due to her pregnancy.

Here is the kicker, this new legislation is actually old legislation submitted in a new legislative term. The bill, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, was actually submitted in September of 2012 and again in May of 2013.

In her new video, Sen Ayotte fails to mention that she refused to support the very same bill not once but twice when it was previously introduced since Ayotte has been in Washington.

Why the change of heart? What is different about this bill now?

It is not so much that the bill has changed it is that Sen. Ayotte is facing a strong progressive candidate in Maggie Hassan.

Suddenly as the campaign ramps up Sen. Ayotte supports the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, but what happens after that expectant mother delivers her baby?

Sen Ayotte has repeatedly said that paid sick leave is “an issue that should be addressed by employers rather than mandated by the government.”

What is the difference between supporting pregnant women in the workplace and supporting parents in the workplace? If you support Pregnancy Fairness why not paid sick leave.

Ayotte did introduce her own paid leave bill with Mitch McConnell earlier this year, but her bill was nothing but an election year stunt that would force workers to choose between overtime pay and leave time.

Let us not forget that Sen. Ayotte has a terrible record supporting women and women’s health.

  • Ayotte opposes the paycheck fairness act
  • Ayotte supports repealing the Affordable Care Act which made it law that new mothers have the right to pump breast milk at work in a safe place, and that employers cannot fire or discriminate against nursing moms.
  • Ayotte supports the misguided Hobby Lobby decision.
  • Ayotte has voted multiple times to allow employers to deny women access to contraception.
  • Ayotte introduced a sham birth control bill that would increase costs for women and is opposed by the American Congress of OB-GYNs.
  • Ayotte has voted repeatedly to defund Planned Parenthood and other family planning centers, which provide critical health services including breast exams.

I don’t have to tell you – but I am going to anyway – Senator Ayotte’s new challenger, Governor Hassan, has been a staunch supporter of working women and women’s health.

Hassan signed into law a Paycheck Fairness bill, expanded Medicaid to give more Granite Staters access to quality healthcare, and in her first term worked to restore the devastating cuts to Planned Parenthood.

Gov. Hassan continues to fight the Republican led Executive Council’s cuts to Planned Parenthood in New Hampshire.

“The council’s vote to defund Planned Parenthood will hurt the health and economic well-being of thousands of Granite Staters. Moving forward, I will continue to fight to ensure that women and families have access to the important health services that are essential to the economic security and vitality of our families,” said Hassan.

Despite what Sen. Ayotte is saying in her poll-tested advertising, she is not the champion for women she claims to be. She is the same old partisan hack who has fueled the continued gridlock in Washington.

Maggie Hassan Announces Her Run For US Senate Against Kelly Ayotte

Maggie Hassan Pledges to Take Her Bipartisan Approach, Common Sense, and Commitment to Problem-Solving to the U.S. Senate

Concord – Pledging to take her bipartisan approach, common sense, and commitment to problem-solving and results to the Senate, Governor Maggie Hassan today announced her candidacy to represent New Hampshire in the United States Senate.

Click here for Maggie’s full video message to Granite Staters.

“In order to continue working to realize our state’s full potential we need a response from Washington that meets the progress we’re making here at home,” said Governor Maggie Hassan. “Washington has given in to powerful special interests and lobbyists who rig the system for themselves and against the middle-class, and I believe we can do better for New Hampshire families.”

As Governor, Maggie Hassan has worked to bring people together to build a stronger, more innovative New Hampshire where education and small businesses drive job creation – promoting a business-friendly environment that has New Hampshire’s unemployment rate at the lowest level since 2008.

A determined fighter for New Hampshire families, Maggie believes we need a response from Washington that meets the progress we’re making here in the Granite State.

“Washington has lost its way on too many of the priorities that matter to New Hampshire. You can count on me to take my bipartisan approach, common sense, and commitment to problem-solving to the Senate to get results for New Hampshire families,” added Hassan.

Senate Democrats Need To Move Quickly To Approve A New Member To The NLRB

Well the elections are over and the now, just ten days after all the votes were counted, it is obvious that we are headed for another two years of monumental gridlock.

The Republicans in the Senate used their minority power to filibuster major Presidential nominees forcing Harry Reid to take the “nuclear option,” changing the rules of the filibuster to a simple majority vote. This rule change means if all the Senate Democrats voted together, they would be able to approve any and all of the President’s nominees.

The Democrats only have a few weeks left in charge of the Senate and they should be using it to appoint dozens on nominees including a new board member to the National Labor Relation Board (NLRB).

President Obama’s NLRB appointments came under fire by Senate Republicans when President Obama forced his appointments through while the Senate was in recess. Although the Supreme Court ruled that recess appointments are legal, they also found that President Obama violated those rules when he appointed Sharon Block to the NLRB.

After the Supreme Court ruled that the Senate would need to approve of the nomination, President Obama once again submitted Sharon Block to the NLRB. Unfortunately her nomination was a poison pill to the Republicans and they blocked her nomination.

It was announced yesterday that President Obama has withdrawn his nomination of Sharon Block and in turn nominated “Lauren McFerran, who has served as chief labor counsel for the Senate Health Committee since 2005.”

“Sharon Block is a thoughtful, smart and committed public servant with a proven track record serving on the both the National Labor Relations Board and at the U.S. Department of Labor,” said Mary Kay Henry, President of the SEIU. “Today, once again, obstruction by the far right has stripped the American people of a qualified nominee with stellar credentials who would have served our nation’s working families ably and justly. It is disappointing for America’s hardworking men and women that such a capable candidate would fall prey to an extreme and crassly political agenda.”

Senate Democrats now have a choice to make, and they only have a few days to make it. Do they push through the nomination of Lauren McFerran to the NLRB before December 16th when Nancy Schiffer’s term expires, leaving two Republican and two Democratic appointees on the board?

“Congress must prioritize filling all of the seats on the NLRB and confirm the Obama Administration’s new nominee, Lauren McFerran, immediately,” stated Henry. “The rights of our 2 million members — and tens of millions of working people in every sector and vocation — are protected by labor laws that are best regulated by a fully functional NLRB. Lauren McFerran, is also an impressive candidate with a robust background in labor relations law and an excellent reputation for her professional work on the Hill. It is imperative to the security of our working families that Congress confirm McFerran swiftly.”​

The Senate Democrats need to grab the bull by the horns and push through some of these nominees before the Republicans, and their opposition to everything Obama, begins their two-year reign of terror in the Senate.

NH’s Midterm Primaries Are Tomorrow, Do You “Know Your Candidates?”

Editor’s Note: This years elections are very important and there is a lot of competition for spots on the party tickets.  It is very important to get a full picture of who is running. Susan Bruce originally wrote this editorial for the Conway Sun Times, and she has granted us permission to republish it here. If you like this post, you can also follow Susan on here own blog “SUSAN THE BRUCE,” which is very straight forward and edgy.   

Most of all, do not forget to Vote tomorrow!



Know Your Candidates

By Susan Bruce.

The midterm primary elections are coming up on September 9. In a state where most of the media skews to the right, getting an accurate picture of candidates can be challenging. One must go beyond the conventional (newspaper and TV) sources and dig a little deeper. Candidate research is crucial in order to avoid electing people who will be a huge embarrassment right out of the gate. With a 400 member House, there will be others who will require more time to maximize their embarrassment potential.

The highest profile primary contest is for the GOP nominee for US Senate. The winner will go on to face popular Senator Jeanne Shaheen in November. The three top candidates are Scott Brown, Jim Rubens, and Bob Smith. Brown and Smith are both former US Senators, Smith from NH and Brown from MA. Brown’s campaign has been strange. In Colebrook he knocked on the doors of supporters and called that “campaigning.” In N. Conway he ran away from a reporter and hid in the bathroom. Days ago on the radio in Massachusetts, he urged folks to come to NH and use our same day registration policy to vote for him. He has a lot of money, the party establishment has lined up behind him, and he looks pretty. Will that carry the day?

Rubens is a Dartmouth grad who has made a boatload of money. He once had a public blog called oversuccess.com. When some of the content from that blog went public, the blog went private. No longer can we peons read about the perils of being wealthy: “I have bathed in camera light during press conferences, political opponents skulking in the rear of ballrooms, forced to tolerate my applause lines, sycophants and well-wishers beaming and waiting in line to shake my hand or offer their help.” Rubens also ran afoul on that same blog by suggesting that the increasing number of women in the workplace has resulted in mass shootings. The implication being, of course, that those women are taking men’s jobs away from them. Rubens signed on to the campaign finance reform bandwagon and won the support of Lawrence Lessig and his MayDay PAC. He’s also jumped on the libertea bandwagon, and has attempted to be photographed in every gun store in NH.

Former Senator Bob Smith lost his bad toupee in Florida. He may have updated his hair, but not his ideology. Smith is working overtime to appeal to the farthest right fringe, but they seem more interested in Rubens. He’s unlikely to do well in the primary.

In the GOP primary for governor, the contest comes down to Walt Havenstein and Andrew Hemingway. Havenstein was the CEO at BAE Systems. BAE is a defense contractor. Walt boasts about the jobs he created there. He may have hired people, but those jobs were actually created by US taxpayers. The obscene US military spending is made possible by folks like you and me. Without the public teat to suckle from, Walt wouldn’t have been hiring.

Havenstein also entered the race with some confusion about his residency. He claimed that he’s always lived in NH, but he signed a homestead deduction in Maryland that stipulated he lived there in order to save a few thousand a year. The NH ballot commission ruled that he is a NH resident, and Maryland sent him a bill for the tax money he defrauded them for. He’s “considering” whether or not to pay it, a luxury not available to the rest of us.

Andrew Hemingway is the darling of the libertea crowd. A look at his website reveals he’s promoting the same old “solutions” that have been failing NH for decades. Neither Havenstein nor Hemingway mentions the word “infrastructure” on their campaign websites.

In Congressional District 1, the race comes down to former Congressman Frank Guinta and former Dean of the former Whittemore School of Business at UNH, now renamed the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics.

Frank Guinta slid into Congress during the red tide of 2010. He stayed for one term. Guinta “found” a bank account that provided his campaign with a $350,000 infusion of cash in 2010. That “find” didn’t match up with his income. The FEC investigation appears to be moving at the speed of the tectonic plates. Frank also distinguished himself by campaigning loudly about Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter’s alleged abuses of the Congressional franking system. In 2011, he spent more on franked mail than any other Congressperson. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) rated him one of the most corrupt legislators.

Dan Innis became the Dean of the business school at UNH in 2007. In 2008, the business school received a big wad of cash ($25 million) from alumnus Peter T. Paul. The school built what his now known as the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics. Peter T. Paul amassed a fortune selling subprime mortgages, and later devising ways to package and sell mortgage debt to investors – a practice that has been cited as a key factor in the economic meltdown of 2008. In 2013, Innis stepped down from his position as Dean to explore a run for Congress. In 2014, Peter T. Paul created a Super Pac to help his friend Dan Innis beat Guinta in the primary. If Innis gets to Washington what kind of regulatory oversight will he be providing? Will he protect voters or his benefactor?

This is why it’s important to know the candidates. Do they already have a record of corruption? Where do their loyalties lie? Are they bought and paid for?

On the local level, we’ll also be electing House and Senate candidates, and various county positions. Last biennium, the House and Senate were both filled with rabid ideologues and obstructionists who did their best to subvert the process. Anyone who tells you that cutting taxes and eliminating regulations is the key to job growth in NH is lying. NH has failed for decades to invest in our state and the results of that failure are now hobbling our economy. The GOP inability to be honest about that is a shameful and deliberate failure.

In order for the NH legislature to accomplish anything, there has to be some bipartisan cooperation and compromise. Electing people who claim government is bad and broken leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s up to voters to decide whether they want to elect serious people who are interested in working to fix some of NH’s very real problems, or if they want bellicose obstructionists trumpeting the usual slogans.
*                                *                                       *
This was written as my regular column in the Conway Daily Sun newspaper, in NH’s First Congressional District, which is why I didn’t include the CD 2 race.

I’ve been encouraged to add in information about the GOP primary in CD 2, to determine who will run against Congresswoman Ann Kuster.

There are 3 Republicans in the race.

Marilinda Garcia is a former state representative. She was one of former Speaker Bill O’Brien’s acolytes. She’s also distinguished herself by being heavily funded by the Koch brothers. A young attractive woman with a Latino surname who espouses the beliefs of the far right libertea fringe doesn’t come along every day for the GOP. She wants to repeal Obamacare and replace it with the same GOP plan that has failed us all for decades – the marketplace! She mentions Bowles Simpson which is a coy way of saying she wants to privatize Social Security. She wants to cut gummint spending.

Garcia’s inexperience showed at the debate last week when she refused to shake opponent Gary Lambert’s hand, because he “lied about her positions.” Time to toughen up Buttercup. This isn’t the 400 member NH House, this is hardball.

She’s also made the classic rookie mistake of airing all this on her campaign blog. Repeating what he’s said in his ads is giving him double the advertisement space. Former Rep. Garcia is not ready for prime time.

Gary Lambert wants to force women to serve as involuntary incubators, secure our borders, repeal Obama care, and give us MOAR GUNZ! He has a Wake Up Washington Pledge on his campaign website, full of promises of term limits and not taking a pension or a pay raise! Funny how these guys who claim to hate career politicians are desperate to become career politicians.

Jim Lawrence promises to Win Back NH for NH. He’s going to repeal Obamacare and replace it with the same old market “solutions.” He’s going to secure our border! He’s going to fix the IRS! He’s going to give us a strong foreign policy! He’s going to prevent NH from having wind turbines! He’s going to eliminate regulations and give everyone MOAR GUNZ!

Three far right fringe candidates with no new ideas. Welcome to today’s GOP.

© sbruce 2014

published as an op-ed in the Conway Daily Sun newspaper, Sept. 5, 2014

republished with permission

NH – APWU Endorse Jeanne Shaheen For US Senate


NH Postal Workers Union Proud to Announce Endorsement of Jeanne Shaheen On Labor Day Weekend

Manchester–Today, the New Hampshire Postal Workers Union is proud to announce their endorsement of Jeanne Shaheen for re-election, citing her work protecting the postal service, creating good paying jobs and standing up for New Hampshire workers and their families. Union leaders and members made clear that their decision to endorse was an easy one due to the stark contrast in this race between Jeanne Shaheen and her likely opponent when it comes to putting New Hampshire jobs first.

 “Senator Shaheen supported every postal worker in New Hampshire when she personally urged members of the Appropriations Committee to protect the USPS service standards, helping to preserve a vital public service,” said NH APWU President Dana Coletti. “Jeanne Shaheen looks out for the people of New Hampshire and has always put the families of this state first.

“Meanwhile, Scott Brown is against increasing the minimum wage and supports tax breaks for companies that send jobs overseas.” noted Janice Kelble, NH APWU Legislative Director.  “Now, he’s cashing in as a board member of a company that has offshored American jobs. That’s not the New Hampshire way. Scott Brown is wrong for the state, which is why we will work to reelect Senator Jeanne Shaheen.”

 Jeanne Shaheen has fought to strengthen the economy and create jobs for New Hampshire workers. This month, she signed a letter urging the leadership of the Appropriations Committee to protect the postal service standards, which is critical to maintaining the USPS as a public service. She’s supported investments in the state’s roads and bridges, which postal workers travel on every day, securing funding to rebuild the Portsmouth Memorial Bridge and expand I-93. Shaheen is also fighting to raise the minimum wage and voted to close tax loopholes for companies that ship jobs overseas.

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

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 http://jeanneshaheen.org/burden

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