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!

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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

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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

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

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

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

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

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?