I wanted to share with you this great video from the New England Regional Council of Carpenters highlighting one woman’s day as a carpenter, a union member, and a local advocate.
“Joan Bennett, active member of Carpenters Local Union 33 in Boston, shares a day in her life as she volunteers her carpentry skills for a Rebuilding Together Boston project in Dorchester on April 26, 2014. This video was shot as part of the One Day in Boston initiative.”
We need more video’s like this to show all the good things that union members across the country are doing to help rebuild our communities, one house at a time, on their own time.
The Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire proudly endorse John R. White for State Senate in District 3 in the coming November Election. The PFFNH represents over 2,000 active and retired fire fighter and paramedics across the state in 43 locals.
“We are proud to back John R. White in this election, because he will stand up for working families and for fire fighters in the district, and across New Hampshire,” stated Dave Lang, President of the PFFNH. “We need leaders like Mr. White in the Senate who understand that actions have real consequences to the hard working people of this state.”
John R. White will face Senator Jeb Bradley in November. The district consists of all of Carroll County, and includes Waterville Valley, Middleton, and Milton.
“I am honored to receive the endorsement of our professional fire fighters and paramedics. I have always supported them, and will continue to do so when elected. Supporting fire fighters is more than just saying the words, it is also taking actions. If elected I will fight for strong public safety. I will work with fire fighters, and not against them. I will work to insure that after a long career fire fighters can retire with dignity. I will make sure the state keeps its promises. ” said John R. White, candidate for State Senate District 3.
477 Days and Counting: Advocates Renew Call for Sen. Ayotte to Host Town Hall Specifically on Gun Violence Prevention
It’s been 16 months since Sen. Ayotte voted against criminal background checks and 477 days since she first refused to meet with New Hampshire gun violence prevention advocates
CONCORD, NH – Gun violence prevention advocates are renewing the call for U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte to host a town hall or forum specifically dedicated to the pressing issue of reducing gun violence. It’s been 477 days since the request was first issued and Senator Ayotte’s office has still refused to sit down and meet.
“Constituents have made phone calls, sent letters, signed petitions, and invited the Senator to coffee, but Senator Ayotte has repeatedly denied meeting requests from gun violence prevention advocates ever since she voted against background checks and the 89 percent of her constituents who support them,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director, Granite State Progress. “We renew our call for Senator Ayotte to host a town hall solely focused on gun violence prevention. In the sixteen months since Senator Ayotte voted against common sense background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, domestic abusers, and the seriously mentally ill, more shootings and more national tragedies have occurred. Senator Ayotte needs to stop hiding behind NRA lobby talking points and meet directly with her constituents. She has a responsibility as a U.S. Senator to participate in open town halls on these important topics instead of cherry-picking the issues she wants to discuss.”
In a letter to Senator Ayotte, Granite State Progress renewed the call for a town hall on gun violence prevention that would include participation from survivors of gun violence and the family members of victims, in addition to gun violence prevention advocates, faith leaders, law enforcement officials, mental health advocates, and responsible gun owners. Members of the organization are being asked to contact the Senator and call on her to engage in a community conversation about how we can work together to protect more children and families.
Background: In April 2013, Senator Ayotte voted against the Manchin-Toomey background check bill – the only bill that would have required background checks for commercial gun sales and improved the background check system. Instead, Senator Ayotte voted for an amendment created by the gun lobby and sponsored by Senators Chuck Grassley and Ted Cruz that would actually weaken the system and put more guns in the hands of the seriously mentally ill. Ayotte’s public approval ratings plummeted after her vote.
Granite State Progress first issued the call for a town hall specifically on gun violence prevention on April 30, 2013 after Ayotte hosted three poorly publicized town halls where moderators such as former Congressman and current State Senator Jeb Bradley publicly admitted to screening out questions regarding Sen. Ayotte’s vote against background checks and the 89% of her constituents who support them. Granite State Progress, OFA-NH, and Project for Safer Communities re-issued the call during the August 2013 Congressional recess, and Granite State Progress members additionally held coffee sit-ins in the Senator’s district offices to highlight her absence. Sen. Ayotte responded with a generic form letter stating she would hold general town halls later in the year – but for 16 months has ignored constituent requests for a conversation on gun violence prevention.
In contrast, during the national health reform debate in the Summer of ‘09, the New Hampshire Congressional Delegation held town halls specifically focused on the pending health reform legislation – also an issue of national debate and interest.
Editor’s Note: Below is a cross-post from the NH Alliance for Retired Americans who have been working over the last year to meet with and talk to Senator Ayotte. I believe Sen. Ayotte’s office has met with them once, they are obviously not listening to what the people are saying. When I wrote to Sen. Ayotte about protecting Social Security and Medicare, I got the exact same form letter that Lucy attached below.
Written by Lucy Edwards
President of the NH Alliance for Retired Americans
Posted on the NH ARA Blog
I received an e-mail letter from Senator Ayotte on the subject of Social Security and Medicare (or as she calls them, “entitlements.”) I would like to suggest to her that if she REALLY is interested in making sure that these earned benefit programs are available into the future, she consider some really simple solutions.
First, to fund the Social Security Trust Fund so that it can pay benefits indefinitely, we could do some combination of the following:
I would also remind her that the Affordable Care Act is already lowering the rate of growth of healthcare costs, including Medicare. More preventative care, less spending on high cost procedures, correcting the overpayments for Medicare Advantage policies, and reining in fraud will help keep costs under control. Don’t repeal the ACA!
We could also discuss the use of the national debt (for which Republican presidents are mostly responsible) as a straw man (http://ift.tt/JJMjhm) but we will leave that for another discussion.
Here is her letter:
Thank you for contacting me regarding entitlement reform, particularly as it relates to Medicare and Social Security. I appreciate hearing from you.
Our $17 trillion national debt threatens not only our economic prosperity but also our security and sovereignty. I believe that it is my responsibility to analyze the underlying problems perpetuating the unsustainable growth in our federal debt and to make a real effort to solve them. This includes evaluating all areas of the federal budget to determine where appropriate reductions can be made and making the necessary reforms to entitlement programs to ensure they are solvent for current and future generations.
Spending for major health and retirement programs, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, will increase in coming decades, putting greater pressure on the rest of the federal budget. According to the Office of Management and Budget, in fiscal year (FY) 2013, 66 percent of all federal spending was on entitlement programs, net interest, and other social safety net programs. Unless significant actions are taken to address these programs’ structural problems, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid will grow to consume every dollar of revenue raised by the government.
I also understand the importance of these programs and am aware of how many Americans rely on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. As baby boomers continue to retire, health care costs and Social Security outlays will rise.
According to the most recent Medicare Trustees report, the Medicare Hospital Insurance (HI) Trust Fund has been running cash flow deficits since 2008. The only thing keeping the program afloat financially is the sale of Treasury bonds in the Medicare Trust Fund – deficit spending. According to the report, the Medicare HI Trust Fund will be insolvent by 2030.
In addition, the Social Security Trustees report that the Social Security program is now in a permanent cash flow deficit, meaning that as baby boomers retire, the Trust Funds are obligated to pay out more benefits than there are incoming payroll taxes. This means that to pay benefits, the government must cut spending, raise taxes, or borrow more money from overseas to finance payments. The Trustees estimate that the Social Security Trust Funds will have a shortfall of $9.6 trillion over the next 75 years and will be exhausted in 2033. This means that in just 20 years beneficiaries would have to see a 23 percent benefit cut.
I believe we need to ensure the long-term viability of entitlement programs. In strengthening entitlements, we should ensure that those in or near retirement will not be negatively impacted by any reforms. However, the longer we put off reforming entitlements, the more difficult changes will be on those nearing retirement. In order to strengthen entitlements, members of both parties will need to muster the political courage to stop putting off the tough decisions that need to be made in order to preserve these programs and protect the economic strength of our country.
Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me. As your Senator, it is important for me to hear from you regarding the current issues affecting New Hampshire and our nation. Please do not hesitate to be in touch again if I may be of further assistance.
Kelly A. Ayotte
U. S. Senator
Portsmouth – Discussing their work to get women equal pay, a higher minimum wage, more affordable childcare, lower college costs, and support for women-owned small businesses, New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar today led a discussion on economic issues impacting women in New Hampshire, taking questions from more than 60 Portsmouth area residents attending the event. Small business owner Mary Jo Brown, University of New Hampshire student Stephanie Kuhn, and Jessica Hayes, a mother with young children facing high child care costs, shared their personal experiences.
“For more than two decades, I have worked to make a difference in the lives of women and their families here in New Hampshire,” said Senator Shaheen. “That means fighting for equal pay for equal work, supporting women owned small businesses, expanding childcare tax credits, making college more affordable, and ensuring that women’s health decisions are made between women and their doctors – not their employers or the government — and that women can get health insurance for the care they need. These are pocketbook issues that have a real impact on family budgets.”
“There are a lot of women like me who juggle both a job and taking care of kids or have done so in the past. The costs of childcare just keep going up and Senator Shaheen’s bill to expand childcare tax credits would make a real difference for me and my family,” said Hayes.
“As our Governor and now as our U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen has been a strong and consistent advocate for women professionals and women owned small businesses. As a former owner and manager of a small business herself, Jeanne Shaheen understands the unique challenges that female entrepreneurs face in this competitive and changing market,” said Brown.
“The cost of college and student loan debt just keeps rising here in New Hampshire. Students like me and our families need someone like Jeanne Shaheen who fights to make college more affordable. She worked to keep student loan rates from doubling and increased Pell Grants,” said Kuhn.
For more than two decades, Jeanne Shaheen has worked to make a difference for women in New Hampshire. As Governor, she strengthened the state’s equal pay law. In the U.S. Senate, she supported the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and cosponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act to guarantee equal pay for equal work. She strongly supports increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour to give a raise to thousands of working New Hampshire women. Nearly 70% of minimum wage earners in New Hampshire are women.
To make college more affordable, Jeanne Shaheen cosponsored the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act to allow college graduates to refinance student loans at lower rates, which could save families thousands of dollars. She also has supported legislation to increase the maximum Pell Grant to $5,500. Two-thirds of Pell Grant recipients are women.
The Senator has also introduced bills to support women small business owners, expand childcare tax credits for working families, and protect pregnant women from workplace discrimination. Last month, she introduced the Not My Boss’s Business Act, which would reverse the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision and ensure that employers cannot deny their female employees health insurance coverage for basic health care, like contraception or mammograms.
Manchester – On Tuesday, Jeanne Shaheen’s campaign released a new television ad titled, “Keep Up,” which discusses how the Senator is working to help reduce child care costs for New Hampshire families. The 30 second ad begins airing Tuesday, highlighting that many New Hampshire families would save thousands of dollars as a direct result of new legislation from Senator Shaheen.
“Child care costs are a significant expense and challenge for families across New Hampshire and Jeanne Shaheen is working to provide people with some relief,” said Campaign Manager Mike Vlacich. “The costs of childcare are hindering opportunity for too many Granite Staters, who have bills to pay, kids to send to college, and money to save for retirement. That is why she’s leading the fight to expand the childcare tax credit with commonsense legislation that increases the amount of eligible childcare expenses families can receive the tax credit for. New Hampshire families come first for Jeanne Shaheen. They always have and they always will.”
According to a recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center, childcare costs for families with working mothers paying for care have risen more than 70 percent since 1985. The average cost of child care for a young child in New Hampshire is more than $11,000 per year.
“It’s hard to keep up with kids; even harder to keep up with rising costs, like childcare,” Senator Shaheen says in the ad. “I’m working to change that. My bill would increase tax credits for childcare and could save families thousands of dollars. Savings could more than double for some.”
The Helping Working Families Afford Childcare Act, introduced by Senator Shaheen, expands access to the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit by increasing the amount of eligible expenses families can receive a tax credit for. Senator Shaheen’s legislation would double the tax credits working families can currently receive and indexes them for inflation to guarantee the new limits don’t lose value over time.
“Families these days are slammed with so many expenses,” Shaheen also says in the ad. “This could really make a difference.”