Senator Jeff Woodburn Concerned

Senator Woodburn

Sen. Jeff Woodburn

Later today, I am meeting with Governor Sununu to congratulate him on his inauguration and get to work making New Hampshire a better place by preserving the bipartisan progress we’ve made over the past several years, expanding opportunity for all people, and building a strong economy from the bottom up.

Senate Democrats are ready to work with the new governor, as we have with our Republican legislative colleagues, to craft compromises. But I’m concerned that, so far, Governor Sununu has focused on a divisive template of policies that make it harder for people to make ends meet and harder for people to get ahead.

To meet our constitutional oaths to ‘faithfully and impartially’ serve, I will urge the governor to hold regular, bi-weekly meetings with legislative leadership of both parties so that we can identify the seeds of agreement that can grow into fruits of our labor — things like renewing our successful NH Health Protection Program and bipartisan infrastructure investment plan—as well as priorities that strengthen families that Governor Sununu promised to support during the campaign– like full-day kindergarten, paid family leave, and reducing the cost of a college education.

Granite State working families deserve meaningful policies like these and I’m disappointed we didn’t hear more about these issues today.

Senator Woodburn represents District 1, the north country area, he enters his third term in the house.  Sen. Woodburn taught high school history for a time and writes on various topics regarding New Hampshire current events and history.

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State Rep Chris Herbert Weighs In on Sununu

Chris Herbert

Chris Sununu was sworn in as our new Governor this morning. I attended the ceremonies as a State Representative, which were held in Representative Hall.

At 42, he is the youngest Governor in New Hampshire history, and took the oath of office 34 years to the day since his father, John H. Sununu was sworn in for his first term. An older brother, also named John, who served one term as the US Senate was also in attendance.

In his first speech as Governor, Sununu stressed the need to leave political partisanship behind. Unfortunately, his policy prescriptions are straight out of the GOP playbook, including Right to Work legislation, business tax cuts, and a 90 day moratorium on new regulations.

Everyone wants bi-partisan relations. But throwing down several partisan points of view not shared by Democrats, was probably not the best way to go about convincing Democrats he is sincere.

It probably would have been better to highlight areas where Sununu thinks Democrats can work together with Republicans. Outside of listing problems the state faces, which always sounds bipartisan because there is no disagreement about what’s wrong, I’d give Sununu a C and leave it at that.

I worked hard helping elect John H. Sununu 34 years ago. I’m proud of that effort, although my political viewpoints have changed significantly since then. But back then the Republican party was far less right wing. Back then there were many moderate Republicans. I was one of them. And so was Sununu, in my opinion.

Sununu needs to work with Democrats. Throwing out a right to work policy that suppresses the wages of working men and women–something no Democrat will support–is not going to help him gain Democrat support on other issues.

Chris Herbert is a Democratic state representative representing Manchester Wards 4,5,6 and 7 in District 43, New Hampshire.  He was at one time a committed Republican.  He wrote the political column for the Union Leader for many years and was a stock broker. Chris also has a show on economics on the local access cable station, past shows can be found on youtube.

NH State House Watch

A service of the American Friends Service Committee, we publish it here for your easy review.  You can also access this through the AFSC website and also by requesting to receive this summary by email at the AFSC website.

2017, Issue 2

In this issue:

Chris Sununu, our new governor, was officially sworn in yesterday and took the place of Maggie Hassan on the state’s web-site as well as in the corner office of the State House.  The website includes his bio, but not his inaugural speech, which he delivered without a prepared text.

Lacking that, we recommend this recap from our friends at NH Labor News.

In his campaign and again in the inaugural speech, Sununu was clear that enacting “right-to-work” legislation would be one of his top priorities.  For now, suffice it to say, “right to work” is fundamentally about weakening the power of organized labor by obstructing the human rights of workers to organize and bargain collectively.  In so doing, it obstructs the ability of all workers to earn decent wages.  For that matter, it also obstructs the rights of employers to bargain with their workers as they see fit.

We can’t decide if “right to work for less” or “work without rights” is a better name for the legislation in question.  Let us know which you prefer, but the key point for now is that the first item on the Senate Calendar for the coming week is a hearing Tuesday at 1 pm on SB 11, the first “right to work” bill.  See below for details, and we hope to see you at the State House then.

A recent story about the first baby of the year born in Concord revealed that the baby’s father was fired from his job because he went to the hospital with his wife when she went into labor. That this is happening at a time when our new governor and legislative leaders says they support a “right to work” is an almost cosmic coincidence. The IBEW, a union representing electrical workers, has offered the newly unemployed new father the opportunity to apply for a paid apprenticeship.

This story underscores the need for workers in our state to have more of job protections and opportunities provided through the kind of collective bargaining agreements that will be illegal if “right to work” becomes law.

Some 40 members of NH Voices of Faith were in the hallways before the inauguration carrying signs bearing messages such as, “Attacks on Workers’ Rights are Wrong” and “Protect Voting Rights for All; We Shall Not Be Moved.”

Gun Rights and Voting Rights

Also high on the political agenda is the so-called “constitutional carry” provision, which would repeal the current licensing requirement for carrying a concealed handgun. That will also come up next week.  We are more than disturbed that the ability to carry weapons without registration is being lifted up as a fundamental right at the same time the ability of citizens to register to vote is facing increasing restrictions.

Debates Over House Rules

The House met for its first session Wednesday and cast two interesting votes rejecting rule changes proposed by the Speaker.  The very first vote of the session was on whether or not to institute a dress code via a rule stating, “When the House is in session, all persons in the House chamber shall be dressed in proper business attire.”  The orientation manual for legislators (which apparently does not constitute “rules”) already states, “It is expected that all members will wear suitable attire. Men are expected to wear suit jackets and ties and women are expected to wear business attire.”  In any case, the new dress code language was voted down, in a roll call vote of 151-213, thus eliminating the need for a vice-principal to enforce it and send offenders home.

On a more serious note, a proposal from the Speaker and his leadership team to eliminate the Child and Family Law Committee was voted down, 192-172. In recent sessions, the committee has often been a venue for contentious grievances over personal custody disputes, which prompted the push to abolish it and disperse its responsibilities to other committees.  But the Division of Children, Youth, and Families is under serious scrutiny following the deaths of two toddlers who were killed by their mothers while under DCYF supervision, and an independent review of the agency has recommended many changes, including hiring more than two dozen social workers. With that on the minds of House members, the majority dissented from the proposal to eliminate the Child and Family Law Committee. This week’s House Calendar names the new members of the committee, which will presumably have a lot to say about how the state will overcome the short-comings identified in the report.  We wish them well, and hope for a state budget that provides adequate funding.

Also of note was a proposed amendment to House Rule 100, which would mean that lobbyists would not be able to testify before House committees until after constituents finished their testimony. This change was soundly defeated, in a roll call vote of 121-242. Leadership on both sides were opposed.

There are no House or Senate voting sessions scheduled at this time. There are many new legislators taking office this session, so next week most committees are having orientation sessions.

Coming up in Senate Committees

Tuesday, January 19
Judiciary, Room 100, SH
9:00 AM  SB 12, an act repealing the licensing requirement for carrying a concealed pistol or revolver.  This bill is back, and has been mentioned as a priority by Governor Sununu. The Senate is starting the new year off with a bang.

Commerce, Representatives Hall 

1:00 PM SB 11,  prohibiting collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join or contribute to a labor union.  This is the first of 2017’s “Right to Work for Less” (or “Work without Rights”) bills.  In addition to Governor Sununu, the proposal has backing from Americans for Prosperity, the American Legislative Exchange Council, and other anti-worker lobbying groups.  The concept originated with white supremacists in the 1930s as a way to prevent black and white workers from uniting.  States were given authority to implement “right to work” by the anti-union Taft-Hartley Act in 1947.  AFSC-NH has consistently opposed this going back to 1979.  We’ll have more to say on this soon.

Pro-worker groups, including NH Voices of Faith, will gather in the hallway outside Representatives Hall from noon to 1 pm.

Coming up in House Committees

Tuesday, January 10

Election Law, Room 308, LOB

11:50 AM HB 218, relative to activities at polling places. This bill would prohibit the distribution of campaign materials and electioneering inside the polling place.

12:10 PM HB 253, relative to campaign materials at the polling place.  This one eliminates the prohibition on wearing campaign materials intended to influence voters at the polling place.

House Finance and Ways and Means Joint Hearing with Senate Finance and Ways and Means in Rooms 210-211
10:00 AM  The first in a series of economic and fiscal briefings on the way to creating the next state budget. These hearings will be held twice a week for at least the next few weeks. Information about the presentations can be found in the House Calendar.

Legislative Administration, Room 104, LOB

9:20 AM HB 110, requiring members of the press covering the legislature to wear name tags when in the House or the LOB.  The bill states, “each member of the press corps covering the proceedings of the general court shall wear on his or her outer garment a clearly visible name tag when working in the state house or the legislative office building.  The name tag shall consist of the person’s first and last name and the name of the person’s organization.”  Arnie and Maggie are already required to wear lobbyist badges when they are at the State House. As the publishers of State House Watch and co-hosts of “State House Watch Radio,” would they be required to wear a media badge as well?  SHW researcher Susan Bruce also writes a newspaper column, has a blog, and is the co-host of “The Attitude” on WNHN-FM. Would she be required to wear 4 media badges, or one big badge with a list?  We don’t know.  But Arnie remembers that the last time a bill of this nature was proposed, members of the State House press corps said that if it were to pass they would comply by wearing their name tags on their posteriors.

10:30 AM HCR 2, a resolution supporting efforts to ensure that students from NH have access to debt-free higher education at public colleges and universities.

11:00 AM HB 95, establishing a committee to study the feasibility of transferring authority over the university system of NH’s budget to the legislature.  Can you say “micro-management?”

Wednesday, January 11

Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Room 302, LOB

1:15 PM HB 279.  This bill makes changes to the indoor smoking act.  Under this bill, smoking would not be prohibited in public conveyances that are privately owned (we think that means taxis), restaurants, grocery stores, and cocktail lounges. Smoking would be prohibited in privately owned residences where the owner has declared smoking prohibited.  This leaves us wordless – and potentially breathless.

Criminal Justice and Public Safety, Room 204, LOB

2:30 PM HB 282 This changes prison work release provisions to add the pursuit of higher education as a potential condition for early release. Citizens for Criminal Justice Reform, which backs this bill, points out that “The bill gives the Commissioner of Corrections authority to approve this work or school release for a prisoner, even if he or she cannot afford a lawyer.”

Thursday, January 12

Education, Room 207, LOB

1:00 PM  HB 155, which increases funding for pupils attending all-day kindergarten.

The Return of “State House Watch Radio”

Our first radio show of the new year will be Monday, January 9, on WNHN-FM from 5 to 6 pm.  Our guest will be Andru Volinksy, who was sworn in yesterday as a member of the Executive Council.  You can catch us live at 94.7 FM in the Concord area or live-streamed at www.wnhnfm.org.  The show will be re-broadcast at 8 AM on Tuesday.  Podcasts will also be available shortly after the show, thanks to Fred Portnoy, our producer.

Announcements and Events

Saturday, January 7, 2017

PORTSMOUTH – “Keeping it Peaceful,” an introduction to nonviolent protest with Arnie Alpert, 10 AM to noon, at South Church, Portsmouth.  This workshop is being organized for participants in the January 21 women’s march, but others are welcome to attend.  Please register here so we can estimate how many people will be there.

Sunday, January 8

PORTSMOUTH – Civil Rights Sundays, a weekly protest in Market Square, Portsmouth, hosted by Occupy NH Seacoast, focused on opposition to the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions to be U.S. Attorney General.  From 3-4 PM.  Info on Facebook.

Tuesday, January 10

NASHUA – “Electing a President: Popular Vote or Electoral College?,” a talk hosted by the League of Women Voters of Greater Nashua, Nashua Public Library, 2 Court St., Nashua, 7 PM.  Info on Facebook.

Thursday, January 12

CONCORD – “Know Your Rights as a Worker,” a free, interactive workshop sponsored by AFSC, 6 to 8 PM at NH Catholic Charities, 176 Loudon Road, Concord.  More info on Facebook.

CONCORD – “Learning from History: the Nashville Sit-In Campaign,” a workshop with Joanne Sheehan of the War Resisters League, 6:45 to 9 PM at the Concord UU Church, 274 Pleasant Street, Concord NH.  Sponsored by the Building a Culture of Peace Forum.  Free and open to the public, with donations accepted.   More info on the web, on Facebook, or by calling LR Berger at (603) 496-1056.

Friday, January 13

CONCORD – “Investing in New Hampshire’s Future: Strategies to Maintain a Strong Workforce and a Vibrant Economy,” the NH Fiscal Policy Institute’s 4th annual budget and policy conference, 8:30 AM to 4 PM at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord.  See more here.

Monday, January 16, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

MANCHESTER– Martin Luther King Day Community Celebration, St. George Greek Orthodox Community Center, 650 Hanover Street, Manchester, 2 to 5 PM.  Robert Azzi will be the guest speaker.  Eva Castillo will receive the 2017 Martin Luther King Award.  Info on Facebook or at www.mlknh.org.

MLK Day events will also take place in Exeter, Hollis, Hanover, and elsewhere.  Watch this space for updates.

Friday, January 20

CONCORD–“Vigil of Hope and Concern” at the time Donald Trump takes the oath of office.  Meet in front of State House 11:30 to 11:45 AM, silent vigil noon to 12:15 PM, followed by gathering and facilitated discussion at 4 Park Street.  Sponsored by AFSC, UCC Justice and Witness Ministries, Pace e Bene/Campaign Nonviolence, NH Peace Action, and the Equality Center.

Saturday, January 21

CONCORD–NH Women’s Day of Action and Unity. “We will unite at the New Hampshire State House in Concord in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington and in support of our rights, our safety, our health, our families, and our environment. Together, we will send a message to elected officials in New Hampshire and Washington, D.C. that we will stand together to protect the progress we’ve made. We won’t go back!”  10 AM to 3 PM.  More info here.

With very best wishes,
Maggie and Arnie

PS – Don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook.  Search for “American Friends Service Committee-NH” to “like” us.  After all, we are your Friends.

AFSC’s New Hampshire “State House Watch” newsletter is published to bring you information about matters being discussed in Concord including housing, the death penalty, immigration, and labor rights.  We also follow the state budget and tax system, voting rights, corrections policy, and more.

The AFSC is a Quaker organization supported by people of many faiths who care about peace, social justice, humanitarian service, and nonviolent change.  Arnie Alpert and Maggie Fogarty direct the New Hampshire Program, publish the newsletter, and co-host the “State House Watch” radio show on WNHN-FM.  Susan Bruce is a State House Watch researcher and writer.  Fred Portnoy produces the radio show.

“State House Watch” is made possible in part by a grant from the Anne Slade Frey Charitable Trust.

Your donations make our work possible.  Click the “DONATE” button on our web page to send a secure donation to support the work of the AFSC’s New Hampshire Program.  Thanks!

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Help Keep New Hampshire’s Progressive Humorist Mike Marland in Action!

Just before Christmas the Concord Monitor told their in-house political cartoonist Mike Marland that they were letting him go.  Their claim was cost-cutting measures, presumably the paper will pick up syndicated cartoons instead.

Unfortunately this cuts out an important angle of progressive satire local to New Hampshire and New Hampshire politics.  Marland always provided a fantastic wit and an ability to pick up the salient points on an issue and bring that out with cartoon art.  That’s a talent worth treasuring and a talent that provides an important outlet for frustration at the same and at the same time, critical analysis.

Its hard to wonder what exactly the Monitor has in store for its critical viewpoints, or that possibly Marland’s sharp progressive views have lost their shine in a paper that increasingly seems to provide a rather glossy and uncritical libertarian centered view on many issues.  We would hope that editorial direction was not the driving force behind Marland’s dismissal.

Marland’s satire provided an especial avenue for critical humor during the tumultuous period of the libertarian/Free Stater favorite, House Speaker Bill O’Brien who came into office on a Tea Party template of hostility toward government in the 2010 Tea Party driven electoral sweep.  The promptly decided to blow him out of office after two years with just as much energy as he entered.   Marland’s observations during this period were spot-on and provided a light of humor to a very difficult time.

We need Marland.  We in New Hampshire need strong progressive voices that speak up to the dominance of slavish obedience to extremists that seems to be increasingly common in state and national politics.  Times have again gotten difficult, extremists have entered both the house and the senate on a Scorched Earth strategy mirroring the national GOP strategy currently unfolding as well.   Our work will be hard, long and tiring.  Humorists and others in the arts play a crucial role in helping us all keep our eyes on the prize and reminding us of the oppositions frailties while poking a proverbial stick in their eye for our amusement.  We progressives love the arts, we know its importance in democracy and its link with creative satire.

 

IndepthNH is still looking for donors and underwriters to support his continued work.   They hope to feature him in IndepthNH’s online publications and we hope he finds other outlets for his work, possibly a publishing opportunity for his collected works as well?

In fact, we have posted one of our favorite Marland works, his portrayal of Bill O’Brien, in our article on O’Brien published on our Hall of Wingnuttia Fame page.

Please check out Mike’s homepage, linked in the first paragraph and like his new Facebook page as well and give our progressive brother some love!  Mike is a New Hampshire treasure, let’s make sure we keep him around!

Acton Institute contributor Says Child Labor a Wonderful Idea

Kathryn Talbert

While we’d rather keep the focus local to state politics, the national action right now is hard to ignore, what with Trump tramping all over every decent element of democracy, much less progressive values and all.

And Facebook churns endlessly the articles that people pick up and thrown amongst each other, many like hot potatoes because they are so absolutely abhorrent in thought and character that no one can hold onto to them for very long as they gasp in horror.

Thus so it was for me when I came across the exclamation “‘Mining Would Be Exciting For Kids’: Trump’s Secretary Of Education Wants Legal Child Labor”

Which was excerpted from an article that rationalized kids being thrown into the workforce written by one Jeffrey Tucker who so impressed Mr. Joseph Sunde (of the pro-charter anti-public school group the Acton Institute) that he, Mr. Sunde then decide to burp up a smelly piece all by himself to salute to those fine standards and values such as work. Intellectualism he says, is highly over-rated! Well, we can easily understand why Mr. Sunde would feel that way, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t continue to try to teach the rest of our children.

Anyway, here’s my thoughts banged out quickly on the old keyboard. Enjoy and please, feel free to stop in over at Mr. Sunde’s site and give him a howdie and a schooling, because he desperately needs some of that intellectualizing!

See his article here, “Work is a gift our kids can handle”

What a bunch of absolute drivel! While kids have shown to statistically be entering the workforce less, by and large the ability to make that choice is a luxury still only afforded to kids in the upper and middle class. Working class kids still often have to work as soon as 14 years old (yes there are states like the one I live in that allow kids to work limited hours at 14), not necessarily to supplement the family income but to have anything for themselves. I know my three children had to and my interactions at work with many younger people bears that out; children in lower income families are usually told pretty early on that they will have to start providing for the extras of their needs outside of food and shelter, which the parents still provide. Many have to work to buy their first car, buy school clothes or have any money for extras for social activities.

Other than that, middle class kids chose not to work because most are engaged in activities in school or outside school to prepare them for college; sports, clubs and other activities.

Much of this silly article centers around the even sillier commentary from Jeffrey Tucker, whoever he is, who seems to have slept through history class on the days when they talked about the brutality of labor in the 19th century. He apparently also, it appears never worked a low-wage retail or laboring job his entire life because not one single person who does feels that it uplifts their soul, raises them to new heights or whatever fantasies he applies.

21. Yüzyılda Acı Tablo: 'Dünyada Modern Köle Sayısı 45 Milyon'

Obviously this young worker is having a grand time whilst planning her great future in industrial ownership and entrepreneurial undertakings!

Its damned job.  A job, a soul-sucking, mind-numbing job where instead of typing your thoughts on a computer and somebody thinking your words mean enough to put in a column, you are told to shut up, do the job or get the hell out for the next one. And at the end of the week, when you receive your paycheck, unless you are a kid with someone else paying your way, you will again feel that soul-sucking sensation when you look at the meager pay you received for your 150% effort. Now you can decide, do you pay the light bill or rent?

Now getting back to the mind-numbing, soul-sucking part. We have a democracy. In a democracy we need our citizenry to be able to make basic decisions about their future and that of the country when they choose who to vote for. Hopefully they will make a good and sound decision after considering all the elements at hand.

Image result for US child labor

Children in Pennsylvania coal mine. No doubt the adult oversee has the best intentions in mind with that cane in his hand and taught valuable lessons in business skills and capital acquisition. Why have we never heard from all these child laborers of days gone by? Where are their memoirs? Their riches and fine houses? Their stories of winning the golden ring?

Lo! But that requires an education! And I’m not talking about just knowing the basic three R’s like arithmetic and reading and writing, I’m talking about critical thinking, history, civics and the rest. Already we have a Christian-based right-wing nutbag organization in Texas that does the final decision making on high school text books and you know what we have? We have a population that is about one third ignorant, sexist bigots and then another portion of privileged jerks who write columns saying that it isn’t important for certain peoples in our fine democracy to have a clue what is going on in their country. I suppose your resolution for that Mr. Sunde would be to just take away that problem by removing them from the voting roles! Hey, after all, as it is we have a problem with people getting to the polls because employers won’t let them go.

Children need the nurture that comes from a healthy family and community throughout their childhood and that childhood is also during their teens. Girls and boys need to be engaged in activities that are safe and regulated by adults that care about their development. They don’t need to be thrown to the wolves to be exploited by corporate monsters out for every buck they can squeeze from anyone, even children. Children died working in mines and mills, they were horribly disfigured, disabled and often were malnourished and diseased.

They most often did not attend school, were largely illiterate or semi-literate and never had the pleasure of enjoying the chance to reach their own potential as unique individuals. Many died before they reached the twenties from disability and occupational disease. But what’s most important is that almost all of them suffered from the deprivation of guidance, love and security that children need in order to grow into productive and emotionally healthy adults and contributory citizens.

Related image

Newsboys in St. Louis, 1910, picture by Lewis Hines. Here we see how children at work learn all sorts of fine habits from the adult environment they are exposed to.

As it is already children who start working early often lose interest in academics unless their parents hold a hard line on them. Employers will pressure them to work later than they should and their exposure to adults as a large part of their social upbringing is not always a positive thing; its the type of adults and the types of activities and values that children are exposed to that can make a positive or a very negative difference in their lives. In addition, neither middle school aged nor high school age kids have the ability to determine for themselves when they are being exploited by adults or not.

This is absolutely the dumbest piece of commentary I’ve read in a long time and it represents a frightening trend in our society. It reflects the idea that many have adopted that the lower sector of society, from children to adults, is disposable fodder to feed the endless greed of corporate machinery.

I don’t know who paid you or your colleague Mr. Tucker to write such garbage, or how much, but for selling out your soul intellectually the way you are apparently willing, your God will have judgment waiting for you.

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New Hampshire Progressives Demand Electoral College Change Its Votes

…AND GENERALLY LET TRUMP KNOW THEY’RE WATCHING.img_4054

[Please see more pictures and video posted on the Progressive Action NH facebook page!]

Last night in Manchester just before dusk, around 4pm people starting gathering at City Hall based on a call to action on Facebook regarding Trump’s recently declared win of the presidency. The event started at 4pm and lasted until between 8 and 8:30.

Organized by MC Auger, an 18 year old college student at NHTI and a few of her friends, the event grew way beyond what they had imagined, ” I was one of the ones who initially created it.  I just kind of decided that something needed to be done and I just put something up on Facebook and I invited a couple of my friends and I never expected in a million years that it would get half of the traction that it did.

“It was amazing and it really kind of restored my faith in humanity and basically the whole community came together and basically even the opposition came together and it showed that we can get our message across without violence.”
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When asked if she’d been involved in politics before, “Well my entire family is made up of people who are Republicans and heavily support Donald Trump and I was frustrated with the results of the election, I guess I felt I had to do something about it in order to feel better.

“I was raised in Catholic school for all of my life and I gradually didn’t like what I was hearing both in school and at home and decided to do my research and found out that there’s more than one way to tackle an issue.

“In the past I was very involved in politics because my parents would take me to big campaign rallies and bring me along to meet candidates or something.  But I’ve never done anything like this before.  I definitely think I’m going to get more involved in politics than I already am, probably I would do something like this again, most likely before Donald Trump is inaugurated.”

Danny Keating, organizer for Socialist Alternative and one of the marshals for the event said that although there was no real trouble, there were some tense moments, “The event started out with people on both sides of the street [Elm Street] chanting with each other.  When we marched down to Veteran’s Park and then came back most of the people went to the other [City Hall] side.  I tried to get everyone over to that side of the street.  There were some counter-protesters, one with Nazi symbol neck tattoos on the other side still with about a hundred or so protesters.

“Some of the protesters started to gather around the four or five or so counter-protesters and they argued with them and chanted at them.  Me and about four other marshals came over and stood between the two groups and then gradually most of the people moved to the other side of the street.  We stayed over there and formed a mini-circle around the counter-protesters for about a half hour.

Counter-protesters gloating.

Counter-protesters gloating.

“Then again a Trump supporter came over to the other side [City Hall side] and started trying to argue with the people and a cop came up and basically said to him, ‘Ok you had your say, move on.’ and he moved on.  That was about it.”

Danny said he got involved on his own, “I saw the event page and saw a lot of threatening on that page, I didn’t know the two young woman that were organizing it but I said, ‘Hey you guys should have some marshals for protection.’ and at first they said, No we’ll be fine’ but then some people who had done events in Manchester before, like the Black Lives Matter folks said, ‘No, we’d like them to be there.’

I asked Danny to explain what a marshal does, “Essentially its security and de-escalation; you are protecting the crowd. Our focus is to look all around the rally and find potential threats; we form a barrier between the two.  Most people go along and it works out very well.”

Another marshal, Julizabeth Gonzalez said what struck her most about the night “For me it was people coming up and saying ‘How dare you think its ok to get an abortion.” They were just saying stuff that didn’t make any sense and the people I was with were just women drinking coffee and weren’t saying anything, it was ridiculous.  Everyone else though was really friendly, a lot of support and a lot of love.”

As for what spurned Gonzalez to get involved, “For me because I’m Spanish and I’m part of the LBGTQ community, for everything after the election because I have felt really uncomfortable and we don’t feel very safe and welcome anymore, so it was nice to be out yesterday and be out there and be embraced by the community and people letting you know you are going to be ok.
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“I feel that since the election people have been more rude to me, staring at me making comments right to me, saying like, “Are you legal?”  I always give them a look and say ‘Pretty much, I came from Massachusetts; I didn’t need a green card.

“I know that a lot of the counter-protesters are missing the whole fact, its about also what the election stands for after the fact.  I did think it was hilarious that there was only a handful of counter-protesters and they were so angry and I wanted to walk over to them and tell them that’s how it feels to be minority in this country, but they didn’t see it like that, but its funny because that must have been how they were feeling, but they didn’t see it like that.

“We also had safety pins, it started in the UK, it was started to signify you are safe around this person, if you are refugee, or gay, or feeling harassed, those people are safe to be around.  One of the marshals had a bunch of safety pins and was handing them out to people who agreed to be ‘safe people’.”

Olivia Rose, 19 worked with the organizers during the planning stages, “I’m not one of the creators [of the event] but I helped with organizing things such as police being there and like part of leading the chants and stuff and making sure that everything and everyone was safe.

Participant showing her "I am safe" designating her as a safe person to go to if someone feels uncomfortable or harassed.

Participant showing her “I am safe” designating her as a safe person to go to if someone feels uncomfortable or harassed.

I really like protesting.  I’ve been to two Black Lives Matters protests before here in Manchester.  I work at a grocery store part-time and I work at Old Navy part-time as holiday help.  I’m saving up money for that and school and everything costs so much money.  Wow, nobody told me it would be like this.  I really want to go to school for special effects and theater.

Asked what got her to get involved, “Well Trump, so I was watching his campaign and he just seems have a lot of hate and when I saw him talking about conversion therapy it just hit a nerve and I don’t want a country filled with hate.  I feel like we’re not all together and I feel like it should be.”

As the actual vote counts continued to roll in long after the mainstream media had declared Trump the winner and Clinton had made her official concession speech, it appeared that Clinton did in fact dominate the popular vote by a small margin.  Considering the divisive nature of Trump’s positions and campaign that was enough for many people to hit the streets and demand that the electoral college switch their pro-Trump positions and put in a vote for the candidate that actually won the popular vote.

Willow Pfahler, another protest participant came to the rally with the distinct goal of being seen by the electoral college voters in NH and elsewhere so that possibly they’d change their vote. “I participated in the protest to draw attention to the electoral college has a constitutional obligation to step in and right this.  The electoral college was originally put in place to give the slave owners the majority vote, but part of the reason as well was to step in and do what’s right.

“To give you an example; there’s the ‘faithless vote’ which is when somebody votes against their pledge, there’s a woman in DC that did not vote at all in 2000, she was protesting the voter discrimination in DC, Barbara Lett-Simmons.  There’s some folks in the electoral college that already pledged not to vote for their pledged candidate.  There’s a many in Texas who has said he will be a ‘faithless voter’ because of Trump’s stance on immigration.

“Many Republicans are saying that electoral college voters cannot change their vote, but its unconstitutional to be prevented from changing their votes, although throughout history there’s never been any prosecution of faceless voters.   img_4026

“Additionally I think that people need to understand that this isn’t something that doesn’t happen.  Even up to 2015 there’s been an estimated 157 instances of faceless voters through the history of the country.  This is what the American people want, this is the idea; the electoral college has an obligation to look at the public voting and see who the American people want and the vote says they want Clinton over Trump.

“Historically, if you look at the facts that she’s receiving a historic number of votes for her, additionally we’re seeing a historic voter decrease and we also, Clinton didn’t win the black vote and didn’t win the Hispanic vote, well consider all the factors I just said, consider the increase in voter suppression relating to Trump’s campaign, consider the number of polling places closed, consider the changes in voter ID laws; it all adds up.

“Right now the electoral college petition on Change.org has 4.3 millions signatures, a petition asking the electoral college to change its mind.  Even Fox News did a good article on the issue and outlined the process, especially that regardless of state law, they have to follow the constitution.

“People need to think of why the gap between the election night and the time of the inauguration, it isn’t just what about counting the last of the votes, its about giving the electoral college the chance to look at all the information and make an informed decision.”

Keep an eye on Progressive Action NH’s facebook page for more upcoming events!img_4051

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NH Rebellion Activist Takes to the Road for Women – 3,000 Miles!

Beth Grunewald

Beth with her trusty steed.

Former New Hampshire Occupier and New Hampshire Rebellion activist Beth Grunewald as personally stepped up — or should we say — pedaled up her activist game by deciding to bike from Calais, Maine to Keywest Florida! By a lucky chance, she connected with me on Facebook last week and when she told me she was going to be leaving to Maine to start her journey I asked if I could catch her for a quick interview.  We met in West Lebanon at Gusano’s Restaurant last Saturday afternoon and chatted for about a couple hours.  Dressed in bright colored biking tights with cut-off jeans and a tank top and standing at 6′ plus, the only thing that outdid Beth’s bright and strong physical appearance was her huge welcoming and enthusiastic smile.  We sat down and proceeded to get to business getting caught up and then discussing her new adventure.

Beth says that she came up with the idea after approaching her thirtieth birthday this year.  After working in as a counselor at the Outdoor Wilderness School of Connecticut, Beth had an epiphany that many of us have when we reach thirty, “I’m going to be thirty in November and decided on the cusp of that to do this.  Thinking about what it means to be thirty and be a woman; so many people said to me, ‘Well now your life is over.’  I was amazed and began thinking, “Is my life over? Why are people even saying that to me?” Beth spanned her arms wide and exclaimed, “I have seventy years to live! I’m not even beginning to think about dying now!”

She also hopes that by studying the issues related to women while talking to people on her ride that she could be considered for a position as delegate to the 5th World Conference on Women.”The purpose – actually dual purpose is to advocate for the 5th World Conference and to interview folks about concepts of gender and how those archetypes affect women.”  She also talked about how she wants to expand on thoughts about human relationships and community.

“I got out of work and came home to Merrimack, I went to the anniversary of a friend who had passed away the year before and I started thinking about connection in my community.  I’ve had so such a go-go life lately and it got me thinking about how we get so caught in all these timeline engagements we forget about the people around us.  I began to think about how human connections are so important but our society, the things are now, doesn’t allow people to make enough time for that.”

SEE MORE ABOUT BETH’S PURPOSE AND MISSION AT HER GOFUNDME SITE!

Then we got into details about the trip, “Its roughly about 3,000 miles and I’m looking to do about fifty miles a day.  After doing research with maps and on the East Coast Greenway website.  Beth spans out her hands on the table pulling an imaginary string, “I used the map online and then transferred that to a paper map and with string I made an estimate of my miles. Its somewhere around 3,000.” I asked Beth how long it would take, “My planning is still a work in progress and since I’m planning to meet people on the way, who knows? I’m still working on where I’m staying when I’m in urban areas, that might be problematic but I’m still working on it.  I’m also going to use 2-1-1 to see how well that works and I plan to report back on that.”

Beth has done many long distance trips, touring from southern New Hampshire in the summer of 2012 and ending up as far as Bangor, Maine.  In November of 2012 she also toured parts of the Midwest from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Fort Wayne, Indiana  and her last smaller tour was in the fall of 2013 when she rode from Concord, New Hampshire to Portland, Maine.  She uses a standard hybrid bicycle with 700c wheels, narrow hybrid tires and the uncommon “mustache” handlebars which she says offer her many relaxing positions as she plows through the miles.

We will hopefully be able to follow up with Beth’s trip as she goes along and please don’t forget to visit her Go Fund Me site to help her out with expenses!

UPDATE:

Since we originally did this article on August 31, we have been in touch with Beth since we hadn’t heard confirmation that she’d left.  She has indeed left and has gone as far as Connecticut.  We talked to her on the phone briefly, she was talking as she was riding, we asked her how her trip is going,

“I’ve had some difficulty with getting online and adjusting to life on the road an dlearning to g slow, developing a routine of checking with my body and myself.” She then laughs, “I almost forgot to eat for like six hours once!” she also says, “Taking time out was one of the reasons I wanted to do this — reflecting on our rushed lifestyle, so here I am having to remember that.”

When I asked her if she’s had any logistical difficulties on the road she answered, “Getting used to the differences with the two maps I’m suing — the road maps and the online maps and some route difficulties and of course staying in contact.”  She says she stayed at a campground in Machias, Maine that was a little creepy, “I saw someone just come out of the woods from nowhere that night.”  She also relates that she stayed on the property of a church and called their number to let them know.  “I’m hoping to haev my trail worked out so I can focus at night on my ideas on policy.” [for the 5th World Conference she hopes to be a delegate for].

We’ll keep in touch with Beth and post updates here, she said she hopes to have her own blog up and running soon which we will link here.

The Truth about Colin Van Ostern

Elizabeth Ropp (satire)

Or Why A Van Ostern Governorship means 80’s movie night at the State House.

The New Hampshire Union Leader alleges that the Democratic nominee for Governor, Colin Van Ostern, had a mysterious past before he moved to the Granite State.  One UL investigative reporter wrote that Van Ostern didn’t go by the name “Colin Van Ostern” until moving to New Hampshire.

The Union Leader is on to something but falls short of getting at the real story.  Their reporters have failed to figure out what this precocious Gen-Xer figured out within seconds of interrogation at the Jefferson Jackson dinner last fall: Colin’s real name is Colin James Spader Van Ostern.

Halfway into a glass of wine on an empty stomach, I approached the candidate.

“Excuse me, I just wanted to say that you and Molly Ringwald were awesome in Pretty in Pink.  It’s like, my favorite movie.”

 Pretending disbelief, Van Ostern sputtered, “Oh. Um….uh…That was creepy.”

Let’s put the facts together, and see that the truth is unavoidable.

Why else would Molly Ringwald stump for Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire, if not for her Brat Pack filmstar buddy calling in for back up.

“Hey Molls, it’s me James…I mean Colin..Anyway, it’s me.  You’ve totally gotta get up here.   People are seriously grossed out by Hillary Clinton’s nomination.  We totally need you.”

 “But James, I mean Colin, you know I voted for Bernie.  Corporate oligarchy is grody to the MAX.”

 “But, Molls, if Donald Trump gets elected you’ll have to gag me with a spoon!”

Who knows why the legendary actor from movies like Less than Zero and Mannequin left Hollywood to make yogurt and to pursue poltics in New Hampshire.  By the way, did you know he makes yogurt?  And who knows why he changed his name.  Is he worried we will liken him to former California Governor, Arnold Schwartzenger?

At any rate, Spader-Van Ostern won the primary outright.  Centrist Democrats and Berniecrats alike turned out to support him enmasse.  He’s got some popular policy ideas. He proposes all day kindergarten, which benefits working families.  He champions high speed rail, which will bring in jobs, boost the economy, and reduce fossil fuel emmissions. On the Executive Council, he restored funding to Planned Parenthood and pushed to expand Medicaid. We DO need Medicare for All, but that is another story.

Hopefully the primary race will push Spader-Van Ostern to embrace the great ideas proposed by his opponents.  Steve Marchand proposed paid family leave, because that is a good family value. He also championed marijuana legalization. This is important because when every other candidate, including Spader-Van Ostern, takes The Tax Pledge,  we have to find a way to bring revenue into our state. Why not pot?  It’s working in Colorado and Oregon.  The only other proposed alternative is casinos, which are predatory businesses that do not produce high quality jobs for any community. Lastly, Marchand stands for complete abolition of the death penalty, unlike Spader-Van Ostern, who says he favors abolishing the death penalty except for the one guy who currently sits on death row in New Hampshire.

I am sure Spader-Van Ostern is also open to Mark Connolly’s excellent ideas if we can remember what they are.

So, Colin or James or James-Colin, if you are reading this, I want to congratulate you on winning the Gubernatorial primary. If you win in November, I hope that means 80’s movie nights on the State House lawn. But, I know you are rolling your eyes and thinking “Ugh! Not her again.  That girl was, is, and will always be NADA.*”

And you are so right.

The girl was, is and will always be nada.

*  NADA is a proven acupuncture practice to help people who struggle with alcohol and opioid addiction.  The NADA protocol consists of 5 acupuncture needles placed in specific points in the ear while patients rest.  It can also be used to help people who suffer from PTSD, anxiety, ADHD, or simply weight loss.  It was developed in 1974 as part of The People’s Drug Treatment Program as part of the Licoln Detox Center in The South Bronx.

 

Veteran and State Employee Runs for State House Office, Nashua Ward 2

SEIU Local 1984 of New Hampshire announced on September 8th the candidacy of one of their own, Gloria Timmons, for State Representative, Nashua Ward 2.

We re-post the write-up about her history from the SEIU website:
We’re proud of the many SEA/SEIU Local 1984 member candidates for state office this fall. Over the last few weeks, we’ve been featuring some who are facing challengers in the Sept. 13 statewide primary.

gloria-timmons

Gloria Timmons

Gloria Timmons, a member of Chapter 1, spent nearly two decades of her second career working for New Hampshire Employment Security (NHES). That came after her first career, serving 22 years in the U.S. Army. She’s looking to continue her long career of public service as a state representative in Nashua’s Ward 2.

During her state service, Timmons was active with SEA/SEIU Local 1984. In addition to serving as a steward for 17 years, she was a councilor and a member of numerous committees. She said she brought a lot of her military experience with her into state service, and she ultimately retired as assistant director of NHES.

“My military service made me stronger and disciplined,” she said. “A lot of people would probably say I was too military, but I just felt that when you have a job, you do that job. I come from the school that says you do what you need to in order to get the job done.”

Timmons said in her experience, less division between management and workers leads to better outcomes, especially when both sides are truly listening to each other.

“There were situations where, if you’d ask the workers, things might have come out a bit better because you would have been getting the perspective of the boots on the ground,” she said.

Unsurprisingly, veterans affairs is a major issue for Timmons in her campaign. The Cold War and Desert Storm veteran pointed out that former military members like her have to travel all over New England for specialty care, and there aren’t enough resources for returning veterans.

“I don’t believe we’re taking care of the vets coming back from Afghanistan, and we should never have homeless veterans,” she said.

In addition to her state and military service, Timmons has been involved in many community groups. Still, she said she’s running for office because she’s tired of sitting on the sidelines, “watching the parade pass by.”

“I wanted to help people, do more for the community, to get involved,” Timmons said.

We hope that voters in Nashua’s Ward 2 will support Timmons in the state primary on Tuesday. You can find the entire list of SEA-endorsed candidates here.