Dean Barker reviews the responses of New Hampshire’s top elected officials to gun safety proposals and concludes “only President Obama and Rep. Shea-Porter advocated on behalf of the majority of Granite Staters when it mattered:”
When President Obama unveiled his plan for commonsense gun safety in the wake of 20 murdered children, Rep. Carol Shea-Porter immediately responded with support for it. She was vindicated in her leadership on this by two subsequent polls (UNH, NEC) showing clear majority support in New Hampshire for the key elements of the President’s plan.
Senators Shaheen and Ayotte, Rep. Kuster, and Gov. Hassan (who, it will be remembered, made a very publicized choice to be speak out on the federal issue of DOMA) were all silent on the President’s plan unless pressed by reporters.
Former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown ignited a firestorm last night when he refused to rule out a race against the senior senator from New Hampshire, Jeanne Shaheen.
David Bernstein, who covered politics for the Boston Phoenix until its untimely demise, thinks a Brown campaign in the Granite State would be plausible:
He’s a good fit up there — he can smooth over the intra-GOP divide, and then really appeal to the general electorate. The amount of money he can raise now … would give him a huge edge in New Hampshire. And, this is a retail politician with an amazing will and ability to drive himself around and charm voters one by one in every nook and cranny of whatever area he’s running in.
But citing Brown’s commitments to his new law and lobby firm, Bernstein concludes it’s a big tease. ”It’s realistic enough to get him some additional buzz and public interest,” he writes, “so he’s using that to keep his market value up.”
Not even plausible, counters Charles P. Pierce:
Scott, baby, she’s enormously popular and used to be governor up there, and she started out organizing the state politically 40 years ago. You’re a one-term loser who got elected in a fluke and then lost to a woman who never had run for anything before because you ran the worst campaign in the history of man…. Rule it out, Scott. Say die already.
New Hampshire is one of 13 states targeted by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun violence group in an upcoming $12 million ad campaign.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns will begin running the ads on Tuesday when senators are home for the congressional Easter recess. The campaign is focused on lawmakers who Bloomberg believes might be persuaded to support the Senate’s package of gun safety legislation.
The campaign also includes more than 100 grassroots events across the country on Thursday, March 28 as part of a National Day to Demand Action. Gun safety advocates are organizing events, petition drives and phone calls to congressional offices.
“The N.R.A. has just had this field to itself,” Bloomberg said. “It’s the only one that’s been speaking out. It’s time for another voice.”
In its first endorsement of the 2014 electoral cycle, Emily’s List threw its support behind Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, calling her a “truly remarkable leader” who has been a “champion for women, working families, and veterans.”
Stephanie Schriock, Emily’s List president, said the 2012 election proved women voters want leaders like Shaheen who will fight for equal pay and violence prevention legislation. “Republicans, she said, “haven’t gotten the message, and are doubling down on their anti-woman platform” that would “roll back the clock on women’s rights and opportunities.” That’s why Emily’s List is determined to send Shaheen back to Washington, she said.
In the 2011-2012 cycle, the group supported Congresswomen Carol Shea-Porter and Ann Kuster and Gov. Maggie Hassan, raising over $540,000 for the three candidates and spending $550,000 in independent expenditures.
Democrat Jeanne Shaheen says everything needs to be on the table:
“We’ve got to look at revenues; we’ve got to look at the domestic side of the budget. We’ve got to look at the defense side, and we’ve got to look at the mandatory programs. I think we do have to make some tough choices.”
Republican Kelly Ayotte targets Social Security and Medicare:
“Programs like Social Security and Medicare — we have to start talking about how we reform them because, for example, Medicare goes bankrupt 2024. That’s not far off for many in this room that would rely on it or your grandparents. … So we need to have those hard discussions now.”
In February, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen publicly urged the Democratic Party to include a marriage equality plank in the 2012 party platform. “Any Democratic statement of core beliefs about the importance of families,” she said, “must include all our families, gay and straight.”
Today we learned that platform language supporting same-sex marriage and condemning the Defense of Marriage Act has been approved by party officials and is expected to go before convention delegates in September for final approval.
Shaheen praised this historic action. ”Equality and freedom are at the core of who we are as Americans,” she said, “and that means freedom for all of us, not just some of us.”
“Our party has long been a leader on issues of justice and this reaffirms to the country that we are working on behalf of all our families, gay and straight,” Shaheen continued. “I am proud to see the Democrats take an important step in standing up for the rights of same-sex couples.”
The Romney campaign held a series of events today “to allow small business owners the chance to respond” to President Obama’s assertion that businesses have benefited from government investment and support.
One of these “We Built This” events was held at Secure Care Products, a manufacturer in Concord. The owner, Harold Baldwin, said “he was pretty upset” by Obama’s suggestion that the government helped him build his business.
For the record, Secure Care is a member of the Granite State District Export Council, an organization that “supports the U.S. Government’s export promotion efforts throughout the country.” Just two months ago, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen delivered a speech on the Senate floor relating how the federal export program was critical to Secure Care’s expansion.
Secure Care has developed a technology that protects Alzheimer’s patients who may wander or newborns who are still in maternity wards. Grace Preston, the international sales manager for Secure Care, told us that the company has significantly expanded its growth by selling overseas. Grace also told us that Secure Care couldn’t have done that without federal and state export programs working together. In New Hampshire, our state and federal export services work seamlessly, which has helped exports grow our economy. [emphasis added]
New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte earned a 98% score from Club for Growth on its annual Congressional Scorecard and was recognized with a “Defender of Economic Freedom” award.
Ayotte’s near-perfect score was based on her roll call votes favoring tax reduction, government spending cuts, free trade, tort reform, school choice and industry deregulation. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen received a 10% score. She did not receive an award.
Club for Growth raises money for “pro-growth” candidates. During the 2010 election cycle, the exceptionally well-funded conservative advocacy group spent more then $8.2 million in independent expenditures primarily advocating for Republican candidates or against Democrats. John Nichols notes the organization has been a key player in the orchestrated attacks on labor unions and public workers.
During Gov. Rick Perry’s “colorful” speech to the Cornerstone Action Dinner last month, he attacked New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen over a bill she sponsored to promote energy efficiency.
“Instead of relieving the economic burden … you have your counterpart in the United States Senate who is working on a bill that would make things worse for home builders.” Perry said to great applause at the Cornerstone Action Dinner, October 28, 2011 in Manchester, N.H.
“Under her scheme, federal bureaucrats could take over the local building code enforcement in your city if so-called green mandates are not complied with quickly enough,” Perry said. “It is just simply bureaucratic overkill.”
Perry was referring to the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2011, a bill Shaheen introduced with Republican co-sponsor Sen. Rob Portman. The bill proposes numerous changes to national energy policies and practices with the goal of increasing the use of energy efficiency technologies and fostering job creation.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning researchers at Politifact reviewed the details of the proposed legislation. Would it potentially allow the federal government to take over local building code enforcement as Perry alleged? In a word, no.
Under Shaheen’s energy legislation, states would be required to report whether they plan to meet the model building codes. Those states that agree to the standards and accept federal dollars would be subject to a certification process to ensure they meet the regulations. But there is nothing in the bill that requires states to take part, nor are there any penalties for non-compliance. The bill is voluntary, not mandatory. We rate Perry’s claim False.
Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan, the New Hampshire National Guard soldier who recently returned from deployment in Kuwait, will be bringing her same-sex partner of 11 years to a yellow ribbon family reintegration event in North Conway this weekend.
Federal military regulations had previously banned same-sex spouses of National Guard Members from participating in official National Guard family events. The rules were based on an interpretation of the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits the extension of military benefits to same sex couples. Tuesday, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta urging the Department of Defense “in the strongest terms” to end the discriminatory policy.
“We made the decision as a nation that it was time to allow gay and lesbian soldiers to serve openly in our military,” Shaheen said. “It makes no sense to ask them for the same sacrifice we ask of straight soldiers while denying them the same benefits. We are better than this.”
Yesterday, the Department of Defense ruled that Chief Morgan may take advantage of a regulation that allows service members to designate any one person, regardless of relationship, to join her at a yellow ribbon event.
“This is terrific news for Charlie Morgan and her family,” said Shaheen. “But this is just one small part of a much larger problem. We have a fundamental inequity in our policy, which has created two classes of soldiers. It isn’t fair and it has to end.”
“Ultimately, this conflict in our military policy is not sustainable,” Shaheen said. “We cannot ask the members of our military to live under different standards depending on whether they are gay or straight. I urge the military to do all it can under the law to promote equality in their regulations, and I urge Congress to join me in the fight to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.”
A bipartisan group of 33 senators, including every New England senator EXCEPT Sen. Kelly Ayotte, sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius calling on HHS to release Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds as quickly as possible. The senators requested the funds be released now to allow state agencies to begin preparing their LIHEAP programs for the winter.
Excerpts from the letter to Secretary Sebelius:
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is an indispensable lifeline for low-income households. As state agencies prepare their LIHEAP programs for the winter, we request that the Department of Health and Human Services release LIHEAP funds as quickly and at as high of a level as possible under the current continuing resolution.
Low-income families spend a higher proportion of their income on energy, and this is particularly true during times of extreme temperatures and increased energy prices. … [T]he Energy Information Administration projects that the price of heating oil will be 10 percent higher this winter than last, the highest average winter price ever predicted. While these prices would be challenging under the best of times, elevated levels of unemployment across our states will make this year’s heating season an even greater struggle.
Last year, LIHEAP provided 47,215 of New Hampshire’s most vulnerable households with financial assistance. 32% of the recipients were elderly, 28% disabled and 22% were children under age five.
When the Executive Council voted not to renew the state’s contract with Planned Parenthood to provide Title X family planning services, 16,000 New Hampshire residents were left without health care services ranging from birth control to cancer exams.
This week, the federal Department of Health and Human Services stepped in to protect the health of Granite State families by awarding a replacement grant to Planned Parenthood citing the “urgent need.”
Title X family planning services have not been provided in the areas of the state previously served by PPNNE since the contract between NHDHHS and PPNNE ended on June 30, 2011. There is an urgent need to reinstate services with an experienced provider that is familiar with the provision of Title X family planning services and applicable laws, regulations and administrative requirements, and has a history of successfully providing services in these areas of the state.
Councilor Dan St. Hilaire, one of the three councilors voting against renewing the contract, said he opposed the contract because Planned Parenthood also provides abortion services.
“Actually funding an agency that performs the actual event is something that I would object to, and I have objected to. That’s what I voted against it.”
St. Hilaire was silent on where the 16,000 men, women and teenagers would now turn for vital health care services including cervical cancer screenings, breast exams and sexually transmitted infections. Following the Executive Council’s dereliction of duty, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen stepped in and asked Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to consider a direct federal contract. She applauded the federal government’s action.
“Women in every part of the state deserve access to affordable reproductive health services, and Planned Parenthood is a critical provider of those services in our state,” Shaheen said. “These clinics also provide vital preventive care, such as screenings for breast and cervical cancer. In some parts of New Hampshire, Planned Parenthood is the only provider of these preventive services to low-income women. I am glad the federal government has stepped up to provide this new contract, so that women in every part of New Hampshire will have somewhere to turn for basic health issues.”