Guest Blogs

Saturday
Oct252014

Rep. William O’Brien’s - New Hampshire identified as the Worse State for Young People in the Nation

Speaker Candidate Rep. William O’Brien’s Statement on the Investment Group Motley Fool Identifying New Hampshire as the Worse State for Young People in the Nation

On the surface it is a paradox that the Democrat Party, which claims that it is the party for women, minorities, young people, and whatever other group it can conceivably define as aggrieved, invariably harms each of them.  So after years of pandering and false claims of racism and wars on women, under Democrat control in Washington and Concord, labor force participation for women is at more than a 30 year low under the Obama Adminstration. Unemployment among black Americans, especially among young people, as well as their rates of poverty, are at levels not seen since the Great Depression.
 
In Concord, we have listened to this rhetoric for three of the last four legislative terms and it has always lead to more spending.  And it is in that fact – the growth of Government generated by ever increasing spending by Democrats – that lays the solution to this paradox in New Hampshire.  When government grows, the economy stagnates and it is the most vulnerable among us- the young, minorities, the historically disadvantaged, who suffer first, suffer the most and suffer the longest when the economy isn’t growing.
 
In New Hampshire these past two years under Maggie Hassan and House Democrats there has once again been demonstrated that this law of economics – too much government spending leads to too little economic growth - invariably trumps the laws of Big Government, producing the opposite of the desired effect.   A well-respected investment organization geared to young people known as Motley Fool has, for the first time, identified New Hampshire as the worse state in the country for young people.
 
As the report indicates, when legislators vote too much spending, people will vote with their feet and leave.  And that is what young people have done in New Hampshire.  They have left and our population of 25 to 34 year olds is shrinking.
 
There is an alternative however.  All of us can vote at the ballot box on November 4 to remove the over-spenders in Concord, from Maggie Hassan through House Democrats and, in doing so, ask our younger citizens to stay and come grow the economy with us.

Thursday
Oct232014

Ellen Read - Do We Have a Democracy?

With the election less than two weeks away, several of my friends and I have recently attended candidates’ debates and forums, and although we all submit the same question multiple times at each event, the question never gets asked.  And this year we have fewer opportunities than ever to even ask the question, because candidates around the country this year are refusing to debate each other more than ever before.  This is ironic, since our question is what will be done to restore our democracy.  Yet, this doesn’t surprise us,because we know, as most New Hampshirites do, that the U.S. no longer has a government that answers to its People.

     And a recent Princeton study has officially declared what we all already felt:  the U.S. is no longer an actual democratic republic, but a plutocratic oligarchy--rule by the wealthy elite.  The study demonstrated definitively that policies end up reflecting the wishes of the tiny fraction of one percent of the country that makes substantial political contributions, and not the desires of average voters.

     But we didn’t need a study to tell us this, did we?  Ninety-six percent of the public—conservatives, liberals, and everyone in-between, agree that it is important to reduce the influence of money in our political system.  We feel that our legislators do not really care about what we want, but about what their donors, who they spend 70% of their time courting, want—even if their donors are outside their district, or their state, or now thanks to shadowy superPACs, even outside the country, in effect.  In fact, candidates no longer have to raise a single dollar from an actual constituent, yet election spending is higher than ever.

     And that is why my friends and I feel the need to ask our candidates what they are going to do about it.  But our question never gets asked because usually debate moderators have a set agenda based on the hot-topics of the day--things like healthcare, national security, spending, the environment, and net neutrality, for example.  But each of these issues, and so many more, come back to a single issue:  the profit of corporations that have donated to and lobbied legislators until they get policies that benefit them, usually at the expense of the citizens at large. 

     We cannot make healthcare policies that benefit everyone, or be judicious in our use of military force, or rein in spending, or protect the air and water and climate we live in, or ensure an open internet—not as long as the corporations that profit from forcing us into expensive insurance plans, or from selling weapons of war to the government, or from receiving government giveaways, or from polluting without regulation, or from monopolizing access to information, make the majority of political contributions to our legislators, who are supposed to represent We the People.  

     We learn in school that a democracy cannot exist without a well-informed public.  And so it is incumbent upon the so-called “fourth branch of government”--the press and media at large--to show to the people, who already have the sense that big money has corrupted our government, that how we conduct our elections is at the very heart of every other issue, whether it is a conservative or liberal cause.  The press needs to remember that until we have a government that actually represents the will of the people, no other issue will be resolved according to the best interest of the people.  The press must stress that business should mind its business, which is selling goods and services and making a profit within the confines of the law; and remind us that it is the business of the citizenry, and nothing else, according to the constitution, to direct the government in making law.

Monday
Oct132014

Eric T. Rottenecker - Governor Hassan Stacks The Wind Energy Deck!

This last July, the mandated SB-245 (establishing the SEC), was signed into law by Governor Hassan, this is what we ended up with.


 There is hereby established a committee to be known as the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee consisting of 9 members, as follows:(a) The commissioners of the Public Utilities Commission, the chairperson of which shall be the chairperson of the committee;(b) The commissioner of the department of environmental services, who shall be the vice-chairperson of the committee;(c) The commissioner of the department of resources and economic development;(d) The commissioner of the department of transportation;(e) The commissioner of the department of cultural resources or the director of the division of historical resources as designee ( all of these commissioners are governor appointees ); and (f) Two members of the public, appointed by the governor, with the consent of the council, at least one of whom shall be a member in good standing of the New Hampshire Bar Association, and both of whom shall be residents of the state of New Hampshire with expertise or experience in one or more of the following areas: public deliberative or adjudicative proceedings; business management; environmental protection; natural resource protection; energy facility design, construction, operation, or management; or community and regional planning or economic development.


I'm surprised that the Chair of Municipal and County Government, wasn't somehow added to this list.

The appointments of the two members of the public was supposed to happen before the Oct 1st deadline.
The two so called "public members" the Governor had chosen were Sen. Bob O'Dell (R) who chairs the Ways and Means committee, vice chair of Energy and Natural Resources and member of Finance, and Rep Amanda Merrill (D) who sits on Science Technology & Energy. Both of these nominees are pro wind-farm, anyone want to guess where this is going? Talk about stacking the deck. 

Three out of five of the Executive Council had voted down these appointments, Governor Hassan tabled the two appointments until after the Nov election in hopes of getting the votes from said council. This is a sad irresponsible way of running a government, call Governor Hassan, tell her to throw her two appointments out. Tell her to read the bill over again, look beyond Concord and choose two members of the public that do not have Concord moon-dust on their shoulders prior to the December 1st deadline when the Site Evaluation Committee needs to submit a permanent funding plan.The site evaluation committee needs time to consider potential funding sources, including but not limited to the imposition of reasonable application fees and the use of general funds. The site evaluation committee shall consider whether a dedicated fund is necessary as part of a permanent funding plan. The plan shall describe the costs of the ongoing administration of the site evaluation committee's duties, including state agency expenses associated with processing an application under this chapter. The plan shall make recommendations for funding sources to meet those needs, except that such funding sources shall not include annual operating fees imposed on energy facilities or further use of the renewable energy fund. This is a tall order to wait until after the election. And what ever happened to the Oct 1st deadline, after all, it’s only been three months since the bill was signed. The SEC is the final word in placement of the so called renewable energy franchises that are popping up all around the state, without a full committee, is it going to be rubber-stamp operations as usual?

As a write in candidate for the House, I can't endorse the choice of Senator O'Dell and Representative Merrill Governor Hassan has chosen to appoint, just as I can’t support the conflict of interest the PUC Commissioners will bring to the table.

Eric T. Rottenecker
Write-in Candidate
Grafton Dist 9
Alexandra, Ashland, Bridgewater,Bristol, Grafton.

Thursday
Oct022014

ICYMI: Gov. Maggie Hassan's toxic partisanship poisons Concord

Published in the Union Leader, October 1, 2014

 

Gov. Maggie Hassan's toxic partisanship poisons Concord

 

By Sen. Jeanie Forrester

 

LATELY GOV. Maggie Hassan has been taking credit for the bipartisan budget we passed last year. She wants you to forget the scathing rhetoric she unleashed on the Senate Republicans before she reversed course and signed that budget into law.

 

After submitting an irresponsible budget proposal that relied on fatally flawed revenue estimates that included a significant reliance on unproven gambling revenues, Hassan spent the rest of the budget debate taking shots at Republicans, without actually participating in the process. She accused Senate Republicans of choosing “the fiscally irresponsible approach of sweeping, across-the-board cuts,” and claimed that the modest increases in social service spending would be “nothing short of devastating.” She warned of “hundreds of layoffs” that never happened.

 

Sitting on the Senate Finance Committee at the time, I didn’t hear once from the governor about the budget. She didn’t take part in the budget negotiations, except by news release. Republicans passed our balanced budget without a single Democratic vote.

 

Two weeks later, when the Senate budget bill came out of the Conference Committee with few changes, Hassan reversed her position and starting patting herself on the back for a budget she spent months bashing. It was a shocking reversal, given the venom she had unleashed on us so recently. But we were happy to have the governor’s belated support, and we passed the budget with a unanimous Senate vote.

 

We shouldn’t forget Hassan’s track record of budget disasters. As Senate Majority Leader, she watched as two consecutive Democratic budgets fell apart. She supported more than 100 increases in state taxes and fees, and that still wasn’t enough to pay for the massive increase in state spending.

 

New Hampshire was forced to borrow more money to pay its bills, to cut state aid to cities and towns, and to employ gimmicks like booking phantom revenues that never materialized.

 

The 2009 budget was such a mess that the Legislature was forced to come back into special session to fill a $295 million deficit. This required dramatic cuts to senior citizen programs, juvenile placement programs, and catastrophic aid to hospitals. And even this was only a stop-gap measure.

 

The 2011 Legislature inherited an $800 million hole in the budget. Republicans reversed some of Hassan’s massive spending increase, and to this day she still blames all of the state’s problems on the budget that cleaned up her mess.

 

Hassan refuses to take responsibility for the recent downgrade of our state’s bond rating outlook. She again tried to blame the Republican Legislature, even though the S&P decision specifically cited the Medicaid lawsuit spurred by cuts she supported, the growing liability in the New Hampshire Retirement System, and our state’s inadequate Rainy Day Fund. Hassan has consistently opposed Republican efforts to address these looming fiscal challenges.

 

Time and again, Maggie Hassan has ignored problems under her watch. Unlike her claims of working in a bipartisan way, she doesn’t work with the Legislature to solve these problems. She prefers to step in once the Legislature reaches a bipartisan solution, and then claim credit for it. She is not leading. She is not solving problems.

 

I respect my Democratic colleagues in the Senate, and our counterparts in the House. We share a common dedication to making New Hampshire a better place to live, even as we disagree on how to do it. But the partisan bitterness coming from the governor’s office is toxic. It poisons the political atmosphere at the State House, making it harder for Republicans and Democrats to reach across the aisle.

 

New Hampshire citizens expect more and deserve better.

 

Sen. Jeanie Forrester, R-Meredith, is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

Tuesday
Sep302014

Derek Dufresne - Opinion: Would the Shea-Porter of 2006 oppose the Shea-Porter of today?

As seen in Foster's Daily Democrat's Sunday edition 

It has been said that money and success don't change people; they merely amplify what is already there. Regardless of whether this is true or not, here in New Hampshire, we have firsthand proof of how radically the power and financial gains of Washington D.C. can alter someone. For us Granite Staters, there is no better example than Carol Shea-Porter. Carol's transformation has been so dramatic that it is now fair to ask whether the 2006 populist version of Carol Shea-Porter would actually primary the elitist establishment Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter of 2014.

 

Carol was first elected to Congress about eight years ago. Then, she was an outsider, even within her own party. She was an ultra-liberal community activist in Strafford County who had never held public office before. Other than some local fame for being escorted by law enforcement out of a George W. Bush rally adorning a "Turn Your Back On Bush" T-shirt, few New Hampshire politicos had heard much about her. Regardless, Shea-Porter bucked her own party's establishment, and while I vehemently disagreed with her on many of her beliefs, I respected the fact that she was a renegade. In order to win the Democratic Party's primary in 2006, she harnessed support from the grassroots of her party, and despite being outspent by her Democratic opponent and Washington power brokers by a 10-1 radio, she beat the front-runner by 20 points on election night. Months later, Carol rode a national Democratic wave and went on to win the general election in November of that year.

 

Once Carol's ticket to Washington D.C. was stamped, during her first two terms in Congress, the anti-elitist who once bucked her own party slowly began her transition into just another puppet of the Washington establishment. She quickly became a loyal foot soldier for then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, voting with her agenda on almost every occasion. When asked about her blind allegiance to her party's ruling class by a Concord Monitor reporter in 2007, she actually said "and so far, I have voted I think, 100 percent of the time with (Democratic leaders) because frankly, I think they're 100 percent right." Her new devotion was quickly repaid. Despite originally promising to not accept money from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), Carol reneged on that pledge, and nearly $2.4 million in ads where used to bolster her campaign during her first reelection. After one term in D.C., it was clear: Potomac Fever had hit Mrs. Shea-Porter. Unless her campaign slogan, "for the rest of us," referred to her and new buddies in on Capitol Hill, the days of Carol as gritty populist were starting to fade in the rearview mirror.

 

When it came to town halls, the liberal activist also began her metamorphosis. Carol once made a career out of relentlessly following former Congressman Jeb Bradley to his many public forums, but as congresswoman, she made a political calculation to become far more isolated. She did decide to hold some town hall meetings in 2010 after incessant pressure from the local and national media, and headlines in Politico such as, "Has Washington changed Carol Shea-Porter?" However, many of her forums were held in small rooms and were heavily controlled. Ironically enough, the woman who was once escorted from a Bush town hall began having those who disagreed with her thrown out of her own public forums. She even had her security toss an elderly retired police officer from one of her meetings in Manchester.

 

After Carol Shea-Porter lost the congressional seat in 2010 and regained it in 2012 due to the Obama re-election wave, one might have thought she would have returned to her populist roots, but that wasn't the case. In fact, Carol went further in the opposite direction. During the 113th Congress, Mrs. Shea-Porter has continued to vote lock step with her party on almost every issue. Her office hasn't hosted a single real town hall meeting, and at the couple of events she advertised as "public," there is video proof of Congresswoman Shea-Porter banning cameras and removing those who disagree with her.

 

When it comes to fundraising, Shea-Porter continues to embrace the millions of dollars she gets from the DCCC and their lobbyists, and she is quick to campaign or fundraise with Nancy Pelosi and party leaders at any opportunity. She even traveled all the way to Napa Valley, California last month to wine-and-dine with elites and mega-donors like billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer. That's right, she was one of only a handful of representatives chosen by Nancy Pelosi to join her at this swanky Villagio Inn and Spa to woo donors into investing in her re-election. I'm sure very few of Carol's grassroots primary supporters in 2006 would have been excited to join Team Shea-Porter if they had a crystal ball to see her bantering in a vineyard with the wealthiest individuals on the west coast in August of 2014.

 

It's no secret that I disagree with Carol Shea-Porter on many issues. However, that isn't the point. Regardless of party, Granite Staters, like most Americans, are fed up with elitist politicians. They are tired of dealing with elected officials who care more about their cushy careers and Washington power brokers than connecting with their constituents or representing their interests. Crazy as it sounds, I actually believe the populist Carol Shea-Porter of 2006 would agree with me on that point - so much so that she likely would primary the blind party puppet she has become today.

 

Derek Dufresne of Manchester is a partner and co-founder of RightOn Strategies, a national conservative political consulting firm.