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Entries in Occupiers (2)

Friday
Oct262012

Carol Shea-Porter - For the Rest of Us 

The 2012 campaign season is rapidly coming to a close. The commercials are as thick and dark and biting as black flies, and mailers warn voters to beware of Candidate X or Y. Just this week, one special interest group bought $2 million dollars of ads against me, which is more than I will spend for my whole campaign. Voters will have to wade through it all and make a decision. I hope they will vote for me for Congress because I care deeply about our state and our country and I will serve the good people of New Hampshire, not special interests.

I am a proud direct descendent of General John Stark, whose words “Live Free or Die” are frequently quoted. My roots are deep, and I know, love, and respect this great little state of ours. I grew up in a Republican family and I remember how New Hampshire Republicans and Democrats could disagree about policy but still come together to serve our communities. I believe we must do that again—walk away from the tea party agenda that divides us and join together with a renewed sense of purpose and unity to tackle our problems. During my four years in Congress, I was known for my advocacy for the middle class, for small businesses, and for the American dream. As the Seacoast Media Group and the Portsmouth Herald said, “Our interests were her interests.” I never accepted corporate PAC or DC lobbyist money. I cosponsored the Fair Elections Now Act and the DISCLOSE Act, because without campaign finance reform, we cannot tame the extraordinary influences of special interests that hurt ordinary Americans. I want to continue my efforts for campaign finance reform in Congress.

I served our military and veterans on the Armed Services Committee. As a former military spouse and proud wife of a veteran, I was especially happy to pass the new GI Bill of Rights that thanks our combat veterans with great education benefits. I introduced the bill to get a full-service VA Hospital or equal access to in-state care, and succeeded in getting more clinics and an acute care contract with Concord Hospital. Right now, New Hampshire does not have a Representative on the House Armed Services Committee, which is especially unfortunate because the current Congress’ vote for the Sequester has put New Hampshire defense jobs and jobs at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in jeopardy. I want to return to the House Armed Services Committee to advocate for the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, its defense mission, and their incredible workforce.

Serving on the Education and Labor Committee, I cosponsored legislation that cut student loan interest rates in half and increased Pell grants for students. I cosponsored the minimum wage increase, which became law, and cosponsored the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which restores a woman’s right to challenge unfair pay, also now the law of the land. I want to serve New Hampshire workers, small businesses, and families again in Congress.

I stood up for the New Hampshire environment. From the Ossipee Pine Barrens to land preservation around Great Bay, from the Presidential Range to clean water, I worked for funding to study and protect our environment.

I held seminars and workshops to help small businesses, including one in Manchester in 2010 to help small defense contractors compete for federal contracts that drew more than 150 people. I voted for the Small Business Jobs Act and eight small-business tax cuts. The Seacoast Media Group and the Portsmouth Herald wrote in their endorsement, “Voters who value bipartisanship will remember Shea-Porter’s outstanding work with her Republican colleagues from Maine and New Hampshire to safeguard funding for the new Memorial Bridge and much needed upgrades at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.”

We passed the health care law, saved the American auto industry and all of its jobs, and prevented a Depression. All of these were great accomplishments. But now we need to grow the economy, reduce the debt, protect Medicare from being changed to a voucher program, and help young people get an education and their piece of the American dream. I know we can do it—it is in the American DNA to tackle problems and succeed. I want to work on these issues for the rest of us.  I would be honored to receive your vote on November 6th.

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Former Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter represented New Hampshire’s First District from 2007-2011, she is seeking a third term in the November, 2012 election.  She wrote the proposal for and established a non-profit, social service agency, which continues to serve all ages.  She taught politics and history and is a strong supporter of Medicare and Social Security.

Saturday
Sep292012

Carol Shea-Porter - Yes, the Issue is Fairness 

Mitt Romney’s statement about the “47%” has gotten Americans debating  “fairness.” Many families are struggling to pay the rent or mortgage, and many are unable to send their kids to college or save for retirement.  When they read about how income has soared for the top 1% and stayed flat or dropped for them, they wonder who decides fairness.

Until recently, if anyone voiced concerns about fairness, they were accused of  “class envy.” Then Warren Buffet, the third richest man in the world, made his now-famous statement about how he got the tax breaks, and it was not fair to his secretary. And when Buffet was challenged to prove she paid twice the tax rate he did, Buffet released his 2010 tax returns and proved the unfairness.

Buffet turned the conversation to exactly the one we need to have in this country – what’s fair.  He told ABC News, “If this is a war, my side has the nuclear bomb... We have K Street. … We have Wall Street. Debbie doesn’t have anybody. I want a government that is responsive to the people who got the short straw in life” (http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2012/01/warren-buffett-and-his-secretary-talk-taxes/).

Wealth creation is good. People want to be able to take care of their children. It’s a lot better to live in a nice house or apartment in a safe neighborhood than in a run down neighborhood.  It’s a lot nicer when a community has the money it needs to offer quality services to its citizens. There are more civic organizations and opportunities for economic success in a community that is not poor.

The issue is not wealth creation.  It is not class envy either.  It is about fairness, about people and corporations paying their fair share.

Americans realize that the very wealthy and corporations have been very effective at lobbying, and that tax codes favor the rich.  Oklahoma Senator Coburn, a very conservative Republican, has written a report called “Subsidies of the Rich and Famous” to show how unfair it is.

People are unhappy enough when they find out they pay a higher percentage of their income than Warren Buffet. They are even unhappier when they find out that, according to CNN Money, two-thirds of US corporations paid zero income taxes.

They are upset that Mitt Romney paid 13.7% and 14% on the only two years of income taxes that he would show.

But then Romney said that 47% of people think they are victims, "entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”

That was just too over the top.  Apparently, Mitt Romney and Frank Guinta, who refused to refute it, think that the government is not being fair... to the well off!

Some Republican leaders, to their credit, disavowed those remarks.  But Congressman Guinta stood by Romney and called the comments just “a distraction.” 

Frank Guinta has stood up for fairness for oil companies also.  In Conway, when somebody said it wasn’t fair that oil companies get subsidies, Frank Guinta said if we take that away, to be fair, we have to give oil companies rent-free leases. Congressman Guinta's exact words were, "… the simple point on that issue is if you’re going to get rid of that tax benefit to those 5 companies, let’s also eliminate the lease payments and make it fair…"  (at 9:13: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGdctx1na5A) How is taking away taxpayer subsidies from oil companies so unfair that Americans need to give them free leases to take our oil on our public lands? And why does he now deny that there are subsidies to oil companies, after admitting it in Conway?  I guess he now worries that the rest of us don't find that very fair.

I think this story is emblematic of the selfish thinking of the right wing today.  It used to be “I got mine and will hide it so you have to pay your fair share and mine.” Now it is “I’ve got mine and want yours too.”

This election is about fairness for “the rest of us.” It’s about refusing to allow the right-wing in Washington and Concord to dismantle programs that we all paid into and earned – Medicare and Social Security.

 Is it fair to hire lobbyists to write tax code for politicians to insert into bills to benefit the richest, so they can deduct yachts and horses?

Is it fair for those who claim tax deductions for everything to then turn around and insult the 47% who are really struggling?

It’s not fair, but we can make it fair.

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Former Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter represented New Hampshire’s First District from 2007-2011, she is seeking a third term in the November, 2012 election.  She wrote the proposal for and established a non-profit, social service agency, which continues to serve all ages.  She taught politics and history and is a strong supporter of Medicare and Social Security.