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Entries in Social Engineering (3)

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.

Tuesday
Jun282011

Carol Shea-Porter - Where are the jobs? 

Where are the jobs? This is the burning question of our time because we have so many people unemployed. The economy has a mix of good signs--such as continuous private sector job growth for 15 straight months and manufacturing up for 22 months now. This is great news, but we still have a high unemployment rate. So the questions remain. Where did the jobs go, and when will they come back?

We have to look in the rearview mirror to clearly see where we are now. The first devastating blow was when US corporations sent jobs overseas. The US Chamber of Commerce, which is different from the local Chambers, has been an enthusiastic proponent of sending jobs overseas, and also happens to be the top group making outside expenditures in 2010, running ads and engaging in other activities to sway the electorate about candidates and issues. They have too much influence on policy, and for too long, Congress has not forcefully acted against unfair trade policies and created enough incentives to keep American jobs in America.  

During the Bush era, we lost 1/3 of our manufacturing jobs.  However, the biggest whack came in October 2008 when Wall Street bankers did themselves in, taking down small banks and workers and retirees along with them. America lost more than 700,000 jobs just in the month of December 2008, the last full month before Barack Obama became president. The economy was reeling, and it looked as if the world was on the verge of another depression. Thankfully, policies enacted by the 111th Congress and President Obama pulled us back from a depression, but we lost eight million jobs, and that has created great suffering.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, called the Stimulus, was passed by Congress in February 2009.  Congress faced a very difficult choice.  It raised the already largest debt in history that President Obama had inherited from the previous administration, but it also created or saved jobs and funded projects around the country. The Congressional Budget Office recently confirmed again that the Stimulus did help by keeping the unemployment rate from climbing even higher.  I always believed that  1/3 of the stimulus money should have been used for a jobs program to build and repair infrastructure.   This would have served two purposes--it would have brought jobs and money to our communities and rebuilt our failing infrastructure, so I view that as a missed opportunity.  

Congress also passed and President Obama signed the HIRE Act and the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act. The latter bill brought more money to community banks, which in turn lent it to the small businesses that had trouble getting credit from the very big banks who had created the mess in the first place. Congress beefed up the Small Business Administration (SBA), and the SBA worked very closely with businesses around the country. Small businesses still need help, so I am very concerned that the current US House Majority has actually cut the SBA budget and programs to help small businesses.

The situation is not as dire as it was in 2008 and 2009, but high unemployment persists and is wreaking havoc on many families.  What is the solution? There are many steps America must take to address unemployment. First, the current Congress has to start working on a jobs bill.  They have not passed a single jobs bill out of the House yet—not one! At the same time, they are trying to pass Free Trade Agreements with Columbia and Korea, which will instead cause more job losses.

We need to provide tax incentives for manufacturing to keep jobs here.   We need to make things instead of always importing them.  We need to stop providing subsidies for companies that take jobs overseas.  We need to find and eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy that hurts business.  And yes, government still has a role to play in job creation and preservation. There are many public sector jobs that are essential to the health, safety, and well-being of our communities. We should not be shortsighted and eliminate those jobs.  We still have children to teach, fires to put out, criminals to catch, roads to fix, bridges to repair, airports to maintain, etc.

We should not dismantle this great country by dismantling our great workforce.  If we truly want to end unemployment in our country, we must set aside our political differences and concentrate on what is best for our people, not for our politics.

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Former Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter represented New Hampshire’s First District from 2007-2011.  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
Apr252009

Be Careful What You Wish For

By Representative Andy Renzullo (R-Hudson-Litchfield-Pelham)

 

Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it. Four years ago the voters wanted change. In 2006, the Democrat party took control of both houses of the New Hampshire Legislature to add to their control of the Governor’s office. Like riding with a teenager sporting a new muscle car, it was pedal-to-the-metal and the New Hampshire House took a screeching left turn. Some things were comical, like the bill passed by the House (and killed by the Senate after much public ridicule) which would have made it a criminal offense to release a helium-filled balloon. Other things were profound, like denying parents the right to be notified when their minor child is given an abortion. New Hampshire citizens are very tolerant. However, they also treasure their traditional values and control of their own lives.

 

In the last election, the Democrat House majority was cut by 17 seats even tough the Democrats swept the federal elections. Why? Because voters were becoming alarmed by the profligate spending and social engineering. Sensing the peasants with the pitchforks may be catching up to them, they’ve pulled out all the stops in trying to steamroll their hard left agenda into law before voters speak again. Let’s pick 2 recent bills.

 

The biggest news is the passing of a Gay Marriage Bill by the New Hampshire House. While New Hampshire Democrat House leadership had told the press that Gay Marriage was a vote of “conscience,” the pressure brought to bear on dissident members whose “conscience” vote didn’t match the “conscience” vote of Democrat leadership was immense. After the bill was defeated on the first vote, several wayward representatives suddenly found “enlightenment” and changed their vote to allow passage. The rumor that additional splints and arm slings had to be rushed to the House nurse’s office to treat the many cases of “twisted arm syndrome” could not be verified.

 

The drive to make New Hampshire into San Francisco East didn’t stop at gay marriage. On that same day the House defeated, on a close vote, a transgender protection bill, colloquially referred to by opponents as the “bathroom bill”. While adding people who behave, act or appear as the opposite sex to the list of groups given special protection in the New Hampshire civil rights statutes, this confusing and poorly written bill became the poster child of political correctness run amok. While denied by proponents, there was real concern that a person, incurring a sexual identity crisis, could actually be afforded the right to access facilities that are restricted to members of the opposite sex, to wit: bathrooms and locker rooms - hence the term “Bathroom Bill.” Seeing that arm twisting tactics worked on the gay marriage bill, the social architects dragooned a 92 year-old representative who didn’t vote “correctly” to request reconsideration of the vote. And the arm twisting worked. After a 4-hour debate, the “bathroom bill” passed by one vote, but not before House Speaker Terie Norelli made an impassioned speech to rally her troops. Oh, and by the way, the extreme left majority in the House defeated an amendment that would have protected bathrooms! So it really is the “bathroom bill..”

 

Now it’s possible that some may agree with some of these actions by those in charge of the New Hampshire House. But, I dare say, few would argue that those in power in Concord have an agenda far more radical and different than New Hampshire’s traditional values. Even if the Senate kills these bills or the Governor vetoes them, does the New Hampshire House really reflect the attitudes and values of New Hampshire’s citizens? When you think of New Hampshire the movie image that comes to mind should be “On Golden Pond,” not “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Well, four years ago the voters wished for change. Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it. Be careful what you wish for, you might just regret it.