Says progressive groups are thwarting the will of the people by trying to halt Manchester's spending cap initiative

MANCHESTER, N.H. - New Hampshire Citizens for Sensible Legislation today strongly condemned the actions of the progressive group Keep Manchester Moving and its spokeswoman Zandra Rice Hawkins, who is trying every political trick in the book to thwart the will of the people in Manchester.

Leading up to the November 2008 election, more than 4,000 Manchester residents signed a petition to put a spending cap question on the ballot. Because of the petition, Aldermen are required by law to give voters their say on the matter.

If passed, the cap would amend the city charter to prevent aldermen from spending more than they did the prior year, plus inflation as measured using the National Consumer Price Index. Aldermen could override the cap with a two-thirds vote, but the effort is expected to force discipline on a board that typically does not exercise any when it comes to spending taxpayer dollars.

Now, Zandra Rice Hawkins, who is also the executive director of Granite State Progress, is behind a lawsuit filed by attorney Bob Backus for Keep Manchester Moving in an effort to disenfranchise voters. Rice Hawkins, who lives in Goffstown, has also organized an anti-spending cap forum that will be held tomorrow from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Manchester Aldermanic Chambers at City Hall.

“The tactics of these outside interests are clearly designed to disenfranchise the voters of Manchester and to disrupt the Democratic process,” said Andrew Demers, chairman of Citizens for Sensible Legislation. “It's really quite shameful what they're doing.”

Members of Keep Manchester Moving who are trying to silence the public include operatives from MoveOn, America Votes, Granite State Progress, and several city labor unions. Opposition funding comes from out of state progressive networks, mainly from Progress Now, a Colorado-based group dedicated to changing the political environment of a dozen or more key states.

“This organization is headed by people who aren't from New Hampshire,” Demers added. “Their spokeswoman has been in the state for only a couple of years, and she doesn't even live in Manchester. Clearly, these people support outside special interests, and not the voters and citizens of Manchester.”

New Hampshire Citizens for Sensible Legislation urges residents who signed the petition to show up at the anti- spending cap rally to make sure their voices are heard.