Manchester, NH - Yesterday, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz joined Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, New Hampshire House Speaker Terie Norelli, and Portsmouth City Councilor Stefany Shaheen for a “coffee and calls” grassroots phone bank event at the home of Speaker Norelli in Portsmouth.
Organized by the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s coordinated campaign, Granite State Forward, the phone bank consisted of women contacting other women voters to discuss what is at stake in the upcoming election, like reversing last week's Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision that would allow employers to come between women and their health care choices, pushing for equal pay for women, increasing the minimum wage, protecting access to preventative health care choices, or reducing the costs of higher education.
Monday’s phone bank is part of a statewide effort by Granite State Forward to mobilize voters months ahead of the November election. Last weekend, volunteers, activists and community leaders across the state went door-to-door to spread the word and build support for the re-election of Senator Shaheen, Governor Hassan, Congresswomen Kuster and Shea-Porter, and the rest of the Democratic ticket.
See here or below for the full Seacoastonline.com story on Monday’s phone bank:
PORTSMOUTH — U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, visited the city Monday to put a focus on women's issues in a kickoff event held at the home of New Hampshire House Speaker Terie Norelli.
About 40 people gathered for a Granite State Forward house party and to kick off Women-to-Women, a grassroots campaign that utilizes a phone bank whereby women will call other women to discuss what is at stake in this fall's election.
Also speaking at Norelli's house were Portsmouth City Councilor Stefany Shaheen and U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H.
They summed up what is at issue for women in the upcoming election, such as reversing last week's Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision that would, they said, allow employers to come between women and their health care choices.
Norelli said Granite State Forward is "an awesome machine with no gas."
"You guys are the gas," she told the crowd gathered in her living room.
The speakers also talked about ensuring equal pay for women, increasing the minimum wage, protecting access to preventive health care choices, and reducing the cost of higher education. They said the fall elections will be critically important for New Hampshire women.
"It's so encouraging and so inspiring to see so many people in this room today," Shaheen said.
She said 84 percent of eligible voters turned out in 2008, and in 2010, just 49 percent turned out.
"What we know is that when women vote and women win, families win, and we need to make sure this happens," Shaheen said.
She added that her mother, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., has been on the front line about issues that women care about since her early days in the state Senate and as governor.
"In 1999, my mom signed legislation that would allow coverage of contraception," she said. "In 2000, she signed legislation that would prevent pay discrimination."
Shea-Porter said that women "have to practice self defense."
"My opponent, Frank Guinta, actually said there should be no abortion, not even to save the life of a woman," she said. "So, he's further right than the right to life."
Shea-Porter also said that it's not just 16- and 17-year-olds earning low wages.
"It's working women who are responsible for their families," she said.
Wasserman Schultz said the Republicans have been in the midst of a civil war and that the tea party "clearly has won."
"There is no more establishment, and what is left is pulled so far to the right," she said.
She repeated the message of her preceding speakers.
"We have watched the movie that played out in 2010," Wasserman Schultz said. "As the Speaker said, and Stefany said, we've seen what happens when people don't vote. The result is that movie has a nightmare ending."
She added that she and her fellow congresswomen "work in the do-nothingness of a do-nothing Congress."
"But there is something they want to do," she said. "They want to make sure bosses can get all up in your business and make decisions for you on what kinds of health care you can have."
She said a balanced approach is greatly needed.
"I understand we cannot make decisions on an 'it's my way or the highway basis,'" Wasserman Schultz said. "We need to reach across the aisles and look through the lens of the people who are thinking differently than we are so that we can find common ground."
She said people she has talked with across the country just want to make sure they have a job, a roof over their head, and that they can ensure that the children they are raising, the next generation, have the certainty and the ability to maybe be a little better off than their parents were.
"Voters from the 2010 election have buyer's remorse," she said. "We're going to make sure that doesn't happen again this year."
After the talks, those in attendance were given lists of women to call to discuss the issues at stake in the fall election.
"I think it's great to have a phone bank with people calling who are local and maybe even someone you know," said Fran Berman of Exeter, who received a call list.
Many present pulled out their cell phones at Norelli's home and began calling from the porch and lawn in front of her house.
The New Hampshire Republican State Committee reached out to the Portsmouth Herald on Monday morning in response to an earlier version of this story on Seacoastonline.com.
It issued this statement from New Hampshire GOP chairwoman Jennifer Horn:
"The policies championed by Sen. Shaheen and Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter aren't working for New Hampshire women," it read. "They continue to burden New Hampshire families with Obamacare's onerous health care restrictions, more job killing regulations and a new national energy tax that will hurt the middle class. The only way to propel women in our state forward is to elect responsible Republicans who will create an economy of opportunity for men and women alike in New Hampshire."