Press Releases

 

Tuesday
Mar032009

Shea-Porter Announces Nearly $5 Million Grant for Housing Facilities 

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter today announced that the First District will receive a $4,599,961 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This award through the Capital Fund will be used for capital and management activities, including modernization and development of public housing facilities. The funds are directed to the Manchester Housing Authority ($2,034,759), Dover Housing Authority ($922,653), Portsmouth Housing Authority ($763,785), Somersworth Housing Authority ($303,831), Laconia Housing and Redevelopment Authority ($168,063), and the Housing Authority of the City of Rochester ($406,870).

 

“This recovery package funding will ease the financial pressure on our local community governments and the people they serve,” said Congresswoman Shea-Porter.

 

Tuesday
Mar032009

President Obama, Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Representative Paul Hodes Announce Release of $930,000 of Recovery Act Funds for Health Clinic in New Hampshire

Grants Will Help Serve 2,100 State Residents, Create 15 Jobs

 

Acting to strengthen the health care safety net for the growing number of Americans in need, President Barack Obama, Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Representative Paul Hodes today announced the release of nearly $930,000 authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that will support a health centers in New Hampshire. This health center will help people in need -- many with no health insurance -- obtain access to the comprehensive primary and preventive health care services and create 15 jobs in New Hampshire.

 

“We have acted quickly to put Recovery Act dollars to good use in communities across America,” said President Obama. “The construction and expansion of health centers will help create thousands of new jobs and provide critical assistance to Americans who have lost their job and their health care. Health centers, primary care, and prevention are at the heart of my plan for an affordable, accessible health care system.

 

Harbor Homes Inc. health care center in Nashua, NH will receive support.

 

Nationwide, grants totaling $155 million will assist 126 health centers and help provide health care to an estimated 750,000 low-income people across the country. The grants, which are administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), are expected to create 5,500 jobs at the new health centers across the country.

 

HRSA’s network of 1,100 health center grantees across the nation provide health care at more than 7,000 sites, ranging from large medical facilities to clinics and mobile vans. In 2007, health centers served 16.1 million patients, regardless of their ability to pay. Charges for services are set according to income, and only nominal fees are collected from the poorest patients. Nationally, about 39 percent of health center patients have no health insurance.

 

HRSA’s grants typically account for about 19 percent of a health center’s total revenue. Medicare, Medicaid and other federal grants and payments total about 46 percent of revenue; remaining operating funds come from state and local grants, foundations and patient payments.

 

To locate a health center near you, go online to Find a Health Center (http://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/).

 

Tuesday
Mar032009

President Obama Will Nominate Governor Kathleen Sebelius Secretary of HHS, Announces Release of $155 Million of ARRA Funds for Health Clinics Across America 

Leading Health Care Expert Nancy-Ann DeParle to serve as Director of White House Office for Health Reform

 

Today, President Barack Obama officially announced his intent to nominate Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services. In this role, Sebelius will oversee a department with wide-ranging responsibilities essential to the American people, including the implementation of the President's vision for health care.As Secretary of Health and Human Services, Sebelius will work with Democrats and Republicans alike to cut costs, expand access, and improve the quality of health care for all Americans.

 

Nancy-Ann DeParle, one of the nation’s leading experts on health care and regulatory issues, will serve as Counselor to the President and Director of the White House Office for Health Reform. As commissioner of the Department of Human Services in Tennessee, she saw firsthand the health care system’s impact on workers and families. In the Clinton Administration, DeParle handled budget matters for federal health care programs, and took on the tremendous task of managing Medicare and Medicaid.

 

“If we are going to help families, save businesses, and improve the long-term economic health of our nation, we must realize that fixing what’s wrong with our health care system is no longer just a moral imperative, but a fiscal imperative. Health care reform that reduces costs while expanding coverage is no longer just a dream we hope to achieve – it’s a necessity we have to achieve, said President Obama. “And today, I am proud to announce key members of my team who will be critical to that effort: Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius for my Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Nancy Ann DeParle as Director of the White House Office for Health Reform.”

 

President Obama today also announced the release of $155 million authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that will support 126 new health centers. These health centers will help people in need – many with no health insurance – obtain access to comprehensive primary and preventive health care services.

 

“We have acted quickly to put Recovery Act dollars to good use in communities across America,” said President Obama. “The construction and expansion of health centers will create thousands of new jobs, help provide health care to an estimated 750,000 Americans across the country who wouldn’t have access to care without these centers, and take another step toward an affordable, accessible health care system.”

 

The grants, which are administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), are expected to create 5,500 jobs at the new health centers.

 

Tuesday
Mar032009

Elected Officials, Editorial Boards & Small Business Owners All Agree: EFCA Would Be Disastrous 

 

McConnell: EFCA “Is One Of The Surest Ways To Europeanize America”:

 

“I asked him about card check and its prospects in the Senate. His eyes lit up and he chose his words with great care and emphasis, as if this was at or near the top of his ‘to do’ (or rather, ‘to prevent’) list. He said he was ‘somewhat optimistic’ on card check and that he ‘will have everyone’ in the conference to filibuster a vote. Card check, he explained, ‘is one of the surest ways to Europeanize America.’ If card check is passed, when coupled with excessive spending, ‘we turn this into France.’ And he had a warning for Democrats in right to work states: ‘Voting for this may not be good for your political health.’” (Jennifer Rubin, “The Senate Minority Leader Offers A Heavy Dose Of Tough Love To Conservatives,” Pajamas Media, 2/27/09)

 

· “No Part Of Card Check Is Acceptable”:

 

“Jennifer Rubin of Pajamas Media asked McConnell about Card Check. On this, McConnell grew notic[e]ably brighter – and he seemed very confident of his ability to block it: ‘I’m somewhat optimistic we will have everyone on Card Check... Add Card Check [to a weakened economy], and we turn into France pretty rapidly. But we will remind Democrats in Right to Work states that a vote for Card Check may not be healthy for their political careers. No compromise ought to be allowed. And no part of Card Check is acceptable.’” (Brian Faughnan, “McConnell: Arlen Will Be A Good Soldier,” RedState.com, 2/27/09)

 

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Gingrich: EFCA Is A “Mortal Threat To American Freedom”:

 

“How serious and committed are conservatives to the defeat of the Employee Free Choice Act? This committed: ‘This bill is a mortal threat to American freedom and we will never forgive somebody who votes for cloture or for passage.’ That’s New Gingrich, speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington D.C. The former House Speaker is launching a new media campaign, titled American Solutions, to help with his efforts to defeat the legislation.” (Sam Stein, “Gingrich On EFCA: ‘Mortal Threat To American Freedom,’” The Huffington Post, 2/27/09)

 

· Watch You Tube Here

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Barnes: “Queasy Moderates Fear Voting For An Unpopular Bill”:

 

“Unions spur unemployment, and ‘there is no question’ about it. ‘High union wages that exceed the competitive market rate are likely to cause job losses in the unionized sector of the economy.’ That is the unvarnished conclusion of one of the country’s most admired economists. From 1970 to 1985, a state with average unionization had a rate of unemployment 1.2 percentage points higher than a state with no unions. This represented ‘about 60 percent of the increase in normal unemployment’ in that period. Okay, a finding from several decades ago may be a bit dated. But the phenomenon of how unionization affects unemployment isn’t. Nor is the economist – Lawrence Summers, formerly president of Harvard and now President Obama’s chief economic adviser ... If card check passes, this trend – more unions, fewer jobs – will shift into high gear. But the measure suffered a slight setback last week. Blue dog Democrats got House speaker Nancy Pelosi to postpone a vote until the Senate acts. The queasy moderates fear voting for an unpopular bill that could fail in the Senate. Labor leaders had hoped House approval would give card check a big boost in the Senate, where a handful of Democrats have voiced misgivings.” (Fred Barnes, “Summers Knows Best,” Weekly Standard, 3/2/09)

 

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CA

 

Pasadena Star-News: “We’re Not Convinced The Need For Easier Union Access Is On The Front Burner, Not In Today’s Difficult Economic Climate And When Jobs Are Disappearing At Alarming Rates”:

 

“[EFCA] would enable workers wishing to join a union to check a box on a card instead of holding an election with secret ballots. The fight over card check will be a knock down, drag out battle that will make Solis’ confirmation delays seem like a stroll through Camp David. This is not a fight that the bipartisan-minded president should invite at this time. That’s one reason why it would be beneficial for Obama and Solis to hold off on card check. Besides, we’re not convinced the need for easier union access is on the front burner, not in today’s difficult economic climate and when jobs are disappearing at alarming rates.” (Editorial, “Our View: Hold Off On Card Check,” Pasadena Star-News, 2/28/09)

 

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FL

 

Sun Sentinel On EFCA: “Let’s Hope Wisdom Prevails And These Two Provisions Are Derailed. If Not, In The Best Interests Of His State, Nelson Should Withdraw His Support”:

 

“The deceptively-named ‘Employee Free Choice Act’ would allow a union to claim certification if a simple majority of workers signs the card – thus dispensing with the secret vote. Doing so would open the door for a lot of coercion and intimidation, in the workplace, in homes. Theoretically, a union could gain certification without every employee, or management, knowing about it ... Beyond that, the card-check bill has another major flaw. It would empower federal arbitrators to impose a two-year contract on an employer and union after just two months if the two sides are unable to come to an agreement. Either party could end up stuck with a deal they don’t want. This legislation is so problematic, even former Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern, a lifelong labor advocate, opposes it. The key battle over these provisions will be in the Senate. While Republican Sen. Mel Martinez opposes the legislation, Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson has previously backed it. Nelson is predicting a long debate on this issue and possible amendments or changes before a final Senate vote. Let’s hope wisdom prevails and these two provisions are derailed. If not, in the best interests of his state, Nelson should withdraw his support.” (Editorial, “It’s No Secret: Democracy Thrives With Secret Ballot Elections,” Sun Sentinel, 3/1/09)

 

State Leaders Fight To Defend Secret Ballot:

 

“Hasner is leading the charge for a state constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right of Floridians to cast secret ballots in all elections – from presidential contests to employee votes on whether to unionize ... The state campaigns are a response to the union-backed effort to get Congress to pass a ‘card-check’ law allowing a union to form if a majority of employees in a potential bargaining unit sign pledge cards. Now, if 30 percent of employees sign petitions supporting union representation, the National Labor Relations Board oversees a secret-ballot election of all workers on whether to unionize ... Businesses say using pledge cards rather than private ballots will allow labor organizers to coerce workers into approving a union.” (George Bennett, “Hasner Touts Anti-Union Secret Ballots,” Palm Beach Post, 3/1/09)

 

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LA

 

Bossier Chamber Travels To Nation’s Capital To Oppose EFCA:

 

“As the United States Chamber of Commerce begins to launch a full scale lobbying effort against the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), the Bossier Chamber of Commerce will send a delegation of 10 business owners and Chamber representatives to Capital Hill March 9-11 in an effort to educate lawmakers on the effects should the legislation pass ... Card Check ‘invites intimidation and coercion [and] leads to widespread disenfranchisement of workers’ by effectively removing the secret ballot in union elections, the letters point out. It also forces employers into ‘binding interest arbitration to set all the terms and conditions of a union contract,’ impairing American companies’ ability to compete globally. ‘EFCA is fundamentally incompatible with protecting the interests of individual liberties and the principles of a sound democracy,’ said Kara Lowrie of Acadiana Mortgage, Vice President of Governmental Affairs for the Bossier Chamber of Commerce. ‘If Congress passes this proposal, they will be stripping away federally protected private ballots from the hands of American workers.’” (Press Staff, “Bossier Chamber To ‘Airlift’ Delegation To Washington In Opposition Of Card Check,” Bossier Press-Tribune, 2/27/09)

 

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MI

 

“EFCA Fails As A Pragmatic Reform That Works For The Betterment Of The Economy”:

 

“Currently, unions wishing to represent workers have to obtain signatures from 30%of workers. Once this is achieved, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) oversees a secret-ballot vote to certify the union. The process allows the union and employer to make their case. To protect the integrity of the process, there are a host of penalties the NLRB can impose for improper behavior. The union is certified if a majority of workers vote in favor ... EFCA would automatically certify unions without a secret-ballot vote if 50%plus one sign union cards in the first step, referred to as card check. This change obviously creates a more confrontational system for certification since it eliminates the requirement for anonymous and private voting. The bill also includes a provision for mandatory first contract arbitration. This means that arbitration between a union and an employer is mandatory for the first contract once a union is certified when a voluntary agreement cannot be reached. This would represent an almost unheard-of intervention by the government in private-sector bargaining. The incentive for any newly installed union is clear: push hard for large-scale concessions by the employer. The result is equally clear: expect an increase in labor disputes. These changes would tilt the balance of power in favor of unions, and come at the expense of workers, employers, and the overall economy ... On all counts, the EFCA fails as a pragmatic reform that works for the betterment of the economy. (Jason Clemens, “Will The Employee Free Choice Act Aid Or Undo Labor’s Gains?Detroit Free Press, 2/27/09)

 

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NC

 

State Board Lines Up Against EFCA:

 

“A state board that includes some top political leaders has lined up against the federal Employee Free Choice Act ... The 29-member board, which advises the state secretary of commerce on travel and tourism issues, also sent a letter to Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan urging her to reverse her position and oppose the bill ... It says the federal legislation ‘would be detrimental to businesses large and small in the North Carolina tourism industry and its partners throughout the state.’ The federal bill would allow unions to organize by signing up a majority of a workplace’s employees as an alternative to secret ballot elections ... Business leaders say the bill would allow unions to intimidate workers and unfairly tilt the playing field in their direction.” (The Insider, “Card Check,” North Carolina State Government News Service, 2/27/09)

 

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ND

 

EFCA: “Not Good Business Nor For The Workers And Families Who Depend On Jobs Here”:

 

“[EFCA] would take away the right to a secret ballot. It would allow employers and union organizers to know exactly how each employee voted. Employees would lose their privacy. This would increase the likelihood of being pressured by either the unions, businesses and other employees. As an employee, would you want this added pressure and tension in your work environment? If you prefer not to be a union employee under EFCA, too bad. Once a slim majority of your co-workers sign union cards you lose the right to choose, and you will be required to join and pay union dues. If you don’t care for this, get set for more the bill also provides a federal bureaucrat to fly in and dictate local decisions if businesses and unions have trouble coming to agreement on contracts. So much for the pretense of ‘free choice’ ... This bill is not good business nor for the workers and families who depend on jobs here. I strongly urge the people of North Dakota to stand up and oppose this legislation.” (Donald C. Klym, “Oppose This Legislation,” Minot Daily News, 3/1/09)

 

ND Small Business Leaders Join To Fight EFCA:

 

“‘That secret ballot is the cornerstone of this country,’ said Dave MacIver, president of the North Dakota Chamber of Commerce, Bismarck. ‘If this were to pass in its present form, the union organizers can contact these people at home, on the street, in restaurants and ask them to sign the cards. In essence, they would be voting but somebody would be standing over your shoulder watching how you vote.’ Opponents of the act say eliminating secret ballots will subject employees to pressure from co-workers and bullying by union organizers to sign cards. MacIver added that under the present system, employers have an opportunity before an election to share with employees how a union would affect the company. ‘The employees can make an informed decision whether or not they want to join. This takes that away because management can’t talk to them,’ MacIver said.” (Jill Schramm, “Business Takes Labor Debate To Grassroots,” Minot Daily News, 3/2/09)

 

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NY

 

Local Business Owner Asks: Does EFCA “Encourage Businesses To Relocate To Places Outside The United States Where Union Pressure Doesn’t Exist?”:

 

“Card check will mean that all a union must do to get employees to agree to formation of a union is to get a majority of them to sign a card. No longer will there be a vote by secret ballot. Employers would not have to be informed of the union organizing efforts. All employees would be subject to the pressure of acknowledging their support or opposition to the idea of union representation. Imagine if our national elections were run without secret ballots. ‘Free choice’ or ‘forced choice?’ If a majority of employees sign the cards, then the employer would be forced to agree to a contract within 120 days or binding arbitration would be mandated and a federal arbiter would dictate the terms of the contract. Does this legislation encourage entrepreneurs to form new businesses? Does this encourage businesses to hire more employees? Or does it encourage businesses to relocate to places outside the United States where union pressure doesn’t exist?” (Brian Merriam, “Free Choice Could Hurt Smaller Firms,” Times Union, 2/28/09)

 

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TN

 

State Legislators File Legislation To Protect Worker Rights:

 

“Senator Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) joined members of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) in a press conference this week to promote legislation he has filed to protect the rights of employees to vote on whether or not they want to unionize by a secret ballot. The ‘Secret Ballot Protection Act’ is a counter measure to dangerous federal card check legislation, which would subject employees to intimidation by allowing unions to organize simply by persuading a majority of employees to sign a union representation card. This petitioning would take place outside the workplace, in front of union organizers and other employees who support the union ... The Tennessee legislation, SB 1674, defines the denial of secret-ballot elections as an unfair labor practice ... ‘The right to a secret ballot is sacred whether it is in the voting booth or in the workplace,’ [said] Johnson.” (Kara Watkins, “Secret Ballot Protection Act Would Preserve The Right To Vote By Secret Ballot,” Clarksville Online, 2/27/09)

 

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VA

 

The News & Advance: “Congress’ Chain Needs Yanking When It Comes To Card Check”:

 

“With everything Congress and President Barack Obama have on their plate in Washington, there are a lot of legislative wishlists that are getting shoved to the back burner. Thankfully, one of the Democratic Party’s most powerful constituencies — Big Labor — has seen its top legislative priority put on hold: the so-called Employee Free Choice Act, or the union card check bill. The so-called Employee Free Choice Act passed the House of Representatives in the 110th Congress but failed to get out of the Senate. So far, no legislator has introduced the bill in the 111th Congress. But that hasn’t stopped America’s labor unions from salivating at the prospect of being able to force their way into workplaces across the country and be able to unionize them with no secret-ballot election. That’s why so many business owners — both large and small, Democrats and Republicans — are vehemently opposed to the legislation. They rightly see it as an attempt by unions, which have lost members, clout and money over the decades, to get their noses into the workplace. Even a Democrat as liberal as former U.S. Sen. George McGovern has expressed his strong opposition to card check. Writing in the Wall Street Journal last summer, he quite properly blasted his party for colluding with its Big Labor backers in an attempt to deny workers the inalienable right to a vote by secret ballot. That’s why it’s all the more surprising why three local members of Congress — Democrats Jim Webb and Mark Warner in the U.S. Senate and Tom Perriello in the House — are so difficult to pin down when asked about their positions on card check. Late last week, The News & Advance asked the spokesmen for each where their bosses stood on the issue. Each responded that they support the legislation, as introduced in the 110th Congress but believe there are still changes that should be made. Each one of them, though, proclaims support for Virginia’s Right to Work law. It shouldn’t be a difficult decision to make, even for a politician coming from a party as beholden to Big Labor as the Democrats. Do you support the ability of workers to freely choose, by secret ballot, whether to affiliate with a union? It’s a no-brainer ... And it makes no sense to us why Sens. Webb and Warner and Rep. Perriello can’t just come to the conclusion that American workers today deserve the same rights Rep. Miller was so protective of in 2001 for Mexican workers. It’s not a hard choice, gentlemen: Do you support the right of an American worker to decide, in secret and in private, whether he wants to be represented by a labor union on the job? Yes or no? And no dodging the question. Unfortunately, that’s what Sens. Webb and Warner and Rep. Perriello are doing on this matter. They’re trying to have it both ways, cuddling up to Big Labor in Washington and voicing their concerns back home. That’s just not good enough. Make up your minds, folks.” (Editorial, “Congress’ Chain Needs Yanking When It Comes to Card Check,” The News & Advance, 3/1/09)

 

WV

 

Small Business Leader On Secret Ballots: “Let’s Not Throw Them Away Just So The Union Can Collect More Union Dues”:

 

“Card check would give union bosses the power to organize a workplace simply by ‘persuading’ a majority of workers to sign a card. This card-check petitioning would take place outside the workplace - in front of union organizers and other employees who support the union. The pressure would be incredible. Employees would be subject to intimidation, misinformation and other union tactics that ultimately would pressure them into signing cards. The unions might call it the Employee Free Choice Act, but in practice, it would be the Employee Forced Choice Act ... Secret ballots are a sacred part of the democratic process. They’re how we elect the president and Congress, the governor and the Legislature. Let’s not throw them away just so the union can collect more union dues.” (Valerie Nagoshiner, “‘Free Choice Act’ Erases Free Choice For Workers,” The Charleston Gazette, 3/1/09)

 

Tuesday
Mar032009

DHHS Announces Photography Contest

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services (BEAS) and the State Committee on Aging (SCOA) announce the “Aging in Focus” photography contest. This is the third year the two organizations have worked on this project aimed at enhancing the image of people age 60 or older by showing the many different faces of aging and highlighting the diverse interests and accomplishments of older adults.

 

“Our senior citizens are valuable members of our communities,” said DHHS Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas, “this contest is an opportunity to bring focus to all that they do for their families, their friends and the communities where they live.”

 

Anyone can enter the “Aging in Focus” contest. There are two categories: an adult category for photos submitted by people 18 and older, and a youth category for photos submitted by people under 18. The photo must include one person or a group of people age 60 or older. Examples of possible photo content include an elder or elders engaging in their work or in a hobby/activity, intergenerational scenes, or photos that depict emotional expression or humorous situations.

 

All entries must be received by Friday April 3, 2009, and will be judged by an independent review panel. Winners will be announced at the Ninth Annual New Hampshire Conference on Aging, Thursday, May 28, 2009 at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester.

 

One photo per contest entrant may be submitted. The photo must not have been previously published elsewhere. Either the photographer or the subject of the photo must be a resident of New Hampshire. Once submitted, entries will not be returned.

 

To find out how and where to submit entries visit DHHS’s website: www.dhhs.state.nh.us/DHHS/BEAS. You can also call BEAS at 1-800-351-1888, Ext. 4683 for more information.