Press Releases

 

Thursday
Oct012009

Shea-Porter Continues to Stand Up to Reckless Defense Contractors  

Today, Congresswoman Shea-Porter questioned General Odierno about the death of Adam Hermanson in Iraq during an Armed Services Committee hearing. 

http://www.youtube.com/user/RepCarolSheaPorter

Below, is a copy of the letter the Congresswoman sent to Secretary Gates.

Shea-Porter Continues to Stand Up to Reckless Defense Contractors 
Urges Secretary of Defense to conduct investigation into electrocution death

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, along with Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates urging the Secretary to conduct a full investigation into the death of Adam Hermanson in Iraq.  It has been reported that Mr. Hermanson, a contractor worker who had also previously served six years in the United States Air Force, was electrocuted in the shower.

“The brave men and women who serve our country in either a military or civilian capacity know that there are risks, but no one should ever have to worry about being injured or killed because of substandard contract work,” said Congresswoman Shea-Porter.  “I urge the Secretary to conduct a full investigation so we can help prevent similar tragedies.”

Protecting our troops from negligent defense contractors has been a top priority for Congresswoman Shea-Porter. In June, the Congresswoman was able to secure critical language in the FY2010 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to make defense contractors more accountable for deficient work.  Her provision requires the Secretary of Defense to prohibit incentive payments to defense contractors who are found guilty in a criminal, civil, or administrative proceeding of causing serious injury or the death of government personnel by gross negligence.  The Secretary of Defense is also authorized to debar such contractors from receiving defense contracts.  The FY2010 NDAA passed the House on June 25, 2009, and is expected to be signed into law this fall.

Earlier this year, Shea-Porter introduced the Safety in Defense Contracting Act. This legislation would prevent defense contractors from receiving additional government contracts for five years if they are found guilty of causing serious injury or the death of government personnel by gross negligence. Congresswoman Shea-Porter felt compelled to act after learning of the electrocution death of Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth last year.  Sgt. Maseth was electrocuted in the shower on January 2, 2008 in Iraq. 

A full copy of the Congresswoman’s letter is below:

Honorable Robert M. Gates

Secretary of Defense

U.S. Department of Defense

1000 Defense Pentagon

Washington, DC 20301

Dear Secretary Gates:

We are writing to request a full investigation into the death of Adam Hermanson in Iraq on September 1, 2009. We are extremely concerned about the circumstances surrounding Mr. Hermanson's death, as well as the Department of Defense's (DoD's) inadequate response to this tragedy.

Adam Hermanson served six years in the United States Air Force, completing three tours of duty in Iraq and one in Uzbekistan, before he signed a contract with Triple Canopy in May 2009. According to his family, he was working on a DoD contract supporting U.S. military forces. He returned to Iraq in June, and he served there until his death on September 1st. His body was reportedly discovered on the floor of a shower near his quarters in Camp Olympia, inside Baghdad's Green Zone.

In the wake of his death, Mr. Hermanson's family received misleading information from Triple Canopy. His mother reports that she was initially told that her son died in his bed. However, Mr. Hermanson's wife was told that her husband was found dead in the shower. In addition, the family was repeatedly told that Mr. Hermanson was found with no scratches or marks on his body, though the family later found, and documented through photographs, marks that appear to be burns and wounds. Subsequently, a military medical examiner was reported to have found that Mr. Hermanson had been electrocuted. The family has also stated that a Triple Canopy representative informed them that the company dismantled the electrical wiring in Mr. Hermanson's quarters after his death, hampering any subsequent investigation.

Pentagon spokesman Major Shawn Turner is cited in the media as stating that there is "no indication that U.S. forces will be launching a formal investigation." Although the DoD acknowledged on September 10th that Mr. Hermanson was in fact working on a Pentagon contract, Major Turner went on to state that the death took place at a facility that "does not fall under DoD responsibility." It is disturbing that the Department of Defense apparently wishes to distance itself, now that a fatality has occurred.

We are appalled by the Pentagon's failure to pursue answers to the questions surrounding this tragedy. Since Mr. Hermanson was in Iraq working on a DoD contract, we believe that the Pentagon has a responsibility to fully investigate the circumstances surrounding his death. If it is found that he was killed because of any misconduct, negligence, or other abuse, then we believe you must punish the individuals and companies responsible.

Mr. Hermanson is not the first American to die by electrocution in Iraq. Congress began investigating the circumstances surrounding these previous deaths in 2008, focusing on KBR, the company responsible for maintaining much of the electrical wiring in U.S.-run compounds and other facilities. The congressional investigation found that eighteen individuals (sixteen United States military service members and two contractors) had been electrocuted in Iraq, and, according to the recent report by the DoD Inspector General (Review of Electrocution Deaths in Iraq, July 24, 2009), ten of those deaths were due to improper electrical grounding or faulty electrical equipment. In the Radwaniyah Palace Complex alone, 30 documented incidents of electric shock occurred in the period through March 5, 2008.

Whether or not KBR had any involvement with the wiring at Camp Olympia, we are extremely concerned by the reaction of both Triple Canopy and, the DoD, and we strongly believe that the family of this Air Force veteran deserves real answers about Mr. Hermanson's death. They have, to date, received incomplete and contradictory statements from Triple Canopy. A full Pentagon investigation would not only give them the truth about how Adam Hermanson died, but it could .also help to prevent further deaths by electrocution among U.S. military and contractor personnel.

We are aware that the Commander, Multi National Corps -Iraq ordered an Iraq-wide electrical safety review in 2008 by establishing the Task Force for Safety Actions for Fire and Electricity (TF SAFE). In the House Armed Services Committee hearing on April 2, 2009, one of us asked General Petraeus if he was addressing the issue of electrocutions of our soldiers, because; when we send our troops to battle, they should not die in a swimming pool or shower. He replied that TF SAFE was inspecting tens of thousands of structures, but that tens of thousands still remained. In fact, according to the DoD Inspector General's review cited above, by March 19, 2009, TF SAFE found that 53,000 structures needed additional repairs or upgrades, and 14,000 needed re-inspection. Since the review stated that the inspections were scheduled to be completed by September 2009, we ask whether SAFE ever inspected the Green Zone facility where Mr. Hermanson's electrocution occurred, and if so, we ask for the results of that inspection, with details about when it was done and by whom, and the state of the electrical work there.

Again, we urge a full investigation into the apparent electrocution of Adam Hermanson. We are extremely concerned that the Department of Defense has stated that it does not believe such an investigation is the Pentagon's responsibility; We urge you to examine the circumstances surrounding his death, as well as allegations that the company misled the family about the causes of Mr. Hermanson's death and the condition of his body. Finally, while war zones are inherently dangerous places, the DoD must take critical steps to ensure that U.S. troops and the contractors employed by the Pentagon do not risk electrocution within their own quarters.

We look forward to your timely.

 

Thursday
Oct012009

Shea-Porter Announces More Than $480,000 in Funding to Fight Internet Crimes Against Children 

WASHINGTON, DC — Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter today announced that the University of New Hampshire will receive $487,350 to research internet safety materials used by Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Forces.  Research includes: rating and comparing four prominent youth Internet safety curricula; conducting a process evaluation of Internet safety education by ICAC Task Forces; and providing recommendations to ICAC Task Forces to enhance prevention efforts.  This grant is provided by the United States Department of Justice and is made possible by the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. 

Thursday
Oct012009

SEIA STATEMENT ON SENATE ENVIRONMENT & PUBLIC WORKS COMMITTEE DRAFT CLIMATE LEGISLATION 

Bill presents a good start for accelerating solar energy so that U.S. can do more sooner to cut pollution and address climate challenges.

WASHINGTON, DC – Solar Energy Industries Association President and CEO Rhone Resch today released the following statement on the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee’s draft language for a cap-and-trade program.

“We commend Chairwoman Boxer and other members of the committee for their leadership in putting forth a strong climate bill that will move America’s clean energy economy forward. This legislation includes provisions that will help accelerate development of solar energy and create jobs while reducing pollution that causes climate change.

“For the long-term success of climate and energy policy in this country, there must be a price on carbon. And we must recognize that for the next 10 to 15 years our only options for carbon-free energy are off-the-shelf renewables such as solar. In the coming weeks, we look forward to working with the EPW committee and other Senate committees to help complete this bill and craft a comprehensive climate policy for our nation that builds our economy by growing our renewables industries.”

Areas that need attention as the draft is completed:

      10 percent of the allowances must go to the states for renewable energy and energy efficiency (as in the House version) and there needs to be deployment funds for both distributed generation and for utility-scale renewables projects;

       The cap-and-trade system must be constructed to recognize and protect the contribution of clean energy from the voluntary renewables market; and

       Support states that are heavily dependent on agriculture in order to assist in the adoption and implementation of renewable energy technology.

 

Thursday
Oct012009

DSCC - John H Sununu: NH "Doesn't Look Kindly At External Meddling" 

Ayotte is perceived in some circles as the early favorite considering the support she's received from prominent Republicans in Washington, where she's attended fundraisers. But Sununu reiterated he put the word out "that New Hampshire doesn't look kindly at external meddling."

 

Sununu: The GOP will benefit from angry voters

Fosters Daily Democrat

http://www.fosters.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090930/GJNEWS_01/709309928/-1/FOSNEWS


EDITOR'S NOTE: This story is the result of an interview at Foster's Daily Democrat Tuesday afternoon. The newspaper occasionally conducts such interviews with major political figures in the state.

DOVER — New Hampshire GOP Chairman John H. Sununu feels Republicans are angry, peeved that Democrats have gotten away with poor budgeting while special-interest money has lured lawmakers to move the state away from its core values. And that's fine by him — the anger part, that is.

"There is an energy and a little bit of an anger and an interest among the party and people who have never even been part of the party because they see what is happening in Concord," he said.

He's not concerned the anger will derail party efforts to showcase its differences from Democrats in the 2010 election. "You know, I think one of the last things Louis XIV kept telling his people was that the anger of the people will turn the people toward us," he said.

The former governor sat down with Foster's Daily Democrat editors Tuesday, confident Republicans have learned from past mistakes and will be in a strong position to reclaim power.

Sununu wouldn't go so far as to anoint any of the candidates actively exploring a run — or those said to be mulling one — as the party savior, and he defended those who have run for office before against impressions they'll have trouble gaining traction.
Audio Excerpts

"They're not reruns. I won't accept that premise," he told editors. Ultimately "it's the primary that's got to decide — not me."

Declared and prospective candidates for U.S. House and Senate have been making the rounds, and "three or four really good candidates" are considering running for governor.

Among them are Bruce Keogh, who ran for the office in 2002, former N.H. Health Commissioner John Stephen, Ed Dupont, chairman of the University System of New Hampshire board of trustees, and Portsmouth businessman and former congressional candidate Sean Mahoney, who's announced he's exploring a Senate run.

Sununu said he didn't mention Dover's Jack Kimball because the businessman has announced he is running.

If he and others all run for Senate, Mahoney would square off against Manchester attorney Ovide Lamontagne, the party's 2002 gubernatorial candidate, Rye businessman Bill Binnie, Hollis businessman Jim Bender and former Attorney General Kelly Ayotte, who's set up an exploratory campaign but, Sununu said, will definitely launch a full-scale bid.

"I'm positive," he said. "I've talked to her and frankly the nice thing about that field is they like each other, and so they've talked to each other and there's a good commitment ... that it's going to be a positive primary, that they're going to run against the Democrats."

In other words, it won't be a repeat of the bitter 2008 feud between Stephen and state Sen. Jeb Bradley, the former congressman who squared off against the ex-commissioner a second time in hopes of reclaiming his House seat.

"Infighting in a party is a luxury that belongs only to the supermajority," Sununu said, "and as soon as we become the supermajority I promise we'll have a violent food fight. But until then we're running as a unified party and so far people are buying into it and committing to it."

Ayotte is perceived in some circles as the early favorite considering the support she's received from prominent Republicans in Washington, where she's attended fundraisers. But Sununu reiterated he put the word out "that New Hampshire doesn't look kindly at external meddling."

Sununu said the party can reverse recent Democrat-favoring election cycles "with a smart, well organized" party "with good candidates and enthusiasm among its supporters" — even if, as he conceded, "we can't match" the opposition's fundraising prowess.

"We cannot surpass it, because they have made a commitment at the national level, by the (Democratic National Committee), and by the congressional and Senate committees on the Democratic side, to pump money in here and we've just been unable to get a matched enthusiasm for that from our national committees," he said.

As a result, thousands of dollars have been pumped into state House seats that traditionally require a few hundred dollars for campaigns while some Senate campaigns have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, he said.

"We were targeted in the last at least two elections by radical left money with radical left agenda," Sununu said. "It was not an accident that Republicans lost heavily in those two cycles."

But, he said, times are again changing: Republicans no longer have to worry about the "Texas style" of a president of their own party hurting their prospects at home; and, even though it may not happen by the next election, Democratic-leaning uninsured young people who haven't had to worry about fiscal matters will "wake up one day" and realize health care reform means they'll have to pay $3,800 into the system, which will only worsen the deficit and leave them having to pay up to $350,000 more in personal income taxes over their lives.

Above all, GOP candidates will hammer their opposition over reckless spending, Sununu said. Democrats "got smart" when they started pledging opposition to a sales or income tax.

"We have to make it clear that there's more to the pledge than just no sales tax or an income tax," he said. "There's implicit in it that you don't look for every tax under the table. Instead ... you have some discipline on the spending side. There's no budget that can't be held flat — there's no budget that can't be cut."

Thursday
Oct012009

Daily News from the Veterans Today Network 

Editorial

AMERICAN PUBLIC OPINION
A Nation of Rubes

by Gordon Duff, Staff Writer

Who leads America?  Not hard to figure that one out, not hard for guys at least, girls too, I guess.  Our leaders are the kids who we never would have played with, the "mama's boys" or, more likely, the "snitches" who ratted out the other kids to the assistant principal. 

If you aren't rich, like a Bush or Kennedy, you have to kiss alot of behind, year after year, sucking up to moronic bigots, fools and half educated goons who control most of the power and wealth in America.

Read More >>>

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