Press Releases

 

Wednesday
Aug052009

Ray Burton's birthday 

Ray Burton's birthday is August 13th. He is the longest sitting Executive Councilor for the state of NH and on August 10th we will be recognizing him for his accomplishments.

 

There will be a 6 PM dinner following the golf tournament at the Owl’s Nest Resort and Golf Club, Campton, in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

 

Your presence is requested to attend, dinner is $35 p/p. Please contact either, Jerry Thibodeau, jerry@thibco.com , 603-867-6191 or Dick Wentzell, dickwentzell@yahoo.com , 603-252-4040.

 

Additional information is available at http://www.nhexecutivecouncil.com/ , scroll down to the Owl’s Nest Resort and Golf Club. Above their link is a button for complete details.

 

If you would like to send a card please mail to: Ray Burton

c/o Dick Wentzell

PO Box 323

Newport, NH 03773

 

 

Wednesday
Aug052009

RollCall - N.H. Recruit Ayotte’s Campaigning, Fund raising Skills Mostly a Mystery 

http://www.rollcall.com/issues/55_18/politics/37506-1.html

 

A Lot Yet to Be Revealed About Ayotte


Aug. 4, 2009
By Shira Toeplitz
Roll Call Staff

 

While national Republicans are quickly falling in line behind former New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte, several local party activists said they are still unsure what kind of candidate she will be in the Granite State’s 2010 Senate race.

 

Although most Republicans only had kind words to say about the telegenic Ayotte, even her supporters had a hard time describing her political leanings. Meanwhile, several other Republicans are considering running for the Senate and could force a divisive primary that wouldn’t be decided until just a few months before the winner will face the likely Democratic nominee, Rep. Paul Hodes.

 

Ayotte supporter and former state Sen. Bob Clegg (R) worked regularly with her when they were in office, but he was at a loss when asked to pinpoint where he thought she would fall on the political spectrum.

 

“Would I call her a Republican or Democrat? I wouldn’t call her either,” Clegg said. “I think she’s one of the most thoughtful people on the political spectrum.”

 

But, Clegg added, people will find out quickly how she feels because of her straightforward personality and tendency to answer questions in a direct manner.

 

Ayotte was appointed attorney general by former Gov. Craig Benson (R) and was re-appointed to her nonpartisan office by Gov. John Lynch (D). But because she has never run for political office before, her natural campaign skills are an unknown commodity even within Republican circles.

 

One GOP operative familiar with Ayotte recently saw her speak at a Republican women’s luncheon and commented that she did “all right.”

 

“She certainly didn’t turn people off and make them run away,” said the operative. “I think a lot of people looked at it and said, ‘OK, it’s a good starting point. Let’s see what comes next.’”

 

The operative pointed out that Ayotte has a “personable” style that will likely be an asset in retail politicking — a requisite campaign activity for candidates in New Hampshire.

 

“I think that would be the best venue for her at this point,” said the operative.

 

Another neutral Republican operative in New Hampshire — who also declined to speak on the record — said that many people think Ayotte is not a good public speaker, plus her fundraising prowess is uncertain.

 

“Her fundraising capacity is a complete unknown because she hasn’t been working for any charities,” said the operative. “I don’t know if she’s ever gotten on the phone and asked for money from anyone before.”

 

Ayotte’s fundraising will no doubt be aided by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which has already planned a September fundraiser for her headlined by Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.). Ayotte also appears to have the backing of retiring Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) and his organization.

 

Above all, most New Hampshire activists know Ayotte as a friend of the state’s law enforcement community. During her tenure as attorney general, Ayotte oversaw the successful prosecution of a capital murder case that included the death of a Manchester police officer.

 

But several interviews with local law enforcement officials who know Ayotte delivered little insight into her political positions, although the officials only had positive things to say about her.

 

Bedford Chief of Police David Bailey said he considers Ayotte to be “one of our best friends in law enforcement.” He said that while her personal politics did not come up in their dealings, he gathered that she was a moderate Republican “just from things she said.”

 

“She’s a Republican,” Bailey said. “I would say, I wouldn’t consider her ultra-right. I would consider her somewhere in the middle.”

 

David Dubois, the president of the state Association of Chiefs of Police, said that other than being a Republican, he only knows Ayotte as a strong advocate of the death penalty and opponent of expanding gambling.

 

Joel Maiola, a former chief of staff to Gregg and an Ayotte supporter, said volunteer firefighters, police officers and emergency medical teams would be at “the top of the list” as Ayotte looks to build a grass-roots organization in the state. After all, Maiola said, no one is more popular in small towns across New Hampshire than these forces.

 

“Along with your traditional Republican support, she has the ability to mobilize the police, fire and EMT volunteers across the state, which makes for a very wide and deep political organization — one like you’ve never seen before,” he said.

 

Ayotte campaign manager Brooks Kochvar said Ayotte was not yet giving interviews but that she would be traveling the state to meet with voters soon.

 

“We’re proceeding with the exploratory committee, beginning to raise money and garner and gauge support around the state,” Kochvar said.

 

In the meantime, several other candidates continue to look at the race — including one former statewide GOP nominee.

 

New Hampshire’s Republican Party chairman, former Gov. John Sununu, said he has talked to at least three other candidates who have expressed interest in the race.

 

“I think there is a possibility of a primary and we’ve been encouraging all the potential candidates to make sure it’s a positive primary, talking positive about themselves,” Sununu said.

 

Sununu allowed that that he only knows Ayotte in her capacity as attorney general, a position she held until stepping down recently, and not as a candidate for other office. Sununu said he knows former gubernatorial nominee Ovide Lamontagne, one of the other potential candidates eyeing the race, better because he provides legal advice to the GOP state committee.

 

“I’ve talked to Ovide many times in the last few months,” Sununu said.

Lamontagne defeated a sitting Member of Congress in 1996 to win the GOP gubernatorial nomination, but ultimately lost to now-Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D). In the primary, Lamontagne ran to the right of then-Rep. Bill Zeliff (R) on issues such as abortion.

 

“He is the typical movement social conservative,” said a New Hampshire GOP operative. “He does have a record.”

 

Lamontagne’s senior adviser, Jim Merrill, said he will decide what he wants to do about the race by the end of the year — about nine months before the GOP primary in 2010.

 

“We know where Ovide is on the issues,” Merrill said. “We’ll find out in a few weeks when Kelly begins campaigning around the state.”

 

And in addition to Lamontagne, there are other candidates looking at running.

 

Republican National Committeeman Sean Mahoney was coy when asked about his interest in the Senate race. Mahoney, who lost the GOP primary in the 1st district in 2002, has been encouraged to run and has told local activists that he’s considering it.

 

“Right now, I’m focused on rebuilding the party and making sure we retain the Republican Senate seat and restore both the Congressional seats,” Mahoney said.

 

Local Republicans also continue to float former Rep. Charlie Bass’ (R) name as a possible candidate. Bass, who did not return a call for comment, has not contacted the NRSC about a bid, and other local Republicans insist if he runs for anything it will be for his former House seat, which Hodes is vacating.

 

Tuesday
Aug042009

NH Sen Bradley - Concord's Unconstitutional Budget Provision 

New Hampshire residents weary of dreary summer rain received a frightening jolt of lightening when a Judge blocked Governor John Lynch’s attempt to transfer $110 million dollars of private funds to State coffers. Belknap County Superior Court Justice Kathleen McGuire ruled that an extremely controversial provision in the recently enacted New Hampshire Budget, which transferred $110 million from a fund controlled by the Joint Underwriting Association (JUA) to the State’s General Fund to balance the budget, is unconstitutional. Justice McGuire’s well researched, clearly written and completely unambiguous ruling, held that Governor Lynch and members of the Legislature who supported this proposed $110 million transfer, are in violation of both the ‘takings’ and ‘contracts’ clauses of the New Hampshire Constitution and the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. Governor Lynch has already indicated the State will appeal the decision but it is hard to imagine, given McGuire’s opinion, that the Supreme Court will overrule her.

 

The JUA was formed in 1975 to provide medical liability insurance to physicians and currently provides over 20% of the medical liability coverage in New Hampshire. The Judge ruled the JUA is independent from the State. More importantly, physicians, not the State, contribute to its funding and when the JUA faced a deficit in 1985 a surcharge on doctor’s policies was assessed to cover the gap--not State funding. Twice in the past, the JUA distributed surplus funds to policy holders--not the State. Given these facts, it’s political hubris and arrogance seldom seen in our State, for the Democratic supporters of this budget to simply expropriate $110 million. These unseemly political shenanigans, now defy both our state and federal constitutions .

 

The sanctity of contracts is one of the underpinnings of our society, as is the prohibition of the government taking a person’s property without just compensation. Good for Justice McGuire for upholding constitutional principles and shame on politicians who believe the State can simply break contracts and take property it doesn’t own, to enable the gravy train of a 10.5% state spending increase.

 

What does this $110 million hole mean for the New Hampshire Budget? First, the budget hole is not just $110 million. Recently Superior Court Justice Diane Nicolosi ruled in favor of the New Hampshire Health Care Association and blocked the State from garnering $9 million that nursing homes claim they are entitled to. Furthermore, the New Hampshire Municipal Association is set to file suit against the State for changes to pension contributions made in the recent budget. The State has historically contributed 35% of the cost of pensions for police, firefighters, teachers, and other employees. Under the recent budget the State’s contribution will drop to 25%, costing property taxpayers an estimated $27 million. Thus far, 143 towns and 53 school districts have agreed to join the Municipal Association lawsuit displaying the depth of anger at the Democratic leadership’s hike of property taxes.

 

In total, the State could be looking at a nearly $150 million litigation shortfall. As if misery did not already have enough company, when the budget was passed in June, its authors inflated revenue projections by $75 million to give the appearance it was in balance, at least on paper. The question now is if this budget, passed only a month ago, is even worth the paper it is written upon?

 

New Hampshire residents may quickly lose sight of the interminable Washington debate on new bureaucracies, taxes, and regulations involving global warming and government run health care and soon be consumed with t he budget wildfire in Concord that not even all this rain will stamp out.

 

So where does the State go from here? The option I support would be to cut spending to balance the budget with available revenue. Spending reductions of about 3.5% would be necessary to make up the $110 million gap. During budget debates, Republicans in the House and Senate proposed larger spending reductions and unfortunately each and every one were rejected on largely party line votes. If Democrats won't cut spending, then what other options will they pursue?

 

Are new taxes on the horizon? Unfortunately, that is more likely. The budget Governor Lynch signed increased tobacco taxes, taxes on rooms and meals, and numerous fees all while adding new taxes on gambling winnings, camping and owners of limited liability companies --- the latter two new taxes without even the courtesy of a public hearing. The House earlier voted to increase gas taxes and implement new taxes on capital gains and estates. The Senate earlier voted to increases taxes on New Hampshire businesses small and large. At a time that the New Hampshire unemployment rate stands at 6.8% and families are struggling to pay their bills, there is no shortage of Democrats in the Legislature ready, willing, and almost gleefully able to raise taxes.

 

What about gambling? There is little question the prospects for gaming just improved. The Senate already voted for gambling (though I voted in opposition). Would the House reconsider? Even if the House does reconsider, and gambling fills this $110 million crisis of today, larger budget problems loom in the near future.

 

The budget that just passed included $500 million of one-time funding sources—much of it federal stimulus money. Given that the federal budget deficit this year will approach an unheard of $2 trillion and federal budget deficits are estimated to top $1 trillion per year for the next 10 years (before health care reform), no state should expect more federal largess any time soon.

 

So, today’s crisis involving an unconstitutional attempt to simply grab $110 million will quickly become an even larger problem that gambling revenue will not fill. Bottom Line: our State is hurtling headlong towards an income or sales tax, possibly both, unless we meet the challenge of reducing state spending.

 

Tuesday
Aug042009

NH GOP - DEMOCRATS IN DENIAL OVER JUA BUDGET CRISIS 

Concord In Chaos As Lynch And Democrat Leadership Refuse To Address – Or Even Acknowledge – Budget Crisis

 

CONCORD – Six days after a Superior Court ruling blocked the attempted theft of $110 million from the New Hampshire Medical Malpractice Joint Underwriting Association (JUA), Governor John Lynch, Senate President Sylvia Larsen (D-Concord), and House Speaker Terie Norelli (D-Portsmouth) are refusing to address, or even acknowledge, the state’s critical budget crisis. According to published reports, Lynch and the Democrats are rejecting calls to develop a “Plan B,” and are pinning their hopes on the unlikely scenario that the state will somehow be allowed to steal the private funds to balance the state budget.

 

“No one is talking about how to fix a problem, because none of them acknowledge one exists,” reports the Union Leader (8/2).

 

“John Lynch and the Democrat Majorities are failing the people of New Hampshire by refusing to acknowledge – much less address – the serious budget crisis facing the state,” said NHGOP Communications Director Ryan Williams. “It’s time for the Democrats in power to swallow their pride, admit that they made a serious error in proposing this irresponsible and unconstitutional revenue scheme, and work with Republicans to fix this problem immediately.”

 

Republican leaders in the House and Senate repeatedly warned Governor Lynch that his attempt to steal private money to balance the state budget was unconstitutional and would likely be overturned by the courts. After the Superior Court initially froze the JUA money on June 29, 2009, Republican senate minority leader Peter Bragdon immediately called on the Governor to veto the budget and work on a new plan that excluded the disputed funds. Lynch ignored Bragdon’s warning and signed the Democrats’ irresponsible budget on June 30 – knowing full well that it would be out of balance on day one. Senate President Larsen has also brushed off calls for a special session to address the crisis, saying that she sees “no immediate need,” for it (Larsen Statement, 7/31).

 

Lynch has “deflected repeated questions from reporters about contingency plans,” (AP, 6/30) in the event that the court would halt his irresponsible revenue scheme. Despite obvious indications that the state wouldn’t be able to claim the surplus funds, Lynch has “repeatedly declined to detail alternatives and instead emphasized his belief in the rightfulness of the state's claim to the money.” (Concord Monitor, 7/30) Since the decision was announced, Lynch has continued to dodge questions about how he plans to address the staggering deficit and has merely stated that he hopes the State Supreme Court would overturn the Superior Court’s decision.

 

“John Lynch needs to realize that while ‘hope’ may be a successful Democrat campaign slogan, it’s not an effective or responsible governing strategy,” said Williams. “The State of New Hampshire cannot afford for this Governor to sit on his hands and avoid developing a contingency plan while the court reviews his risky revenue gambit. That’s the same failed approach that got us into this budget mess in the first place.”

 

Tuesday
Aug042009

NRSC - Will Hodes Reject Middle Class Tax Hike? 

He Botched The ‘Stimulus,’ Will He Reject Another Massive Spending Bill?

 

WASHINGTON – After promising that he would not raise taxes on 95 percent of Americans as a candidate, President Barack Obama’s administration refused to rule out the possibility of a middle class tax hike yesterday in order to pay for the Democrats’ massive government-run health care overhaul proposals.

 

According to the Associated Press, “Two of President Barack Obama’s economic heavyweights said middle-class taxes might have to go up to pare budget deficits or to pay for the proposed overhaul of the nation's health care system... Geithner said the White House was not ready to rule out a tax hike to reduce the federal deficit; Summers said Obama's proposed health care overhaul needs funding from somewhere.”

 

As the New York Daily News reported, “President Obama pledged often on the campaign trail that taxes would stay the same or go down for 95% of Americans. Asked on Sunday if even the middle class could face hikes, neither Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner nor Lawrence Summers, head of the President’s National Economic Council, would say for sure they’d stick to the pledge.”

 

“If Paul Hodes wants a promotion to the U.S. Senate, he needs to explain: will he unequivocally vote against any legislation that raises taxes on the middle class and breaks the President’s campaign pledge that he would not increase taxes for 95 percent of Americans? Or will he once again toe the line for Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, even if it means increasing taxes for New Hampshire families who are struggling to make ends meet?” asked National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) spokeswoman Amber Wilkerson.

 

In February, Hodes joined Democrat leaders and voted for the massive $787 billion “stimulus” bill, promising that the bill would “reduce soaring unemployment.” Unemployment in New Hampshire was 5.7 percent in February 2009 when Hodes cast his vote, but it reached 6.8 percent four months later in June 2009, leaving over 48,000 Granite State workers still unemployed.

 

According to the Union Leader, $3 million in stimulus funds being given to the University of New Hampshire will not be used to rehire employees terminated in June. In Manchester, the Union Leader reported that $22,157 of stimulus funds were to purchase a new SUV to replace a functional car. And ABC News reported that road signs touting “stimulus” projects in the state cost $500 each.

 

Background Information:

 

Congressman Paul Hodes (D-NH) And The Obama Administration Touted The So-Called “Stimulus” Bill As A Means Of Job Creation:

 

Hodes Said The “Stimulus” Would “Reduce Soaring Unemployment.” (Travis Andersen, “Hodes Says Stimulus Will Help,” The Nashua [NH] Telegraph, 1/27/09)

 

The Obama Administration Claimed The “Stimulus” Bill Would “Jumpstart Growth And Transform Our Economy.” (“American Recovery And Reinvestment Act: State-By-State Jobs Impact,” The White House, 2/13/09)

 

Tens Of Thousands Of New Hampshire Workers Are On Unemployment Months After Hodes Praised And Voted For The “Stimulus” Bill:

 

Unemployment In New Hampshire Was 5.7% When Hodes Voted For The So-Called “Stimulus” Bill In February. (United States Department Of Labor Bureau Of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov, Accessed 7/9/09; H.R. 1, CQ Vote # 70: Adopted 246-183: R 0-176; D 246-7, 2/13/09, Hodes Voted Yea)

 

By May, New Hampshire’s Unemployment Rate Had Jumped To 6.5% And Over 48,000 Granite State Workers Were Unemployed. (United States Department Of Labor Bureau Of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov, Accessed 7/11/09)

 

Today, Reports Show New Hampshire’s Unemployment Reached 6.8% In June, Months After Hodes Voted For The “Stimulus” Bill He Claimed Would Reduce Unemployment. (United States Department Of Labor Bureau Of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov, Accessed 7/17/09; H.R. 1, CQ Vote # 70: Adopted 246-183: R 0-176; D 246-7, 2/13/09, Hodes Voted Yea; Andersen, “Hodes Says Stimulus Will Help,” The Nashua [NH] Telegraph, 1/27/09)

 

At 9.5%, National Unemployment Is The Highest It’s Been In 26 Years, With 14.7 Million People Unemployed In June. (Jeannine Aversa, “467K Jobs Cut In June; Jobless Rate At 9.5 Percent,” The Associated Press, 7/2/09)

 

Time: “The $787 Billion Stimulus Plan Is Turning Out To Be Far Less Stimulating Than Its Architects Expected. Back in early January, when Obama was still President-elect, two of his chief economic advisers, and leading proponents of a stimulus bill, predicted that the passage of a large economic-aid package would boost the economy and keep the unemployment rate below 8%. It hasn’t quite worked out that way. Last month, the jobless rate in America hit 9.5%, the highest level it has reached since 1983.” (Stephen Gandel, “Obama’s Stimulus Plan: Failing By Its Own Measure,” Time, 7/14/09)

 

“The Administration Once Vowed To Use Stimulus Policies To Keep The Jobless Rate Below 8 Percent; It Is Now Just Shy Of 10 Percent.” (Jeanne Cummings, “Obama’s Rosy Scenario Turns Thorny,” Politico, 7/14/09)

 

$3 Million In Stimulus Funds Being Given To The University Of New Hampshire Will Not Be Used To Rehire Employees Terminated In June. “Hopes that federal stimulus money would help restore cuts at the University of New Hampshire appear to be dashed after officials announced this week they will get $3 million, but none of the money will be used to rehire employees terminated in June.” (Clynton Namuo, “Federal Stimulus Money Will Not Restore Jobs At UNH,” The [Manchester, NH] Union Leader, 7/10/09)

 

Despite Four Years Of Dropping Home Prices In New Hampshire, $8.3 Million In Stimulus Funds Is Being Used To Build Lower-Priced Housing. “Home prices in New Hampshire have dropped for four years straight, according to the New Hampshire Association of Realtors. And the drop has been big. The median home price in the first five months of 2008 was $237,000. The median price in the first five months of this year: $200,000. That’s a 16 percent reduction. Housing has suddenly become vastly more affordable in New Hampshire. Now, enter the federal government. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen announced last week that through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the stimulus bill), New Hampshire has received $8.3 million ‘to jumpstart affordable housing projects across the state and create jobs.’ Genius. In the midst of a years-long decline in home prices, Washington gives us $8 million to reduce home prices. Even better, people struggling to sell their homes will now have to compete with federally subsidized housing projects. There is little demand for housing construction, and thus construction jobs. So Washington’s answer is to invent demand where there is none. Who cares if the new ‘affordable’ homes stay empty? The point is to ‘create jobs.’ That’s exactly the sort of make-work project we were assured the stimulus bill would not fund.” (Editorial, “Housing Stimulus,” The [Manchester, NH] Union Leader, 7/5/09)

 

Manchester Used Stimulus Funds To Purchase A New SUV To Replace A Functional Car. “The field supervisor at the Manchester Transit Authority will be driving a new SUV while on the job, thanks to the national economic stimulus program. The MTA is spending $22,157 of the $408,000 it will receive in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to purchase a six-cylinder, 2009 Ford Explorer, the MTA said last week. The city bus company needs the SUV to transport passengers in case a bus breaks down and to shuttle drivers occasionally during shift changes, said Carey Roessel, MTA executive director. . . . He said the SUV replaces a 1998 Crown Victoria that has 68,275 on the odometer. While the mileage is low, the car has had a lot of use,” Roessel said. (Mark Hayward, “City Transit Agency To Buy SUV With Stimulus Money,” The [Manchester, NH] Union Leader, 5/23/09)

 

Road Signs Noting “Stimulus” Projects Cost $500 Apiece In New Hampshire. “Signs with the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act logo are plastered at stimulus-funded construction project sites around America. The costs of these signs -- some of them reaching into the thousands of dollars -- are drawing sharp criticism from one member of Congress...The signs cost $500 apiece in Maryland and New Hampshire, $1,700 in Georgia, $2,000 in Pennsylvania and New York, and $3,000 per project in New Jersey. For the price of one $2,000 sign, 40 potholes could be repaired. The costs of the signs are adding up for some states.” (Jonathan Karl, “Expensive Stimulus Road Signs Raise Eyebrows,” ABC News, 7/10/09)