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Entries in Speaker O'Brien (140)


NHDP - New Ranking Shows Drop in New Hampshire's Child Well-Being

New Data from 2012 Shows New Hampshire Fell in Rankings As O'Brien Implemented His Anti-Middle Class Agenda
Manchester, NH – New rankings released in the annual Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count Data Book, which is based on data from 2012, show that New Hampshire dropped from first to fourth place in child well-being amid Bill O'Brien's disastrous speakership that jeopardized New Hampshire’s job growth, and slashed funding for higher education and services for children.
While the rankings show that New Hampshire remains in the top five states for overall child well-being, a comparison of the data shows that in 2012, Granite State children were worse off on a variety of measures of economic well-being than they were in 2011.

“The data released today shows, once again, how much disgraced former Speaker Bill O’Brien hurt New Hampshire children and families with his brand of slash-and-burn-politics, and his relentless push for painful and irresponsible budget cuts,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley. “As O’Brien tries to reclaim the speakership, New Hampshire is still reeling from the damage he did to middle-class Granite Staters by repealing the state minimum wage, jeopardizing job growth, cutting millions of dollars from public education and childcare programs, and gutting at-risk youth initiatives like the Children in Need of Services program.”
“Governor Hassan has worked tirelessly since taking office to reverse failed Speaker O’Brien’s damage and put the Granite State back on the right track by working across the aisle to solve problems and get real results for New Hampshire's children and families," continued Chairman Buckley.

Since taking office, Governor Hassan has prioritized supporting critical initiatives to help New Hampshire children and families. Governor Hassan signed into law the Paycheck Fairness Act, expanded health care coverage for 50,000 New Hampshire children and families, restored the Children in Need of Services program and is working to increase the minimum wage.

Comparison of 2011 & 2012 Kids County Data Book Child Economic Well-Being: Based on data, New Hampshire dropped from 7th to 12th in child economic well-being between 2011 and 2012 [Kids Count Data Book, 2013, 2014].
Speaker O’Brien Repealed the State Minimum Wage in 2011: “Republicans overrode Democratic Gov. John Lynch's veto in June and stripped New Hampshire's minimum wage law from the books […] House Republicans also killed a Democratically sponsored bill that would have raised the wage. Democrats argued the 75 cent proposed hourly increase would put $30 more each week in the pockets of the state's 4,000 lowest-paid workers, money that would be spent boosting the economy.” [AP, January 28, 2013]
O’Brien 2011-2012 Budget Cut Child-Care Services: “The budget would cut $115 million from hospital reimbursements and would reduce funding for dozens of programs including domestic violence prevention, child-care subsidies, ServiceLink resource centers and community health centers.” [Concord Monitor, April 1, 2011]

Major Layoffs, Record Budget Cuts Due to O’Brien 2011-2012 Budget: “Hospitals lost more than $115 million and laid off more than 1,000 staffers. The state university system endured record budget cuts and saw its coffers trimmed by 45 percent. As a result, 200 employees in public higher education lost their jobs. The Department of Transportation faced a 13 percent cut and also cut its workforce. Other agencies facing cuts are New Hampshire Legal Assistance and the state’s Division of Family Assistance.” [NPR State Impact, December 30, 2011]

O’Brien 2011-2012 Budget Cut the Children in Need of Services Program: “ […] many programs were cut in the last budget cycle, including Children in Need of Services and aid to higher education.” (Manchester Union-LeaderFebruary 6, 2013) [The CHINS program helps children with drug and behavioral problems, reduces incarceration, provides job placement assistance, and overall become productive members of society]

Failed Speaker O’Brien’s 2014 Comeback: While voted out in 2012, the former Speaker is staging a comeback to reclaim the speakership and doubling-down on his ultra-conservative agenda. On last week’s WMUR CloseUP when asked about his divisive profile, O’Brien responded unapologetically, “I stood up and said the things that needed to be said.” [WMUR CloseUP, July 20, 2014]

Statement by Rep. William O’Brien on the Court’s Rejection of Illegal Obamacare Subsidies 

Mont Vernon – Rep. William O’Brien, who is running for re-election to the New Hampshire House in Mont Vernon and New Boston as well as for re-election as New Hampshire House Speaker, issued the following statement on the decision of the US Appeals Court in Washington in the case of Halbig v. Burwell.  The decision rejected the Obama Administration’s misreading of its own law, which had allowed Obamacare subsidies through federal exchanges, such as the one covering New Hampshire.

“This court decision requires all New Hampshire’s elected officials to put aside partisan rhetoric and advantage to do what is right for our state and to get affordable health care for all our neighbors. Throughout the time that Obamacare was first considered, then jammed through Congress in a party-line vote, and finally found to be so flawed it has been unilaterally changed by the President 24 times, we have sought to engage elected officials in New Hampshire from both the Democrat and Republican parties in a discussion of free market solutions to the crisis in the cost of health insurance. Now that this latest reckless overreach by the Obama Administration has been ruled illegal, we once again call on NH Democrats in the New Hampshire House to work with us to adopt legislation we have proposed. We should allow health insurance to be purchased across state lines, to eliminate costly and unnecessary policy mandates, to free providers to bid their services and consumers to know the costs of those services, and to remove artificial licensing and healthcare provider restrictions.  New Hampshire needs for politicians from both parties to put aside the rhetoric and do what is best for our constituents.”


NHDP - How Much More Damage Could Bill O’Brien Do With a Rubber Stamp in the Governor’s Office?

As Bill O'Brien Seeks To Reclaim Speakership, Walt Havenstein and Andrew Hemingway Embrace Key Tenets of O’Brien’s Ultra-Conservative Agenda

Manchester, NH – As disgraced former House Speaker Bill O’Brien returns to the spotlight and seeks to reclaim the Speakership, failed CEO Walt Havenstein and conservative activist Andrew Hemingway have both made clear that they would be a rubber stamp for O’Brien’s anti-middle class Koch Brothers agenda thatjeopardized New Hampshire's jobs, slashed funding for higher education, services for children and infrastructure, and created a budgetary mess.

In an interview this week on WMUR’s CloseUP, O’Brien doubled-down on his ultra-conservative agenda, including pushing for so-called “Right to Work” legislation and returning to the same draconian cuts to critical priorities that undermined New Hampshire's economy and took our state in the wrong direction during his disastrous speakership. Just as troubling, when asked about his past divisive and offensive rhetoric, O’Brien responded, “I stood up and said the things that needed to be said.”
“New Hampshire is still recovering from the unmitigated disaster of Bill O'Brien's tenure as Speaker, from his painful and irresponsible budget cuts that are still being felt by seniors, students and working families, to his slash-and-burn politics that brought disgrace to the Granite State,“ said Bryan Lesswing, Deputy Communications Director for the New Hampshire Democratic Party. “In stark contrast to the O'Brien era, Governor Hassan has worked tirelessly to restore bipartisan cooperation and problem-solving in Concord. New Hampshire can't afford to go backwards, and voters will reject O’Brien and his rubber-stamp running mate for the Governor’s office again in November, just like they did in 2012.”
Few can forget the uncivil and nasty politics that defined the recent O’Brien era – where the Speaker compared the Affordable Care Act to the Fugitive Slave Act, threw the public out of the state house, campaigned to repeal same-sex marriage, and faced charges of bullying and intimidation from House colleagues.
Here are just a few of O’Brien’s anti-middle class Koch Brothers priorities that Havenstein and Hemingway have already expressed their support for:
O'Brien and his allies fought to defund Planned Parenthood and restrict a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions. Havenstein and Hemingway both applauded the Supreme Court's decisions to strike down buffer zones that protect women and allow bosses to come between a woman and her doctor when it comes to contraception. 
O’Brien worked to institute the most dramatic and severe cut to higher education in the nation. Havenstein and Hemingway support diverting money from our public schools to private and religious institutions, which is not only misguided but also violates our state's constitution. 
O'Brien repealed our state's minimum wage. Havenstein and Hemingway have both opposed any plan to restore and improve our state's minimum wage. 

O’Brien made so-called “Right to Work” legislation a top priority of his Koch Brothers agenda. Havenstein and Hemingway also support implementing so-called "Right to Work" legislation that would undermine worker's rights and cause economic harm to working families throughout the state.


Havenstein and Hemingway on Women’s Health

Hemingway Calls Supreme Court’s Decision on Hobby Lobby a win for the Constitution: “In the governor’s race, Republican Andrew Hemingway called the [Hobby Lobby] decision a win for the Constitution.” [Concord MonitorJuly 1, 2014]
Havenstein Praises Supreme Court’s Decision on the Massachusetts Buffer Zone Law. “Havenstein praised the court’s decision and condemned the New Hampshire law Gov. Maggie Hassan signed that takes effect on July 10.” [Nashua TelegraphJune 30, 2014]
Havenstein Champions Hobby Lobby Decision Limiting Access to Contraception: “Contraceptive services are a fundamental and at times life-saving aspect of women’s health care. By ruling the way it did, the Supreme Court has opened the door for religion and politics to control access to those services. Despite their protestations to the contrary, that is exactly what Brown and Havenstein are championing.” [Concord Monitor Editorial, 7/2/14]
Havenstein and Hemingway on Education
Hemingway and Havenstein Support the Voucher Program that Would Direct Public School Funds to Private and Religious Schools: “Education voucher opponent William Duncan of New Castle has been nominated by Gov. Maggie Hassan to the state Board of Education […] Republican candidates for governor Walt Havenstein and Andrew Hemingway in statements both expressed outrage at the nomination.” [Seacoast Online, May 5, 2014]

Havenstein Attacked Governor Hassan’s Bipartisan Budget and Implied He Would Have Cut Funding for Higher Education or Critical Services in Favor of Infrastructure Spending: “We had a surplus in our budget this year we chose not to spend it on that priority we chose to spend it on something else.” [YouTube, April 17, 2014]
Havenstein and Hemingway on the Minimum Wage

Hemingway Opposes Restoring and Improving Minimum Wag: “Hemingway said after his speech that he does not support legislation that would increase the minimum wage.” [Concord MonitorJanuary 30, 2014]
Havenstein Reiterates Opposition to Restoring and Improving Minimum Wage: “Havenstein reiterated that he opposed efforts to raise the state’s $7.25 per hour minimum wage” [Valley NewsMay 22, 2014]
Havenstein and Hemingway on so-called"Right-to-Work"

Hemingway Penned Op-Ed “Right to Work means more well-paying jobs for New Hampshire”
“In fact, the truth is that Republicans who do not vote for Right to Work legislation will be at great risk of violating their promise to voters to stimulate jobs and promote economic opportunity.” [NH Journal Op-Ed, May 22, 2011]
Havenstein supports Right to Work: “He also supports Right to Work.” [Concord MonitorApril 17, 2014]

NHDP - Mr. O'Brien goes to Washington 

Disgraced former House Speaker Bill O'Brien was in D.C. last week meeting with Grover Norquist and other Washington Republicans.
Bill O’Brien’s message to these donors was simple:  invest in New Hampshire and I’ll fight for you and your special interests.  We all remember what happened last time he was Speaker: 

  • gutting public education
  • working to block access to women’s healthcare
  • fighting to repeal Marriage Equality 
  • trying to pass Right-to-Work-For-Less
There is too much at stake and we can’t let Bill O’Brien and Grover Norquist lead us down that path again. 

If you've saved your payment information with ActBlue Express, your donation to stop Bill O'Brien will go through immediately:

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This election cycle we've already seen millions and millions of dollars from the Koch Brothers and other Tea Party groups pour into New Hampshire to try and elect extreme Republicans like Bill O’Brien up and down the ticket. 

Can you help fight back with $25, $50 or even $100 right now? We need your help today to keep our Democratic majority in Concord and ensure that people like Bill O’Brien and Grover Norquist don’t lead us backwards. 
Thank you,
Kathy Sullivan


NH HRA Comments on New Hampshire’s Drop From the Top Half of the Country to the Bottom Half in CNBC’s Ranking of Top States for Business 

The House Republican Alliance issued the following statement in response to news that New Hampshire’s ranking on CNBC’s list of best states for business has continued to slide under the Democratic majority in the NH House of Representatives.
“In 2010 through 2012, the two years that the Republicans were in last a majority in the New Hampshire, we began the recovery from the prior overspending and over regulating under the then prior Democrat majority, which had dropped New Hampshire to near the middle of the country as a whole in CNBC’s ranking of states best for business.  In fact, we were able to bring New Hampshire up to the 19th position and the signs looked good for continued improvement.  Unfortunately, the current Democrat majority and their overspending and anti-business efforts have undermined our successes and caused New Hampshire to fall to 27th in the 2013 rankings and now to 30th in the 2014 ranking released by CNBC today.  If that Democrat majority and therefore this trend of dropping an average of over five positions a year continues to the end of the next term, New Hampshire will be below 40 in the rankings and in the company of Louisiana, West Virginia and Rhode Island as states businesses avoid,” said Rep. Bill O’Brien, Mont Vernon.
“This slide toward economic stagnation in New Hampshire will only end when we return to a state government that understands that if New Hampshire businesses have to pay more taxes than Massachusetts businesses, as they do now, and operate under an ever-increasing burden of California-style regulations, as again they do now, then they will not be able to produce the jobs and prosperity that once made New Hampshire the envy of its neighbors.  The time for change and reform is on us.”