CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – Last night, House Democratic leadership was informed that Speaker Shawn Jasper has chosen to assign the Democratic members who spoke in favor of retaining the Children and Family Law Committee during the January 4, 2017 House Session to serve on that committee. These appointments, which include moving a member who had already been appointed to a leadership position in her previously-assigned committee, were made with no consent of Democratic leadership as is longstanding House tradition. After being informed of the Speaker’s decision, House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook) released the following statement:
“This decision by Speaker Jasper is reminiscent of the vindictive, retaliatory manner in which Bill O’Brien ran the House during his term as Speaker. Each of the 400 House members has an equal right to participate in House debate, and no member should ever feel that they will be retaliated against for exercising that right.”
“The debate on eliminating the Children and Family Law Committee, which was nonpartisan and based completely on how children’s issues would be affected, is the type of debate that should be celebrated in the House. For the Speaker to respond to the outcome of that debate by breaking House tradition and taking vindictive actions against the minority party casts a dark cloud over the House as we set out to begin our work this term.”
“Over the last two years, I have had a good working relationship with Speaker Jasper. His decision to dictate the committee assignments of minority members in retaliation for comments in a floor debate is completely unprecedented, and threatens the House’s ability to work in the bipartisan way that Granite Staters expect.”
“House Democrats make no apology for representing our constituents and protecting the children of our state, and we will not be intimidated into backing down. For Speaker Jasper to make this decision within hours of Governor Sununu calling for bipartisanship in his Inaugural address is a sad rebuke of the Governor’s call.”
“The Democratic members appointed to Children and Family Law are extremely qualified and will do an excellent job representing children’s issues on that committee. However, the decision to remove only senior Democratic members from their previously-assigned committees while primarily appointing first-term Republicans indicates that the committee assignments were a deliberate attempt to scapegoat Democratic members who exercised their right to speak.”
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CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – Today, House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook) released the following statement after Chris Sununu was sworn in for his first term as Governor.
“I congratulate Governor Sununu for his success in the November election and his inauguration as Governor of our state.”
“I look forward to working with Governor Sununu and our Republican colleagues on bipartisan initiatives. The House Democratic Caucus stands ready to find common ground on any policies that benefit the working families of New Hampshire.”
“I was encouraged by the Governor’s statements during the campaign in which he expressed support for full-day kindergarten, paid family and medical leave and other initiatives that align with the priorities of Granite Staters. It was disappointing that those issues, on which the Governor campaigned, were not mentioned today in his Inaugural speech which provides a roadmap for the Governor’s policy agenda for the next two years.”
“Equally disappointing was that soon after speaking of not being divisive, Governor Sununu indicated a top priority would be the enactment of “Right to Work,” which is among the most politically divisive issues among both Democrats and Republicans the legislature.”
“It is my hope that when Governor Sununu provides more detail on the policies he wishes to advance, that those policies are aligned with Granite State families and the values of our great state.”
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CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – Today, the House of Representatives voted 196-172 to retain the Children and Family Law Committee, which addresses the rights, obligations and application of criminal laws to minors, divorce, child custody and support, the Child Protection Act and the Children In Need Of Services program. House leadership had proposed eliminating the committee and House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff released the following statement after the vote.
“House Democrats today showed their capacity to influence the body on changes to House Rules. I am most proud of our caucus for their outspoken dedication to the protection of children. The concise, passionate presentations on the House floor in favor of retaining the Children and Family Law Committee led to 35 Republican members joining House Democrats in the vote to keep the committee in place.”
“Moving the complex and important duties of the Children and Family Law Committee to three other overburdened committees would have shortchanged the vulnerable children of our state. I am very happy that the majority of House members opposed the proposal.”
“I am in full support of Speaker Jasper’s announcement that he will be naming a special committee to address the independent review of the Quality Assurance of the Division of Children, Youth and Families. Due to the urgency of the concerns outlined in the independent review, it is my hope that this committee is named quickly with qualified members appointed to fix these important concerns.”
In another motion, House Democrats provided the majority vote against a proposal to add a vaguely-worded dress code to the House Rules.
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CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – In a caucus meeting today, New Hampshire House Democrats elected Representative Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook) to lead the House Democratic Caucus for a second term. Representative Shurtleff will be the Democratic candidate for Speaker of the House on Organization Day, December 7th. After the caucus meeting, Representative Shurtleff released the following statement:
“I am deeply honored to have been selected once again to lead the House Democratic Caucus. As we did in the last session, House Democrats will continue working with the Republican majority to build consensus on the issues most important to the people of New Hampshire.”
“House Democrats gained 15 seats in the election last Tuesday because of our ongoing commitment to put the people of this state over politics. We will continue to fight for our values of economic and social justice, and look forward to finding common ground with our Republican colleagues on initiatives that keep New Hampshire moving forward.”
Concord, N.H. – Representative Mary Jane Wallner (D-Concord) issued the following statement regarding the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee’s delay in funding the Gateway to Work initiative:
“I am extremely disappointed that Republicans continue to obstruct the implementation of the Gateway to Work initiative. It is a common sense program critical to New Hampshire’s future and should be approved as quickly as possible.
The Gateway to Work initiative would help workers, businesses, and the economy as a whole by investing in job training, apprenticeship opportunities and other supports for hard-working Granite Staters. There is no reason to delay an initiative that benefits everyone: Gateway to Work would help workers to get good-paying jobs, help businesses utilize a skilled workforce, and reduce government spending by moving people off public assistance and into stable careers. Republicans need to stop playing politics with our state’s future and approve Gateway to Work.”
CONCORD – House Democratic Leader Stephen Shurtleff today expressed his condolences upon learning of the death of Department of Cultural Resources Commissioner Van McLeod.
“New Hampshire has lost its longest serving commissioner and a truly dedicated state employee,” stated Shurtleff. “I came to know Van through our work together on the Governor John Winant Memorial Committee. The Commissioner’s dedication to New Hampshire’s cultural community and historic institutions will be greatly missed. Not only that, I have lost a friend who will never be replaced.”
“On behalf of the members of the Democratic Caucus, our heartfelt condolences go out to the Commissioner’s family and to the arts community in New Hampshire.”
CONCORD – House Democratic Leader Stephen Shurtleff today expressed his condolences upon learning of the death of Representative Debbie DiFranco of Portsmouth.
“It is with great sadness that we learned the news of Debbie’s passing,” said Shurtleff. “Debbie served her first term from Portsmouth Ward 3 and was on the Election Law committee. Debbie showed great courage and perseverance this past year and we are inspired by her example.”
“Although Debbie was only with us for one term at the New Hampshire State House, we were impressed with her compassion and grace.”
“Speaking for all members of the Democratic Caucus, our heartfelt condolences go out to Debbie’s family and friends.”
CONCORD – In a show of solidarity with their partners in Washington, members of the New Hampshire House and Senate will gather today at the State House to urge the U.S. Congress to take action on gun safety and hold votes on legislation to curb the epidemic of gun violence in America.
“Common-sense measures like expanding background checks and closing the terrorist gun loophole are so widely supported here in New Hampshire that they’re nearly unanimous. The obstruction of congressional Republicans including Frank Guinta and Kelly Ayotte on these simple measures is baffling and speaks only to their loyalty to the gun lobby over the people of our state,” said Representatives Katherine Rogers and Renny Cushing.
“We stand with Democrats in the U.S. Congress and millions of Americans across the country in saying enough is enough,” they added.
Members will begin gathering at 10 AM and support is expected to grow throughout the day. All are welcome to join.
House and Senate Democrats File Record Fundraising Numbers
Both Committees show record breaking cash on hand figures
CONCORD – With strong candidates already running all across New Hampshire, the House and Senate Democratic Caucuses announced record cash on hand totals heading into this year’s election.
The Committee to Elect House Democrats raised $247,000 and reported over $100,000 cash on hand, while the Senate Democratic Caucus has over $161,000 cash on hand and raised over $373,000 total. The Senate Caucus’ figure breaks the previous record set in 2014 of $149,000, while the House Caucus’ figure far exceeds any previous year’s record.
“We’ve had a fantastic couple of weeks as we gear up for the November election,” said House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff. “This strong financial filing reflects the enthusiasm we’re seeing on the ground for our both our candidates and our values. The House Caucus will be a vital resource for our candidates as they move closer to victory in November.”
After the candidate filing period officially ended last week, Democratic candidates for the House are covering more ground across the state than their opponents, starting out the election season with a 26-seat advantage. In the Senate, Democrats are running candidates in all 24 districts while the Republicans have failed to field any candidate in two districts.
“Senate Democrats are organized and ready to win the senate this November and our strong fundraising report demonstrates our commitment to doing just that,” added Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn. “The stakes could not be higher this election with six Republican retirements threatening to make the Republican Senate Caucus even more extreme and out of touch. Senate Democrats are prepared to move our state forward and deliver Granite Staters the results they deserve and to continue to expand opportunities.”