House Democratic Leader Terie Norelli gave the following remarks at the NHDP State Convention, Saturday June 2nd at Manchester Memorial High School in Manchester, NH:
Good morning Democrats! Could I ask all House members to stand?
After spending the last 16 months in the House chamber with about 300 Republicans, it is great for us to be in a room with over 600 Democrats!
Under a Democratic majority we were the safest in the Nation – the best state to raise a family – the most livable state. We weathered the economic storm, and on Election Day New Hampshire was leading the way to recovery.
But Republicans and their shady out-of-state groups spent millions against Gov. Lynch and our Democratic congressional candidates, misleading the people of New Hampshire.
The truth is Democrats governed through challenging times, yet during our years we moved New Hampshire forward.
The Republican majority, led by Bill O’Brien and his Tea Party allies, insisted they would focus on jobs and economy. Instead, they set the tone with guns in the State House, then guns on the House floor, then guns, guns and more guns.
Since then, they have continued to put their radical agenda ahead of the needs of Granite Staters.
Their budget was so draconian it drew over five thousand people to protest outside the State House!
They couldn’t afford to fund the Developmental Disabilities waitlist, but they managed to give away $20M to tobacco companies.
Their budget decimated services for our most vulnerable citizens – and cuts to state programs have forced cities and towns to pick up the tab.
As Democrats we fought for working families – passing the WARN Act, ensuring families have access to affordable workforce housing, and raising the minimum wage.
Republicans, on the other hand, have actually repealed the State’s minimum wage altogether.
And O’Brien’s top priority was to turn NH into a right-to-work-for-less state. I am very proud that all of my House colleagues stood arm in arm to defeat it.
Democrats believe that every child should have access to a quality education, but this Republican leadership has worked to dismantle our public schools by supporting the repeal of Kindergarten, lowering the dropout age, and even ending compulsory education. Now their “Voucher Bill”, dressed up as a “scholarship” will divert funding from our public schools.
And higher education was not spared either. Under the Republicans, cuts to higher education were the greatest of any state in the nation. Their claim to focus on growing our economy does not square with college that is unaffordable for young people.
And Democrats believe that women should have the right to make our own healthcare decisions.
The so-called “woman’s right to know bill” would have required doctors to provide inaccurate information to patients or face felony charges.
And the speaker’s attempt to defund Planned Parenthood would have put basic preventive healthcare out of reach for 16,000 Granite State women.
And who would have thought, in 2012 we’d be fighting efforts to allow employers to decide whether or not we could have access to contraception!
Well, not in NH, and not in 2012.
We WILL fight against their continued attacks on women.
We need to bring common sense back to Concord. We need to make Bill O’Brien a one-term speaker.
To do that, we need your help to elect Democrats to the NH House. I’d like to ask all candidates for the House to please stand.
Get to know your state rep candidates, offer to make calls, put up signs, knock on doors, write letters.
The House session ends in another week. People will tune out for the summer. Our job between now and the election is to make sure every last voter knows what O’Brien and his Tea Party Republicans have done to our great state.
Two years ago, Republicans went up and down the State telling lies about Democrats. I have no doubt that, if we spend the next 5 months telling the truth about Republicans, we will, once again, be able to move our great state forward.