Granite State Progress Stands in Coalition With Partners Rallying for Abortion Justice on December 1st

CONCORD, NH – Today, as the Supreme Court begins oral arguments for Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case poised to overturn the precedent set in Roe v. Wade, Granite State Progress joins our partner organizations in rallying for the New Hampshire Access to Abortion-Care Act, a landmark piece of legislation that will cement in law reproductive rights for all Granite Staters. Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins:

“With an anti-choice Republican governor like Chris Sununu and anti-choice Republican majorities in both legislative chambers and the Executive Council, everything is on the line for the health and justice of pregnant Granite Staters. For too long, we have relied on the precedent set by Roe v. Wade and not had unique state-level protections for abortion access, despite Granite Staters overwhelmingly supporting abortion legality and bodily autonomy. It is past time for Granite State women and all who may become pregnant to have the full suite of legal protections for their right to choose. On a day filled with fear for abortion advocates nationwide, we are hopeful that this will be a turning point for New Hampshire, and that we will soon see a day where abortion access is a legal right for Granite Staters and not simply a judicial precedent.”

###

Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems. Visit https://granitestateprogress.org/ to learn more.

House Democrats Pass Historic Bill To Increase Health Care Access and Affordability, Lower Drug Prices, and Tax the Rich and Corporations More Fairly

Image of congressman Chris Pappas in Washington DC; Text: Thank you, Rep. Pappas for putting patients over pharma profit and fighting to Build Back Better

CONCORD, NH – In response to today’s passage of the Build Back Better Act by House Democrats in Congress today, Zandra Rice Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress, released the following statement:

“Congressman Chris Pappas and Congresswoman Annie Kuster deserve our thanks and recognition for the tremendous effort it took to reach a compromise on this historic bill. This bill is not perfect, and doesn’t include every policy that Granite Staters support, but the Build Back Better package is a huge step forward on lowering drug prices, taxing the rich and corporations, and making healthcare and education more affordable. We are especially grateful to Rep. Pappas for his staunch support of prescription drug reform and his continued efforts to help Granite Staters afford their medicine.

These and other policies in Build Back Better aren’t just popular with Granite Staters, they will literally improve lives, reshape the economy, and finally enable more people to have a fair shot at economic and health security and financial prosperity. These policies aim to take our country in a better direction by stopping unfair tax breaks for the rich and corporations, making drug corporations negotiate prices for the first time, and ensuring that everyone has access to the basics, from affordable premiums and medicines to childcare, eldercare and paid family medical leave.

Now it’s up to the Senate to pass the Build Back Better bill so that President Biden can sign it into law and Democrats can deliver on their promises for millions of people in America. We are counting on our very own Senators Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen to continue to deliver for Granite Staters with the passage of this bill.”

For more details: Fact sheet on how Build Back Better benefits Granite Staters

###

Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems. Visit https://granitestateprogress.org/ to learn more.

Anti-Choice, Pro-Extremism Complicit Chris Sununu Announces Re-Election Bid

CONCORD, NH – Today, Chris Sununu announced his re-election campaign for Governor of New Hampshire. Statement from Zandra Rice Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress on Sununu’s record:

“Chris Sununu has made it clear to voters over his tenure as governor that he is anti-choice, anti-abortion, anti-healthcare, anti-public education, anti-public health, pro-COVID, pro-extremism, pro-white nationalism, and pro getting into bed with the most radical factions of his party. He has failed to lead our state toward a stronger, healthier, and more inclusive New Hampshire. From failing to take meaningful action against antisemitic elected officials in his own party to outright campaigning with secessionist militia leaders and anti-abortion extremist politicians, Chris Sununu’s administration has enabled hatred and disinformation in New Hampshire to flourish. It is clear Granite Staters reject Sununu’s divisive and cowardly agenda and we will continue to work hard to make sure constituents know about Complicit Chris Sununu’s dangerous record.”

###

Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems. Visit https://granitestateprogress.org/ to learn more. 

New Build Back Better Plan Makes Historic Investments in Americans

Much Work Remains for Congress: Plan Leaves Out Crucial Drug Cost Reform and Paid Family Leave

CONCORD, NH – Today, Congress reached an agreement on the framework of President Biden’s Build Back Better package. In response to this new deal, Zandra Rice Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress, released the following statement:

“There is a lot to celebrate with the Build Back Better package. With this plan, we will expand access to affordable healthcare for millions of Americans by closing the Medicaid coverage gap, extending the premium tax credits for Affordable Care Act health insurance plans, and expanding Medicare coverage to include hearing. In addition to this progress in covering more Americans, this plan also takes meaningful steps to make our tax system fairer by closing tax loopholes and ending special breaks for the nation’s wealthiest families and most profitable corporations, raising $1.9 trillion in revenue in the process. The plan’s tax reforms more than recover from the rich and corporations what they were gifted by the Trump-GOP tax giveaway four years ago. By shutting down accounting maneuvers and other tax-dodging schemes of wealthy households and big corporations, the Biden reforms begin to unify into a single tax code what’s become a dual system of mandatory taxes for working people and voluntary payments by the rich. These long overdue changes to our tax code will fund tremendous investments while not adding a penny to our national debt.”

“However, we are very disappointed to see that crucial reforms such as empowering Medicare to negotiate drug costs and extend those cost savings to Granite Staters, and paid family and medical leave which would have helped so many working families, did not end up in this framework. We can’t build back better without limiting drug corporations’ monopoly power to set and keep prices high. We also can’t build back better if we leave families behind. Congress needs to stop protecting the Pharma profits and Big Business and amend this proposal to include lowering drug prices and mandatory paid family and medical leave.”

 ###

Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems. Visit https://granitestateprogress.org/ to learn more. 

Federal Unemployment Benefits Case Headed to NH Supreme Court

Governor Chris Sununu

Granite Staters appeal to NH Supreme Court to restore federal unemployment benefits Sununu Administration prematurely cut off; Ruling could return thousands of dollars to Granite State families facing the loss of a job or income due to the COVID-19 public health pandemic

CONCORD, NH – On Thursday, October 14th, the plaintiffs in Caron, et al, vs. The New Hampshire Department of Employment Security filed an appeal to the New Hampshire Supreme Court in their case against the Sununu Administration over the state’s premature cut-off of federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

“We are confident we have a strong case and that the state should move swiftly to restore these benefits to families who faced a loss of income or employment during COVID-19 due to no fault of their own,” said Mike Perez of Perez Law, attorney for the plaintiffs. “These families deserve to be able to access the benefits of federal COVID relief packages that were passed by Congress and signed by the President for this very reason. This program comes at absolutely no cost to the State of New Hampshire, and even the administrative costs are covered.”

“We are hopeful that the NH Supreme Court will grant relief for our families,” said Stephanie McKay, moderator of the NH Unemployment During COVID-19 Facebook group of over 4,500 Granite Staters who experienced unemployment during COVID-19. “It was shocking to see the Sununu Administration argue that we brought this emergency on ourselves, and to watch them try to stop the lawsuit by arguing two different positions in two separate cases around this issue. Many families who lost federal unemployment benefits are struggling to afford items for their kids and pay basic bills for food and rent. We are all working hard to get back to the lives we had pre-pandemic, and it is just cruel to remove these benefits for no other reason than to score political points.”

“The state’s position makes it clear they are still leaning into the disproven theory that prematurely ending the federal unemployment benefits for struggling Granite State families would significantly impact unemployment rates in the state,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress, which is helping with the case. “Experts have proven otherwise and point to real barriers to workforce re-entry, including child care and other caregiving responsibilities, health issues, transportation, finding employment that matches your skills and training, and other such factors. There are also other issues here, including the fact that many workplaces remain unsafe for those who experience or have a family member with high-risk health conditions. The Sununu Administration could have focused on any of those instead of taking away people’s benefits.”

Background on Lawsuit

The federal CARES package established several pandemic-related unemployment insurance programs which NH Employment Security prematurely terminated nearly 3 months before the programs were set to expire, impacting tens of thousands of Granite Staters struggling with the loss of income or jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One program in particular, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), covers workers who are not eligible for regular unemployment insurance benefits, such as self-employed people, independent contractors, gig workers, and people who started a job too recently before becoming unemployed. The sudden and early termination of this program has harmed Granite State families, even though federal and state law specify the benefits must be made available and even though the program is fully funded by the federal government, including all administrative costs. An estimated 5,000 Granite Staters are impacted by the early termination of this program alone. The law clearly indicates that the federal benefit shall be made available to Granite Staters. Moreover, prematurely cutting the benefit has added more economic insecurity for families facing challenges due to COVID-19, fueling cuts to household spending while not leading to significant job gains. Experts say the real challenge is barriers to workforce re-entry such as child and caregiving responsibilities, health issues, transportation, and other factors.

###

Granite State Progress is a progressive advocacy organization that addresses issues of immediate state and local concern. Granite State Progress works as a communications hub for the progressive community to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems. Visit https://granitestateprogress.org/ to learn more.