Sununu’s Nominee for Superior Court Judge Withdraws Nomination After Strong Vetting by Councilor Warmington

Sununu’s Nominee for Superior Court Judge Admits to Voter Fraud; Previously Under Fire Around Actions Related to Husband’s Police File

CONCORD, NH — Today Governor Chris Sununu announced that Patricia Conway of Salem had withdrawn her nomination to the Superior Court of New Hampshire following scrutiny led by Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington (D-Concord). Councilor Warmington, doing her due diligence, called for Attorney General John Formella to look into Ms. Conway’s voting record after reports of unusual activity.

Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins:

“Councilor Warmington has consistently and diligently pressed all nominees before the Executive Council on their record and qualifications. Her careful scrutiny and keen eye have made her an instrumental voice on the Executive Council and a champion for her constituents. Discrepancies in Patricia Conway’s voting record are a cause for concern – we need to be sure that the people who uphold the law in court also hold themselves to the same standards the court enforces. We are deeply appreciative of Councilor Warmington, who sets the example every day for the important role the Executive Council plays in vetting and confirming nominees. We encourage Governor Sununu to pay more attention to the experience and credibility of nominees he puts forward.”

After Councilor Warmington submitted her letter to the Attorney General, Councilor David Wheeler joined her in opposing Patricia Conway’s nomination. During the confirmation process, the NH Bar Association also issued a letter raising concerns about Conway’s impartiality and fairness. Conway was involved in a wrongful termination suit after firing the prosecutor who reported that “Conway’s husband, former Salem Police Sgt. Eric Lamb, had been removed from the state’s list of law enforcement officers with credibility concerns, the so-called Laurie List.” Lamb’s name was later returned to the list.

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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.

Statement on Presidential Executive Orders to Reduce Gun Violence

Biden-Harris Administration works to save lives while Gov. Chris Sununu and his Republican majorities continue to stand in the way

CONCORD, NH – President Joe Biden announced several executive orders this week aimed at reducing gun violence in America. At the same time, Gov. Chris Sununu and his Republican majorities in the New Hampshire legislature are standing in the way of common sense public safety laws.

Statement from Zandra Rice Hawkins, director of GunSense NH, a project of Granite State Progress: “Gun violence is a public health pandemic. Even when they don’t make the headlines, senseless gun tragedies take lives every day and leave lasting trauma in communities, especially communities of color. We all have the right to be safe in our homes, schools, and communities. Granite Staters agree that we need to take action to reduce gun violence, make our communities safer, and save lives. We applaud the Biden-Harris Administration for taking swift action to make our communities safer. It is frustrating that Chris Sununu and his Republican majorities in the state legislature continue to hold New Hampshire back on common sense gun safety. Right now our state is on track to allow loaded weapons on snowmobiles, target practice in town cemeteries, guns and knives in the hallways of our schools, and the expansion of deadly, racist Stand Your Ground laws that allow people to shoot first, ask questions later and avoid culpability for murder. We need a shared commitment to taking action to reduce all forms of gun violence – community violence, mass shootings, domestic violence, and suicide by firearm.”

Statement from Tracy Hahn-Burkett, convener of the Gun Violence Prevention Working Group for the Kent Street Coalition: “Last session Governor Sununu vetoed closing background check loopholes, creating a waiting period between the purchase and delivery of firearms, ensuring gun free schools, and passing an extreme risk protection order law. Governor Sununu continues to side with the corporate gun lobby instead of with the majority of Granite Staters who support common sense gun violence prevention efforts. We call on the Governor to speak up immediately and let the public know where he stands on federal and state efforts, especially as SB 154 seeks to prohibit the state from enforcing any Presidential Executive Order related to firearms, ammunition, and knives.”

The Biden-Harris Administration announced the following six initial actions:

  • The Justice Department, within 30 days, will issue a proposed rule to help stop the proliferation of “ghost guns.” As more criminals buy kits to assemble firearms in as little as 30 minutes to commit crimes that cannot be traced to the weapon, this proposed rule will help stop the proliferation of these firearms.
  • The Justice Department, within 60 days, will issue a proposed rule to make clear that devices marketed as a stabilizing brace are subject to the National Firearms Act. The proposed rule will make clear that devices marketed as a stabilizing brace effectively turns a pistol into a short-barreled shotgun or rifle – making them subject to the requirements of the National Firearms Act.
  • The Justice Department, within 60 days, will publish model “red flag” legislation for states. This will make it easier for states to adopt red flag laws, which let family members or law enforcement to petition for a court order temporarily barring people in crisis from accessing firearms if they present a danger to themselves or others.
  • The Justice Department will issue an annual report on firearms trafficking. The Justice Department will issue a new, comprehensive report on firearms trafficking – which hasn’t been done since 2000 – and annual updates necessary to give policymakers the information they need to help address firearms trafficking today.
  • The Administration is investing in substantive evidence-based community violence interventions – proven strategies for reducing gun violence in urban communities. Because cities across the country are experiencing a historic spike in homicides, the Biden-Harris Administration is directing five federal agencies to modify 26 programs that will route vital support to community violence intervention programs as quickly as possible. This also adds to the proposed $5 billion investment in the American Jobs Plan that will support community violence intervention programs.
  • President Biden will nominate David Chipman to serve as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF). ATF is the key agency enforcing our gun laws, and it needs a permanent director in order to do the job to the best of its ability – but it has not had a confirmed director since 2015. Chipman served at ATF for 25 years, has helped investigate high profile bombings, has worked to advance commonsense gun safety laws, and is a gun owner himself.

President Biden also reiterated his calls for Congress to swiftly pass commonsense legislation to reduce gun violence supported by an overwhelming majority of the American people, including by closing loopholes in the background check system, banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines, repealing gun manufacturers’ immunity from liability, and more.

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GunSense NH, a project of Granite State Progress, works to protect and advance common sense public safety laws. GunSense NH convenes the NH Gun Violence Prevention Coalition, members include survivors, gun violence prevention advocates, moms, medical professionals, gun owners, veterans, law enforcement, elected officials, school administrators, educators, students, faith leaders, and more.

House Republicans Are Playing Political Games with the NH State Budget Instead of Investing in Our People and Communities

House budget is filled with corporate tax give-aways and downshifting at the expense of a strong, healthy, and equitable New Hampshire

CONCORD, NH – The NH Coalition for a People’s Budget released the following statements today regarding passage of the House budget:

Deborah Opramolla, Chairperson of the NH Poor People’s Campaign: “This budget has an overall lack of investment in public health infrastructure, public education, affordable housing, and health care, while providing massive corporate tax give-aways to out of state corporations. Our communities deserve a state budget that invests in our communities’ health, education, recovery, and opportunity. This budget is nowhere close to a morally or fiscally responsible budget.”

Maggie Fogarty, Co-Director, American Friends Service Committee: “We can invest in our critical public infrastructure and our families by fairly taxing the wealthy and corporations which operate in New Hampshire. Instead this budget includes devastating cuts that will further cause harm to the families and communities who can least afford it. We will continue to call for a People’s Budget that adequately meets our community’s needs.”

Leah Cohen, Press Secretary and Digital Engagement Organizer, Granite State Progress: “This budget is filled with corporate tax give-aways and downshifting at the expense of a strong, healthy, and equitable New Hampshire. Our country has a real opportunity right now to address systemic barriers that disproportionately harm black and brown people, low-income Granite Staters, and working families, but instead this budget doubles down on the same failed policies that got us here in the first place – this time with an extra dose of racist, extremist behavior. Republican majorities in the State House knew they could not get their most extreme agenda items passed through the normal legislative process, so they hid these disastrous policies in the state budget and outside of the public eye.”

For a copy of the full People’s Budget demands or examples of the many failures of the House Republican budget, please contact Leah Cohen at leah@granitestateprogress.org.

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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.

Statement on NH House Republican Passage of White Supremacy Protection Act in State Budget

Complicit Chris Sununu and His Republican Majorities in the State House Continue to Double Down on Racist, Sexist, and Antisemitic Behavior

CONCORD, NH — Today the NH House voted to keep language from HB 544, the White Supremacy Protection Act, in the state budget. The language bans state agencies, K-12 schools, public colleges and universities, and state contractors from learning about and addressing systemic racism and sexism – a critical part of overcoming barriers to a healthy and equitable community.

Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins:

“The passage of the White Supremacy Protection Act is a direct result of the failure of Complicit Chris Sununu and his Republican majorities in the State House to hold members accountable for spouting racist, antisemitic, and violent messages. For months, they have looked the other way instead of standing up for all Granite Staters. After a year of reckoning and sustained mobilization around racial injustice and as the COVID-19 public health pandemic lays bare the disproportionate health and economic impacts on people of color and women, this bill creates more hurdles to adequately responding. We cannot build a healthy and equitable community while politicians like Complicit Chris Sununu stand in the way and House Majority Leader and Free Stater Jason Osborne sponsors bills like this one.”

Background on HB 544

HB 544 is a near-carbon copy of the Trump Administration’s executive order last fall “to combat offensive and anti-American race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating.” Essentially, this bill would prevent people from learning about systemic racism and sexism – creating more barriers to being able to address it. The language contradicts core public health findings, promotes a narrative that portrays diversity trainings that address racism as dangerous, is ahistorical; and is so vague that it has a foreseeable chilling effect on legitimate trainings.

Background on Complicit Chris Sununu

Granite State Progress launched ComplictChrisSununu.com earlier this year, which details how #ComplicitChris Sununu has coddled white nationalism, violent rhetoric, and extremist movements in New Hampshire. Sununu has yet to call for the resignation of State Rep. James Spillane (R-Deerfield), who encouraged violence against racial justice advocates, and State Rep. Dawn Johnson (R-Laconia), who posted racist, anti-Semitic material; nor has Complicit Chris called for the resignation of the (6) Republican State Reps who declared the State of New Hampshire terminated. Earlier this year, Sununu compared the outrage over racial discrimination last summer to the violent insurrection that took place in Washington DC. On HB 544, Sununu told media outlets he could not support it unless it was amended – a dog whistle statement on a bill that is inherently racist and sexist and cannot be amended into something otherwise.

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On Anniversary of Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, NH Republicans Hold Public Hearing to Roll Back Worker Protections

CONCORD, NH – Today the NH House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee held a public hearing on SB 61, so-called Right to Work legislation which is part of a coordinated national effort to interfere in collective bargaining rights and roll back protections for workers. The hearing took place on the anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, one of the deadliest industrial fires in history and a tragedy that helped spur improved factory safety standards and the growth of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU).

Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins:

“The real purpose of right to work laws is to tilt the balance toward big corporations and further rig the system at the expense of working families. These laws make it harder for working people to form unions and collectively bargain for better wages, benefits, and working conditions for all workers. It is ironic that House Republicans scheduled the public hearing on the anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, which is a sad reminder of what happens when we do not have strong unions to advocate for safe working conditions. Particularly now, in the middle of a public health pandemic and when unions are at the front line protecting workers from egregious examples of exploitation, we do not need bills that undermine workers’ rights.”

Background on Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire: The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire is one of the deadliest industrial fires in history. On Saturday, March 25, 1911 at approximately 4:40 p.m., a fire flared up on the 8th floor. The workers of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire were almost entirely women, and mostly immigrant women. They made the equivalent today of $3.62 per hour. They worked 6 days a week, 9 hours a day. Their workplace was not firesafe and the doors were locked during work hours to keep them from leaving. Witnesses of the fire saw 62 workers jump or fall to their deaths trying to escape a building on fire, and this incident claimed the lives of 146 workers total — mostly women, and many children. The tragedy led to legislation requiring improved factory safety standards and helped spur the growth of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU), which fought for better working conditions for sweatshop workers.

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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.