Gov. Chris Sununu Continues to Pass Buck on Mask Requirement as COVID Cases Spike in New Hampshire

Governor Chris Sununu Pandering to COVID Denier Caucus

CONCORD, NH — Today Governor Chris Sununu once again made it clear he is unwilling to stand up to the COVID Denier Caucus, refusing to publicly call for universal masking or pursue options to ensure it, even though COVID cases are spiking in New Hampshire.

Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins:

“Sununu is pandering to the most extreme COVID denier members of his party instead of standing up for public health. Medical professionals and public health experts have made it clear that universal masking helps slow the spread of COVID, yet Chris Sununu is sticking his head in the sand while local school boards and administrators take the heat for trying to protect students and community members. Meanwhile Granite Staters who are medically vulnerable or work in essential, front line jobs are put in jeopardy every day by those who refuse to get vaccinated or wear a mask. We need leadership but Sununu has shown us time and again that he cannot be trusted to put the health and safety of his constituents over his own partisan political agenda. Sununu’s lack of leadership is dangerous and will cost lives. We are on a collision course to be back in the same bad place we were at the start of COVID, with our economy and schools in turmoil while we lose all of the ground we had gained. Our families and economy cannot take any more of this and Sununu is out of touch if he thinks otherwise.”

Background: Asked about mask policies at a COVID press conference, Sununu responded that people have the information and can make their own decisions around masks, even as reports around the state show vocal anti-vaxxers and COVID deniers who refuse to mask disrupting school board meetings and shouting down local elected officials contemplating how to ensure student safety.

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New Poll Shows Popular Granite State Support for Biden Tax Plans

Ensuring Wealthy and Corporations Pay Their Fair Share In Taxes A Top Priority For New Hampshire Voters

By nearly 2 to 1 NH voters support Biden’s $3.5 trillion plan now before Congress to help working families, paid for by raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations

Concord, NH – Granite State Progress and Americans for Tax Fairness released new polling today showing that ensuring the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share in taxes is a top priority for New Hampshire voters even ahead of creating jobs and rebuilding infrastructure. The polling comes as Congressional Democrats work to pass President Biden’s $3.5 trillion Build Back Better plan, which would make healthcare, eldercare, childcare, education, and housing more affordable for working families. 

Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins: “Our latest polling confirms that raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy is a top priority for Granite State voters, and they want to use that revenue to invest in our communities and to improve the lives of working families. Support for these issues is especially strong among New Hampshire’s unaffiliated voters, which is the state’s biggest voting bloc.” 

The New Hampshire poll conducted July 10-14 by Hart Research and ALG Research surveyed 401 registered voters with a ±5.0 margin of error. Its key findings include:

  • Ensuring that the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share in taxes is a top priority for New Hampshire voters today, even ahead of important goals like rebuilding infrastructure or creating jobs.
  • Voters in New Hampshire see the progressive revenue measures in President Biden’s American Families Plan as a strong reason to support the plan (64% more favorable).
  • Biden’s proposals to raise taxes on those making over $400,000 met with wide approval (62%) in New Hampshire, including his proposal to tax capital gains at the same rate as income from wages (64% support). More New Hampshire voters believe that raising taxes on those earning over $400,000 will help the economy (53%) than hurt it (22%).
  • Increasing the corporate tax rate to 28% is embraced by 56% of New Hampshire voters, who also favor taxing foreign profits at 28% (67%), setting a minimum corporate tax rate of 15%, and taxing stock buybacks. 
  • New Hampshire voters would go even further than President Biden in raising taxes on the wealthy, embracing proposals to establish a wealth tax (71%), expand the estate tax (55%), and eliminate “dynasty trusts.”
  • Unaffiliated voters are particularly motivated by tax fairness concerns and consistently support progressive tax policies at a higher level than the electorate overall. 

“This poll shows New Hampshire voters overwhelmingly support President Biden’s Build Back Better Plan, and that support grows even stronger when they learn it is paid for by making the rich and corporations pay their fair share of taxes,” said Frank Clemente, Executive Director of Americans for Tax Fairness. “The Biden plan will help working families struggling with the high costs of healthcare, burdened by high rent payments or trying to afford college, by asking those who have done extremely well during the pandemic to start paying their fair share.”

Local elected officials and issue advocacy organizations joined Granite State Progress and Americans for Tax Fairness on a call to release the poll.

State Senator Becky Whitley: “The American Rescue Plan was the first step toward the Biden Administration’s commitment to Build Back Better. Now we need to use the ongoing federal negotiations as an opportunity to invest long-term in strengthening our families and our communities. There are several things Congress can include in the package that will immediately help, such as allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs and then extend those lower prices to millions more people who have private insurance. We also have an opportunity to make health care, long-term care for the elderly, child care, college, housing, and many other services more affordable for working people, and expand child tax credits for most families. The American Families Plan and President Biden’s tax plan provide a way for us to address these issues facing working families, and the popular support for this approach in the Granite State shows how much people want to see this happen.”

Maggie Fogarty, Director, American Friends Service Committee – NH: “It’s long past time for us to end the massive corporate tax breaks and loopholes for the wealthy that continually put the burden back onto working families while those same families face cuts to the programs and services that allow them to fully participate in the economy. This is the same message many of us advocated around during the state budget process, when we called to invest in our critical public infrastructure and our families by fairly taxing the wealthy and corporations. We have a real opportunity to do the right thing at the federal level right now, and it is important that elected officials listen to the opinions of their constituents.”

You can download a detailed memo from Hart Research and ALG Research and a PowerPoint deck below.

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Junior Trump Staffer Enters NH-01 Race Despite Granite Staters’ Clear Rejection of Trump Agenda

MANCHESTER, NH – Former Trump White House Communications staffer Karoline Leavitt announced her run for Congress today, lauding so-called progress made under the Trump Administration and promising a return to the anti-democratic values of the disgraced former President. Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins released the following statement:

“Granite Staters very clearly rejected the Trump agenda last year, but former Trump staffer Karoline Leavitt is sadly still proud of her role in the trainwreck that was the Trump era. It’s disturbing that Leavitt continues to tout an administration that peddled lies and disinformation as we witnessed the death of 400,000 Americans and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The Trump Administration’s legacy is one that emboldened white supremacists and instigated a deadly insurrection on our nation’s capital through vicious, hate-filled rhetoric and disinformation, in addition to encouraging foreign nations to interfere in our elections. New Hampshire is still dealing with the rise of white nationalism spurred by the Trump Administration, and we don’t need more racist dog whistles from the likes of Karoline Leavitt.”

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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. 

ICYMI: Tennessee Educator Fired in Anti-CRT Backlash, Symbol of What’s to Come Under Sununu’s Ban on Truthful Teaching

Picture of teacher Matthew Hawn

CONCORD, NH – New Hampshire racial justice advocates who have been organizing against the “divisive concepts” language inserted into the state budget and passed by Governor Chris Sununu were dismayed to learn that an educator in Tennessee, Matthew Hawn, was fired by his school board for violating a similar state law. The law in Tennessee was also inspired by the Trump Administrations’ Executive Order 13950, which served as the catalyst for Sununu’s law banning important conversations around systemic racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, and more. Coalition members released the following statements: 

Grace Kindeke, Program Coordinator, American Friends Services Committee NH: “This disturbing but unsurprising termination is an alarming indication of the ways these censorship laws will stifle educators and uphold white supremacy. Mr. Hawn was willing to lose his job in order to teach his students the truth. Systems of oppression take on many forms and those who uphold white supremacy use respectability and narrow definitions of what is considered appropriate in order to silence and deny any truth that challenges or highlights the violence being perpetuated against historically marginalized communities.”

Clifton West Jr., Executive Director, Black Lives Matter Seacoast: “What is most disturbing from a Black Lives Matter perspective is the reasoning for the educator’s dismissal. The school board, acting on behalf of the state government of Tennessee, demanded that Mr. Hawn teach an alternative viewpoint to the very existence of white supremacy. The existence of white supremacy is not a viewpoint, it is a fact. We are seeing the degradation of fact and the dilution of Black American history happen before our very eyes. I applaud this teacher for his moral courage in educating about the pervasiveness of white supremacy. I know we have strong educators here in New Hampshire who will not back down from teaching the truth about the societal ills of white supremacy and systemic oppression, and those educators should know that Black Lives Matter supports them in this important work.” 

Zandra Rice Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress: “The news from Tennessee is deeply troubling. Sununu and his Republican majorities in the State House have already emboldened white nationalists and other far right actors to disrupt local school board meetings and target educators for providing students with age-appropriate curriculum regarding our nation’s history and present. Every student deserves to learn about our country’s history, good and bad, and to engage in conversations about our future. The people trying to stop these conversations are the same ones who oppose diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, including accepting and embracing all students regardless of race, gender identity, physical and mental ability, sexual orientation, and other ways in which our society routinely marginalizes people.”

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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.

Complicit Chris Sununu Cowardly Signs Budget in Private, Endorsing White Supremacy, Misogyny, and Ableism Behind Closed Doors

CONCORD, NH – Governor Chris Sununu signed into law today one of the most extreme, hyper-partisan, toxic budgets in New Hampshire history. Sununu signed the heavily criticized bill behind closed doors just a day after it was passed by the House and Senate, just as he lobbied for it behind closed doors while repeatedly telling the press that it was “not his bill” when questioned about the real and devastating impacts of it. 

Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins:

“Governor Chris Sununu is so embarrassed by this toxic and extreme budget that he won’t even sign it in a public ceremony. That’s because Chris Sununu knows that this budget does not reflect the values or priorities of Granite Staters. It is nothing more than a wishlist for far-right, dark money special interest groups. It leaves our communities underfunded and starved for resources while his corporate buddies and ultra-wealthy campaign donors get a payday. It silences necessary conversations about systemic racism, sexism, and ableism while giving a wink and a nudge to already emboldened white nationalists. It criminalizes medical procedures and mandates unnecessary and invasive examinations while defunding the providers who are equipped to give that care. How embarrassed do you have to be to sign an all-Republican state budget right before Friday at 5:00 pm with no fanfare? Sununu knows this budget harms Granite State families and priorities. Now our job is to make sure everyone else does too.”

Background: Sununu’s budget includes an anti-American ban on teaching about systemic racism, sexism, and ableism; the first abortion ban in New Hampshire’s history along with a mandate for medically unnecessary and invasive ultrasounds; the most expansive school voucher program in the nation; the defunding of the Department of Health and Human Services during an ongoing pandemic and recession’ massive corporate and special interest tax breaks; and a bailout for wealthy victims of a Ponzi scheme while average Granite State families will see a property tax hike.

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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.