RAD Member Spotlight: Nikki Casey

Rights & Democracy (RAD) is only as strong as the volunteer members and leaders who comprise a wide array of policy teams as well as our board of directors.

Who are these amazing volunteer leaders? Starting this month, we’re going to start profiling these folks and let them tell you a bit more about themselves, such as how they got involved with RAD, why they continue to support RAD, and the first question they'd ask if after waking up from being cryogenically frozen for 100 years.

This month we’re profiling Nikki Casey, who has quickly become an important voice in our progressive movement. She is currently the co-chair of the Rights & Democracy Education Fund, our 501(c)3 affiliate. Nikki delivered an incredibly powerful introductory speech for Sen. Bernie Sanders at our Labor Day Celebration in Concord — before a crowd of more than 1200 people!

NikkiCasey_3976.jpgRAD: How did you first get involved with RAD - when and why? How has your involvement grown since you first began? What aspect of this work do you most appreciate?

NIKKI: I first became involved with RAD on Labor Day of 2016. After Bernie had lost the election it made me realize how much work needed to be done. I realized that if the Revolution that we all talked about was going to happen, it had to happen as a group and a collective. That's the vision that RAD has and it aligns with my core belief system.

I started by selling raffle tickets, attending meetings, speaking out at rallies put on by RAD, to eventually introducing Bernie Sanders at the Labor Day event this year. And, now I'm the co-chair of RAD's 501(c)3 board.

What I appreciate most is the platform RAD has created. Their whole concept is centered on empowering people in their communities, and I've seen that create a ripple effect. For example, I've attended a day-long training through RAD, and the skills and tools I took away from that training I now use at my own job working with volunteers.

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School Voucher Bill Could Annually Rob NH Public Schools of $32 Million

A bill that could drain up to $32 million from Granite State’s public schools will be voted on next week in the House Education Committee and we are urging folks to call some key State Representatives to help defeat it!

The bill was supposed to be taken up on Nov. 8th, but calls from citizens helped to stall its approval as some committee members remain undecided, or are having second thoughts about supporting the legislation. They are now expected to take this up at their Wednesday, Nov. 15th meeting.

The committee's undecided members include the following:

1200px-New_Hampshire_State_House_5.JPGRepublicans on the House Education Committee did not have the necessary votes to move the bill forward. It's likely that one more amendments will be proposed to address concerns of some committee members. One proposal could be to limit the cap on the number of students in each school district that can access the vouchers.

Regardless of these amendments the fundamental purpose of the bill has not changed. This egregious bill would drain money from our public schools by enabling parents to receive 95 percent of the per-pupil state grant, or about $3,600, that would otherwise go to the student’s designated public school district. This money could be used by parents to cover tuition or other costs associated with educating their child in a private school, or in a home-school setting. The loss of funding to this state’s public schools is estimated to range from $6.3 million to $32 million to start, and only gets worse over time.

Take a stand in support of our public schools and please email or these representatives and urge them to oppose SB 193 and support funding for our public schools.

Click here to see all members of the House Education Committee, and spread the word to your friends and family throughout the state.

Thank you for standing up for public education in New Hampshire, a bedrock of our democracy and civil society.

If you have questions, contact RAD-NH Lobbyist Kerry Coock at
kclock1@gmail.com, or call him at (603) 724-4000.


Victories!

What an election night!

In New Hampshire and throughout the country this past Tuesday, we saw voters reject hateful and divisive rhetoric and policies and embrace candidates who offer a hopeful vision of the future that is progressive and inclusive. 
 
Rights & Democracy was excited to endorse a strong slate of amazing candidates throughout the Granite State, especially in Nashua and Manchester.

In Manchester, Dave Scannell (School Board Ward 2) and Dan Bergeron (School Board, Ward 6) were big winners. Our other endorsed candidates — some of them first-time candidates — didn't win this time around, but we do hope they'll try it again. Peter Macone, who ran for Alderman Ward 6, lost by just 25 votes. In addition, RAD Leader Laura Aronson was elected moderator in Ward 12.

In Nashua, it was a near clean sweep with 9 of 10 endorsed candidates winning, including: Aldermen Dave Tencza and Brandon Laws (At-Large); Alderwomen Jan Schmidt (Ward 1), Trish Klee (Ward 3), and Linda Gathright (Ward 9); and, Ernie Jette (Ward 5). On the Board of Education, RAD-endorsed candidates Gloria Timmons, Heather Raymond, and Ray Guarino won election.

Other election highlights from New Hampshire:

A huge congratulations to everyone who ran for office, supported our candidates, and showed up to vote. If you'd like to get more involved in Rights & Democracy, consider attending our December 10th Membership Assembly and Human Rights Celebration at Lebanon High School.

Details:

RAD_Platform_Logo1.pngDECEMBER 10: RIGHTS & DEMOCRACY'S ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP ASSEMBLY & CELEBRATION
WHEN: Sunday, December 10, 1-6PM
WHERE: 
Lebanon High School, 195 Hanover St., Lebanon, NH

FROM PROTEST TO POWER: ORGANIZING IN 2018 AND BEYOND:
Join members of Rights & Democracy from across Vermont and New Hampshire for our annual membership assembly and celebration. We will celebrating RAD members for key victories in our states and DC this year and look to the movement organizing that lay ahead for us in 2018 and beyond, including our multi-issue People’s Platform for each state. If you are not a member of Rights & Democracy, but are interested in learning more about becoming  one or if you have child care or accessibility or interpretation needs, contact us at info@radvt.org

See you there as we plan for more victories in New Hampshire for 2018!


RAD Endorsed! Nashua Muncipal Candidates Edition

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Rights & Democracy New Hampshire is please to announce its endorsements for candidates in the upcoming municipal elections in Nashua.

RAD NH's Movement Politics team - comprised of community members - spent time reading through candidate questionnaires and interviewing the candidates before making their endorsements.

One of RAD's long-term goals is to not just work on issues, but help elect the next generation of leaders who will build a better New Hampshire.

In order to change the course of our state, and our nation, we need to be building power at all levels of electoral politics—and especially at the local level on our school boards, councils, and aldermanic boards.

RAD is proud to endorse these candidates who have proven that they will put the health and future of their community first, and will work on policies that lift up their neighbors, rather than divide them.

We also recently announced endorsements in Manchester's municipal elections. If you are a candidate would like to know more about being endorsed by RAD NH, just email elections@radnh.org

Pictured above – Top Row (l-r): Patricia Klee, Ernest Jette; Middle Row (l-r): Linda Gathright, Brandon Laws; Bottom Row (l-r): Ray Guarino, Heather Raymond, Gloria Timmons)

 

BOARD OF ALDERMEN

Linda Gathright – Alderman Ward 9

 

BOARD OF EDUCATION

Ray Guarino – Board of Education
Gloria Timmons – Board of Education

RAD Endorsed! Manchester Municipal Candidates Edition

Rights & Democracy New Hampshire is please to announce its endorsements for candidates in the upcoming municipal elections in Manchester.

RAD NH's Movement Politics team - comprised of community members - spent time reading through candidate questionnaires and interviewing the candidates before making their endorsements.

One of RAD's long-term goals is to not just work on issues, but help elect the next generation of leaders who will build a better New Hampshire.

In order to change the course of our state, and our nation, we need to be building power at all levels of electoral politics—and especially at the local level on our school boards, councils, and aldermanic boards.

RAD is proud to endorse these candidates who have proven that they will put the health and future of their community first, and will work on policies that lift up their neighbors, rather than divide them.

We also recently announced endorsements in Nashua's municipal elections. If you are a candidate would like to know more about being endorsed by RAD NH, just email elections@radnh.org

 

Board of Alderman

Peter Macone – Ward 6 Alderman

Brenda Noiseux – Ward 7 Alderwoman

Hassan Essa – Ward 12 Alderman

 

School Committee

David Scannell – Ward 2 School Committee

Dan Bergeron - Ward 6 School Committee

Ethan Moorhouse – Ward 7 School Committee

Thomas McGee – Ward 10 School Committee

Connie VanHouten – Ward 12 School Committee

 

 


Photo Petition: Tell Congress No Tax Tricks on Working Families to Give Treats to Millionaires!

HC_trick_treat.jpgThis Halloween, it’s not only millions of American kids who will be out trick or treating. Republican members of the House and Senate will be trick or treating, too.

 

Unfortunately for the American people, they won’t be dressing up and going door-to-door for candy. Instead, they will be in the halls of Congress moving ahead with budget resolutions that trick working families across this country to give treats to the wealthy and corporations.

 

The House and Senate have both passed budget resolutions that provide the rich and corporations trillions of dollars in tax cuts paid for by gutting Medicaid, Medicare, education, and critical public services. The resolutions establish a framework for legislation to actually implement these tax cuts by defunding programs we care about.

 

But we can’t allow all the candy—in the form of massive tax breaks—to continue to go to those whose pockets are already overflowing. This Halloween, we will stand together in opposition to the Republican plan that’s a trick for families (cuts to health care) to pay for treats (big tax breaks) for millionaires, billionaires like President Donald Trump, and corporations. 

 

As part of a national day of Trick or Treat Actions across the country, on Halloween, Tuesday October 31, join our photo petition to reject the Trump/GOP budget plan that slashes funding for Medicaid, Medicare, education, and other vital social safety net programs.

 

Take a photo of yourself, your friends, and/or your family in your Halloween finest, with the above sign (click here to download and print your own) to demonstrate your opposition to Trump and the Congressional GOP’s trick of the American people!

 

Then upload your picture to this Facebook event to make your voice heard!

 

 

*** Photo Release: Uploading your photo to this Facebook page confers consent to the reproduction and public use of your photo by Rights & Democracy.


Senate Budget Resolution Vote Puts Health Care for Granite Staters At Risk

The U.S. Senate voted late last evening to approve a Budget Resolution that sets a framework for cuts to federal health care and education as well as tax cuts that mainly benefit corporations and the wealthiest households. The Resolution includes a $1.5 trillion tax cut that will increase the deficit and may force cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, education, and other services that families rely on.

We are thankful that in New Hampshire our Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan voted against the Resolution that could put Medicaid for 171, 500 Granite Staters and Medicare for 266,210 people with disabilities and seniors at risk.

The Senate budget includes $5.8 trillion in cuts to federal spending, including nearly $500 billion from Medicare and $1.3 trillion from Medicaid and other health care programs. Another $650 billion may be cut from income security programs, such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for individuals with disabilities, and tax credits for working families.

Time and time again, the Republicans in Congress have shown that their priority is taking care of the rich and big business, not the vast majority of Americans. They started with trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which would have taken health coverage and Medicaid from millions. Failing in that effort, thanks to the resistance mobilized by thousands of American, they have now turned to a budget plan that would make even more cuts to health care and other programs—all to give tax breaks to the people who need them least.

We’re so grateful that we can depend on Senators Shaheen and Hassan to stand up against cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, and other programs that families depend on. We will continue to need the Senators’ leadership as the GOP and President Trump move forward on implementing their plan for massive tax breaks for the rich and corporations paid for by cuts to our health care and education.

NH2tg.pngThe Senate budget resolution creates instructions to make these cuts and write legislation with tax breaks that mainly benefit the wealthiest among us based on a framework laid out by President Trump earlier this year. Under the GOP plan, the richest 1% in New Hampshire would receive about 53.3% of the tax breaks.

These New Hampshire households are projected to have an income of at least $545,600 next year. The framework would provide them an average tax cut of $69,390 in 2018, which would increase their income by an average of 4.2 percent, while the poorest 20% of Granite Staters would see only 2.2% of the tax breaks under this proposal.

Rights & Democracy stands in opposition to the Trump-GOP tax plan that cuts health care, education, and other key social safety net programs to give tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans and corporations whose pockets and company coffers are already overflowing.

"Now, more than ever, we must reject a budget passed on the backs of low income folks, working families and America’s shrinking middle class. We must join together to fight for the health care and other programs hundreds of thousands of people in New Hampshire depend on," said Jessica Early, RAD's Health Care Justice Organizer.

"We are asking our members to call on Governor Sununu at (603) 271-2121 today and ask him to stand with Granite Staters—not with millionaires and billionaires—and urge him to reject his party’s tax plan," Early added.


Rights & Democracy NH Opposes Trump's Executive Orders

With the recent defeat of Graham Cassidy and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal efforts that preceded, we thought the battle to save our health care was won.

 

Unfortunately, yesterday President Trump demonstrated unequivocally that this battle is far from over—he is directly attacking women, the middle class, and the poor in his effort to strip millions more from having necessary access to health care in order to provide tax breaks for the wealthy and powerful.

 

Rights & Democracy stands in opposition to Trump and the GOP Congressional leadership’s inhumane and immoral attack on the health care of hundreds of thousands of Granite Staters and millions of Americans. We stand in support of our members of Congress (see Senator Hassan’s statement and Senator Shaheen’s statement)  in their resistance to these proposals and we call on Governor Chris Sununu to do the same.

 

Now more than ever, we need to together build a health care system that serves us all. Call Gov. Chris Sununu at (603) 271-2121 and tell him to speak up against Trump's reckless sabotage—particularly Trump's latest decision to stop cost-sharing reduction payments.

 

Last night the President announced that he will end Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) payments that lower costs for more than 6 million people who buy coverage on the exchange. Uncertainty about the future of these CSRs is key reason that many insurers are substantially hiking their rates for 2018—some by more than 20 percent. Some insurers have also left the market. Even Republicans are worried about how this decision will drive up costs and leave millions uninsured.

 

In addition to the elimination of CSR payments, Trump issued a new executive order that allows health association plans to sell watered down health coverage that doesn’t meet current standards under the ACA. This executive order includes provisions like those in the ACA repeal bills that were roundly rejected earlier in the year by both lawmakers and the public. Trump’s order loosens up rules for insurance companies so that they can go back to refusing coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, charging them more for their coverage, and selling bogus plans that don’t even include essential health benefits like maternity care, mental health and prescription drugs that are required for plans sold in the ACA marketplaces. These plans could even have lifetime and annual benefit caps.

 

Waiving ACA protections means these plans can cherry pick young, healthy consumers and pull them out of the existing individual health insurance market, leading to a market dominated by older and sicker people. That means that rates will skyrocket, insurers will flee, and, ultimately, the entire private health insurance market could collapse.

 

Finally, the Trump Administration has launched a full on assault on women’s reproductive health with a sweeping new rule that eliminates free contraceptive coverage based on any religious or “moral” objections from the employer. This is a significant departure from the existing law, which allowed exemptions for religious employers like churches and Catholic hospitals only. Under the new rule, any employer, not just religious ones, can deny coverage for birth control based on their own personal religious beliefs or “moral” objections.  

 

Through the ACA, employers were required to include no-cost birth control coverage in their health insurance plans. More than 55 million women have access to birth control without co-payments because of that guarantee – saving them $1.4 billion in 2013 alone. But now these 55 million women could lose access to free contraception if their bosses decide they suddenly have a "moral" objection to paying for it. As a result, millions of American women and families could be left without affordable birth control.

 

The eliminations of CSR payments, the executive order on health association plans, and the new rule denying contraceptive coverage to millions of women, all make it clear: Trump doesn’t care about the will of the people who have rejected the Republican agenda for health care over the past several months.

 

Instead of listening to Americans, Trump is charging full-steam ahead with his stated goal of ACA repeal through a political campaign to sabotage the ACA by forcing premium increases, creating instability in the market, actively interfering with the ability of consumers to sign up for coverage, and rolling back the no-cost birth control for 55 million women.

 

When coupled with the Republican budget proposal working its way through Congress now—which includes massive cuts to Medicaid and further privatizes Medicare—Trump’s sabotage would mean the destruction of our health system as we know it. We will return to the days when being sick could bar you from coverage. We will return to the days when being a woman meant discrimination in the health care system. And we will see Medicaid and Medicare—two programs essential to the quality of life of millions of Americans—irreversibly transformed leading to access and lower quality care.

 

And what does Trump and his GOP backers in Congress gain from robbing millions of their health care? Huge tax breaks for corporations and the wealthiest Americans.


Granite Staters Reject Cuts to Medicare & Medicaid to Pay for Tax Cuts

National Day of Action Calls on Congress to Protect Health Care for Millions in the Budget and Reject Massive Tax Breaks for Wealthiest Americans

 

 

Manchester, NH – After Congress spent weeks once again attempting to repeal the Affordable Care Act, more than 30 Granite Staters attended a community forum co-organized by Granite State Organizing Project (GSOP) and Rights & Democracy (RAD) on Wednesday, October 4 to educate the public on the Congressional  budget proposal.

 

New Hampshire seniors, working people, State Rep. Robert Backus, and voices from the front lines of healthcare including doctors gathered to discuss what’s at stake under budget plans.

 

These Granite Staters joined hundreds of others across the country at similar events for this national day of action led by Health Care for America Now (HCAN). On this day of action, grassroots groups across the country mobilized against the latest effort to strip health care from millions of Americans while at the same time advancing a tax cut proposal that benefits primarily the richest 1 percent of households.

 

The event highlighted the devastating impacts of the House  Budget Resolution, which cuts $1.5 trillion from health care, especially Medicaid while giving tax breaks to the rich and corporations. The resolution includes the adoption of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) repeal proposal that the House passed in May that could take healthcare away from over 23 million people and make permanent cuts to Medicaid for seniors, people with disabilities, children, and veterans.  House Speaker Paul Ryan plans a vote on the House budget proposal this week.

 

“We’ve seen time and again that Congress will stop at nothing to strip millions of Americans of vital care, and now they are using the budget process to make the same kind of devastating cuts to health care that were so unpopular in the last few repeal bills,” said Viola Katusiime, an Organizer for GSOP. “Americans across the country rose up to beat back repeated attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and we will remain vigilant as Congress tries to gut essential health care programs to pay for tax breaks for the 1 percent.”

 

The proposed budget cuts would fundamentally transform Medicaid for the worse, ending its guarantee of coverage for children, seniors, and people with disabilities including 171,500 New Hampshire Medicaid recipients. These cuts would also be a devastating blow to New Hampshire’s state budget and cripple its ability to face public health emergencies like the opioid crisis, which is ravaging communities across the Granite State (since under the administration plans it will be up to each state alone to manage health care emergencies without additional support from the federal government).

 

Medicare serves more than 55 million people ages 65 and over and people with permanent disabilities, including 266,210 people in New Hampshire. But the Medicare cuts of $487 billion over 10 years and efforts to privatize Medicare through vouchers in the budget resolution would devastate this program and leave seniors and people with permanent disabilities without an affordable option for care.

 

At the same time, the federal budget proposal includes trillions of dollars in tax breaks for the rich and corporations. Under the administration’s proposed tax plan, wealthy households’ income tax rate will be reduced by almost 5 percent, and the corporate tax rate will drop by 15 percent, among a variety of other tax breaks. These tax cuts in total will cost $1.5 trillion – the same amount as the health care cuts in the House budget resolution, including significant Medicaid cuts and $500 billion in new cuts to Medicare, a vital program for seniors.

 

While Senator Jeanne Shaheen regrettably could not attend the event she voiced her solidarity with the Granite Staters in attendance in a letter she sent to them:

“I share your commitment to supporting the individuals who rely on the quality, consistent access to health care services that Medicare and Medicaid offer. We must continue to invest in them and resist reckless attempts to cut these programs by prioritizing tax cuts for the wealthy. Please be assured that, in reviewing any new tax proposals, I will be looking to see how the plan will impact middle-class families and small businesses across the state of New Hampshire.”

To learn more about how Granite Staters are fighting this unjust and immoral budget, please contact Viola Katusiime with Granite State Organizing Project at violakat@granitestateorganizing.org or Kathy Staub with Rights & Democracy at kathy@radnh.org.


6000 Doors. 20 Days. One Huge NH Senate Victory!

Cavanaugh-Filing-2.jpegCongratulations on a huge victory this week in Senate District 16, proving that progressive grassroots action is alive and well in the Granite State.

 

This is a major victory on a path to reclaim power in New Hampshire, and across the country, in the 2018 elections and build a true, progressive movement in the Granite State.

 

Democratic Manchester Ward 1 Alderman Kevin Cavanaugh defeated Republican and former State Senator David Boutin in a special state Senate election on Tuesday by a solid 55-44 margin. Boutin had held the seat from 2010 through 2016 and was better-known districtwide than Cavanaugh, but Cavanaugh’s team built a strong, coordinated get-out-the-vote effort and RAD worked with progressive partners in the state to run a robust field campaign independent of the candidate, and the party, ultimately securing a significant victory.

 

Voter turnout was 21 percent, a clear indication that the extensive voter outreach and mobilization campaigns run by the candidate and by independent progressive organizations made all the difference.

 

The Democratic Leadership Campaign Committee, National Education Association (NEA), NEA NH, Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund, AFSCME, IBEW 2320, and Rights & Democracy collaborated on an independent expenditure program through America Votes NH.

 

RAD alone knocked on 6000 doors over 20 days and had 1,648 conversations with voters.

 

But this is just the beginning. Join the RAD statewide Movement Politics team to be part of setting our progressive road map through 2020. E-mail organizer Maria Fitzsimmons to learn more.

 

We’ve launched Progressive Manchester NH to mobilize grassroots support to reclaim Manchesterand make it a thriving and vibrant city that works for the people who live here. Or, join the crew in Nashua on July 31 to help stack the school board and board of aldermen with grassroots, progressive leadership.

 

The municipal elections are on November 7, 2017, so join the effort!



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