Newsletter - May 2019
Last month I celebrated Passover with my family in Tucson, Arizona, remembering the story of the Jews’ escape from slavery, remembering how my grandmother came to America in 1913 at age 14 from Russian Poland, but a decade later was not able to bring any other members of her family over, due to the US government's arbitrary quotas on Jewish refugees. Most of her family died in the Holocaust.
During our family Seder, we read, “You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the feelings of the stranger, having yourselves been strangers in Egypt. When strangers reside with you in your land, you shall not wrong them. You shall love them as yourself, for you were strangers in Egypt. You shall rejoice with the stranger, and the orphan, and the widow in your midst. You shall not subvert the rights of the stranger or the orphan.”
The following day, Easter Sunday, my family filled up a pickup truck with juice boxes, bottle water, fruit cups, boxed milk and dozens of pairs of new socks and went to the Benedictine monastery in Tucson where hundreds of Central American asylum seekers are being dropped off by ICE before traveling to meet up with their sponsors. Most of the asylum seekers at the monastery had walked from Honduras or Guatemala and had then been detained by ICE for days or even weeks. Some were so weak they were not able to eat solid food.
At the monastery, the Alitas program, run by Catholic Community Services of Southern AZ, provided medical care, meals, changes of clothing, assistance contacting relatives. My brother and I spent the day in the kitchen helping to prepare dinner for that evening. My other family members helped migrant men, women and children find shoes, changes of clothing, toiletries as well as new belts and shoelaces to replace the ones confiscated by ICE.
It’s taking me quite some time to process how this experience made me feel. Grateful that I was able to help, angry that the help is needed in the first place. Hopeful because organizations like Alitas exist.
If you would like to help Alitas help other asylum seekers, you can make a donation online.
Presidential Candidates in Hollis
A bounty of riches! Over the last month, the Hollis Democrats welcomed three presidential candidates to speak with us about their vision for the future and to take questions on pressing issues. Keep your eye on future newsletters, email blasts and our event pages on Facebook and our website for upcoming presidential candidate events. These are often set up with little notice, but we’ll do our best to get the word out! Note: hosting an event does not imply an endorsement or favorability of any kind to any Democratic candidates actively engaged in competitive primary contests.
Governor Jay Inslee
Governor Jay Inslee visited Hollis on Sunday, April 14th at the Lawrence Barn, and we nearly had a full house! The event was co-sponsored by the Hollis, Temple and New Ipswich Democrats, the Sierra Club, Rights & Democracy and Echo Action and Citizens’ Climate Lobby. The event was moderated by Dan Weeks, and Jay spoke about his vision for addressing the defining issue of our time, climate change. Jay is passionate about addressing climate change.
Former Congressman John Delaney was at the Hollis Town Hall on Friday, May 10th, and the event was covered by C-SPAN and WMUR. If you missed the event but would like to watch it on C-SPAN, click here. Two of the key topics covered were his record of coalition building in the House of Representatives and his goal of raising the level of debate on key issues in this country.
The Hollis, Temple and New Ipswich Democrats hosted Andrew Yang for a Town Hall meeting at the Lawrence Barn on Saturday, May 11th. Steve Marchand provided a lively introduction to Andrew, who then discussed several topics, including his ideas on a Universal Basic Income. During the Q&A session, other topics, such as healthcare, gun control and the opioid crisis were discussed.
Our next meeting will be a watch party for the new Netflix original film Knock Down the House. This movie takes us behind the scenes as four determined women – including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – challenge big-money politicians in the 2018 race for Congress. Popcorn will be provided; feel free to bring a dessert to share.
When: Tuesday, May 28, 2018, 6:30pm
Where: Lawrence Barn, Hollis
If the past seven days have taught us anything, it's that we need grassroots activism now more than ever. Just days before Mother's Day, Governor Sununu shot down New Hampshire's opportunity for paid family and medical leave. As just another lie from Sununu, his veto killed a program that he promised to support and reminds us on his thinking of paid family and medical leave as "a vacation" - not recognizing at all that it's a time when families are strained and stressed. This is a prime example of Sununu's lack of empathy towards hard-working Granite Staters that cannot afford to take time off work during dire personal circumstances. Luckily, we have dedicated Democratic legislators in Concord that lead on important issues for the people of New Hampshire! They will continue to fight for the needs of everyone, and need your help in the coming days, weeks, months, and years of your grassroots activism to get it done.
Capitol Beat by Kat McGhee
In my last Capitol Beat, I promised to give you an update on what I’ve been working on since heading to my first House Session on January 4, 2019.
Many of you know that I passed a Hollis warrant article a few years ago asking Congress for a Constitutional Amendment to undo CItizen’s United and ‘Get the Money Out of Politics.’ As a new member of the House, I decided to reinvigorate that effort at the state level with a House Concurrent Resolution (HCR5) which passed the House on ‘pi day’ 3-14! If the Senate agrees to take up this HCR and passes it, New Hampshire will become the 20th state to call for ‘Getting the Money Out of Politics’.
As a new member of Science, Technology & Energy (ST&E), I have had a busy term visiting power stations, listening to the testimony of energy stakeholders and advocates and trying to keep up with all the proposed policies aimed at helping New Hampshire move forward to meet the moment.
I sponsored one ST&E bill with amendment HB412 to study how we can attain a clean energy electric grid by 2030. It was retained and work will resume later this year.
I signed on to several Municipal Government bills sponsored by Hollis colleague Rep. Jim Belanger, one passed the House HB149 on apportionment formulas. I supported Rep. Joelle Martin’s (Milford) bill HB680 to add vaping as a smoking product under the cigarette statute (passed House/retained by Ways and Means).
I delivered the floor speech from ST&E on Rep. Rosemary Rung’s (Merrimack) bill HB614 to increase fines for water and air polluters to help NH DES deal with offenders (passed House/Senate report pending). I co-sponsored four Senate energy bills from Senator Fuller-Clark (SB13, SB122, SB123, SB284) and testified on same when not in committee.
My committee Chair recently tapped me to Chair a Subcommittee for one of the Senate bills I co-sponsored: SB284 a statewide, multi-use online energy data platform to be overseen by the Public Utilities Commission and operated by the state utilities.
This bill came over to ST&E having passed in the Senate with the reputation that it was not ready and likely to be retained. I was given 10 days to run a bi-partisan SubCommittee to turn it around and get all the parties on board. After several large, 2 hour meetings, the PUC’s Consumer Advocate and the utilities came together to amend the bill language. Everyone had the chance to air their concerns and identify benefits to NH, its electric customers and our deregulated electric market.
I presented this project to the House of Representatives on May 8th and all those who worked so hard to reach this milestone were gratified to see SB284 pass 218-133! Next step: to meet with the Governor along with with Donald Kreis, PUC Consumer Advocate, and get this worthy project over its final hurdle. Wish us luck!
The Science, Technology & Energy Committee worked very hard on energy policy to incentivize greater adoption of clean energy and to properly fund energy efficiency programs. From bills that fund low-income customers, school districts and municipal renewable projects, to those that raise the net-metering cap or set a state fleet goal of 100% zero emissions vehicles by 2039, we are increasing NH’s commitment to address climate change.
The work I’ve done since starting as your State Rep has shown me that one person can make a difference. I had a first-year goal to build credibility among my peers and with our leadership and to learn the ropes of lawmaking. I got to make 3 floor speeches and each bill passed. I’ve not seen any pettiness or wasted efforts by Democrats in moving our agenda and that is a comfort. Democrats are focused on fixes and working hard for those who elected us.
I’ll keep working across the aisle for bipartisan support wherever possible, but in the meantime, make no mistake that it is oh-so-nice, to have the majority and be able to get important work done!
Till next time remember: #DemsDoTheJob
Please feel free to reach out with any questions.
Elizabeth is returning to New Hampshire! Her team will be hosting a town hall with Elizabeth in Nashua on Sunday, May 19 at the Adult Learning Center, 4 Lake Street, Nashua. Doors will open at 1:15pm and the event will start at 2:15pm. Click here to RSVP.