Tuesday, December 2, 2014

My last day in politics...

For now.

Today is the last day that I will be a State Representative. To those who helped me get there, thank you. To those that supported me while I was in office, thank you. To those who encouraged me to run again, thank you. I will certainly miss serving in the State House but I didn't feel that I was able to fulfill all my duties as well as possible with a full time job, two young children, and an insanely tolerant and supportive wife.

I will run again. In a different season of my life I will most certainly take another shot at being a politician. For now, however, it is time to move on.

Don't despair, there will be many more blog posts to come. With the new year only a few weeks away, I am already beginning to scribble down goals for 2015. Many of them are unreached goals for 2014. Others are new goals. One of these new goals is to write 500 words per day. Its a goal from one of my new favorite apps, Lift, and the challenges is #500WED. I'm not certain how many words I've written so far but be sure that I will be writing both here and at my yet-to-be-released technology blog- my other passion. Supposedly if you write every day you will get better. I hope so.

I look forward to writing about local and national politics completely from the outside. Hopefully we will re-legalize marijuana here in NH (and across the country). Hopefully the legislature won't waste time repealing gay marriage, Obamacare, or other monumental pieces of legislation both in this state and across the country. Hopefully we continue making the world a better place for our children, which, I believe, is why most of us do whatever it is that we do every day.

This post must be inching up on 500 words and I"m enjoying an episode of Top Gear (the original UK version, not the terrible US version). I look forward to continuing this journey with you.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Telephone Scam Alert!!!

I received this in my legislative email and it seems like all residents in NH may be targeted so I wanted to share this:

Dear Senators, Representatives, and Legislative Staff:

 

Please be advised that there is a telephone scam currently active in New Hampshire and members of the House, Senate, and staff have reported receiving these calls. In an effort to protect you and your families from this scam, we wanted to make sure you had the following information in case you receive one of these phone calls.

 

According to the NH State Police, the calls appear to originate in Eastern Europe, are routed through Canada, and are then placed through an automated dialing computer. The scam appears to currently be targeting southern New Hampshire phone numbers, but may include phone numbers from across the state. The caller advises the recipient that a family member has been injured or incarcerated and needs money immediately.  The caller goes on to state that if financial assistance in the form of a gift, money card, telephonic or electronic transfer is not forthcoming, the family member will not be helped and will remain in jail or in the hospital.  In one instance, the caller stated that the recipient’s brother would be killed. 

 

If you or a family member receives a similar telephone call, please do not attempt to send any form of currency or electronic card.  Instead, please contact Protective Services Chief Joyner or the NH State Police by calling (603) 271-3321.  The State Police and Attorney General’s office are already working on this scam, but any new information would be helpful to their investigation.

 

Thank you all for your attention to this scam and please let us know if you have any questions or further concerns.

 

Ryan Mahoney

House Chief of Staff

 

Jay Flanders

Senate Chief of Staff

 



Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Why I'm voting to legalize weed

Sure, I could have been more politically correct with my title and called it marijuana or cannabis, or I could have called it by any one of its dozens of nicknames but that's not important.  
http://i84.photobucket.com/albums/k30/adude125/weednames.jpg


What is important, however, is that we need to stop putting people in jail for cultivating, selling, or consuming a plant that can be used not only as a recreational drug but as an incredibly useful fabric, oil, paper, or medicine.  We need to stop letting workers lose their jobs based solely on the results of a positive drug test and not on the performance of their job functions.  We also need to stop prohibiting people who could benefit medically from the use of marijuana from getting the medicine that they need.  

Drug tests are a joke.  Lance Armstrong demonstrated that.  I could shoot up heroin Friday night, get coked up on Saturday, and be drunk all weekend long.  I'd probably pass a drug test on Monday.  However, if I smoked a joint on the first day of a 2 week ski vacation in Colorado, I could lose my job.  This makes no sense.  By the way, opioids and cocaine have claimed hundreds of thousands of lives (source) while there are no documented cases of marijuana overdoses.   Ever.  

Thankfully the debate about legalizing marijuana is turning from "gateway drug" to more practical questions about how we would regulate it and what programs would need to be put in place.  We have two states now, Washington and Colorado, as models and I'd love for our "Live Free or Die!" state of New Hampshire to be number 3.  

There is so much more I had written but apparently the Blogger platform doesn't autosave as you type on an iPad app like every other Google-based platform...disappointed.  Oh well, we're hopefully voting on HB492 today and I'll be voting to overturn the ITL and legalize weed.    

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Fred Fuller oil delivery hotline

Here is a letter from our Governor about New Hampshire residents' difficulties with Fred Fuller oil deliveries.

Office of New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan

For Immediate Release: Contact: Marc Goldberg
Tuesday, January 7, 2014 Office: (603) 271-2121, Cell: (610) 716-5694

State Opens Hotline for Fred Fuller Oil Customers
Customers Who Are in Imminent Danger of Running Out of Home Heating Oil Can Call 603-227-0002

CONCORD – In response to the increasing concern from customers of Fred Fuller Oil Co. who have not been able to receive scheduled heating oil deliveries, Governor Maggie Hassan announced today that the state has established a 24/7 emergency hotline for residents who are in imminent danger of running out of home heating oil.

"I am very concerned about the news reports around delivery problems with Fred Fuller Oil Co., especially given the current cold temperatures and the potential health and safety risks to citizens. Fred Fuller is a private business, and the state has little legal authority to regulate its delivery practices. However, we do have a responsibility to act to protect the health and safety of our citizens," Governor Hassan said. "Through this hotline we will work to assist residents who are in imminent danger of running out of heating oil and are facing an emergency situation."

Fred Fuller Oil customers who have not been able to reach the company to schedule a delivery, and who are in imminent danger of running out of heating oil, can call 603-227-0002, where operators will try to work through Fred Fuller to arrange for a delivery, or connect them to other options where appropriate.

“This hotline will help ensure that those who are most at risk of running out of fuel are able to access the critical heating oil that they need,” Governor Hassan said. “In addition, the Attorney General’s office is actively reviewing the situation.”

Citizens are advised that a half tank of heating oil can last as long as a few weeks to a month, and a quarter tank as long as ten to twelve days, depending on the weather and your thermostat settings. Fred Fuller Oil customers are encouraged to only call 603-227-0002 if they are in imminent danger of running out of home heating oil.

Customers with non-emergency complaints may want to file their complaint with the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Bureau. Complaints can be filed online through the Attorney General's website at http://www.doj.nh.gov/consumer/complaints/index.htm. Consumers can also request a complaint form by calling the consumer hotline at 1-888-468-4454.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Happy Mother's Day, now get back to work...

Might as well be the name of the mislabeled "Working Families Flexibility Act" that just passed the House with a surprising 3 democratic votes.

This bill makes it possible for corporations to substitute  comp time for paid overtime.  They say that it'll allow people more time with their families but then why would they be working overtime in the first place???  Seems like me to be a way for employers to pocket what they would currently have to pay out in wages while screwing employees into working for free. 

The article linked to above lists a few other ways to give workers more time at home: mandatory paid sick leave, more paid vacation, higher minimum wages, and one if my own-paternity/maternity leave. 

Now get back to work...

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I got elected by people, not a corporation...

New Poll Shows New Hampshire Voters’ Strong Support for Limiting Money in Politics

April 23, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. – More than two-thirds of New Hampshire adults support a constitutional amendment to limit campaign contributions and spending, new polling data released today reveals. The statewide poll, conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center on behalf of People For the American Way, Public Citizen, Free Speech For People and the New Hampshire Coalition for Open Democracy, found that 69 percent of the state feels that such an amendment should be in place – including majorities of Democrats, Republicans and Independents.

The poll also found that 72 percent of respondents oppose (62 percent strongly oppose and 10 percent somewhat oppose) the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which allows corporations to spend an unlimited amount of money to influence elections. The full results of the poll can be found here.

This new data comes on the heels of the recent bipartisan passage in the New Hampshire House of HCR2, a resolution calling on Congress to amend the Constitution to overturn Citizens United by reestablishing the authority of the states and Congress to regulate corporate and special interest election spending. The resolution has moved to the Senate side of the General Court but is being stopped by a new Senate rule requiring a two-thirds supermajority vote to consider House resolutions. Release of the data also coincides with the Coalition for Open Democracy and Public Citizen’s Democracy In Motion Tour, a speaking tour through New Hampshire to get money out and voters in.

“These numbers make it clear that the political will exists to reclaim democracy from corporate and special interest spending – in New Hampshire and around the country,” said Marge Baker, executive vice president of People For the American Way. “Voters across the state are speaking out to insist that our democracy is truly of, by and for the people.”

“This poll shows New Hampshire voters, like most Americans, are fed up with the Citizens United anything-goes approach to money in politics. Six in 10 New Hampshire Republicans, nearly three out of four independents, and nearly eight in 10 Democrats support a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. That’s why 10 Republican Representatives joined Democrats in passing HCR2 at the state House last month, and why the state Senate should now also heed the will of the voters,” said Peter Schurman, campaign director at Free Speech For People.

“Across party lines, people in New Hampshire and across America agree that corporations have too much political power, that Citizens United was wrongly decided, and that we need a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and restore democracy,” said Jonah Minkoff-Zern, senior organizer of Democracy Is For People at Public Citizen. “The only question is: Are the politicians ready to follow the will of the people, rather than the giant campaign spenders?”

“New Hampshire senators need to pass HCR2 in the bipartisan way that the House did last month,” said Olivia Zink, program director at Coalition for Open Democracy. “This poll shows overwhelmingly that voters support an amendment that will stop the flood of special interest money pouring into New Hampshire.”

###

Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that has worked to protect health, safety and democracy since 1971.

© 2013 Public Citizen • 1600 20th Street, NW / Washington, D.C. 20009

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Why I voted for the Gas Tax

This video explains, in a nutshell, why I voted to bring our gas tax more in line with easy it actually costs to maintain our rags in New Hampshire.

Watch "NH Roads: How We Got Here" on YouTube

If you've been reading my blog then you probably know that I am from Massachusetts.  I don't want our roads to become Massachusetts' roads.

You don't need a "Welcome to Massachusetts" sign to know that you're not in New Hampshire anymore...your cart tells you so with the increased road noise and constant swerving and bouncing. 

I have already had to replace a set of tires this year due to a roads hazard on the Everett Turnpike. Yes, I know that highway is maintained by toll plazas but it nonetheless reminded me that a few cents per gallon will not add up to the $800 for a set of four new tires.

Despite what the opponents will tell you in 2014 when I'm running for reelection, we needed to raise this tax for many reasons:

-Our gas tax hasn't been increased in over 20 years but repair costs have increased 5x over that time.

-Cars are more fuel efficient now than they were 20 years ago so less gallons are being purchased (and less tax collected) per mile driven on our roads.

-The NHDOT is repaving decent roads every few years instead of repairing bad roads. This is because it costs 20x more money to repair a heavily damaged road. 

-Our gas prices are driven more by simple economics (supply/demand) than by the amount of taxes on gasoline.  New Hampshire's neighboring states have higher taxes than us but their gas prices are nearly identical, especially along our borders.

Unfortunately,  driving is a necessary evil for most people.  Even though I drive hundreds of miles daily, I still love driving. My car averages about 29 MPG but I wish it were better. Until we find a way to bring reasonable mass transit to all of New England, I'll be spending the majority of my days in my car.  When I used to work in an office, I would ride my bicycle 18 miles each way to work several days a week. If I have to go to the convenience store or supermarket,  I sometimes walk. When I can, I carpool with friends or colleagues.

We need to be smarter about how we get to our destinations and seek alternatives where available.  I don't think this fee increase will create an undue burden on our citizens. I don't think it's going to force us into the future of transportation by putting gas prices out of reach for drivers. I don't think that we are going to see people unable to get to work because they can no longer afford to fill up their tanks. 

What we will see is miles upon miles of freshly paved roads that will decrease both the overall cost of owning a car and hopefully the associated risks of driving by ensuring that all of our roads and bridges are structurally sound.

How do you think the gas tax is going to effect you?