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A Fresh Shot for Grass Roots Power

frobert : May 20, 2014 2:12 pm : Action, Featured

This fall’s election offers a fresh shot at fighting corruption and MegaMoney in American politics by NH voters using their clout with a handful of state senators.

This is a hot issue now because the 13-11 Republican majority in the state senate last June killed a highly popular reform – a call for a constitutional amendment to restore the power of Congress and the states to limit campaign spending by billionaires and corporations.

Last spring, 52 NH towns passed resolutions endorsing constitutional reform. So did the NH House. But 12 state senate Republicans killed it.

So the question is: Can voters tip the Senate balance in favor of reform by changing the hearts of senate Republicans or changing some senators? Either way. We’re non-partisan.

Focus on Senators Jeannie Forrester in District 2, Jeb Bradley in district 3, and Nancy Stiles in district 24. All three backed disclosure requirements on campaign spending last spring, but opposed constitutional reform. They defied voters in 13 of their district towns who backed reform. Reform advocates are already pressing Forrester to switch. Stiles faces a strongly pro-reform challenger, Chris Muns. Bradley’s opponent, John White, is also pushing reform.

Two other potential shifts: District 8 where incumbent Republican Bob Odell retired and left an open contest between Democrat Linda Tanner and Republican Jerry Little; and District 6, where incumbent Republican Sam Cataldo faces Democrat Richard Leonard, whom he narrowly beat last time.

The stakes are high: switching just one or two of NH Senate Republican votes on reform could have national impact. Here’s the story:

Chapter #1 = Grass Roots vs. MegaMoney

Our story begins where American democracy begins – at the grass roots with People Power, what the Founders called the “Consent of the Governed” – now endangered by MegaMoney.

Last spring, petitions circulated in NH towns calling for resolutions against unlimited campaign donations. In April, people in 48 NH towns voted in favor. The issue won bipartisan support in Republican towns like Hampstead, Pelham, Salem and Windham and in pro-Democratic towns like Exeter and Plymouth.

In May, another four towns passed resolutions – Hanover, New London, Peterborough, and Sanborton.

Chapter #2 – The Powers-That-Be Heard Us

We the People issued a call to $top MoneyPolitic$ and our message triggered legislative action.

In a bipartisan vote of 183-81 on May 15, more than two-thirds of the NH House of Representatives passed SB307 calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United that allows unlimited campaign spending by corporations and unions.

That sent the issue to the NH Senate, where passage would make New Hampshire the 17th U.S. state to go on record against letting MegaMoney drown American democracy.

Chapter #3 – What Went Wrong?

But the NH Senate stopped reform cold. Instead of joining five other New England states in opposing MegaMoney, the NH senate blocked the resolution.

Twelve Senate Republicans voted as a block to kill reform by burying it in a study committee, narrowly outvoting 10 Democrats and reform-minded Republican Russell Prescott.

Several GOP senators openly defied their constituents. In district 2, Senator Jeannie Forrester flouted eight towns that voted solidly for reform. In district 9, Senator Andy Sanborn bucked pro-reform majorities in six of his district towns. In district 3, Senator Jeb Bradley disregarded four town votes for reform.

So the issue now goes back to the voters: Do you go along with state senators who blatantly disregard you? Or should they follow the Will of the People?

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The Inside Story: How We Got into This Mess

frobert : January 22, 2014 5:00 pm : Featured

9780812982053_p0_v2_s260x420Pulitzer Prize Winner Hedrick Smith’s best-selling book “Who Stole the American Dream? is an extraordinary achievement, an eye-opening, inside account of how, over four decades, the American Dream has been dismantled and how we became two Americas. Smith exposes the power shift in Washington and how American capitalism changed under the last six presidents. He pairs penetrating profiles of the power elite with compelling stories of the economic squeeze on average Americans. Reviewers praise this “brilliant” book for offering lively reading and excellent teaching material for U.S. history, political science, economics, public policy, business and journalism courses. more »

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frobert : January 22, 2014 4:47 pm : Featured

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