March 18

Dear Friend,
Thank you to everyone who took the time to contact their State Representative or write a letter to the editor in your local paper. Last week during the debate on the reauthorization of Medicaid expansion the House passed a crucial amendment by a single vote, 182-181.  I applaud the Speaker for casting the deciding vote in favor of expansion; however, it never should have been that close.  We need to elect a Democratic majority in the House to ensure that Medicaid expansion is permanently authorized.  We need to have all the tools at our disposal to take on the heroin crisis and access to healthcare is at the top of that list.

Despite passing Medicaid expansion, last week was not all positive.  House Republicans rejected a bill that would reestablish a state minimum wage. Currently, New Hampshire relies on the federal minimum wage of $7.25.  The proposed bill would raise the wage to $9.50 over the next three years, helping thousands of New Hampshire residents who support their families by working minimum wage jobs. 

The House also rejected $4 million in federal grants to study the benefits and feasibility of extending train service from Boston to Nashua and Manchester. Expanding the rail will bring thousands of jobs to New Hampshire and make Boston more accessible.  As many of you know, investing in our infrastructure is crucial for our economic success.  Studying the benefits of rail expansion should be a clear first step. 

New Hampshire residents deserve better.  We cannot have thousands of granite staters fearful about losing their healthcare every two years.  We need to establish a livable minimum wage.  We need to study the benefit of expanding rail service from Boston to Nashua and Manchester.  We need a Democratic majority to make sure all these crucial policies are passed.  

Steve Shurtleff
House Minority Leader