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Gen Z Was NHDems’ Seawall Against the ‘Red Wave’

If the Democrats had a secret weapon Tuesday during their surprise showing for the midterms, it may have been young voters acting as a seawall against the anticipated “Red Wave.” And that was especially true in the Granite State.

Votes are still being counted, but instead of handily losing control of both houses of Congress as expected, Democrats may be a few seats behind the GOP in the House and have a realistic chance of maintaining the current 50-50 tie in the Senate.

They were so key to the Democrats’ success, President Joe Biden gave Gen Z voters a shoutout during Wednesday’s post-election presser.

“I especially want to thank the young people of this nation,” Biden said during his White House remarks. “They voted to continue addressing the climate crisis, gun violence, their personal rights and freedoms, and student debt relief.”

In the fight for the state legislature, Gen Z voters helped cut the size of the GOP House majority down to just 203-197 — before recounts. Republicans, like House Majority Leader Jason Osborne (R-Auburn), said they are confident their majority will hold. “The voters of New Hampshire have spoken and have sent Republicans back into the majority in the House for the 2023-2024 term,” he said in a statement.

But the final outcome will be directly impacted by the youth vote.

Democrat-aligned organizations spent millions focusing on mobilizing the youth vote. One of those groups, NextGen America, spent $25 million on the election, according to its president, Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez. Those voters were natural targets for the continual messaging on abortion and fighting extremism from the Hassan, Kuster, and Pappas campaigns.

“Young people are relentlessly committed to building the infrastructure needed to harness the full power and potential of the largest and most diverse generation in American history,” Tzintzún Ramirez said. “From abortion access to economic justice, young people recognized the stakes and mobilized to address some of the most challenging issues our country has ever faced. Young people just sent a clear message: The future belongs to us–and there’s no room for hatred, greed, or fear in the country we will continue to build.” 

Part of NextGen’s plan was to find voters on college campuses, targeting 245 colleges nationwide. The group used direct mail, texts, calls, and influencers to reach close to 10 million young voters ahead of Tuesday’s election. The success was evident in Tuesday’s results.

Our initial data from Youth Vote Indicator Precincts shows that young people NextGen registered or pledged to vote turned out at 6 points higher than young people overall during the early voting period. And early turnout among young voters in precincts organized by NextGen exceeded nationwide averages,” Tzintzún Ramirez said. 

In college towns like Durham, home of the University of New Hampshire, and Hanover, home to the Ivy League’s Dartmouth College, college students surged to the polls. The Granite State has the highest percentage of college students in its population in the country.

According to Durham officials, 1,446 people registered to vote on Tuesday, out of more than 5,900 total ballots cast. Most of those new voters were UNH students. As a result, Democrats won big. Sen. Maggie Hassan and Rep. Chris Pappas scored nearly 4 to 1 margins over Republicans Don Bolduc and Karoline Leavitt respectively.

Carson Hansford, president of the UNH College Republicans, said the state party put time and money into getting out the vote in Durham, but could not match the intensity of the young Democrats.

“College campuses tend to be more liberal. That was proven again last night,” Hansford said.

In Hanover, close to 800 people registered to vote on Tuesday, again mostly students from Hanover, according to town officials. Griffin Mackey, a conservative Dartmouth student with the Dartmouth College Republicans, said voter sentiment in towns like Hanover did not reflect the reality of the rest of the state. Dartmouth students largely come from wealthy families that already skew liberal, he said.

“Dartmouth students are 1) not from New Hampshire and generally do not engage with the local community beyond their campus; 2) do not pay for food or rent, and 3) do not have cars or pay for gas,” Mackey said. “How on earth could Gen. Don Bolduc, or any other conservative candidate for that matter, appeal to those students?”

According to national exit polls, 63 percent of Gen Z and Millennial voters, aged 18 to 29, voted for Democrats. Just 35 percent backed the GOP.

Bolduc focused on economic issues impacting working families, like “heating or eating,” and most other GOP candidates hit the economy, record high inflation, and soaring fuel costs as part of their campaigns. Mackey said messages about economic insecurity generally fell on deaf ears in affluent Hanover.

“This is a foreign concept for many Dartmouth students who believe that the fossil fuel industry is evil and who want everyone to be vegan,” Mackey said.

Blackout: NH Dems Get Failing Grade on Energy Report Card

Granite Staters are paying more at the pump, paying double the price for electricity, and are now getting slammed with heating oil costs heading into winter.

And according to the American Energy Alliance (AEA), the state’s top Democrats have done nothing to help. 

New Hampshire’s federal delegation, Democratic Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas, and Sens. Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen, all scored a “zero” on the 2o21-2022 AEA report card on energy policy.

“All the proof of their rejection of affordable energy policies will show up in the energy bills for people in New Hampshire this winter,” said AEA President Thomas Pyle. “New Hampshire is not California and yet the entire delegation votes for California-style energy policies.”

The energy debate isn’t an abstract one in New England, where ISO New England Inc., has warned that an extremely cold winter could potentially result in rolling blackouts due to lack of supply.

“If we get a sustained cold period in New England this winter, we’ll be in a very similar position as California was this summer,” said Nathan Hanson with LS Power Development, which operates two gas-fired power plants in the region.

The AEA looks at what lawmakers have done to “promote affordable, abundant, and reliable energy,” as well as the steps they have taken to “expand economic opportunity and prosperity, particularly for working families and those on fixed incomes.”

In her debate with Republican Don Bolduc on Tuesday, Hassan was asked for her solution to rising energy costs. She touted her support for green energy spending, government subsidies to help consumers pay the higher prices, and her call for President Joe Biden to release more oil from U.S. reserves. She did not mention increased domestic energy production, and she repeated a debunked claim that “Big Oil” was manipulating energy prices.

Democrats have been scrambling ahead of the midterms to do something about the high prices. This week, Biden announced he was releasing 15 million gallons of oil from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve in a last-ditch ploy to tamp down prices before people vote. His use of the SPR is being applauded by Hassan and Pappas as they fight for their political lives in tight races.

Hassan signed on to a letter asking Biden to do more, like release oil from the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve.

“With lower inventories of crude oil, propane, and natural gas and the continued global disruption caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine contributing to a sharp rise in residential energy costs, we urge the administration to closely monitor the energy needs of the Northeast and release stock from the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve,” Hassan’s letter states.

But as The Wall Street Journal reports, the problem isn’t Russia’s drop in exports — just 560,000 barrels a day out of a global supply of 101 million — but “a lack of investment, especially in the U.S., which had been the world’s swing producer.”

“Now the swing producers are Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. OPEC countries and their allies, which account for 45 percent of global oil production, accounted for 85 percent of new supply in September,” WSJ reports. That new production cannot come from the U.S., in part because Biden has slashed the number of new oil and gas leases by 97 percent.

Pappas is pushing for more funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program to help people through the winter. But, like Hassan, he has a record of opposing expanded oil and gas production.

Don Bolduc, Hassan’s GOP challenger, said Democrats are hurting the country with short-sighted energy policies that ultimately drive up the cost without addressing the need for energy independence.

“Now, facing the brutal consequences and with a midterm election looming, their only solution is releasing more of our emergency supply of oil, leaving us vulnerable to future supply shocks and whims from evil despots (in Venezuela.) It never had to be this way: America has the resources to power our country right here at home,” Bolduc said. “For those facing tough choices between heating and eating, you’ve got Joe Biden and Maggie Hassan to blame.”

Craig Stevens, spokesman for the GAIN Coalition, blamed Biden.

“With each passing week, it grows more evident that President Biden has no real strategy for lowering energy prices. From Day One, the president has put American energy producers and pipeline operators in his crosshairs,” Stevens said. “Now, with gas prices up 59 percent since his inauguration and electricity prices set to double this winter, every American is dealing with the consequences of his unprecedented hostility to the energy sector.”

Friday Rail Strike Looms, Threatening NH Economy, Energy Supplies

NOTE: Early Thursday morning, the Biden administration announced a “tentative deal” to avert a strike, though it must go to the union membership for final approval.

 

A pending rail worker strike could shut down passenger rail serving in New Hampshire and hobble businesses that rely on freight for transportation.

The clock is ticking for the freight rail industry and holdout labor unions to reach an agreement on a new contract by Thursday night or face the possibility of an economy-crippling strike just weeks ahead of the midterm elections.

Nine of the 12 unions representing rail employees have bargained an agreement with the industry, based on a framework forged by members of the Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) appointed by the Biden administration. However, two unions—the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET)—are the most prominent holdouts as they push their demands.

And on Wednesday came news that the 4,900 members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers voted to reject the tentative agreement negotiated by their leadership, adding to the turmoil.

In the Granite State, eight freight railroad companies move goods vital to area businesses, said Michael Skelton, president and CEO of the Business & Industry Association. He said a strike would devastate businesses that rely on rail transportation. He wants to see more done to avoid any work stoppage.

“(We echo) the U.S. Chamber’s call that a voluntary agreement by all parties is the best outcome, which can include extending the ‘cooling off’ period for negotiations that ends at 12:01 a.m. Friday,” Skelton said.

Of greatest concern, rail industry experts say, is the large amount of petroleum products like propane and oil, moved by rail. According to the Association of American Railroads, freight rail delivered more than 172,000 tons of petroleum products to New Hampshire in 2019. With winter approaching and energy prices already rising, a rail shutdown could create serious problems.

New Hampshire’s Department of Transportation has been in contact with the freight operators to assess how much of an impact the spike would pose. It was not clear yet how hard the state economy could be hurt by the strike according to the DOT.

One area where the Granite State economy may dodge a bullet is its forestry industry.

“The vast majority of raw forest products (logs, pulp, chips) in New England are transported via trucks intra-state and to Canada,” said Patrick D. Hackley, Director of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources.

However, Skelton added the strike could do damage beyond the freight end of the rail business. Passenger service may also be impacted.

“A strike would also shut down Amtrak service, leaving approximately 12.2 million daily riders in 46 states without transportation. This includes New Hampshire, which sees more than 200,000 annual boardings at Granite State stations connected to the Vermonter and Downeaster lines,” Skelton said.

Nationally, the American Petroleum Industry on Tuesday warned of severe consequences to energy supplies in a letter to congressional leadership.

“Last Friday, representatives of the oil and gas industry began receiving notifications from the railroads that they intend to begin curtailing shipments of hazardous materials and other chemicals as of today, to ensure carloads of product are not stranded on the tracks if a work stoppage occurs. This curtailment alone, could have profound impacts on the ability of our industry to deliver critical energy supplies to market,” wrote Senior Vice President of Policy, Economics and Regulatory Affairs Frank Macchiarola.

“API requests that Congress prepare to act if negotiations this week fail to produce an agreement to facilitate a workable settlement and prevent catastrophic disruptions to the freight rail network.”

While it is still unclear whether Congress will act, Marc Scribner, senior transportation policy analyst at Reason Foundation said there is increasing pressure for Washington to get involved.

“Members of Congress from both parties are growing increasingly frustrated with union intransigence and are unlikely to tolerate a strike given current supply chain problems and the timing so close to their midterm elections,” Scribner said.

If a strike occurs, Scribner could see Congress acting within 24 hours to “end the strike and impose the PEB recommendations as a final settlement.”

A strike could hurt a national economy still reeling from supply chain problems. And Tuesday’s inflation number, holding close to steady at 8.3 percent annually, included news that grocery prices rose 13.5 percent year over year.

No goods on trains mean no products on trucks and even higher prices in stores due to supply and demand. As a result, organizations including the Beer Institute and Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) are, like the American Trucking Association, urging Congress to get involved.

“Reports indicate a strike could impact the economy by up to two billion dollars each day in lost activity,” said RILA’s Michael Hanson. “Absent a voluntary agreement by the Sept. 16 deadline, Congress should take swift action to implement the PEB recommendations.”

Additional reporting by Damien Fisher

 

In NH-02 Primary Debate, GOP Candidates Clash on Immigration, Abortion

The three Republican candidates vying to take on Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster this fall clashed over immigration and abortion Monday night during the New Hampshire Journal debate at Saint Anselm’s New Hampshire Institute for Politics. 

Bob Burns, the “pro-Trump” candidate from Pembroke, spent most of the night on offense. He attacked his opponents, Weare’s Lily Tang Williams and Keene Mayor George Hansel, over their stances on illegal immigration. 

Burns accused Tang Williams of supporting a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants and called out “Woke George’s sanctuary city, Keene.”

“So, you’re lying again, Bob, as usual,” Hansel responded. “Keene is not a sanctuary city.”

Hansel said Keene’s police chief assured him the department will cooperate with federal agents when enforcing immigration laws, as opposed to the policies in actual sanctuary cities where police do not assist federal immigration agents.

Tang Williams also accused Burns of lying about her record. She supports a pathway to citizenship for people who qualify for the DACA program, those brought to the U.S. illegally when they were children and who were raised in America. However, she said she does not support a pathway for people who came illegally as adults.

“Bob’s campaign has been attacking me from the very beginning,” Tang Williams said. “Who needs Democrats when you have Republicans attacking you?”

They also differ on abortion considering the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Dobbs case. Burns said if elected he will push for a federal heartbeat bill that would limit abortions nationally.

“Instead of codifying Roe v. Wade, we should be codifying life,” Burns said.

Tang Williams supports the recent Supreme Court ruling to send the question of abortion back to the states, allowing local voters to make their own decision. Tang Williams does not support any new federal law regulating or banning abortion, saying the matter needs to be left to the people in each state.

“It should always belong to the states to let local people decide it,” she said.

Hansel, who is pro-choice, agrees with the Dobbs ruling, saying it allows states to craft laws that make sense for their own people. He does not support any federal law regarding abortion.

“This is an issue that is firmly with the states, which is where it belongs,” Hansel said. “This is a contentious issue, and the decisions belong as close to the people as possible.”

Hansel said voters are very concerned about record levels of inflation and soaring energy prices, issues where President Joe Biden’s administration has failed and they are not up for fighting more culture war battles.

“It’s all about inflation, it’s all about the higher costs that people are paying here in New Hampshire because of Joe Biden and Ann Kuster’s reckless Washington agenda,” Hansel said.

Both Tang Williams and Burns sent out press releases Monday night claiming victory in the debate.

The full debate, hosted by NH Journal, is available for streaming online at NH Journal’s Facebook page.

 

MSD ‘No Comment’ On Keeping Students’ Trans Activity Secret From Parents

Citizens may have a lot of questions about Manchester School District’s policy of keeping students’ transgender activity secret from their parents. But thus far, officials in the state’s largest school district are not talking. Asked about the policy, school board officials, including Mayor Joyce Craig, all declined to defend it.

The district is currently being sued by a parent who claims it uses the policy to lie to her and other parents about their children and their gender identification. According to a motion to dismiss filed on behalf of the district, the district’s defense is its belief Manchester parents have no right to know what is going on in the schools when it comes to gender issues.

“(T)his motion can be easily resolved by answering one discrete question: Do school districts have a legally enforceable duty to inform parents when a student uses a name or gender pronoun different than that assigned at birth? Because the answer to this question is no, the Complaint should be dismissed,” MSD’s filing states.

Craig, who chairs the school board, declined requests for comment on the policy. She also would not answer questions about whether she supports the policy. None of the members of the board’s policy committee, Leslie Want, Nicole Leapley, Peter Perich, Sean Parr, or Jason Bonilla, would discuss the matter, either.

Andrew Toland, communications director for the district, declined to discuss the lawsuit. Toland pointed to language in the motion to dismiss to counter the claim that the district requires staff to lie about transgender students to their parents.

“In other words, contrary to plaintiff’s characterizations, the district’s policy does not completely prohibit District staff from disclosing a student’s gender identity and expression to parents, nor does it require District staff to ‘lie,’” the motions to dismiss states. “It does not even contain an express mandate at all. It simply recognizes that the student has a right to privacy and that staff ‘should not’ disclose such information unless the student has authorized it.”

Critics note the policy, as stated, expressly strips authority from parents and gives it to children and teachers.

That is not how school board member Ken Tassey understands the policy. Speaking as a parent, Tassey said in practice, the policy would force school staff to use a student’s preferred pronouns and gender identity in school, but use that same child’s birth pronouns and identity when talking to parents who may not know what is going on.

“The policy requires that school staff lie to parents. It usurps the parent’s right to be informed about their children’s health and to exercise their parental love,” Tassey said. “The policy places the school district and the employees above the child’s parent, which is bizarre and arrogant.”

Tassey said the policy is predicated on the idea that all parents are potentially abusive toward their LGBTQI+ children, and that disclosing a child’s nonconforming identity would put that child in danger. That is simply not the case, he said.

“The vast majority of parents are going to hug their kids and say I love you,” he said.

Tassey is also concerned the policy does not have an age range and would apply to students as young as first or second grade. If a child disclosed gender dysmorphia to a guidance counselor or teacher, who may or may not be trained to deal with such a psychologically complex issue, that child’s parents would be kept in the dark if the child wished it.

Jonathan Butcher, the Will Skillman Fellow in Education with the conservative Heritage Foundation, said Manchester parents are not alone when it comes to school districts keeping secrets about their children.

“The issue of school officials hiding information about a child’s confusion about their sex is a real concern. Districts and even state departments around the country have made such secrecy to be official policy, including in New Jersey, Kansas, and elsewhere,” Butcher said. “Except in very specific cases related to a child’s safety, educators should be required to inform parents about any health-related issues concerning their child. Public school officials should not make it a policy to keep secrets about a minor child from his or her parents.”

A proposed legislative solution, the Parental Bill of Rights, would have required schools to make those disclosures to parents. The bill was shot down this year when Democrats and some Republicans objected, claiming that it would put children in danger from their own parents. U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas, D-Manchester, strongly opposed the Parental Bill of Rights.

“This legislation will do real, lasting harm to kids and should not become law. It’s so important that LGBTQ+ youth in New Hampshire know that we see them, we support them, and that they can be themselves,” Pappas said earlier this year when the bill was pending.

The Parental Bill of Rights was also opposed by New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella and Gov. Chris Sununu. Assistant Attorney General Sean Locke, with the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Unit, testified before lawmakers in May that parts of the bill were legally problematic.

“This language could be construed to require school staff to effectively ‘out’ students–against the student’s wishes–to their parents if and when those students seek to avail themselves of protections pursuant to the school’s gender expression or identity policies,” Locke said in a statement. “This language targets students based upon their gender identity or expression for different treatment from other students, which denies those students the benefits of the particular policies designed to protect them from discrimination in schools.”

Butcher said much of the concern about outing students stems from the actions being undertaken by President Joe Biden’s administration. Biden is proposing changes to the Title IX program to combat bullying against trans students which change the definitions of sex and gender.

“It essentially proposes that schools must treat ‘sex’ to mean ‘sexual orientation and gender identity’ [as opposed to biology] and so schools would have to adopt policies to conform or risk an (Office of Civil Rights) investigation,” Butcher said.

Biden recently issued an executive order to increase access to so-called gender-affirming health care.

Butcher said the Biden team is pursuing a radical agenda that rides roughshod over parents when it comes to the care of their own children.

“Such policies could include one that says educators may not tell parents when a child wants to ‘assume’ a different gender at school. Thus, the overall policy does more to advance radical gender ideas instead of affirming parents as a child’s primary caregiver,” Butcher said.

 

Candidates Spar at First NHGOP Senate Debate

GOFFSTOWN — The five Republican candidates competing to take on Sen. Maggie Hassan in the fall burnished their conservative bona fides during Monday night’s debate hosted by New Hampshire Journal.

Retired Gen. Don Bolduc, bitcoin businessman Bruce Fenton, entrepreneur Vikram Mansharamani, State Sen. President Chuck Morse and former Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith mostly stuck to criticizing what they say are Hassan and President Joe Biden’s failed policies, though Fenton and Smith did go on the attack at times against the other Republicans.

Smith targeted Bolduc several times during the debate, questioning his temperament and attacking his past statements on the war in Ukraine. Smith referenced a March 2022 Fox News interview in which Bolduc appeared to urge the CIA or military to “get in there on the ground” in Ukraine, using “indirect fires and direct capabilities” to attack Russian targets. At one point, he said the U.S. could use “special operations troops in a way that we get in there,” though without “boots on the ground.”

“These are Democrat tactics, attacking Republicans like this,” Bolduc said in response to Smith’s attack. “Yeah, I have in the past, and I acknowledged that and said hey, like anybody else you regret some of the things you say. That’s being honest, that’s being truthful. This up here is political theater because he polls at two points.”

Fenton repeatedly attacked Morse for what he said was a lack of leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic, and for being a “deal maker” and a rubber stamp for the Republican Party. Morse did not respond to any of the attacks launched throughout the debate. Immediately after the debate ended, his team declared victory.

“The difference between me and them is I’ve actually done it,” Morse said in a statement.

Morse touted the fiscally conservative budgets passed during his time in the State House, and his socially conservative achievements like getting Education Freedom Accounts passed and a 24-week abortion ban made into law.

The candidates largely agreed on the issues; they want energy independence, lower taxes, stronger border enforcement, and they are opposed to abortion and gun control. All five said they would not support a federal abortion ban imposed by Washington, D.C.

Where they differ is in their emphasis on the issues.

Fenton, for example, says he can bring along Free State libertarians and independents as part of his coalition. He repeatedly hit the COVID-19 pandemic response as an example of the tyranny he is fighting.

“A senator doesn’t have that much power, but what you can do is disrupt and I’m a disrupter. I’ve been a disrupter my whole career. And this is what we need now. We need a disrupter desperately because of what have going on in our country,” he said. “If I had sat on this stage four years ago years ago and told you that a scientist was going to be able to shut down millions of businesses and put people out of their jobs and people were going to be forced to wear a mask, you’d have thought I was insane.”

Smith made the case for himself as the most electable conservative with experience going back to his time as a 19-year-old state representative, and his years leading the town of Londonderry.

“We’re going to need the strongest, most electable conservative candidate as our nominee in order to win this race. And I believe I am that person,” Smith said. “The reality is we’re going to need the Glenn Younkin model for our nominee to win this race. I’ve said all along we’re going to need not just conservative Republicans, we’re going to need Trump Independents and we’re going to need Regan Democrats as well.”

Mansharamani, a newcomer to politics, told voters he would bring an independent, results-oriented view to the job

“The first thing to know about Maggie Hassan is she is a party-line voter. She doesn’t think for herself. Where I’ve written a book called ‘Think For Yourself,'” Mansharamani said.

The debate, sponsored by N.H. Journal, was held at the Saint Anselm College New Hampshire Institute of Politics auditorium. It was aired on Manchester Public T.V. Channel 16 and streamed online. N.H. Journal Managing Editor Michael Graham led the panel that included longtime New Hampshire GOP strategist and media personality Alicia Preston Xanthopoulos and Washington Times Capitol Hill reporter Haris Alic.

It was the first debate of the primaries for the race, but Smith started calling for four more debates before the event began. Mansharamani topped that, calling for 10 GOP candidate debates.

Baby Formula Shortage Leaves Granite State Parents Scrambling

Matt Mowers, his wife Cassie, and their 10-month-old son Jack got up early on Mother’s Day and rushed to their local drugstore on a mission: Find one of the last few available containers of baby formula. 

“She literally ran into CVS while I waited in the car with Jack. Happy Mother’s Day,” Mowers said.

The Mowers family has been scrambling for baby formula for months, and the situation keeps getting worse. Mowers, who is running in the GOP primary to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas, has been using his downtime on the campaign trail to search for baby formula. One recent day of campaigning had Mowers checking three different stores in three different towns. And he still came up empty-handed.

“It’s very difficult to find what he needs,” Mowers said. “We usually use one of the sensitive formula brands because it’s easier for him to keep it down.”

The Mowers family isn’t alone. Nationwide, 40 percent of baby formula brands are now simply out of stock. Major retailers are restricting the amount of baby formula people can buy. The shortages and buying limits reverberate to people in desperate circumstances.

Alyssa Dandrea, with the New Hampshire Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, said women with infants who flee an abusive home for a shelter don’t have the formula they need.

“We’ve heard from our crisis centers throughout the state that survivors are having an increasingly difficult time finding baby formula for their children,” Dandrea said. “Although not all of our programs have infants in shelters, advocates shared that new store policies now limit how much formula one person can buy and that has added to this challenge. Survivors of domestic violence already face so many economic barriers, and the lack of food and other essential products present additional challenges for survivors seeking to reestablish their lives.”

Kevin Daigle, president and CEO of the New Hampshire Grocers Association, said customers are anxious as the supply is inconsistent.

“It’s hard to come by. Grocers are getting customers out there inquiring about it, and they’re worried and concerned. They’re not able to get their hands on it,” Daigle said.

While there are the familiar COVID-19 supply chain issues, like labor shortage and supply chain slowdowns, Daigle said there is more to the baby formula crisis.

A big part of the problem is the February recall that shut down a major manufacturer, Abbott Nutrition. It makes formula under several brand names, including generic brands. After the bacteria Cronobacter sakaaakii was found in one brand, Abbott shut down its Michigan plant. It still has not reopened.

“They still haven’t found the sourcing for it,” Daigle said.

However, Daigle said, the problems with the baby formula supply were known before the recall. Inflation and difficulty in sourcing ingredients were already impacting the industry.

Economists lay part of the blame at the feet of the federal government — in particular the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program that supplements food for poor families. As part of the program, WIC essentially subsidizes the baby formula industry, warping the free market in the process.

“The overarching problem is that price signals in the baby-formula market don’t work well to begin with,” wrote National Review’s Dominic Pino. “A 2010 study from the USDA’s Economic Research Service estimated that 57 to 68 percent of all baby formula sold in the U.S. was purchased through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)” Pino wrote. “That means over half of the baby formula that’s consumed in the U.S. isn’t really bought and sold on a free market at all.”

Libertarian Reason magazine finds the government’s trade and tariff policies also partially to blame. Tariffs mean key baby formula ingredients are too expensive for American manufacturers, and American consumers are locked out from buying formula made overseas because of FDA regulations.

“Last year, for example, the FDA forced a recall of approximately 76,000 units of infant formula manufactured in Germany and imported into the United States. The formula wasn’t a health or safety risk to babies but merely failed to meet the FDA’s labeling standards. In this case, the products were banned for not informing parents that they contained less than 1 milligram of iron per 100 calories,” Reason states.

President Joe Biden’s administration claims it will solve the problem by having government officials working with manufacturers to ramp up production.

Mowers said his family goes through at least one container of formula a week for their baby and prices have more than doubled. He recently paid about $30 for a 32-ounce container of baby formula.

“We try to be careful. We don’t want to buy out the store because you want to leave some for other families. But that means every week you’re always running around looking for it,” Mowers said.

They tried doing an internet order, but that hasn’t worked either.

“We’re waiting weeks for one can,” he said.

Mowers said the last time he experienced a baby formula shortage was his time working in the State Department and the U.S. was getting food aid to Venezuela.

“This is something you see in failed states, not America,” Mowers said. “The FDA should have seen it coming. The recall happened in February, and they knew it was going to lead to shortages. This isn’t getting any better.”

Hidin’ Hassan? NH Senator Still Keeps Office Closed to Public

“It’s time for Americans to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again. People working from home can feel safe to begin to return to the office.”

Those are President Joe Biden’s words from State of the Union three weeks ago, but the message apparently has not reached U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) She is one of a handful of senators still keeping her Washington, D.C. office closed to the public.

The Granite State junior senator’s closed doors were first spotted by the Washington Free Beacon, which posted a photo of Hassan’s locked office in the Hart Senate Office Building.

“A Washington Free Beacon investigation after Biden’s speech found that many Democratic offices completely closed and unstaffed, with several displaying signs that they were not returning to work due to COVID-19,” it reported.

On Tuesday a New Hampshire Journal reporter called Hassan’s office and asked if the office was open. The person who answered the phone could not answer the question and had to consult a co-worker before confirming the office is closed to the general public. Visitors are allowed with an appointment only.

When asked why the staffer was unable to answer. “Those are just the office policies that we have, I don’t have answers as to why.”

The reporter was transferred to a staffer who only identified herself as “Emily” and refused to answer why Hassan’s office is still closed to the public.

“The policy is that you need an appointment,” Emily said. When asked why, she replied, “Because we only accept appointments.”

That is a very different policy from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) where, according to Communications Director Kevin Bishop, “Our offices in D.C. and South Carolina are open. We are all here. We meet with constituents every day.”

And the Free Beacon reporter Matthew Foldi, who walked through legislative office buildings said he had no problem walking the halls and taking camera photos of congressional office doors. “The Hart Building was open. Joe Manchin’s office, for example, was fully staffed when I walked by.”

While Hassan’s staffers refused to answer the question, her fellow Democrats who are also keeping their offices closed to the public say it is in response to fears of COVID.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has his desk unstaffed and office closed, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has a sign outside his shuttered office saying it is closed because of the pandemic, according to the Free Beacon.

“In an effort to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria, Sen. Sanders’ foot office is closed to the public,” the sign reads.

Hassan keeps several offices in New Hampshire, in Manchester, Nashua, Concord, Portsmouth, and Berlin. None of these offices have public hours listed, and the phone numbers go straight to the same voicemail. Hassan’s press team did not respond to an email asking questions about the New Hampshire offices.

Thanks to Biden’s plummeting poll numbers, Hassan is facing a tough re-election environment next year. The closed offices and refusal to respond to basic media requests could feed her opponents’ narrative that she is an absentee U.S. Senator who avoids difficult questions.

“Hidin’ Hassan,” tweeted an RNC spokesperson in response to the Free Beacon story.

GOP challenger Kevin Smith is already raising the issue.

“As (Londonderry) town manager, I ordered all employees back and re-opened town hall in June 2020,” Smith said. “As your next U.S. Senator, this office will be open again to serve the people.”

Another Republican candidate, state Sen. Chuck Morse (R-Salem), said Hassan’s decision to close shop shows she is unable to fight for New Hampshire.

“Maggie Hassan’s continued decision to keep her Senate office closed highlights her inability to fight for New Hampshire and our 603 Way,” Morse said. “Make no mistake – when I’m in the United States Senate we will keep our office open, and I’ll never stop serving my constituents.”

And retired Gen. Don Bolduc, also running for U.S. Senate, said: “If leftists like Maggie Hassan had their way, we would be locked down forever. It’s long past time we all learned to live with the pandemic and get back to life as normal, especially politicians who are paid by taxpayer money. If Senator Hassan doesn’t want to show up and do her job, the people of New Hampshire will replace her with someone who will.”

Smith previously accused Hassan of being an “absent senator,” claiming she was not available when Londonderry navigated the pandemic.

“We heard many times from Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. We didn’t hear once from Maggie Hassan in two years, asking about how Londonderry was doing during the pandemic,” Smith said.

Hassan disputes that, telling WMUR she was in frequent contact with people all over the state, including some in Londonderry.

“I had roundtables and was in constant contact with municipal leaders, mayors, and town managers across the state. Sometimes those roundtables included people from Londonderry,” she said.

But not, apparently, in her office.

Pappas, Hassan No-Shows at ‘Rally for Renewables’ in Concord

New Hampshire’s 350 Action organization hosted a “Rally for Renewables” on Sunday. The climate-change activism group wasn’t expecting Sen. Maggie Hassan or Rep. Chris Pappas to make an appearance, and neither did.

“Sen. David Watters (D-Dover) will be speaking, and I imagine we might have some more state representatives, but the state’s federal delegation are not expected to be there,” said 350 NH’s Rebecca Beaulieu ahead of the event.

And now that Hassan and Pappas have become vocal proponents of more oil and gas drilling, the question is whether they would have been welcome.

In the past, both incumbent Democrats were longtime supporters of restrictions on oil and gas production and

‘Rally for Renewables’ on Sunday, March 13, 2022. (Credit: Facebook)

higher taxes on U.S. companies producing fossil fuels. Both have declared climate change an “existential threat.” But now they face a hostile political climate and, as the costs of gasoline and home heating products have soared in the Granite State, they’ve abandoned their climate-change policies and embraced increased a new position on fossil fuels: higher production and lower taxes.

Hassan has repeatedly called for energy companies to pump more oil and gas. “We’ve got to stand up to Big Oil and really tell them that they need to start increasing production,” Hassan said last week.

She also signed a letter to the White House urging the Biden administration to use its leverage to push for more oil and gas in the marketplace. “We should insist that our international partners do more to increase production and stabilize prices,” Hassan wrote.

Pappas has followed the same path from climate-change advocacy to promoting oil production. Pappas had been a supporter of the Biden administration’s energy policies, including shutting down the Keystone XL pipeline on its first day in the White House and issuing restrictions on new energy production.

But now?

“Developing more domestic energy is an important step forward. We should be looking to maximize our production, ‘all of the above,'” Pappas said last week.

He added that one way to help make America less vulnerable to the international gas and oil markets is “making sure all the [oil and gas] leases are fully utilized today.”

All this increased oil production will impact global warming and represents a step back for climate activists like 350 Action, though Beaulieu declined to call anyone out by name. Beaulieu said all political leaders need to work on moving from fossil fuels to green renewables.

“Democrats and Republicans alike should support a just transition to renewable energy and pass policies (including the Build Back Better package) that get us off of oil. Everyone deserves clean air, clean water, affordable transportation, and a livable climate,” Beaulieu said.

On Sunday, Watters and green energy activist Dan Weeks, co-owner at ReVision Energy, spoke out against expanded fossil fuel production and in favor of more renewable energy generation. Neither mentioned their fellow Democrats who have taken a different stance.

Hassan and Pappas can’t seem to lose support among environmental groups, no matter what they do. Hassan recently snagged the New Hampshire Sierra Club’s endorsement. Pappas has avoided public criticism for taking campaign cash from the lobbyist for Russian gas compel Gazprom despite signing a pledge against such donations.

Pappas and Hassan are in line with the Democratic Party when it comes to disappointing climate activists. Biden deflated hopes last year when his administration held the largest auction in history for oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico, representing potentially 600 million more tons of greenhouse gases released into the environment.

Activists this week told the Washington Post they are afraid for the future, thanks to Biden and the Democrats.

“I’m really scared about it,” said Varshini Prakash, the executive director of the Sunrise Movement told the Post’s Dave Weigel. “Talking to young people, there’s a lot of fear about our inability to pass climate policy at the federal level.”

Climate activists are hostage to the Democratic Party, supporting Democrats despite their inability to pass policies like the Green New Deal. Some of that, according to Weigel, may just be a political reality.

“There’s no political appetite for that, much to the chagrin of people in the climate movement,” Danielle Deiseroth, the lead climate strategist at the left-wing polling and advocacy group Data for Progress, told the Post. “We couldn’t just shut it all off tomorrow, and we’re realizing that more than ever.” 

CBS Poll

As New Hampshire’s green activists gather in Concord, the question is whether they will choose to speak out against policies they oppose, even when the politicians supporting them are traditional liberal allies like Hassan and Pappas.

When NHJournal recently speculated 350NH would continue to endorse Hassan, Pappas, and other Democrats regardless of what energy policy they embraced, the organization responded with a tweet:

“Where is our endorsement?”

‘Existential Threat?’ NH Climate Groups Stand By Dems Despite Pro-Oil Politics

On Wednesday, Rep. Chris Pappas (D) told radio host Jack Heath it’s time for America to drill for more oil and gas to fight back against inflation.

“Developing more domestic energy is an important step forward,” Pappas said. “We should be looking to maximize our production, ‘all of the above.'” One way to help make America less vulnerable to the international gas and oil markets, he added, is “making sure all the [oil and gas] leases are fully utilized today.”

That’s a very different message from the Pappas who calls climate change an “existential threat” and received a 100 percent score from the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) last year.

It is also not the message the LCV expected to be backing when it ran TV ads promoting Pappas a few months ago. The same is true of the Sierra Club, the Natural Resouce Defense Council (NRDC), and other so-called “green” organizations supporting New Hampshire Democrats like Pappas and Sen. Maggie Hassan, even as those politicians abandon climate-change policies and embrace increased fossil fuel production.

The organizations tell NHJournal they are not happy. But so far, not one has withdrawn its political support, either.

“I’ll tell you I’m not a huge fan and I’m not sure what the overall goal is,” said Catherine Cockery, chapter director for the Sierra Club of New Hampshire.

This week, Pappas and Hassan claimed victory after President Joe Biden announced he was releasing 50 million barrels of oil from the strategic reserve in an effort to bring down costs. Biden is also pushing foreign oil producers to generate more fossil fuels as Americas see higher prices at the pump. All with the support of New Hampshire’s federal delegation.

The NRDC’s Bob Deans said increasing oil and gas production is the wrong way to go. But instead of criticizing Democratic allies, he blamed Big Oil.

“The oil and gas industry has the same solution to every crisis, drill more and lock more generations into oil and gas forevermore,” said Deans, whose organization endorsed Hassan for re-election on February 22.

Just two weeks earlier, Hassan told CNN she wanted the U.S. to pump more oil. “We need to push harder to increase the amount of oil, see if there’s more we could do to add to the supply side there,” Hassan said.

Deans did not want to talk about the NRDC’s ironically-timed endorsement. “I won’t comment on the political decisions being made,” he told NHJournal.

Last summer, the LCV ran TV ads “to thank Rep. Chris Pappas (NH-01) and support transformative energy legislation that will…tackle climate change.” They gave the two-term Democrat a 100 percent rating on their 2021 scorecard.

Today, Pappas is supporting the expansion of oil, gas, nuclear — an “all of the above” energy strategy. And the LCV is expected to endorse him yet again.

And the Sierra Club’s PAC has endorsed Pappas, Hassan, and Rep. Annie Kuster in this year’s election, according to its website. Critics say it sends a message that, for environmental activists, it’s politics first, climate policy second.

One potential holdout is 350 NH the environmental group that regularly leads protests at the Merrimack Station power plant in Bow, N.H. It’s part of the 350.org network, founded by green radical Bill McKibben, which opposes all fossil fuel projects, even if that means leaving legacy power plants burning coal and oil — like Bow — online.

350 NH’s Rebecca Beaulieu said Republicans and Democrats need to stop pushing oil in the long term and focus on renewable energy.

“While managing the price of gas will help millions of people in the present, we must be pushing for more affordable electric vehicles, improved public transportation, and a transition to renewable energy that can fuel our transportation sector,” Beaulieu told NHJournal. “Transitioning to renewable energy will also decrease dependence on imported oil and make the U.S. more energy independent.”

Even as Biden was touting increased foreign oil production, 350NH was tweeting its demand the that president use executive orders to “keep fossil fuels in the ground & declare a climate emergency.” It is a message being ignored by Democrats from Washington to Concord, N.H.

When NHJournal speculated 350NH would continue to endorse Hassan, Pappas and other Democrats regardless of what energy policy they embraced, the organization responded with a tweet:

“Where is our endorsement?”