This past weekend, I took part in vigils organized by passionate young people in Nashua and Concord to honor George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. The tragic killings of Floyd and Taylor have sparked long-overdue conversations about police brutality and systemic racism in our nation. It is in every American’s best interest to ensure our nation’s police officers are held to the highest standard and enact safeguards to protect the public, prohibit federal and state law enforcement from using racial profiling, and ensure that police are held accountable to the communities they serve.
|At the vigil in Nashua|
Conversations & Reforms for Justice
Last week, I had an important conversation about race and justice with NAACP President Gloria Timmons, Senator Melanie Levesque, and Nashua Chief of Police Michael Carignan. If you missed it, you can watch it here. These ongoing conversations are crucial as we work to address inequalities in our nation. It is up to all of us to listen, learn, and look toward a future where all Americans are treated equally.
Earlier this week, I had a productive conversation with New Hampshire Department of Safety Commissioner Robert Quinn and State Police Director Colonel Nate Noyes, as well as the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police. We discussed the recent demonstrations across the Granite State in support of police reforms and the steps law enforcement leaders are taking to improve community policing, increase training, and ensure officers are held to the highest standards of conduct.
Congress is working on important legislation to ensure we take real and substantial steps to reform the way our communities are patrolled and policed. The Justice in Policing Act, which I was proud to help introduce this week, will help to improve transparency, enact structural change, hold perpetrators of police brutality accountable for their actions, and keep all Americans safe.
Police officers in New Hampshire and across the nation are often under immense pressure to provide crucial services. Far too often, we rely on law enforcement to fulfill the role of mental health professionals, addiction counselors, social workers, and more. We must work together to find solutions, and I am confident that we can move forward together.
Addressing Health Care Inequality
I was proud to join my colleagues yesterday to introduce the Health Enterprises Zone Act to close gaps in our health care system that have left behind minorities and underserved communities. The COVID-19 public health crisis has shined a light on disparities in our nation’s health care system that have been negatively impacting communities of color and underserved populations for far too long. We must work to close gaps in medical care and ensure that all Americans have access to high quality, affordable care. I’m proud to help introduce this legislation, as it is an important step toward creating a more just health system and addressing long-standing health inequalities in the United States.
On Saturday, we observed the 76th anniversary of D-Day, when brave Americans and allied forces took to the beaches, waters, and skies in Normandy and fought to liberate Europe from Nazi control on June 6, 1944. We are forever indebted to these service members - and all our men and women in uniform - for their courage and bravery in defeating the spread of fascism.
I also thought of my father, Malcolm McLane, who flew a patrol mission over the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. His service to our nation continues to inspire me each and every day. You can read my father’s letter home following D-Day here.
|D-Day Invasion, June 6, 1944|
Announcing the 2020 Congressional Art Competition Winner
Yesterday, I was proud to announce Chase Adams - a student at Hollis Brookline High School - as this year’s winner of the Congressional Art Competition. Chase’s beautiful photograph titled ‘Self Returning to Nature’ features New Hampshire wetlands and has been selected to be displayed in the U.S Capitol. I’m grateful to our judges who evaluated more than 40 incredible pieces of art for this year’s Second Congressional District Art Competition and I send my sincere thanks to all the students who submitted their artwork. I look forward to admiring Chase’s photograph in the Capitol building.
|Chase’s Photograph, “Self Returning to Nature.” Read more here.|
On Monday, New Hampshire will be taking another step in reopening our economy. I strongly encourage you to read and review New Hampshire’ gradual reopening plan and when different businesses will be opening to the public. For more information, and how you can keep you and your loved ones safe, visit covidguidance.nh.gov.
As our economy reopens, it’s important that we continue to take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Frequent handwashing, physical distancing, and wearing masks when we are within six feet of others are simple and effective ways to keep ourselves and those around us safe. If you aren’t sure what is open and what’s not, more information and answers to frequently asked questions are available here.
Earlier this week, I held a call with rural health leaders, including the North Country Health Consortium about safely reopening their important programs and services to support our North Country Communities, including combating substance misuse through residential treatment services at the Friendship House. In addition, I led a call this week with Saint Anselm College leadership to discuss the college’s plans for returning its students on campus for the fall semester. I heard first-hand about their plans, with testing capacity for all returning students, as well as the college’s fall semester schedule. I also spoke with the New Hampshire Restaurant and Lodging Association and we discussed the critical protocols and procedures being implemented to ensure these businesses serve Granite Staters safely.
Small businesses in New Hampshire are working hard to make sure they reopen in a manner that keeps you and your family safe. Please follow the safety guidance that is posted in restaurants and listen to the instructions.
News You Can Use
If you or a loved one are in need of a face covering, Mask Up NH is still distributing free reusable cloth face masks. Check out MaskUpNH.com for more information.
Free COVID-19 tests are now available to all Granite Staters, and all New Hampshire residents are encouraged to get a test. To sign up for a COVID-19 test, click here.
I’ve received many calls from Granite Staters who are wondering when they are going to receive their tax refunds. After closing down due to the pandemic, the IRS facility that handles processing for New Hampshire tax refunds will reopen on June 15. My office has been notified that it will take some time to process the backlog, so refunds could be delayed until the end of July and later. If you are experiencing significant financial hardship due to your delayed refund, please reach out to my office at 603-226-1002.
As always, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (NH DHHS) are the best resources to turn to during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Remember: Keep calm and wash your hands, and wear a mask when you are out in public. If you are sick, stay home and call your health care provider. If you live in NH and have questions about coronavirus, dial 2-1-1. Visit CDC.gov for more information.