Celebrating NH Olympians Competing in Sochi
I hope you all had a great weekend. I spent last week in Washington, working to make the voice of Granite Staters heard and pushing for comprehensive immigration reform.
NH Athletes on the World Stage
On Monday, to mark the start of the 2014 Winter Olympics, I joined with other members of the Congressional Ski and Snowboard Caucus to host a Send-off to Sochi event to celebrate the U.S. ski and snowboard teams as they prepare for competition in Sochi, Russia. At this bipartisan send-off, my fellow Caucus Co-Chair Cynthia Lummis (WY) and I welcomed former Olympians and members of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association.
I could not be more proud and more excited for the all of the talented Olympic skiers and snowboarders from around New Hampshire and all across our country. These amazing athletes have worked so hard for so long. Now they are ready to make their country proud as they go for the gold in Sochi. Good luck to all of the Granite State skiers and to the entire American Olympic delegation. (You can learn more about New Hampshire’s Olympians here).
Amplifying the Voice of Granite Staters
On Wednesday, I joined other Members of Congress for a press conference to introduce comprehensive legislation to reform our campaign finance system. Introduced by Congressman John Sarbanes, the Government by the People Act would combat the influence of special interests in politics and amplify the voices of everyday Americans. New Hampshire has a strong tradition of civic engagement, but communities and individuals are competing on an uneven playing field against entrenched, well-funded special interests. This important bill would change that.
This legislation has over 100 original cosponsors and has brought together a wide coalition of national organizations. I am so excited to be part of the effort to reform the campaign finance system and return our democracy to the people.
Pushing for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
On Wednesday, I spoke in support of comprehensive immigration reform on the House floor. Our borders remain vulnerable, employers game the system by hiring undocumented workers, and millions of individuals are living in the shadows. This status quo fails to meet the needs of businesses, is unfair for workers, and is holding back economic growth and opportunity in our country. Congress must prioritize the consideration of bipartisan legislation to comprehensively reform and modernize our immigration system. It has been over 200 days since the Senate passed similar reform legislation, and it is long past time for the House of Representatives to do the same. (Please watch my speech here.)
Working to Reduce Carbon Pollution
Continuing my efforts to combat climate change, this week I joined Congresswoman Niki Tsongas (MA-03) to lead a group of northeast lawmakers calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to look to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) as a model for their efforts to curb carbon pollution across the country. RGGI is a cooperative effort among New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Delaware, and Maryland to reduce carbon pollution from power plants, a key driver of climate change. Since the program took effect in 2005, the RGGI states have seen a 40 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, and they are on track to reduce emissions to half of 2005 levels by 2020.
In a recent letter sent to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, my colleagues and I cited RGGI as a proven model for cutting carbon pollution and driving economic development, while protecting the public’s health and our environment. We urged the EPA to look toward the program as the agency works to set federal standards to cut carbon pollution from the nation’s existing power plants. (You can learn more about this effort here.)
Helping a Granite Stater Navigate Federal Regulations
Last July, my office was contacted by Carl Anderson, a truck driver from Pittsfield, regarding a $10,000 violation claim made by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that he believed he did not rightfully owe. A commercial truck driver for 43 years and a one-truck owner operator for 11 years, Carl first received his own Motor Carrier Operating Authority in 2004 after fulfilling all requirements of the FMCSA. In 2012 and 2013 there had been some minor licensing changes to his operating authority that he had every reason to believe had been accurately completed and filed to the satisfaction of FMCSA.
Last June, during a standard truck inspection in Connecticut, he was told that his Operating Authority was 'inactive' due to a missing paper in his file. The fine for operating without authority is 'not less than $10,000,' and Carl was billed accordingly. A fine of this size, or even the legal cost of defending himself in Federal Court, would have dealt him a staggering financial blow. Faced with nowhere to turn and no way to convince the FMCSA that the error had been unintentional and was actually caused by FMCSA’s conflicting rules, he contacted my office and asked if there was anything I could do. Through hard work and determination we were able to resolve the issue with FMCSA, the case was 'closed without enforcement,' and Carl is now free of the life altering burden he had been facing. If my office may ever be of assistance with a problem you are facing, please contact my staff at 603-226-1002 so we may help you resolve your problem or get you the information you need.
Have a fantastic week and thanks for everything you do to make New Hampshire such a great place to live!