Progress for Veteran-Owned Small Businesses in NH
I hope you all had a terrific weekend. I spent last week pushing for veteran-owned small businesses and fighting for Granite State workers.
Advocating for Veteran-Owned Businesses
Last Wednesday, the U.S. House Small Business Committee approved an amendment I introduced that would help increase job creation and contracting opportunities for veteran-owned small businesses. Our nation’s veterans made great sacrifices to protect our nation, and we must ensure they have the resources they need when they return to civilian life. Many of our veterans are talented entrepreneurs, and my amendment will help provide support and expanded contracting opportunities for veteran small business owners. My amendment would require the U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary and the U.S. Small Business Administration to regularly consult with veterans service organizations on ways to increase opportunities and expand contracting programs for service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses and veteran-owned small businesses.
I also voted in favor of additional amendments to increase contracting opportunities for women-owned small businesses. I was proud to support my colleague Congresswoman Judy Chu’s (CA-27) amendment to also help women-owned small businesses succeed. Congresswoman Chu’s amendment would increase the contracting goal for women-owned small businesses from 5 to 6 percent.
Fighting for NH Workers
Last Thursday, I helped introduce the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act of 2014, which would provide benefits and workforce training to displaced New Hampshire workers whose jobs were affected by foreign trade. The bill would extend for an additional seven years key provisions in the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act of 2009 that lapsed in December.
I am proud to be an original cosponsor of this legislation, which will extend a key benefits program that many New Hampshire workers rely on. This extension will restore access to TAA benefits to service industry employees, which is particularly important to workers in New Hampshire’s North Country who have faced stiff foreign competition in the expanding global marketplace. I am hopeful that Republicans and Democrats can work together in the House to swiftly pass this legislation, and provide relief to these workers.
Last month, a Berlin, NH consulting firm, Salience Insight, let go of half its workforce. These workers may have been eligible for essential benefits under the 2009 Trade Adjustment Assistance Act, but when the bill expired last year, service workers were no longer included as a category of workers for TAA benefits. As a result, the Salience Insight workers’ application for benefits was denied. This bill would restore TAA benefits for service workers like those at Salience Insight.
Working to Promote Energy Efficiency
On Wednesday, I voted in favor of H.R. 2126, the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act, which would help commercial landlords and tenants work together to lower energy consumption. The bill would use a market-driven, “best practices” approach to reduce demands on the national energy grid.
Among other things, this bill would enable the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a voluntary incentive program to reward and publicly recognize tenants that design and construct highly energy-efficient spaces. It would also help encourage public-private partnerships between tenants who work for the federal government and private sector building owners who are willing to invest in energy efficient building practices. Introduced by Representative David McKinley (WV-1) and Peter Welch (VT-At Large), this bill is part of a larger bipartisan effort to advance common sense energy efficiency initiatives in the House of Representatives.
We must consider smart ways to reduce our energy consumption and take advantage of alternative energy sources in order to cut costs for taxpayers and protect our environment for generations to come. I was proud to join members of both parties in voting in favor of this common sense energy efficiency legislation, and I look forward to the Senate’s swift passage of this measure.
Skiing for a Great Cause
On Saturday, I was at Loon Mountain for the 2014 Winter Challenge, sponsored by New England Disabled Sports. This fantastic event raised money for the New England Disabled Sports program, which is headquartered at Loon and provides year round adaptive sport instruction to adults and children with physical and cognitive disabilities. I was so inspired by the passion and spirit shown by everyone who participated to support this important cause.
During the competition, Brad and I skied with Jerry Miserindino, a disabled veteran who is now a ski instructor for NE Disabled sports. Jerry is an accomplished skier with a positive outlook, who has overcome many obstacles throughout his life. It was great getting to know him and spending some time together on the slopes!
Helping Granite Staters
In November, 2013, I was contacted by a New Hampshire veteran about the significant difficulties she was facing in receiving her veterans benefits. Robin Partello served five years in the Air National Guard and was on active duty between October 5, 2001 and September 30, 2003 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Since April of last year she had tried unsuccessfully to obtain her medical benefits. She was repeatedly denied despite clearly qualifying for coverage. She even met with VA staff members who were concerned but unable to help. My office worked with the VA to get her evaluated financially and medically and in December, she was approved and obtained her benefits. 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!