EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

August 25, 2013

Your view: Letters to the editor


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Hassan is off to a great start

To the editor:

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan deserves unalloyed kudos from both sides of the aisle for the stellar performance she and her team have submitted in eight short months for the Granite State. Carrying on in her predecessor John Lynch’s footsteps, Hassan has amassed an impressive body of legislative work in a remarkably short time.

Countering the two-year assault on our state education system by Bill O’Brien and the rest of his Republican tea party House cohorts, Hassan in June instituted New Hampshire’s first in-state college tuition freeze since 1988, as well as restored immediately upon entering office all of the funds cut to our universities by the then-Republican led House in 2011. The governor’s words were telling after the freeze implementation: “From the start of the budget process, we set out to restore the deep cuts made by the last legislature to our community colleges in exchange for a tuition freeze that would make a higher education more affordable for more Granite Staters, and I applaud the leadership of the Community College System of New Hampshire for their quick action.”

On July 11, Hassan delivered on her campaign promise to be a jobs facilitator by signing her “Pathway To Work” initiative (SB 143), which extends a helping hand to unemployed workers to start their own small businesses, always the main foundation for American economic prosperity. This act, sponsored by Sen. Sylvia Larsen among others, gives qualified entrepreneurs technical assistance and counseling through the state’s Small Business Development Center, and like every program in this article was enacted by bipartisan cooperation.

One of the many ugly “changes” the GOP legislation made upon taking over Concord in 2010 was to decimate the CHINS (Children in Need of Services) plan, an innovative, bipartisan (pre-tea party, naturally) program that provided counseling and employment assistance to troubled youths as well as to younger children with severe behavioral problems. The Republicans’ slashing of funds for this initiative was especially galling to many Granite Staters due both to its social importance on so many levels as well as its relative inexpensiveness (about $8 million annually). Most thinking people realize that a little assistance early on in life to kids who need direction is preferable to a cornucopia of economic and social problems later. Thanks to Hassan, CHINS will take effect again on Sept. 1.

And arguably the most important business-related legislation passed by Hassan’s administration so far was the governor’s promised granting of corporate tax credits for research and development, which has been taken advantage of in just three months by nearly 200 businesses statewide. The initiative doubled the existing tax credit from $1 million to $2 million, and also made the credit permanent, and was implemented via her collaboration with Department of Revenue Administration Commissioner John Beardmore. About half of the businesses in the program are financially rated as small enterprises (less than $500,000 total wages per workplace), meaning that many new, growing companies have a great chance to be financial successes due to this program.

But there is still plenty of work to do. The governor’s October Senate meeting to attempt to redress the GOP anti-citizen 13-11 vote against the state Medicaid expansion is next up on the docket. Also, there will be more debating with both Republicans and recalcitrant Democrats alike on the single casino bill, approved by 89 percent of New Hampshire citizens but disgracefully stopped in its tracks by both sides in the House earlier this year. The latter issue is an important one, as thousands of jobs will be created by both the gambling facility as well as projected upticks in surrounding businesses, which should help decrease the state’s already low 5.1 percent unemployment rate.

William F. Klessens

Salem

Transgender students need protection

To the editor:

Recently California has passed a new law requiring schools to give transgender students access to school programs, sports teams, and facilities that match their gender identity.

As a School Committee member I know this law will make a huge difference in the lives of transgender students, who are often excluded from the life of their schools simply because of who they are, often to the detriment of their educational growth. Massachusetts has also issued guidance to help our public schools ensure that transgender students have the same educational opportunities as their non-transgender classmates.

But Massachusetts falls short when it comes to protecting transgender youth when the school day is over because it’s still legal to discriminate against transgender people in public accommodations. The Massachusetts Legislature can close this loophole by passing the Equal Access Bill, which would add nondiscrimination protections for transgender people to the public accommodations portion of our civil rights laws.

I hope they act soon to ensure that our young people are safe no matter where they go.

Jim Blatchford

School Committee District F

Lawrence

Jazz combo was courteous, professional

To the editor:

The staff of Langley-Adams Library would like to thank the members of the Pentucket Regional High School Jazz Combo.

This six-member combo volunteered their time on the evening of Aug. 20 to perform during our Volunteer Appreciation Reception. These young musicians were very professional, courteous, punctual, and sounded wonderful.

We very much appreciated this entertainment and will be sure to invite them back to our library early and often!

Nathalie Harty

Director

Langley-Adams Library

Groveland