Meeting Minutes – July, 2021

Cheshire County Democrats Monthly Meeting Minutes: July 6, 2021
Attendance: 40

Mohammad Saleh Called the meeting to order at 6:30PM.  Participants were invited to introduce themselves in the Zoom Chat.

Doug Ley tribute — Dick Ames 

Dick Ames delivered a heartfelt and poignant tribute to Doug Ley.  Referencing the words of President Biden Dick reminded us of the high stakes in our current political environment, and that Doug had a collaborative spirit in solving the tough problems our nation faces. He closed by reiterating how important it is to win the special election for Doug’s seat to carry on his legacy.

Special Comments on Budget — Rep. Lucy Weber

Representative Lucy Weber gave a summary of recent developments in the budget fight at the Statehouse.  Republicans have passed two bills HB (the budget itself) and HB2 (policy changes to accompany the budget).  These laws are a disaster for our state in a number of ways.

    • The bill includes a variety of tax cuts –Rooms and Meals, Interest and Dividends, Business Enterprise and Business Profits — all going down at different rates.  These cuts will be kicking in when we retake seats for Dems, leaving less revenue.
      • Messaging is and will be important to get increase understanding about the negative impact of the tax cuts on towns, services, people, tax rates locally
  • Huge reduction in statewide education property tax — Most losses go to towns who can least afford it 
    • Money will be reimbursed to those who lost money in private FRM investment– a private investment run amok. Money for  Medicaid dental benefit was removed to make this possible 
  • An entirely new DOE (Dept of Energy)  created without public input or consultation with policy committees
  • Huge staffing cuts at DHHS
  • Restrictions on the right to choose, and forced trans-vaginal ultrasounds for patients seeking an abortion.
  • Language prohibiting teaching of “Divisive Concepts”.  Language of bill unclear. Bottomline– a serious hindrance on freedom of speech
  • Covid restriction resisters who were fined for non-compliance will be refunded
  • School Voucher program — tax payer dollars will be diverted to private schools including religious schools 
  • Also includes a new family leave policy, which is voluntary for businesses.  Large corporations who already offer PFL will be fine, but small businesses will be hurt trying to comply.
  • Note: the Exec Council has not yet awarded contracts family planning due to provisions put in budget, wanting to verify state money not used for abortion. Timing will create a funding gap for family planning/services.

Democratic Victory Campaign Committee report — Spencer Meyer

This Committee is Chaired by Matt Wilhelm , Vice Chair is Alexis Simpson
Spencer works on special elections in state , current focus on special elections in Merrimack, Bow, and Dunbarton and in Cheshire County District 9 (Roxbury, Harrisville, Jaffrey, Rindge) and Bedford. 

Special  election turnout tends to be low.  People need to be notified,  and make sure they know how and when to vote 

Date to file:  7/6-7/9

Primary Sept 7

General 10/26

Note: Sept 7 will be general if no primary on either side


  1. Submit Declaration of candidacy and statement of financial interest with Secretary of State.  Form is on the state website 
  2. Important to raise money.  Candidates are encouraged to set up an ActBlue account 
  3. The CCD is eager to help candidates in races where there is no primary.  Reach out to Mohammed  with question or interest. As always, if there is more than one candidate in a primary race the CCD will remain neutral until after the primary. The NHDP will also likely be involved.  Coordination between the various groups will be key.
  4. We will need help on the ground.  Contact Spencer at

State Rep and Town Chair Forum-Sue Hay 

The CCD met with Town Chairs and State Reps in the end of June to discuss support structures and strategy.  It was a very successful first meeting, and we will continue to meet. Key Takeaways:

  • We need to get out and talk to voters
  • National messaging may not work at town/district level.  We will need to work together to develop messaging that is effective for each town.  Not necessarily a uniform message across the county.
  • We will need to utilize multiple channels to reach a variety of demographics. 

Reports from Elected Democrats 

Sen Jay Kahn

 Senator Kahn reported on his work on education:

  • FAFSA:  Second Cares act changed to a 18 question form from very lengthy version will go into effect 2023-24
    • Current level of FAFSA completion rate in NH is 51%, should be 65% to compete with workforce demands 
  • Double PELL grants, now $12,800
    • Work Force PELL to support students at the certificate level ,  less than 1 year program

NH slipping quickly. Sen. Kahn is hoping the bill will help, but we need to ramp up further.

Rep Joe Schapiro 

Health and Human Services  will have Work groups forming to address 2 bills : 

  1. Roll back expansions in telehealth– bill was retained , but very valuable in Covid
  2. Medicaid Adult  dental benefit–  work beginning to do better for next year

Rep. Dick Ames 

Ways and Means — Tax conversations will need to happen with voters as we look ahead to what it will take to create a new budget in 2 years.  We Need to raise level of conversation to prevent further damage 

Rep. Michael Abbott 

Our biggest impact is door to door contact, we need to hammer the reality that property taxes will get worse. 

POsitive development, the Bridge Hinsdale to Brattleboro construction project was awarded to a Maine company — been working on this for 30 years. Work will start August or September. 

Rep. Jennie Gomarlo

The Ultrasound mandate pre-abortion includes an additional catch.   There was no funding to assist those who cannot afford an ultrasound.  Also no funding for audit of separation of abortion from family planning services 

Loss of education money– Rep. Gomarlo expects there will be confusion with ARPA funds and how they can be used  

Rep. Amanda Elizabeth Toll— Shout out for the event  at St A’s– NH  Women and  the Economy– many speakers focused on developing the economy to work for all, and specifically women. Amanda will speak on Paid Family Leave ** Event will be Live streamed **


Shaun  Filiault– Keene — Keene Dems hosted an education event on LBGTQ rights and it was a  great success to celebrate PRIDE.. Well attended 

–Keene Dems continues to Raise funds

–Seeking recruits for City councilors, Mayor. Several councilors will not be running again. Trying to recruit someone to run for Mayor, any ideas welcome! 

Clai Lasher Somers– Westmoreland Chair– Groups is starting to get organized

Seeking to work with messaging in a collaborative effort.  

Mary Ewell– Chesterfield — There’s not  much new– trying to gather folks in summer and  start planning canvassing efforts. Terrific Vice Chair, and we are putting heads together. Tim Butterworth a wealth of information  

Jeff Dickler– Rindge– a lot of activity lately– shared link on messaging 

Gearing up for an 8/1 social event– encourage people to gather and be accessible 

ActBlue account set up — getting some donations

Postcard campaign for 8/1– generally response from same crowd

Getting folks involved, tapping silent majority to be more involved 

Other Elected 

County Commissioner Terry Clark

The County Hall is open!  Space is available for community meetings 

County is working on a Restorative Justice program– victim and defendant come together (when possible) to limit damage done to community , relationship, etc , and go beyond simple restitution/punishment 

Semi- annual visit happened to corrections facility– very informative — It  is one of the best in the state– people treated with respect– feedback from guards and inmates alike 

ARPA money– County just received $14.7 million in funding — hosting Zooms with select boards 

Will Pearson was hired as financial asst to navigate /manage the money. $22 million available to towns that can be applied for to help with infrastructure, etc. 

Reports from Sub-committees of CCD: 

Fundraising/ Sue : 

Working on Spaghetti Dinner — venue possibilities being explored, potential speakers. Ideas welcome 

Takes money to raise money– any amount can help — Please set up a recurring donation if possible.

Small House Party events planned  for the fall 

Communications/ Natalie: 

Updates to social media and website–Instagram, Twitter, facebook have been made and will be ongoing.

Donate button has been added to the facebook page 

The community is welcome to post on facebook 

Youth Outreach:  Conor

Summer is  hard time to gather folks but he is continuing to work on it

Working on KSC Dems, hope to connect them  with Keene mayoral race and municipal elections 

Formulating door2door strategy in Winchester– community building, seeing people out and about 

Would like to get Youth Town Hall happening 

HB544  discussion in the group related to what comes next — planning a forum on this will be more information soon 

Announcements — 

Next mtg for Town Chairs/State Reps  will be  8/17

Next monthly meeting of CCD — 8/3/21, 6:30-8pm , always the first Tuesday of every month!