MEMO: NHDP Launches "Sununu Reality Check" Accountability Project
Chris Sununu has a bit of trouble with reality. As governor, he should be fighting for New Hampshire residents, businesses, and economy, but since assuming the job in January, he has been more interested in catering to corporate special interests and his national party backers—including President Trump.
Sununu cloaks his actions in a healthy dose of bipartisan doublespeak. But we won't let him continue his 'aw shucks' act anymore. That’s why the New Hampshire Democratic Party is launching "Sununu Reality Check" aimed at holding Governor Chris Sununu accountable for his out-of-touch record. Last Tuesday, Granite Staters turned out in record numbers to reject the Trump-Sununu agenda they have seen unfurl over the past year. Across the state, from Carroll to Hillsborough County, from Sullivan to Rockingham County, voters in the unlikeliest of districts have broken longstanding precedent to turn Trump districts bright blue. After the resounding electoral success of 2017, the New Hampshire Democratic Party is focusing in on our 2018 target, Governor Chris Sununu.
Sununu Reality Check will focus on five key issues in which Governor Sununu's out-of-touch policies have betrayed New Hampshire values, including education, health care, the economy, the environment, and ethics. We will bring Sununu back to reality and hold him accountable for his actions that put his party and special interests ahead of the businesses and families of New Hampshire.
The Reality of Chris Sununu’s Record: Making college more expensive While Sununu proposed $800 million in new spending in his budget, not one cent in additional funding went to the University System of New Hampshire. In contrast, then-Governor Maggie Hassan reduced in-state tuition at the university system and lowered tuition at community colleges in 2014, and she froze tuition in 2015 & 2016 at community colleges. USNH Chancellor Todd Leach expressed "deep disappointment" in Sununu’s decision not to freeze tuition for college students, who face some of the highest tuition costs in the country. Rising health care costs It's no surprise that Chris Sununu has joined Trump’s efforts to try to repeal health coverage for millions of Americans while making working families pay more for worse coverage. He has also failed to stand up to Trump’s efforts to sabotage the health care system, which have already promised to make premium costs skyrocket for consumers. Sununu even bragged about the part he played in drafting the dangerous Graham-Cassidy health care bill that would have kicked 32 million Americans off their insurance plans. Earlier in the year, he called Trumpcare a "huge win," and he consistently refuses to stand up with other governors in bipartisan rejection of these destructive health care plans. Sununu has also pushed to slash Medicaid, a program that so many Granite Staters depend on—especially in the midst of the opioid crisis. Instead of standing up to Trump, Sununu said he "would never pressure" the president, even when it came to Trump’s refusal to make crucial payments that help people afford their premiums every month. Shortchanging working families Despite running on a promise to deliver economic opportunity to New Hampshire, Chris Sununu failed to include even a single cent for workforce training in his first budget. Instead, he gave the wealthiest 3% of corporations a massive tax giveaway of over $100 million dollars. With that funding, Sununu could have done a lot for hard-working Granite Staters: He could have fully funded the alcohol fund to provide additional opioid resources. He could have fully funded mental health services or the developmental disability waitlist. Instead of any of that, Sununu made it crystal clear that big corporate special interests are his first priority.
Undermining the environment
We love the outdoors in New Hampshire, but Chris Sununu can't even be bothered to protect our natural resources. Instead, he says it's "not [his] job" to understand the impact of climate change. That much was clear when he told NHPR that he wasn't sure carbon emissions were the leading cause of climate change, denying long-settled science. Sununu doubled down on this position when he defended President Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accords. Today, the United States is the only country in the entire world not to sign onto the agreement. To make matters worse, Sununu has refused to take action to protect New Hampshire. He refused to join a bipartisan group of governors as part of the US Climate Alliance and he is threatening to withdraw from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a move even Republicans are calling "all political." Political favors at the State House Sununu's agency picks have raised eyebrows across the state. The governor's first move was to neutralize his former political rival (and Betsy Devos Impersonator) Frank Edelblut by giving him an agency position he was wholly unqualified for. Most frightening was Sununu's pick of Peter Kujawski for the Department of Environmental Services. Kujawski's confirmation hearing scared the Executive Council so much that Sununu had to withdraw his nomination. Why? Not only did Kujawski lack environmental experience of any kind, but he admitted that Sununu was shopping him around to each agency. Sununu even offered Kujawski a "vice president" position at a private company moving to New Hampshire, a potential misuse of his position. But it's not just friends Sununu likes to help, it's also his family. Chris Sununu tapped Charlie Arlinghaus as the Administrative Services Commissioner and Drew Cline as Chairman of the State Board of Education. Arlinghaus used to be president of the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy, a Koch Brothers funded think tank. Cline currently serves as the Center's interim president. Two reasons the governor had them on speed dial: his brother is the think tank's Chairman of the Board and his father is an Emeritus Board Member.
The New Hampshire Democratic Party will use every resource possible to make certain that Chris Sununu is held accountable for trying to make his special interest vision of New Hampshire a reality, so keep an eye out - there's more coming soon.
We won’t let Chris Sununu get away with putting his family, friends, donors and special interests before Granite Staters, and the Sununu Reality Check will make sure the truth gets out.