ISSUES

As a legal aid attorney and as Senate Majority Leader, Dan led the charge for quality, affordable health care, paid family and medical leave insurance, clean energy, common-sense gun safety, and worked to expand opportunity for all Granite Staters. Dan has accomplished a lot, including working with members of both parties on major legislative initiatives.

Dan has the record and vision to lead us through a real COVID-19 relief and recovery into the next decade. With Dan as Governor, we’ll tackle the critical issues facing our state and make sure that every Granite Stater has the opportunity to be successful, ensuring relief and recovery that works for working families without a sales or income tax. Over his three terms in the state Senate, Dan has gained a reputation as one of the most prolific legislators in the State House with nearly half (44%) of all legislation he’s filed signed into law. Dan doesn’t just talk about these critical issues — he works hard to get real results for real people.

At the end of each section below you’ll find a sampling of relevant legislation that Dan has sponsored throughout his time in the Senate.

Policy Initiatives

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Dan released almost a dozen policy initiatives he would have undertaken as Governor. These range from access to child care, to housing and homelessness, to use of the federal CARES Act funds, and much more. You can read more about those here.

Energy

 Dan released his “Green Jobs, Green Future” plan to create a new clean energy economy, generate thousands of living-wage jobs, and lead the economic recovery after COVID-19. This clean energy economy will follow the leading science on climate and embrace proven technologies to help keep our children, forests, farms, seacoast, and businesses safe from the climate crisis. During his time in office, Chris Sununu has steadfastly resisted the unequivocal science of climate change, as reflected in his statements and more than a dozen vetoes of bipartisan climate and clean energy legislation.

Dan’s plan for New Hampshire’s clean energy future has three core building blocks: (1) clean, local power; (2) safe and healthy buildings; and (3) clean, reliable transportation.

 1. Clean, Local Power: Every year, Granite Staters export over $4 billion for non-renewable energy to power our way of life, even though clean, local energy sources are now available at a lower cost.  As governor, Dan will act swiftly to declare New Hampshire’s clean-tech economy open for business by implementing five common-sense measures, including committing to 100% clean energy by 2050, empowering local distributed generation, investing in offshore wind, removing red tape, and modernizing the grid.

2. Safe and Healthy BuildingsSafe and healthy buildings are essential to New Hampshire’s families and workers. Our homes and businesses also have the power to help clean the environment by producing and using energy smartly. In the U.S., buildings account for 40% of primary energy use and associated greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately, New Hampshire ranks dead last in the northeast on building efficiency, and energy efficiency jobs are going to other states. Dan will prioritize securing critical funding, maximizing building efficiency, phasing out fossil fuels, and making the state part of the solution.

 3. Clean and Reliable Transportation: Air pollution is a silent killer that affects New Hampshire disproportionately. The state Department of Health and Human Services consistently finds rates of asthma among the highest in the nation, accounting for thousands of hospital visits and more than $177 million in annual medical costs to Granite Staters. As Governor, Dan will invest in a modern and healthy New Hampshire with electric transit corridors that serve local residents and tourists alike. From day one, Dan will make electric vehicles and mass transit top priorities with the following initiatives including going electric now, putting passenger rail back on track, and creating transit solutions for all.

Education 

Dan released his “Live Free and Learn Safe” blueprint for back to school plan on July 22 to address the key issues facing our public schools in a substantive, specific manner.  The “Live Free and Learn Safe” plan provides specific funding mechanisms and actions that can be taken. This is the type of guidance a Feltes administration would produce. While no plan is perfect, the “Live Free and Learn Safe” plan provides a comprehensive approach to reopening schools that prioritizes safety and support for local school districts, while maintaining the latitude for individual districts to tailor the plan to their specific situation. Specifically, the plan would provide: a census on students, educators, educational support staff, and bus drivers to determine baseline in-person numbers, a state review and enhancement of all buildings for air quality and social distancing capabilities, medical-grade PPE for educators and educational support staff, free on-site COVID-19 testing for educators and educational support staff, five cloth masks for all students, clear guidance on meals and transportation, statewide job protections for teachers that prefer remote learning, mandated masks for middle and high school students and staff, real financial support for schools, clear steps in the event of a COVID case, standing up the children’s mobile crisis unit, and more. You can read the full plan here. You can watch a live stream of the press conference here

Democracy Reform

 Dan released his “People’s Plan“; a reform agenda to increase transparency and limit the influence of money in politics.  Real change comes from the grassroots, from our communities; and when the voices of those left out and left behind are finally heard. But, right now, our democracy is broken. It’s not just Washington, DC, it’s right here in New Hampshire too. The wealthy and well-connected have the power and everyday people, those without lobbyists or Governor’s cell-phone number, are left behind. It is more critical than ever that we change our system and elect leaders who are dedicated to major reforms. We need to break down the barriers for everyday people to succeed and much of that starts with the influence of lobbyists and corporate donors. This “People’s Plan” is fundamental to ensuring that government and elected officials work for the people, not special interests. The plan is broken into four sections that are fundamental to fixing our democracy. Each section includes specific policy proposals that Senator Feltes would support as Governor and that are fundamental to ensuring that government and elected officials work for the people, not special interests. 

The four sections include;

  • Ethics and Transparency: eliminating areas for potential abuses of power and creating the systems necessary for investigating potential abuses. 

  • Campaign Finance Reform: to put the power back in the hands of the people by limiting the type of contributions allowed, increasing disclosure requirements, and implementing systematic changes.

  • Protecting & Expanding Voting Rights and Ending Gerrymandering: The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy and we must do everything possible to encourage Granite Staters to participate in our process and guarantee that voters pick their elected officials, not the other way around.

  • Immediate COVID-19 Steps: With these current circumstances in mind, it’s critical we also include a section on immediate steps, such as voting and transparency over stimulus funds, that should be taken.

 Stay tuned for more policies initiatives. 

On the Issues

Health Care

Dan believes health care is a right and not a privilege.  It’s critical that we continue to expand access to quality, affordable health care for everyone.  Under Governor Sununu, New Hampshire has the highest health care costs in the nation, even prior to COVID-19. COVID-19 has pushed our healthcare system to the edge, with health care workers losing their jobs, some providers going out-of-business, and the remaining providers and workers struggling to provide care, while risking their own health in the process.  Dan was the first to propose a Frontline Worker Fund to provide an additional hazard pay to healthcare workers on the frontlines.  As Governor, Dan will shore up our healthcare system, undertake real planning with real support for healthcare, and will fight to lower healthcare costs for working families and small businesses.

At the State House, Dan has been a leader on healthcare policy. He served as a lead Democratic negotiator for the reauthorization of Medicaid Expansion in both 2016 and 2018 — protecting access to health care for over 50,000 Granite Staters. In 2016, Dan co-led a bipartisan effort to break down insurance company barriers to emergency in-patient opioid treatment. Also, as a result of legislation Dan filed in 2016, the first-ever commission to deal with mental health parity was established and the first-ever market conduct review of mental health parity was undertaken.  In 2018, Dan passed landmark bipartisan legislation to combat childhood lead poisoning from both paint and water.  And over several years, Dan has sponsored and gotten passed various measures helping senior citizens get better healthcare, including dementia and memory care standards and training.

In 2019, Dan introduced and passed legislation to protect individuals with pre-existing conditions by codifying provisions of the Affordable Care Act in New Hampshire law.  Meanwhile, Governor Sununu supported the Trump-backed federal legislative effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  In 2019, Dan was also the prime sponsor and passed the first-ever comprehensive children’s system of mental health care in New Hampshire, including a statewide mobile crisis and intervention team for children so any child in distress can receive treatment within an hour from a highly trained team.  As Vice-Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, and one of the state’s budget writers, Dan fought for increased funding for the public health department, so critical now in light of COVID-19.

One of the reasons New Hampshire has the highest health care costs in the nation is the lack of preventative care.  That includes the absence of paid family and medical leave insurance, enabling workers to get the help, the treatment, and the timely medical care they need, without risking their families economic security.  Dan has long championed paid family and medical leave insurance. Dan’s bill in 2019, Senate Bill 1, the top priority of the New Hampshire Senate, was unfortunately vetoed by Governor Sununu, who then auctioned off a copy of his veto at a partisan political fundraiser.

In 2020, Dan sponsored legislation to combat skyrocketing prescription drug costs in New Hampshire. Dan has led the charge on a bipartisan bill to allow the importation of safe, low-cost prescription drugs from Canada. Dan is also fighting for children, families and seniors with diabetes, who all-too often ration their life-sustaining Insulin, by proposing to cap the out-of-pocket costs of Insulin at $100 per month.

As Vice-Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, recognizing the states are more important now than ever in protecting women’s health care and reproductive freedom, Dan worked to ensure that the state provided resources for women’s health centers that were losing funding because of the Trump administration’s unjust Title X Gag rule.  Governor Sununu has voted against Planned Parenthood funding and supported numerous anti-choice justices. Dan has fought for Planned Parenthood every step of the way.  As Governor, Dan will always protect a woman’s right to a full range of reproductive services including safe, legal abortion.

Unfortunately, under Governor Sununu, we still have one of the worst opioid public health problems in the nation, with one of the worst treatment capacities to deal with it. That has driven up health care costs on everyone.  Despite good people on the ground trying their best, Governor Sununu’s so-called “Doorways” program is a failure.  It is largely an intake and referral program without treatment capacity on the backend. In other words, it is Doorway to nowhere.  As Vice-Chair of the Senate Finance Committee,  Dan also helped secure the first state investment in the Safe Station program that has helped thousands of Granite Staters, and Dan fought for provider rate increases for behavioral health care.  Unfortunately, Governor Sununu has already cut those provider rates out of the budget, harming our ability to maintain or expand much needed treatment capacity. Governor Sununu also vetoed SB 5, a bipartisan bill which received a 24-0 vote in the Senate, which would have provided critical help for addiction and mental health treatment.   As Governor, Dan will fight to expand treatment capacity across the continuum of care, not just talk about it.  It’s long overdue, it’s the right thing to do, and it reduces costs for everyone in the end.

Read the Legislation:

  • SB 599 (2020), relative to testing for lead in water in schools and child care facilities
  • HB 1280 (2020), capping insulin costs at $100 per month
  • SB 255 (2020), dementia training for direct care staff in residential facilities
  • HB 3 and HB 4 (2019), the New Hampshire state budget, which backfilled funding for women’s health centers put at-risk from the Trump administration’s Title X gag rule, increase Medicaid provider rates, and provided funding for Safe Stations
  • SB 1 (2019), paid family and medical leave insurance
  • SB 6 (2019), increasing staff at DCYF
  • SB 260 (2019), establishing a low-income prescription drug pilot program
  • SB 272 (2019), mental health parity under insurance laws
  • SB 14 (2019), establishing the comprehensive children’s system of care
  • SB 4 (2019), codifying the protections for people with preexisting conditions in state law
  • HB 484 (2017), studying seacoast cancer cluster investigation
  • SB 532 (2016), removing prior authorization requirements for substance use disorder treatment

Energy and the Environment

In the state Senate, Dan has led the efforts to take immediate action here in New Hampshire to combat the climate crisis, advance and promote the high-quality clean energy jobs of tomorrow, and to reduce energy costs for New Hampshire families and businesses.  We have the third highest energy bills in the country right here in New Hampshire, and we are the only state in New England to lose solar jobs last year.  It is no coincidence that all of this falls on the heels of veto after veto after veto of bipartisan clean energy legislation by Governor Sununu. The further we fall behind in clean energy investments the higher those energy costs will go and the clean energy jobs opportunities of tomorrow will go elsewhere.

As Vice-Chair of the Energy and Natural Resources committee, Dan has led the efforts to advance clean energy in New Hampshire. Dan’s expanded net metering in New Hampshire, delivered the first-ever community solar projects in New Hampshire, passed municipal aggregation and community power for New Hampshire, and recognizing the cheapest unit of energy is the one you don’t use Dan has always championed energy efficiency, including protecting New Hampshire’s Energy Efficiency Resource Standard. We need to do everything we can at the state, local, and federal level to combat the climate crisis — and turn this crisis into an opportunity to create thousands of good paying jobs with good benefits.  But Governor Sununu’s veto pen has taken down many of Dan’s clean energy efforts, including three bipartisan efforts to increase the per project net metering cap as well as Dan’s bill to ramp up new solar in New Hampshire through the Renewable Portfolio Standards.

Dan has co-sponsored legislation to protect our open spaces and heritage, including bipartisan legislation to advance the Land Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP), which was vetoed by Governor Sununu.

Dan led the effort on clean water. Working with Mindi Messmer and others, his efforts helped secure the toughest drinking water standards on PFOAs and PFCs in the nation. When big corporations challenged the new standards in court — Dan didn’t give up the fight — he went back to the legislature and worked on legislation to codify the aggressive standards in New Hampshire state law. In addition, Dan’s bipartisan bill protecting the Warner river made it into law, and Dan led the effort to broker a comprehensive compromise between environmental and industry interests to protect all rivers in our river management program.

As Governor, Dan would instruct the New Hampshire Department of Justice to aggressively pursue legal action against polluters who put our clean air and clean water at risk. This includes undertaking action against fossil fuel companies (as Rhode Island and Massachusetts have done) for their responsibility for climate change to help us do everything we can for our people, our economy, and our seacoast. Governor Sununu has said the jury is out on climate change. It’s not. And, it has harmed New Hampshire. Granite Staters deserve a governor who tries to get them relief, not one that consistently sides with the fossil fuel industry.

Read the Legislation:

  • SB 124 (2020), relative to renewable portfolio standards after 2025
  • SB 165 (2019), establishing low-income solar projects
  • SB 168 (2019), increase solar investments under the renewable portfolio standards
  • SB 167 (2019), establishing a clean energy resource procurement commission
  • SB 321 (2018), expanding group net-metering
  • SB 575 (2018), expanding electric vehicle charging stations
  • HB 484 (2017), studying seacoast cancer cluster investigation
  • SB 333 (2016), expanding group net-metering

Economy

We need a COVID-19 relief plan that works for everyone, not just those at the top. The bailouts of the past need to be a thing of the past.  The unemployment insurance system must be fixed, working people and working families need jobs, and corporate special interest handouts need to stop.

Dan grew up in a working class family. Dan’s dad worked in a furniture factory for 45 years — the same one, doing roughly the same job, in an unairconditioned furniture factory for 45 years. Dan’s mom worked various part-time jobs, including the night shift, while raising four kids.  Dan knows what it’s like to stretch a dollar to make ends meet.  

Right out of law school, Dan turned down jobs as a corporate attorney, instead working in legal aid for about a decade with New Hampshire Legal Assistance. Dan helped folks all around New Hampshire, oftentimes folks who never had anyone in their corner — from domestic violence survivors, to seniors, to veterans. During the last crisis, as a legal aid attorney, Dan fought to protect Granite State homeowners from foreclosure by Wall Street banks, helped get access to health care for folks who needed it, and fought for workers and families crushed by job loss to get their unemployment insurance benefits.  The same people Dan saw fall through the cracks then are falling through the cracks now. It’s why Dan ran for the State Senate in the first place — our laws, our policies, our investments, don’t look out for ordinary people. 

While at New Hampshire Legal Assistance Dan spent four years as the Housing Justice Project Director overseeing the staff, casework, public trainings and outreach, and advocacy for fair housing, civil rights, and workforce and affordable housing. Even before COVID-19, New Hampshire was facing a housing crisis. With vacancy rates well below 2%, some cities having 0% vacancy, and a national average of about 5% vacancy, people could not find places to live, and, if they did, prices were through the roof. It put New Hampshire at an economic and competitive disadvantage in the region, and the housing and homelessness challenges we face have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis. With a sharp increase in unemployment in the state, many folks are struggling to pay their rent and make their mortgage payments. On top of this, our homeless population frequently resides in shelters that are not built for the social distancing safety recommendations of today, making it harder for them to stay healthy and virtually impossible to find jobs. In short, housing is key to our economy and key to our recovery. You can read Dan’s full housing and homelessness plan here.

Prior to COVID-19, New Hampshire already had the highest health care costs in the nation, the third highest electric rates, unaffordable child care costs, and skyrocketing housing costs. Now, things are much worse. Tens of thousands of workers have been crushed by job loss and families are finding it harder and harder to juggle their bills, child care, work and so many other pressures working families are facing today. 

In the Senate, Dan’s fought for investments in job training and apprenticeship programs, including a bill to enhance job training and trades opportunities for people in recovery and for graduating Granite State high school seniors, which Governor Sununu unfortunately vetoed.  Regardless of whether you’re entering the trades or transitioning to a second or third career, you should have the opportunity to learn the skills necessary for the jobs of tomorrow. In 2016, Dan passed flexible work arrangements, SB 416, making New Hampshire just the second State to guarantee working families the right to request workplace flexibility.  Dan has long championed paid family and medical leave insurance. Dan’s bill in 2019, Senate Bill 1, the top priority of the New Hampshire Senate, was unfortunately vetoed by Governor Sununu, who then auctioned off a copy of his veto at a partisan political fundraiser. Dan supports raising the minimum wage because the more money Granite Staters have in their pockets the more they can invest in our local economy. 

We need policies and major infrastructure investments that address the challenges working families face in today’s new world and get people back to work. Dan’s led the effort to get a minimum wage, a prevailing wage, advanced affordable and workforce housing, and is the champion of paid family and medical leave insurance. Getting people to work on housing, on broadband, in healthcare and in child care, and on clean energy projects will be key to Dan’s relief and recovery agenda. 

Read the Legislation:

  • HB 186 (2020), establishing a state minimum wage 
  • SB 1 (2019), HB 628 (2018), paid family and medical leave insurance
  • SB 2 (2019), increasing investment in the New Hampshire Business and Economic Affairs job training fund 
  • SB 10 (2019), establish a state minimum wage
  • SB 197 (2019), prohibiting non-compete agreements for low wage workers
  • SB 100 (2019), prohibiting discrimination in employment based on criminal background check
  • SB 151 (2019), prohibiting wage theft and creating an administrative hearing procedure
  • SB 271 (2019), prevailing wage
  • SB 422 (2018), requiring advance notice of work schedules
  • HB 1246 (2018), relative to the minimum wage for tipped employees
  • SB 226 (2017), SB 146 (2019), repealing the waiting week before eligibility for unemployment benefits
  • HB 600 (2015), establishing paid sick leave for employees

Education

Dan lives in the South End of Concord with his wife Erin and two young daughters, Iris and Josie, who will be attending public schools in Concord. The best investment we can make as a society is in our children. That’s no different today than it was prior to COVID-19.  When Dan first ran for the state Senate in 2014, he pledged to do everything he could to make full day kindergarten a reality for all New Hampshire families. In the 2020-2021 budget, New Hampshire finally fully funded kindergarten just like any other grade, despite years of Governor Sununu resisting the effort.  As one of the budget writers, Dan helped secure the greatest education funding in state history in the 2020-2021 state budget, the greatest increase in public school education funding since then-Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, including first-ever “disparity aid” for property poor communities.

Still, more work is needed. New Hampshire is still one of only six states without any state funded pre-k programs. As Governor, Dan will finally invest in pre-k. The data is clear, early childhood education is the foundation for educational success and our children deserve the best right here in New Hampshire, regardless of their zip code.

Dan believes that we need a comprehensive education system from cradle to career. College isn’t for everyone, which is why it’s critical that we invest in apprenticeships, job training, and certificate programs. Dan sponsored legislation to increase state investment in job training and workforce development so regardless of whether you’re transitioning into a second or third career or entering the trades out of high school you have an opportunity to learn the skills necessary to be successful. 

Granite Staters who do attend our great two- and four- year colleges should have the opportunity to graduate without crippling student debt. For the first time in almost a decade, New Hampshire froze tuition for both the community college and university system. As Governor, Dan will work to lower tuition at our in-state public universities and support initiatives that provide targeted student debt relief to high need sectors.

Dan released his “Live Free and Learn Safe” blueprint for back to school plan on July 22 to address the key issues facing our public schools in a substantive, specific manner.  The “Live Free and Learn Safe” plan provides specific funding mechanisms and actions that can be taken. This is the type of guidance my administration would produce if I have the honor and privilege of serving as your next Governor. While no plan is perfect, the “Live Free and Learn Safe” plan provides a comprehensive approach to reopening schools that prioritizes safety and support for local school districts, while maintaining the latitude for individual districts to tailor the plan to their specific situation. 

Read the Legislation:

  • SB 421 (2020), establishing educational assistance for members of the New Hampshire national guard
  • HB 3 and HB 4 (2019), the New Hampshire state budget, which included the greatest education budget in state history
  • SB 2 (2019), increasing investment in the New Hampshire Business and Economic Affairs job training fund (vetoed by Governor Sununu)
  • SB 266 (2019), HB 1563 (2016), SB 228 (2015), full funding for full-day kindergarten
  • SB 282 (2019), relative to suicide prevention education in schools
  • SB 12 (2019), establishing the New Hampshire college graduate retention incentive partnership program
  • HB 1415 (2018), establishing a death benefit for a school employee killed in the line of duty
  • SB 104 (2017), assisting career and technical education programs

Campaign Finance Reform and Voting Rights

Elected officials work for the people — not big corporations, not special interests, not in their own self-interest or for their political party.  If we cannot trust that our political process is free and fair then we will never make progress on any of the critical issues we all care about. 

Over the past few years, Dan and his colleagues in the legislature have fought against efforts to suppress voting rights and allow dark money to influence our elections. Dan has sponsored legislation to close the “LLC loophole”, which allows wealthy individuals to skirt campaign finance limits by contributing personally and through LLCs they operate, and legislation to require dark money groups, like Americans for Prosperity, to disclose their contributors.  Dan has also supported legislation to repeal the vote suppressing legislation Governor Sununu signed into law in 2018.  In 2019, Dan also sponsored legislation that prohibited corporate contributions in our state elections. 

We need to include more Granite Staters in our political process, which is why Dan supports automatic voter registration and other efforts that make our election process more accessible to all voting eligible residents. Dan supported efforts to form an independent, bipartisan redistricting commission to oversee the redistricting process. Voters should choose their politicians, politicians should not choose their voters. This common-sense legislation was unfortunately vetoed by Governor Sununu in 2019.

Read the Legislation:

  • SB 155 (2019), prohibiting political contributions from corporations 
  • SB 156 (2019), SB 115 (2017) closing the “LLC loophole” 
  • SB 105 (2019), limiting contributions to “inaugural funds” which were previous unlimited slush-funds, including by Governor Sununu. 
  • SB 106 (2019), modifying the definition of a political advocacy organization to include groups like Americans for Prosperity and other dark money groups in our campaign finance disclosure requirements. 
  • HB 706 (2019), SB 107 (2017) establishing an independent redistricting commission. 
  • SB 197 (2018), funding additional attorneys at the New Hampshire Department of Justice to enforce election and lobbying laws
  • SB 363 (2018), prohibiting political contributions by foreign nationals
  • SB 194 (2017), authorizing online voter registration.

Recognized Leader

Dan has received numerous Legislator of the Year awards for bipartisan leadership on many critical issues, including from the Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy for his work advancing paid family and medical leave insurance, from Early Learning NH for his work on full-day kindergarten, from Ski NH for his work promoting tourism and the ski industry, from New Hampshire Council on Development Disabilities and from Community Bridges for his work helping persons with disabilities, from the Home Builders and Remodelers Association and from Housing Action NH for his work expanding affordable and workforce housing, from the NH ACLU for his work on criminal justice reform, and from New Futures and from the National Association of Social Workers for his work on both mental health parity and combatting the opioid public health epidemic. 

Don’t see an issue you care about? You can view Dan’s entire legislative record on the New Hampshire General Court website (http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/) or email us at info@danfeltes.com!

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          Dan Feltes for Governor