The Well News | NewDEAL Heads to New Hampshire for Regional Forum
By Dan McCue
The NewDEAL is heading to New Hampshire on Friday not to be part of any presidential contest, but rather to cast a spotlight on New England Democratic state and local policymakers and their shared vision of impactful policies.
Friday’s event at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College is being held under the auspices of the NewDEAL Forum.
Among the officials who will be in attendance are Manchester, New Hampshire’s, former Mayor Joyce Craig, who is currently running for governor, New Hampshire state Sen. Rebecca Perkins Kwoka, Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll, Massachusetts state Rep. Tram Nguyen, and Maine’s Assistant House Majority Leader Kristen Cloutier.
Also participating will be student members of the institute’s Young Democrats organization.
“In a way I think what we’re doing is going to be a nice contrast to some of the other things going on in the state,” NewDEAL Forum CEO Debbie Cox Bultan told The Well News on Thursday.
She was referring not only to the increasingly nasty GOP primary race between former President Donald Trump and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, but also to deep disagreement between the Democratic National Committee and New Hampshire on the timing of the state primary.
The DNC wanted South Carolina to come first in primary voting this year, but New Hampshire would have none of it, stating that its status as the first-in-the-nation to vote for president is written into the state constitution.
That’s why the Republicans are actively having a contest, while the Democratic vote is unsanctioned and therefore not likely to be counted.
“Our conversations are going to be about what’s happening in NewDEAL and about striving for well-crafted solutions to the issues and concerns people care about, like climate change, and how to save our democracy, and how to promote freedom,” Bultan said.
A great deal of the afternoon’s agenda will be driven by the NewDeal’s 2024 Freedom Agenda, a plan for the future published late last year in partnership with the New Democrat Coalition.
The event’s agenda features dedicated sessions spotlighting the efforts of two NewDEAL Forum policy groups — one addressing climate change solutions and another centered on strengthening democracy.
The NewDEAL Forum’s Climate Policy Group has been actively arming leaders with the necessary information and resources to leverage new funding opportunities and implement effective solutions in their communities.
Heading into an election year, the Democracy Working Group has been busy helping elected officials safeguard Democratic institutions and ensure universal access for eligible voters to exercise their fundamental rights.
The discussion on Friday is also expected to emphasize the group’s efforts to promote civic engagement and participation among diverse voter demographics while fostering connections within and across communities.
“When we were creating our agenda for this year we were very mindful of the fact that while Republicans have tried to own the word freedom for years, their actions have represented anything but that,” Bultan said.
“I mean, all you have to do is look at what they are doing in regard to women’s reproductive care, book bannings and so many other things that are anathema to the very concept of freedom,” she continued.
“What’s been amazing in the weeks since we released the agenda is how much it has resonated with Democratic state and local leaders across the country and with the communities they serve,” Bultan said. “I really think it has legs, and that Democrats are rightfully rallying around the concept of freedom, not as a political gimmick, but as a way of truly describing the differences that exist between the two political parties right now.
“Frankly, I think it’s why we’ve seen Democrats do as well as they have in the last couple of elections, and I think we need to make sure that our focus continues to stay squarely on that,” she added.