U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko of New York told Portsmouth Democrats that President Obama and the Democratic-led Congress accomplished great things during his first two years in office with smart government and can do so again if New Hampshire leads its Democrats to victory in November.
Tonko, D-NY, and U.S. Rep. Steven Rothman, D-NJ, were the guest speakers of the Portsmouth Democratic Banquet at the Portsmouth Harbour Events and Conference Center on Friday night. Under President Obama, the country was poised to flourish and come out of the worst recession since the Great Depression until the progressive Tea Party took back control of the Senate and House in 2010.
"We were judged to be the most productive session of Congress in decades," Tonko said. In just two years, President Obama and Democratic lawmakers passed the Affordable Care Act, Wall Street reform, bailed out the auto industry, repealed Don't Ask, Don't Tell and created fairer wages for women via the Lilly Leadbetter Act.
When Tea Party candidates won one race after another in 2010 in Washington and here in New Hampshire, Tonko said "we saw a huge grounding halt brought to the progress of the Obama administration."
Their belief that there is no role for big government to improve people's lives "could be no further from the truth," Tonko said.
Tonko said voters want smart government that is efficient and takes steps to help American citizens instead of leaving them on their own as Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan's policies suggest.
Tonko said President Obama wants to strengthen America, which is why it is so critical to re-elect him for another four years in November. "We need to go forward wit an advanced agenda that builds a strong America," he said.
"This nation has never needed this party more than it does at this moment," Tonko said.
Rothman also urged New Hampshire to use its reputation as a leader that picks President to make the right choice again in November and re-elect President Obama.
Rothman said the country is better off today because President Obama was elected in 2008. Thanks to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, he said 30 million American citizens will have health insurance who otherwise would not have access to it.
"Of course we extended the life of Medicare through Obamacare," Rothman said.
He said the Obama administration took the banks out of higher education and lowered interest rates on federal student loans.
When it comes to veterans, Rothman said Democratic lawmakers "passed the biggest package of Veterans benefits since the Second World War."
On National Security, Rothman joked, "Anybody ever wonder about Barack Obama's cojones? Ask Osama bin Laden."
Rothman said Portsmouth is considered the leader of New Hampshire's Democratic Party and by supporting President Obama for a second term, the rest of the state's Democrats will also. "As Portsmouth goes, so goes the rest of New Hampshire," he said.
Democratic First District Congressional candidate Carol Shea-Porter said she hopes to reclaim the House seat she lost to incumbent Republican Congressman Frank Guinta in 2010. She said she and Ann Kuster, the Second Congressional District Democratic candidate running against incumbent Republican Congressman Charles Bass are leading in several polls.
Shea-Porter believes voters are wising up to the failed policies advocated by Republican lawmakers and they are ready to support candidates who support them.
Shea-Porter said what it takes to win in November is “being right on these issues for America and being right on the issues for New Hampshire.”
Democratic Executive Councilor candidate Bill Duncan of New Castle, who is running against incumbent Republican Executive Councilor Chris Sununu, said extreme Tea Party politics have split the current council and delayed many projects that would have provided jobs in New Hampshire.
He said 2,000 jobs have been lost in New Hampshire the last two years and he hope to restore common sense to the council, if elected.
State Senate candidate Martha Fuller Clark said if New Hampshire chooses to award President Obama is four electoral votes, all of the state’s Democratic candidates will benefit from it.
She urged her fellow Democrats to ask people at the supermarket and elsewhere if they are registered to vote on Nov. 6 to make sure a strong turnout at the polls results.
The Portsmouth Democratic Committee also awarded Eva Powers, widow of the late State Rep. James Powers, D-Portsmouth, the Distinguished Democrat Award.
Cliff Horrigan and Sarah Brown, executive director of the Green Alliance, received the Horrigan Community Service Award, for their work to encourage businesses in the Seacoast to adopt sustainable practices to help the environment.