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Saturday, May 5, 2012

What’s the rush for Emily’s List?

Guest Editorial

With all the money pumped into politics these days, Granite Staters have developed a sensitivity to outside interests trying to have their way with local issues and campaigns.

Gun rights, right-to-work legislation and abortion are just some of the issues that regularly draw accusations of outside money being used to sway New Hampshire voters and politicians. The same holds for out-of-state campaign cash.

As a result, it strikes the editorial board here at Foster’s Daily Democrat odd that little has been said about the endorsement by Emily’S List of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Maggie Hassan over fellow Democrat Jackie Cilley.

Emily’s List, which focuses on what it believes are woman’s rights issues, is decidedly an outside interest group that clearly appears to be meddling. (For a list of donors, see www.opensecrets.org.)

As Cilley pointed out in a press release following the Emily’s List announcement: “Whatever the reasons, Emily’s List made its choice now, even before formal electoral filing dates and without a discussion with their members in the State.”

But if what Cilley also noted is true, it casts a cloud over the endorsement that may cause Hassan more trouble than it is worth.

Cilley: “Only a few weeks ago Emily’s List advised me that New Hampshire voters would have the chance to choose their preferred candidate at the Primary before any decision being taken regarding endorsement. At no time did we ever sit down and discuss my experience and commitment to women’s issues, my campaign plan and the qualifications of my team.”

In touting its endorsement of Hassan, Emily’s List leaves readers with the impression that Cilley has done little to promote the cause of women’s rights or to improve the quality of life in New Hampshire.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

With the efficacy of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act currently being debated on the national political stage, Cilley stands as testament for the advocacy by word and example of equal rights in the workplace.

Cilley earned her MBA at the Whittemore School of Business and Economics, where she eventually went on to teach for two decades. She also operated a marketing research firm for 15 years.

While in the New Hampshire House and then Senate, Cilley staunchly advocated for minimum wage laws, worker safety programs, overtime rules and workers’ compensation. As a candidate, Cilley has said she would be unwilling to compromise over ensuring workers’ rights to collective bargaining.

We are not going to reprint ad infinitum information from the many year’s Foster’s Daily Democrat has covered Cilley’s multitrack career as a business owners, legislator, wife and mother. Suffice it to say, there is enough there that leads us to believe Emily’s List did not do its homework before endorsing Hassan.

None of what is written here should be taken as a primary election endorsement of Cilley. Nor should it be seen as support for her in the general election. Those decisions are yet to be made. Similarly, we are not looking to cast any aspersions on Hassan’s record.

The sole intent of the editorial board here at Foster’s Daily Democrat is to question the motivation of a premature endorsement of Hassan by Emily’s List.

At best, it should be seen with great suspicion. At worst, it is an unfair attempt by outsiders to meddle in the affairs of Granite State Democrats for unexplained reasons.

– Foster’s Daily Democrat