Campaign Updates

June 6, 2016 Press Release

Kelly Ayotte Needs to Call on Her Washington Special Interest Allies to Take Down the Shameful and Misleading Ad Politicizing the Heroin and Opioid Crisis

Ayotte Herself Has Said She Believes “Strongly That We Should Not Politicize The Issue,” Her Campaign Manager Said Any “Attempt To Politicize This Epidemic is Reprehensible”

CONCORD – In a move that puts partisan politics above public health and safety, Kelly Ayotte’s Washington D.C. allies are spending millions of dollars on a shameful, misleading attack on the Governor’s bipartisan record of fighting to stem the tide of the heroin and opioid crisis in New Hampshire. Kelly Ayotte should immediately condemn this ad and call on her special interest backers in Washington to stop politicizing the heroin and opioid crisis.

Kelly Ayotte herself has said that she believes “strongly that we should not politicize this issue,” and Ayotte’s campaign manager, Jon Kohan, said earlier this year that any “attempt to politicize this epidemic is reprehensible.”

“This is a disgusting and misleading attack that has no place in New Hampshire and disrespects all the families, public safety officials and advocates working so hard to solve this crisis. Kelly Ayotte should immediately call on her Washington allies to take down this ad and stop politicizing a crisis that takes the lives of Granite Staters every day,” said Maggie for NH Campaign Manager Marc Goldberg. “Since she took office, Governor Hassan has been fighting to stem the tide of the heroin and opioid epidemic, working across the aisle to support prevention, treatment and recovery efforts and increase funding to fight the epidemic.”

“Ayotte should follow through on her previous comments and call on her Washington allies and special interest backers to take down this misleading ad,” Goldberg said.

Governor Hassan has outlined and consistently worked to implement a broad-based strategy for fighting the crisis, including calling a special session of the legislature. She worked with members of both parties to pass – and reauthorize – a bipartisan Medicaid expansion plan that experts have said is critical to combating the crisis. She also worked with medical boards to put in place emergency rules to ensure appropriate prescribing, signed legislation to limit prior authorizations for outpatient substance abuse treatment, revised licensing requirements to make it easier for providers to open treatment facilities, increased the safe and effective use of Narcan, launched the state’s prescription drug monitoring program and a statewide substance abuse hotline to help connect individuals with resources and increased the penalties for the illegal sale and distribution of fentanyl.

Over the course of the next several weeks, Governor Hassan will sign legislation to expand the use of the prescription monitoring system, provide $5 million more for treatment, prevention, intervention and recovery, require medical boards to set prescribing rules and limit insurance companies’ prior authorization requirements for in-patient hospital stays. The legislature has also heeded Governor Hassan’s call to return next week to consider additional funding for law enforcement, building on the successful Granite Hammer model she helped launch last year.

What New Hampshire Editorial Boards Have Said About These Ugly, Misleading Attacks:

The last time Ayotte’s allies launched these despicable attacks on the Governor’s record of fighting the heroin and opioid crisis, Granite Staters immediately called on Ayotte to condemn the ads. The Nashua Telegraph said the attack ad was “a political hack job,” “despicable,” and “drivel,” concluding that it was “the lowest form of political activism and we should hold all residents, groups and politicians of all stripes to a much higher standard.”

The Keene Sentinel responded to the attempts to politicize the crisis by saying that “politicizing an epidemic is shameful,” and “there is no room in the effort to combat this far-reaching blight for politics.”

Here are the facts on Governor Hassan’s record of fighting to stem the tide of the heroin and opioid crisis in New Hampshire:

  • Union Leader: Gov. Hassan Outlines Plans to Fight NH Opioid Drug Crisis [10/28/15]
  • NH1 News: The Governor Announced Two Grants To Pay For Overtime To Pay For Overtime To Allow Manchester To “Snuff Out The Epidemic Of Drug Dealing In Manchester” [10/1/15]
  • Union Leader: Gov. Hassan Seeks Special Session to Combat Heroin Crisis [11/3/15]
  • WMUR: “Governor Hassan Wants Changes and She Wants Them Now…Changes That Include Money for Statewide Drug Courts, Changes to Make the Illegal Sale of the Pain Killer Fentanyl the Same Crime as Heroin…” [11/3/15]
  • WMUR: Gov. Maggie Hassan Signs 2 Bills to Combat Substance Abuse [1/21/16]
  • NH1 News: NH lawmakers agree on $5 million to fund response to heroin and opioid crisis [5/25/16]

Concord Monitor Editorial on the Governor’s push for Medicaid expansion: “…Many more addicts would be able to get help if lawmakers accede to Gov. Maggie Hassan’s request to expand Medicaid under the act. That would be an especially big win for the state…. Chasing drug dealers will help, but it won’t solve the problem. Treating addiction as a disease and making treatment available to all who want it, might.” [2/6/14]

Nashua Telegraph Editorial on the Governor’s efforts to expand access to Narcan: “They’re called first responders for a reason. When dispatchers in many communities receive a call about a heroin overdose, police officers who happen to be patrolling the area are often the first to arrive on a scene. Emergency medical technicians may arrive by ambulance just a few minutes later, but those minutes matter… Thankfully, that may be about to change. Gov. Maggie Hassan has proposed that the Legislative Rules Committee allow police officers to be trained to administer the drug, too, since they’re often the first ones to reach overdose patients. Hassan called the expansion ‘a common-sense step forward that will help us save lives,’ and she’s right.” [1/20/15]

Concord Monitor on Medicaid expansion: “Since the program began last July, many publicly funded treatment centers have been billing insurance for the first time, as opposed to getting state grants. It’s a huge shift because the insurance reimbursements offer a steady revenue stream that typically pays at a higher rate than the state – and as a result it is considering hiring new staff and adding new programs. But uncertainty about Medicaid expansion’s future is creating pause at a time when advocates say action is critical.” [7/6/15]

Linda Saunders Paquette, Executive Director of New Futures, one of the leading advocacy groups on this issue in the state: Governor Hassan’s “proposed budget compromise is clearly better for both sides than the alternative.” [7/27/15]

The Valley News Editorial Board on the Governor’s efforts to fight the crisis: “At the state level, Gov. Maggie Hassan has been emphasizing a multifaceted approach to combating the addiction crisis, focusing on prevention, treatment and recovery. By now, just about everybody has come to the conclusion that while law enforcement must be a component of any overall solution, it cannot be the linchpin.” [10/6/15]

Foster’s Daily Democrat Editorial on the Governor’s efforts to fight the crisis: “The bill would then go to Gov. Maggie Hassan, who has already shown her leadership and sincerity in the fight against the opiate epidemic.” [5/8/16]