Just Getting Better-NH Progressive Summit 2014 Recap And Photos

Once again we were delighted we were able to go to the NH Progressive Summit this year and feel it was an even more valuable experience than it was last year, and last year was pretty hard to top. GSP sets the bar high!  Everything was very clearly marked when we got to New England College. The registration table was well staffed and they prepared our group quickly and efficiently, even faster than last year. The materials given to us in our packets were concise, informative, and provided a good framework for understanding how the event would unfold throughout the day.







 We got the summit early enough to socialize with fellow progressives and appreciated the continental breakfast. we found a good place to sit in the Great Room, where the summit would begin and the keynote speaker would open for those of us assembled. The keynote speaker was Richard Kirsch. Let me sum up his speech succinctly; he is awesome! Never heard of him? Read some of his writing  at HuffingtonPost. Follow him on Twitter @_RichardKirsch . He also has a ton of progressive resources on his site. Here is a little about him and the progressive narrative:



The first workshop I attended was LGBT Community Where We Stand and How to Move Forward. The first part was conducted by Mo Baxley formerly from NH Freedom to Marry and quite possibly one of the most recognizable figures in NH LGBT politics. Mo covered the where our community stands for the "LGB" part of our community and did an admirable job doing so. So much to cover. With that being said I'm not sure that I learned too many new things, but we are talking about my community and therefore I keep track of it constantly. Jamie Capach formerly of Transgender NH returned to cover the second half. It is rare to get an opportunity to hear from the "T" part of the LGBT community, especially at an event not focused on "T" advocacy.  Jamie handled the "T" portion and outlined where we are and where we need to go. Very far. We made some mistakes early on in trying to get equality here in NH and now we have to work even harder to fix protections that aren't there for transgendered and gender non-conforming individuals. If you haven't bookmarked, followed on Twitter, and liked Transgender NH on Facebook, you should.


The Second workshop I attended was ALEC Exposed NH-How Corporations Are Writing State Laws. A very interesting, informative session run by Caitlan Rollo, Political and Research Director, Granite State Progress and NH State Representative Marcia Moody. Caitlin covered the overarching themes and Marcia dealt with much more specific issues that had to do with the NH legislature. To give you an idea of what they covered I'll list the synopsis for the session:

The American Legislative Exchange Council, otherwise known as ALEC, allows corporate lobbyists to write legislation behind closed doors that is then introduced in State Houses across the country. This model legislation is not drafted in response to any local interests or community concern, instead it is intended solely to benefit the bottom line of special corporation interests – often at the expense of everyday Granite Staters. The influence of ALEC corporate special interests in the New Hampshire State House is shocking. Come learn about the ALEC model legislation in New Hampshire, its intent and supporters, and how you can help expose the corporations writing our laws.




Next was the workshop Not One More-What We Can All Do to Stem the Tide of Gun Violence. It focused primarily on the growing gun violence prevention movement. The presenter was Janet Groat, New England Regional Manager of Moms Demand Gun Sense In America.

half way through the day lunch was provided. I had a delicious vegetarian sandwich and the salad provided was abundant and fresh. There were also kettle chips and small afternoon desserts. You can't ask for much more from a summit that charges such a small registration fee. During lunch there was a panel discussion on the Northern Pass project. Here is a description of the panel from GSP :

The 2014 Lunch Panel is on the Northern Pass, a controversial proposal to bring new energy, revenue, and jobs to New Hampshire while at the same time impacting the natural beauty and quiet in the heavily forested North Country with large towers and power lines. Several pieces of legislation at the State House seek to address this issue, and legal and community campaigns keep it front and center. For an early briefing on the issue, we recommend NH Public Radio, State Impact: Why The Northern Pass Project Matters.

Pro Panelists:
Huck Montgomery, Special Projects for IBEW Local 490
NH State Representative Bob Backus

Con Panelists:
Nancy Martland, Coordinator of the Sugar Hill Tower Opponents
NH State Representative Susan Ford

The last two things I'm going to cover are very close to my heart. Everyone who knows me knows how much I think good online information and communication are important to empowering people in the 21st century. The first is the Digital and Social Media for the Reluctant User session conducted by my husband, Stan Freeda. Stan is the Specialist for Educational Technology and Online Learning at the NH Department of Education and Coordinator of the NH e-Learning for Educators Project. He had a good turnout for his session and felt good about connecting with those who attended. You can find resources he provided on the Moving Toward Progress workshop site.

The last session was my favorite. Using The Power of Social Media To Get Your Story To The People was very well attended and I'm so glad it was. It was co-chaired by two local progressive superstars (well they are superstars in my mind), Matt Murray of NH Labor News and Susan Bruce of Susan the Bruce fame. If you don't already follow both of them on all social media formats they use, go do it right this second! Here is the synopsis for their presentation:

Do you use social media but want to take it to the next level? Join two of New Hampshire’s premier progressive bloggers as they teach you how to optimize your website, Facebook page, Twitter account, Tumblr, and more to reach a larger audience and drive a progressive narrative. This workshop will include real-life examples of how NH social media users have repeatedly created national news stories to highlight progressive wins and expose right-wing rhetoric, and how you can do the same. Everything from how to create popular images to pushing a specific meme will be covered, with audience questions in between. 

They delivered big time. Though everyone in the room was a fairly accomplished digital citizen, Matt and Susan where able to share tricks and tools to help all of us improve our online advocacy. That's an impressive thing for anyone to accomplish.

In closing, I'll say that I thought the summit was well worth the $25 registration fee. I'd say it was even better than the 2013 summit. If you missed this summit plan on attending it next year. I don't think anyone who is a progressive would regret attending because the event continues to be varied, well pulled together, well executed, and remains relevant each year. I feel like I gained many things from attending and it is always grand to get to connect with so many other progressives.

P.S. I'll post the photos from the event on the NH Progressive Dems Facebook page too.