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October 10. 2012 11:27PM

Manufacturers group honors N.H. lawmakers

New Hampshire's two representatives in Congress and the state's junior senator were among lawmakers honored by the National Association of Manufacturers, which recently released its list of Legislative Excellence Award winners.

The awards go to representatives and senators who vote 70 percent or better in support of NAM's position on key legislation, ranging from health care law repeal to the Keystone Pipeline.

First District Congressman Frank Guinta had the best NAM voting record among the New Hampshire delegation. His votes on 37 issues identified by the organization were consistent with its position 97 percent of the time.

Second District Congressman Charlie Bass was rated at 78 percent, while Sen. Kelly Ayotte was rated at 81 percent. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen was rated at 48 percent. Of the 248 House members to receive the award, 10 were Democrats. In the Senate, 48 senators were honored, two of which were Democrats.

“This is a record year for the number of members who voted in support of pro-manufacturing policies and demonstrates the understanding from our policy-makers of how important manufacturing is to our economy,” said Jeff Ostermayer in a press release on behalf of the organization.

Guinta visited Manchester on Tuesday to receive the award at Hitachi Cable, a NAM member. Michael E. Gallant, a senior vice president with Hitachi Cable America, presented the award after comments from Takashi Ohde, corporate officer and general manager with Hitachi, Ltd.

Guinta then took questions from a group of NAM members and Hitachi employees in the audience.

In addition to supporting repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and approval of the Keystone Pipeline, NAM positions include support of several trade agreements

and legislation that would have promoted off-shore energy development in Alaska.

Guinta applauded the group's efforts. “It's very critical to have a relationship with Congress and explain to Congress what you do in your businesses,” he said. “When our economy comes back, and I know it will, manufacturing is going to play a big role in that.”

His Democratic opponent in the upcoming election, former Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, was rated at 39 percent by the organization in 2011 and 15 percent in 2010, when she represented the First District.

Shea-Porter said she supports manufacturing in America, and paid her way through college by working double-shifts in a factory, but supports the Alliance for American Manufacturing more often than the National Association of Manufacturers.

“NAM wants to keep all of the Bush tax cuts, calling them tax relief,” she said. “They want to repeal the health care law, grant permanent normal trade relations with Russia, block regulations of greenhouse gasses, revise laws that protect streams from poisonous coal ash, and support the 'stop the war on coal act' — positions that do not help the middle class or small businesses or the environment, but do reflect the priorities of the 112th Congress.”

The Alliance for American Manufacturing was formed in 2007 by leading manufacturers and the United Steelworkers of America “to explore common solutions to challenging public policy topics such as job creation, infrastructure investment, international trade, and global competitiveness,” according to the AAM website.

The National Association of Manufacturers, headquartered in Washington, D.C., is the nation's largest industrial trade association, representing 11,000 small and large manufacturing companies in every industrial sector and in all 50 states.

dsolomon@unionleader.com

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