The Foster's editorial page said the other day that Senator Jeanne Shaheen hadn't done much in her first four years. I would make the opposite case - that Shaheen is a get-things-done senator who has been doing a great job for the people of New Hampshire and the county.
As a concerned business person, I've been particularly impressed by Senator Shaheen's commitment to New Hampshire business. She has shown how government can help small business create the jobs we need to get us out of the recession.
She got onto the Small Business Committee and had an immediate impact as a co-author of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. She streamlined the notoriously bureaucratic Small Business Administration by expanding the Express Loan program so that more borrowers could take advantage of fast-turnaround lending. She also authored a provision that provided refinancing through the SBA for businesses during the early part of the recovery before the banks had started to lend again.
Sen. Shaheen fought for the creation of a special fund that brought $13 million in new small business financing to New Hampshire. One result was that the New Hampshire Business Finance Authority could guarantee a $10 million bank loan for new equipment at the Gorham Paper and Tissue Mill and employ hundreds in the North Country.
And early on, Sen. Shaheen worked with Judd Gregg to introduce two bills in support of Goss International in its trade dispute with a Japanese competitor. The issue had dragged on for 7 years, but when Shaheen got involved, it was settled in 6 months. No legislation was needed in the end, but Senator Shaheen's advocacy with the Administration was critical to this iconic New Hampshire company.
If you want a lesson in how to create jobs in New Hampshire, ask Jeanne Shaheen. But she has also paid special attention to the needs of our troops.
Sen. Shaheen wrote legislation that authorized federally funded state programs to support our National Guard members and their families when they go and again when they return from Iraq and Afghanistan. Other legislation passed by Sen. Shaheen ensures that Defense Department mental health services take into account the unique circumstances facing returning National Guard and Reserve members.
And when Air Force Sergeant Wayne Merritt, of Dover, lost over half his monthly retirement pension due to an unfair repayment formula, he was going to lose his home. He called Sen. Shaheen and she succeeded in passing legislation to prevent that kind of unnecessary financial hardship for veterans in similar situations across the country. The legislation was a huge benefit for veterans in New Hampshire and across the nation.
On the Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Shaheen played a key role in the Senate's ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. New START, as it's called, is historic because it lowers the number of nuclear weapons the United States and Russia deploy. There will now be the lowest number of Russian nuclear weapons aimed at the United States since the 1950s. Sen. Shaheen was honored at the signing ceremony because her work on the Committee and on the Senate floor was vital to the treaty's passage.
Women in New Hampshire have Sen. Shaheen to thank for getting direct federal funding for Planned Parenthood when the New Hampshire Executive Council arbitrarily interrupted a decades-long federally funded contract with the organization to provide affordable health care services to thousands of women across the state.
That was just part of Sen. Shaheen's long-term commitment to women's health. When the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence inducted Sen. Shaheen into their hall of fame, Maureen McDonald of the Coalition said, "Senator Shaheen has been an integral part of the Coalition's history through her work as Governor, and now as U.S. Senator. Her leadership on the Violence Against Women Act is greatly appreciated in this community and we cannot thank her enough for all of her tireless efforts on behalf of victims."
Senator Shaheen's day-to-day work has made a big difference for the people of New Hampshire. She reduced families' health care costs by getting generic drugs to market sooner and allowing more health care providers to participate in the new health care payment mechanisms. New Hampshire families will feel the benefits of Sen. Shaheen's improvements to ObamaCare every day in the form of reduced health care costs.
Sen. Shaheen has been working hard for New Hampshire and the country and we'd be fortunate to get her for another term.
Read the letter in Foster's Daily Democrat HERE.