The U.S. Senate race between Governor Jeanne Shaheen and incumbent Senator John Sununu is one of the most important Senate races in the country this election season. As someone who grew up in NH and is a mom, it’s pretty clear that working families haven’t had a voice in the Senate in the 12 years since Sununu was elected. By electing Governor Shaheen, families like mine and small businesses will finally be able to have a voice in Washington to help them get what they need to take care of their families and get our state moving in the right direction again.
Forget the TV slogans and the pundit debates. I’m not a politician, I am a mom and I work at a 9-5 job. I am just sick every time I go to the grocery store, when I open my heating and electric bills, when I go to fill up the car with gas, and when I get my tax bill because the price of everything is so high. The cost of health insurance is so high that I sometimes debate whether it’s worth it or not because my coverage keeps decreasing even though the cost is going up. Most of my friends are in the same position, except some of them have lost their houses, been laid off, or had to file for bankruptcy. Most of us won’t be able to go back to school or send our kids to good colleges because Pell Grants have been slashed and school loans are pretty tough to get. With our economy and our credit maxed out, things are looking very bleak.
What strikes me most about Shaheen is that she genuinely cares about NH families like mine and is willing to put herself on the line for us. During my first semester at of college at Tufts, I took a class that she taught. I am a working single mom, and my son Reece was 8 months old when I went back to school. I’m from NH, so I knew about all the amazing things she did for NH as governor, like starting programs to give families access to kindergarten, affordable healthcare, create jobs, protect the environment, keep taxes down for families and small businesses, and improve public safety. I had only seen Shaheen on TV or in the paper then, so I guess I was just expecting her to be busy and not have time for me.
As a major political figure, Shaheen’s pretty important and I am not, but she always made time for me. She taught me about politics and I shared my first hand experiences and ideas about stuff like housing, daycare, healthcare, and jobs. She really cared about the issues I was facing, and was always looking for insight as to how she could help families. Reece was sick a lot that winter, but she always let me bring him to class because she cared about my education and my son. She always played Reece and told us stories about her grandkids, and she brought her own daughter to class a couple times too. Shaheen had lunch with my friends from class every Wednesday and made all her big shot political friends come chat with us one on one too. Sometimes we were really hard on her, but she never kicked us out and she always told it like it is, and she was always willing to concede if she was wrong. It made us feel like politics was something we could be a part of and not just watch on TV like a baseball game.
When I look at Sununu’s voting record, it is clear that he does not care about my friends in NH, he cares about helping George Bush and his corporate friends make money because he has voted on their side against us 90% of the time. He can say what ever he wants in his TV ads, but actions speak louder than words. It didn’t help us when he voted for all of Bush’s failed economic policies, sent our kids to Iraq, and to allowed the financial markets to be ignored by the feds to the point where they collapsed, leaving our family’s tax dollars to cover the tab. Sununu is supposed to work for NH voters and tax payers, not George Bush’s friends the corporate lobbyists. If I went to work every day and used my office to help out the competition on company time and money, I would get fired.
I’m ready for a better NH and I’m willing to drive up every single weekend with my kid and knock on doors for Shaheen to make that happen because I know she can make that happen for us. We know Sununu is going to help raise taxes and kill our economy because he has already done it, so we can’t keep electing him and expecting a different outcome after twelve years of proof. It will be fantastic when Obama becomes president, but Obama can’t get much done unless the Senate is behind him. It’s time we stopped depending on expensive negative TV ads to decide how we should vote and make those decisions for ourselves. If we want something better, we have to take the time to be a part of making it happen. You don’t have to know much about politics to volunteer on a campaign, you just have to want to make a difference. Even if it’s just an hour on Sunday knocking on doors for Shaheen, your efforts do matter and they do make a difference. Every family and small business owner in NH will thank you when Shaheen wins and we all have a piece of the pie and a prosperous future to look forward to because there is one of us in the Senate.