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2012 was a victorious election year for women around the country.  Female Democratic politicians picked up seats in the House and Senate.  But the one state where women scored big time was in New Hampshire:

Most states are red or blue. A few are purple. After the November election, New Hampshire turned pink.

 “Pink is the new power color in New Hampshire,” declared Ann McLane Kuster, one of the newly elected representatives, at a recent forum at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College in Manchester, where the women’s historic milestone was celebrated.

These women did not rise to the top together overnight. Nor was there an orchestrated movement to elect them. Each toiled in the political vineyards, climbed the ladder in her own time and campaigned hard for her job. But they have caught the state’s collective imagination, inspiring forums and media interest and prompting Jay B. Childs, a New Hampshire filmmaker, to make a documentary about them. - The New York Times, 1/1/13

Maggie Hassan (D) became Governor and Ann Kluster (D) and Carol Shea-Porter (D) both won their congressional races this year.  The Speaker of the State House and the chief justice of the State Supreme Court are also women.  The whole New Hampshire delegation is made up of women:

How did this happen? Well, New Hampshire's large legislature is filled with women, and many of them start out as stay-at-home moms wanting to volunteer the civic level through school boards and community groups. With few men standing in their way, these women can use those platforms to run for the biggest political jobs in the state—and win them. - Cosmopolitan, 1/3/12
“Never underestimate the power of a woman with a minivan and a cellphone,” Ms. Hassan said. - New York Time, 1/1/13
And if there's one person who deserves thanks in making that possible it's U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D. NH).

The New York Times did an excellent article about the all female delegation in New Hampshire and they credit Senator Shaheen for not only paving the way but also helping make an all female New Hampshire delegation a reality:

Senator Jeanne Shaheen, 65, a Democrat and dean of the delegation, was the state’s first elected female governor and the first woman in United States history to be elected both governor and senator. - New York Time, 1/1/13
Shaheen was elected Governor of New Hampshire in 1996 and served from 1997 to 2003.  Shaheen's first attempt at running for Senate was against Club For Growth backed congressman, John E. Sununu (R), son of former Governor John Sununu (R).  Shaheen was defeated in what was a good election cycle for Republicans as they used 9/11 and the War On Terror to scare voters over to their side.  But America woke up in 2008 and Shaheen made a glorious comeback, defeating Sununu as the Granite State went heavily for Obama.

After being sworn into the Senate, Shaheen built herself quite a reputation for being a true champion for women's health and security.  She's has been one tough fighter against the House & Senate GOP's War On Women's constant battle to renew the Violence Against Women Act:

“Senator Shaheen has been an integral part of the Coalition's history through her work as Governor, and now as U.S. Senator,” said Maureen McDonald, Community Relations Director at the Coalition. “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.” - SeacoastOnline, 11/9/12
Shaheen lead the effort to pass a new version of the VAWA that includes protection for victims of same-sex relationships, for immigrant victims and for women on tribal lands.  It passed the Senate 68-31.  The Senator's hard work to protect women earned her a spot in the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence's Hall of the Fame.  Shaheen's biggest accomplishment for women's rights is the Shaheen Amendment which was included and passed in the final defense bill:

The bill includes a Senate-passed provision sponsored by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., that expands health insurance coverage for military women and their dependents who decide to have abortions in cases of rape and incest. Previously, health coverage applied only to abortions in cases where the life of the mother was endangered. - The Detroit News, 1/3/13
The Shaheen Amendment is a huge milestone for our women serving overseas and is a very necessary provision in changing the Pentagon's anti-abortion stance:

Current Pentagon policy is more restrictive than the 1976 Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funds from being used to provide abortion services except in the case of rape, incest, or if the woman's life is endangered. The DOD enacted its stricter, life-of-the-mother-only limit on abortions in 1979. In 1988, the law was tightened again—Congress now forbids women from using their own money to pay for abortions in military health centers unless they are a victim of rape or incest, or if their life is at risk.

The military reported 471 rapes of servicemembers in 2011 alone. The true number is likely far higher—the Pentagon's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office estimates that only about 13.5 percent of all rapes and sexual assaults in the military are actually reported. The Women's Health and Rights Program at the Center for American Progress estimates that several hundred women in the military become pregnant as a result of rape each year. - Mother Jones, 6/13/12

Shaheen has become the lead figure in the fight to protect women from violence and preserve women's health care.  She has been highly praised and endorsed by Planned Parenthood the NARAL.  She has also been able to use her accomplishments as winning campaign issues.  Shaheen is also a Queen Maker in New Hampshire:
Even if the legislature in New Hampshire is big, the state itself is small. That makes it easier for everyone to know everyone else, and most of the women in the Congressional delegation have intricate ties to one another.

Ms. Kuster’s mother, for example, a Republican state senator who ran for Congress in 1980, was a mentor to Ms. Shaheen. “She thought it was so important to elect women,” Ms. Shaheen said in an interview. “She was helpful to all women, not just me.”

“A lot of people in office, even their managers and staff, are Shaheen protégés or were brought up through the Shaheen organization,” said Neil Levesque, executive director of the Institute of Politics. - New York Times, 1/1/13

Shaheen's campaign sent me an email gathering signatures to congratulate Congresswomen Shea-Porter and Kluster and Governor Hassan:
New Hampshire made history this past year by electing an all-female delegation. Today, we get to celebrate with the swearing-in of Governor Maggie Hassan, and Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Ann McLane Kuster.

I know they’ll all be tremendous advocates for New Hampshire and the entire country. I couldn’t be more thrilled to have them as partners.

I hope you’ll join me in welcoming these wonderful women into public service.

Click here to sign my card congratulating Maggie, Carol and Annie on their victories and wishing them all the best as they take office.:

Thank you for all your hard work electing Maggie, Carol and Annie. It’s an honor to be working with them.


Jeanne Shaheen

Shaheen is a champion for women and we need more great Senators like her to help more women win seats in the House and Senate.  New Hampshire is now the model for how women can gain majority control of the state delegation.  There is no doubt that the GOP will spend big money on defeating her in 2014 especially if Former Senator John E. Sununu (R) or defeated Congressman Charlie Bass (R) decide to run against her.  Senator Kelly Ayotte (R. NH), Shaheen's colleague, isn't exactly the same type of champion for women's rights as Shaheen and I have zero doubt that Ayotte will help defeat her colleague.  Ayotte was endorsed by Sarah Palin in 2010 New Hampshire Senate Election and she has been a foot soldier in the GOP's War On Women.  We need to assure Shaheen's victory so lets give her a head start:

Originally posted to pdc on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 09:37 AM PST.

Also republished by The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, RaceGender DiscrimiNATION, Feminism, Pro-Feminism, Womanism: Feminist Issues, Ideas, & Activism, and Take New Hampshire Forward!.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joy of Fishes, Odysseus, Lujane

    Funny Stuff at

    by poopdogcomedy on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 09:37:13 AM PST

  •  Reading through the post, all I could think was (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    how did Ayotte slip through?  In the group photo she sticks out like a sore thumb, surrounded by strong Democratic women.

     I don't live in NH, but Sen. Shaheen will get a donation for re-election from me.  We need more women like her in office!

    •  Part of the Tea Party wave in 2010 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The Republicans/Tea Party took over the State Legislature in 2010 and we sent Frank Guinta to Congress (in Carol Shea-Porter's seat) and Ayotte to the Senate. We then saw quite a horror show in the State Legislature over the past 2 years.
      Charlie Bass (whom Ms. Kuster defeated) had been in Congress for a while, being a Republican but not a complete turd.... then after 2010 I guess he felt justified in letting his freak flag fly. Glad to be rid of him too.

      Senator Shaheen is truly a gem, as Governor, as Senator, as whatever she chooses to pursue.

      Everybody got to elevate from the norm....

      by Icicle68 on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 11:29:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  One quibble (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I don't know about Hassan and Shea-Porter, but Kuster and Ayotte were not at all "stay-at-home moms" who started in the almost-volunteer legislature. Both were full-time practicing lawyers (including, for Kuster, while raising her kids) before running for office. It was Kuster's mother, Susan McLane, who served in the volunteer state Senate and then ran for Congress.

    So yes, the volunteer legislature has provided an avenue for women to serve. But it isn't the only route, and we need to also credit the changes in the NH Bar Association and judicial branch that made it much easier for women to practice than when I arrived there in 1978.

    That said, I worked for Shaheen's campaigns for governor, and her 2002 race for the Senate, and she absolutely deserves to be reelected and to be thanked for the way she has used her position to pull other women along behind her.

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