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What a Difference a Year Makes!

Well, this time last year we were focused on a primary with a general election to follow. Following November 2nd, I swiftly got to work for NH Senate District 5!

On December 2, 2021, in a historic (COVID-19 related) ceremony, I took the oath of office at the University of New Hampshire. 
I was appointed to the Senate Education Committee, Senate Executive Departments and Administration and the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules.

Immediately I went to work on COVID-19 related legislation as well as establishing relationships with Departments in state government that have been critical to the state’s response. Highlights of my efforts include:

  • Working with the team that manages the COVID-19 Dashboard in order to change the reporting system so that families and educators could see ALL members of the school district that tested positive for COVID-19, not just the members directly on campus. This brought about clearer and more transparent reporting for families, and decision makers.

  • Working with the NH Public Health Association and New Futures to secure funding for Community Health Workers positions in each of the state’s Public Health Networks. This effort is the first step in building a public health infrastructure statewide. DHHS has funded these positions with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) funds. I will continue to fight in the Senate for these positions to become priority budget items in 2023.

  • Working at the request of a constituent to establish a Microenterprise Relief Fund. This program will support the smallest of District 5 and NH businesses as they recover from the pandemic. These grants, funded through federal COVID and public health relief funds, would be administered through partnerships with Regional Economic Development Corporations.

  • Once a vaccine became available and phases for administration were established, I successfully advocated for the expansion of Phase 1B to include the developmentally disabled as well as to allow for the vaccinations of our college and boarding school students from out of state.

  • I proudly put my Paramedic skills to work as a team leader at NH’s vaccination “Super Site” at the NH Motor Speedway as well as volunteered at clinics here in the Upper Valley.

This was a challenging year at the Statehouse. Tax cuts for the wealthiest in our state passed while the 30-year-old school funding crisis was ignored. Chilling policy issues were added into HB2, the budget trailer bill. I joined with my Senate colleagues to fight back against legislation including:

  • Censorship of language in schools and public employment

  • Education freedom accounts

  • Infringement on the reproductive rights of women and their families

  • Cuts in funding for Case Workers at the Division of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF)

  • Cuts in funding for Homeless Shelters contracts

  • The phasing out of the Income and Dividends Tax and cuts to the Business Enterprise and Business Profits Tax

As a former City Councilor, I understand the burden of property taxes here in NH. I co-sponsored SB 118, the Property Tax Relief Act of 2021, legislation that would have provided direct relief to taxpayers.  Unfortunately, this did not make it over the finish line, lacking the bipartisan support needed to help Granite Staters. 
As a new Senator, I was disappointed in the lack of collaboration and problem solving in the building and passage of this budget. For more on my view from the inside please click here and read the op-ed I co-authored with the other two new Democratic Senators, Becky Whitley and Rebecca Perkins-Kwoka.

While it has been a challenging year, this has made me even more appreciative of the support from the people of Senate District 5. Your emails, phone calls, and Facebook comments have all given me strength to persevere and keep pushing forward with a positive attitude. One of the silver linings of this pandemic is that more people have been able to engage with the legislature by participating in legislative hearings over Zoom. It has been heartening for me to hear your testimony and see how many of you are raising your voices in support of our shared progressive values, even if the majority in Concord does not share those values. Together, we can continue to work toward a more sustainable, prosperous, and inclusive New Hampshire – for all of us.
With thanks,

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