Yesterday was a day like no other. History was made in Georgia when Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff officially defeated their Republican opponents through the herculean efforts of Stacey Abrams and so many others on the ground in this formerly red state. The election of Warnock, Georgia’s first black Senator and Ossoff, the Jewish son of an immigrant, now gives Democrats control of the U.S. Senate and will help reshape, rebuild, and heal our country during the first two years of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ historic term.
That very same day – as Congress attempted to complete their role in the peaceful transfer of power, a hallmark of our democracy – we watched in horror as a mob of armed vigilantes attacked the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to halt this constitutional process from going forward. Our New Hampshire federal delegation was forced to take shelter until they could bravely return to the building in the middle of the night to complete their duties. The desecration of the Capitol was an attack on all American citizens, the will of the people, and on our democracy.
To be clear, this domestic terrorist attack was incited by the President of the United States and the direct result of a failed and dangerous presidency. Donald Trump’s continued attack on free and fair elections, the media, and all of our democratic institutions resulted in an attack on our government and a horrifying display of white supremacy and violence with impunity.
We cannot let the events at the Capitol steal our joy in celebrating the historic election in Georgia, which I truly hope signals a changing electorate and a real opportunity for the change we so desperately need in this country.
ALSO on Wednesday, I joined my fellow Senators here in New Hampshire for the first session of 2021. We convened efficiently, effectively, and safely via Zoom. In contrast, the New Hampshire House met in a large parking lot on the University of New Hampshire campus, barely finishing the day’s work before dark and putting its many members and staff at unnecessary risk.
This consequential and unparalleled day – both in DC and here in Concord – has yet again reinforced the importance of honorable and empathetic public service, vigorous civic participation, and frankly, the fragility of our democracy.
Our democracy – and the freedoms we enjoy as American citizens – are not a guarantee. They are not absolute. Instead, they require nurturing, protecting, and a deep commitment from every American citizen to their preservation. As the new Senator from District 15, I am resolved to join my colleagues and fellow Granite Staters in this deep commitment to our democracy with both vigor and tenacity.
The backdrop to the weighty events of this week is the ever present COVID-19 pandemic – the second wave of which came in like a tsunami, leaving so many Granite Staters treading water or worse. As the mom of an elementary-age child, I know that working parents continue to struggle after many months of juggling work and child care under extraordinarily stressful circumstances. Ten months into the pandemic, this health and economic crisis continues to expose – time and again – deep inequities in our State and communities.
As we work through the 2021 legislative session, we must set a course for recovery that maintains our unique way of life but is more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable.
We cannot go back to business as usual because that is precisely what led to this crisis in the first place. We must take bold action to stand with and for each other. After the last recession, massive cuts were made by our Republican colleagues to the framework of support for our most vulnerable residents. We cannot let this happen again; we cannot afford to again move from crisis to crisis in New Hampshire. Now is the time to support all Granite Staters.
This session, I will be sponsoring and supporting bills to provide much needed relief to working families and build an economic recovery that truly values workers and our local economy. I will also be working on policies to improve access to mental health treatment, prioritize children, address food insecurity, support local farms, address racial injustice in our state, build the clean energy economy, and support our public education system, and our struggling municipalities.
The bulk of this session’s work will be developing a State budget for the next two years. Budgets are the ultimate test of priorities and values and we can’t continue to downshift costs to municipalities and local property tax payers all while giving tax breaks to large, out-of-state corporations. I will fight for a fair budget that works for everyone.
I hope you will join me in this important work. Throughout the session, I will be sharing frequent updates about what is happening in the State House and how you can help. Please reach out anytime because together, we will do what it takes to maintain our democracy and make our state and our country a place of liberty and justice for all.