NH Sen. Maggie Hassan Tackles NH’s ‘Food or Fuel’ Conundrum
Seacoast Current invited the Democrats and Republican candidates in the First Congressional District, U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races for a "live to tape" unedited interview lasting 10-15 minutes with Dan Alexander and SNHU Civic Scholar and founder of NH Political Capital Dean Spiliotes. Gov. Chris Sununu's campaign staff could not agree on a date. Don Bolduc's campaign did not respond to several invitations.
With the costs of food and energy skyrocketing, Democrat Sen. Maggie Hassan's goal is for people to not have to make the choice between food and fuel.
"Inflation is a real problem for people. It is draining families, it is draining the small businesses I'm talking with. And we have to help people in the short term with their costs, including and particularly the cost of energy right now, as well as deal with the long-term drivers of inflation," Hassan said.
The senator noted her bipartisan work, with the inclusion of $1 billion in emergency funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in a bill to keep the federal government funded. President Joe Biden signed the bill on September 30.
Hassan said that she continues to push for a suspension of the federal gas tax, which is opposed by her challenger on November 8, Republican Don Bolduc.
"Ultimately, we also know that we have to make sure that we are moving towards a clean energy economy, and really disrupt this dependence on big oil and foreign oil," Hassan said.
Is the U.S. economy ready for a clean energy economy? Hassan said giving people the chance to get a tax break for make their homes more energy efficient is part of the transition, and also controlling other non-energy costs.
"We also just passed a law that allows Medicare, finally, to negotiate the cost of prescription drugs. Some of the impacts of that legislation will be felt as early as January, when there will be a cap on the price of insulin that seniors pay to $35 a month. This requires that we stand up to big pharma, stand up to big oil," Hassan said.
Abortion and Choice
A New Hampshire Institute of Politics poll at the end of September had the economy as the most important issue determining how those polled will vote at 33%. Abortion was second at 20%. While a significant majority of those in other polls favor women having the choice, there's other data suggesting that many want some kind of limit on when an abortion is legal.
"This is about the fundamental freedom that women have to take care of their own health and make their own health and life decisions, and about how inappropriate it is and wrong for politicians to think that they're the ones who should be making these decisions," Hassan said.
Hassan did not say whether she favored a specific limit such as 15 weeks, 24 weeks, or six months.
"You know, one of my constituents was barred from a critical medical procedure that could have saved one of the twins' lives she was caring, because of the New Hampshire abortion ban. These are very difficult, tragic situations. And women are in the best position to make these decisions. And we have the capacity to make those decisions. And we have the moral compass to make these decisions," Hassan said.
Bolduc has said that abortion is an issue for states to decide, not the federal government. He has also drawn criticism for his comment that Hassan should "get over" the Roe v. Wade decision that put abortion laws back in the hands of states.
The criticism was reignited when Buldoc, during a town hall session in Auburn, said that woman get the best voice on abortion rights when they leave it to "gentlemen" state legislators, according to a Huffington Post report.