|United States Senator
from New Hampshire
January 3, 2009
Serving with Maggie Hassan
|Ranking Member of the Senate Small Business Committee|
January 3, 2015
|78th Governor of New Hampshire|
January 9, 1997 - January 9, 2003
|Member of the New Hampshire Senate
from the 21st district
December 2, 1992 - December 4, 1996
|Born||Cynthia Jeanne Bowers
January 28, 1947
St. Charles, Missouri, U.S.
|Education||Shippensburg University (BA)
University of Mississippi (MSS)
Cynthia Jeanne Shaheen (née Bowers; January 28, 1947) is the senior United States Senator from New Hampshire. A member of the Democratic Party, she is the first female U.S. Senator in New Hampshire's history, was the first female Governor of New Hampshire, and the first and only woman elected as both Governor and a U.S. Senator.
After serving two terms in the New Hampshire Senate, Shaheen was elected Governor in 1996, and she was re-elected in 1998 and 2000. In 2002, she opted to run for the United States Senate, losing to Republican John E. Sununu. She served as Director of the Harvard Institute of Politics, before resigning to run for the U.S. Senate again in the 2008 election, defeating Sununu in a rematch. She is also the current dean of New Hampshire's Congressional Delegation.
Shaheen became the first Democratic Senator from New Hampshire since John A. Durkin, who was defeated in 1980. In 2014, she became only the second Democrat from New Hampshire to be re-elected to the U.S. Senate, and the first since Thomas J. McIntyre in 1972.
Jeanne Shaheen was born Cynthia Jeanne Bowers in St. Charles, Missouri, the daughter of Belle E. and Ivan E. Bowers. Through her mother, she is a direct descendent of Pocahontas. Her husband is Lebanese-American attorney and political operative Bill Shaheen. They have three children. She graduated from high school in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, and earned a bachelor's degree in English from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania and a master's degree in political science from the University of Mississippi. She taught high school in Mississippi and moved to New Hampshire in 1973, where she taught school and, with her husband, owned a store that sold used jewelry.
A Democrat, she worked on several campaigns, including Jimmy Carter's 1976 presidential campaign, and as the New Hampshire campaign manager for Gary Hart in 1984, before running for office in 1990, when she was elected to the state Senate. In 1996, 1998 and 2000 she was elected governor of New Hampshire.
Shaheen's decision to run for New Hampshire governor followed the retirement of Republican Governor Steve Merrill. Her opponent in 1996 was Ovide M. Lamontagne, then chairman of the State Board of Education. Shaheen presented herself as a moderate. According to a PBS profile, she focused on education funding issues, and pledged to expand kindergarten. She defeated Lamontagne by 57 to 40 percent.
In 1996, Shaheen was the first woman to be elected governor of New Hampshire. (She was not, however, the first woman to serve as New Hampshire's governor; Vesta M. Roy was acting governor from December 30, 1982 until January 6, 1983.)
In both 1996 and 1998, Shaheen took a no-new-taxes pledge. After a court decision preventing education from being largely supported by local taxes, "her administration devised a plan that would have increased education spending and set a statewide property tax."
Running for a third term in 2000, Shaheen refused to renew that no-new-taxes pledge, becoming the first New Hampshire governor in 38 years to win an election without making that pledge. Shaheen's preferred solution to the school-funding problem was not a broad-based tax but legalized video-gambling at state racetracks--a solution repeatedly rejected by the NH legislature.
In 2001 Shaheen tried to implement a 2.5 percent sales tax, the first broad-based tariff of its kind in history of New Hampshire. Unlike neighboring New England states New Hampshire does not have a sales tax. The state's legislature rejected her proposal. She also proposed an increase in the state's cigarette tax and a 4.5 percent capital gains tax.
During the 2000 Democratic presidential primary in New Hampshire, Governor Shaheen expressed support for Al Gore and her husband Bill Shaheen served as Gore's New Hampshire campaign manager. According to the New York Observer, the Shaheens were critical in helping Gore win a narrow victory in the New Hampshire primary over Bill Bradley.
Gore added Jeanne Shaheen to his short list of potential vice presidential nominees, which also included Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, then-North Carolina Senator John Edwards, then-House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, and Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman. Shaheen responded to speculation about being selected by stating she wasn't interested in taking the job.
After a short time teaching at Harvard University (and a fellowship in the Institute of Politics with former Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift), she was named national chairperson of John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign in September 2003.
After she was elected to three two-year terms as governor, Shaheen declined to run for a fourth term, instead choosing to run for the U.S. Senate in 2002. She was defeated by Republican John E. Sununu, by a 51 percent to 47 percent margin (19,751 votes). In a recent interview with the Concord Monitor, Shaheen attributed her loss in part to "discussion about the job that [she] did as governor." At that time, early Republican advertisements slammed her support for putting a sales tax on the ballot or faulted her for failing schools.
In June 2004, former Republican consultant Allen Raymond pleaded guilty to jamming Democratic Party lines set up to get New Hampshire Democrats to the polls in 2002, an action that some (most notably former Senator Bob Smith, whom Sununu had defeated in the Republican primary) believe may have contributed to Shaheen's narrow loss. A judge sentenced Raymond to five months in jail in February 2005. Charles McGee, the former state GOP executive director, was sentenced to seven months for his role.
Raymond alleged that James Tobin, Northeast field director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, masterminded the plot. In December 2005, Tobin was convicted of two federal felonies arising from the phone-jamming and sentenced to ten months in prison but that conviction was reversed after Tobin's lawyers appealed. In October 2008, prosecutors filed two new felony indictments which charged that James Tobin lied to a FBI agent when he was interviewed in 2003 about his role in the phone-jamming case. These subsequent charges were summarily dismissed in 2009 after the federal judge in Maine's District Court found them motivated by 'vindictive prosecution.'
In early July 2007 through UNH, CNN and WMUR put out a poll regarding the New Hampshire 2008 Senate race. The poll showed that Shaheen would beat Sununu in a race (54-38). Other Democratic candidates did not have this type of lead, which led many to believe Shaheen would be the right choice to beat Sununu in 2008.
In April 2007, Shaheen met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Chuck Schumer (D-New York) about a possible US Senate run. The Senators both said that she would have strong support from the DSCC if she ran. On September 14, 2007, Shaheen announced that she intended to run for the Senate against Sununu. On September 15, 2007, she formally launched her US Senate bid at her home in Madbury, New Hampshire. Six days later, on September 21, EMILY's List endorsed her campaign.
Shaheen defeated Sununu 52% to 45% (44,535 votes).
In March 2014, Brown announced he was forming an exploratory committee to run against Shaheen. According to the Boston Herald, "Granite State Republicans are calling U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen a hypocrite for asking potential GOP challenger and former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown to keep "outside" money out of the campaign while she fills the Democratic war chest on the West Coast". During the campaign, Brown criticized Shaheen for being a "rubber stamp" for President Obama and for failing to represent the best interests of New Hampshire voters.
In June 2014, WMUR reported that Shaheen had never released her tax returns in her 18 years of public service in New Hampshire. Shaheen said she would not rule out releasing her returns, but would like to see her opponent do so first.
She was endorsed again by Emily's List.
On election night, even as her party lost control of the Senate, Shaheen won reelection with 51 percent of the vote to Brown's 48 percent. As a measure of how Republican New Hampshire once was, Shaheen is only the second Democrat in the state's history to win two terms in the Senate.
On January 6, 2009, Shaheen was sworn into the United States Senate.
In 2009, Shaheen partnered with U.S. Senator Susan Collins to introduce the Medicare Transitional Care Act, which provides follow-up care for discharged hospital patients in order to reduce the need for re-hospitalizations. The bill passed in 2010, and research at the University of Pennsylvania predicts the measure will lower the cost of health care by as much as $5,000 per Medicare beneficiary while also improving health care quality and reducing re-hospitalizations.
In advance of the roll-out of the PPACA, Shaheen said that people who liked their current health care plans could keep them. When asked about individuals who were losing their health care plans due to the PPACA, Shaheen said people could keep their health care plans if they were "willing to pay more."
Shaheen has sponsored numerous bills relating to diabetes, including gestational diabetes, that would, among other things, improve and increase access to diabetes education, increase access to diabetes medicine, and increase funding for diabetes research.
On October 11, 2011, Shaheen voted to proceed with a proposed bill which included $446 billion in spending on infrastructure and schools and provided funding for state and local governments, as well as an extension of the payroll tax deduction. The spending would have been paid for by a 5.6 percent surtax on incomes above $1 million. The bill failed to obtain cloture.
Shaheen supports making it illegal for individuals on the terrorist watchlist to buy guns and voted in favor of a bill proposing to expand background checks for gun purchases. In 2016, she participated in the Chris Murphy gun control filibuster in the wake of the Orlando nightclub shooting. Shaheen stated that "moments of sympathy are not enough" and that common sense gun laws must be enacted.
Following the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, Shaheen proposed abolishing the Minerals Management Service, the U.S. government agency tasked with regulating offshore drilling, arguing that reform had been insufficient and that a new agency was needed. Shaheen also proposed legislation giving the President's bipartisan BP Oil Spill Commission subpoena power in their investigation. She has argued that subpoena power is necessary to avoid another such disaster, emphasizing the spill's economic costs to the Gulf Coast region and the economy as a whole.
On April 28, 2014, Shaheen introduced the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2014 (S. 2262; 113th Congress), a bill that is intended to improve efficient energy use in the United States.
In 2002, when Shaheen narrowly lost to Sununu, both supported "regime change" for Iraq.
Shaheen said that she came to supporting the policy of removing Saddam Hussein from power after meeting with former Clinton-administration National Security Advisor Sandy Berger. According to the Concord Monitor and Associated Press, the issue was a minor one in the race.
Shaheen later questioned George W. Bush's handling of the situation in Iraq. In September 2004 she said
"George (W.) Bush has taken us in the wrong direction. He misled us into war in Iraq. That war has not made us safer and more secure at home... You know, we have not stabilized Afghanistan. We have not stabilized Iraq. There is no plan to win the peace."
On July 28, 2004, while serving as Chair of the Kerry-Edwards Campaign, Gov. Shaheen answered questions about her prior support of the Iraq war during an interview on C-SPAN.
"George (W.) Bush said that the reason we needed to go to war in Iraq, the reason we needed to remove Saddam Hussein was because he had weapons of mass destruction, weapons that could be used against this country, because he had ties to al Qaeda and the terrorists who were responsible for the Sept 11 tragedy.
What we know now and what George Bush and Dick Cheney have admitted is that in fact Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction.... The links to al Qaeda that the president talked about were not there.... While I appreciate that there was an effort to make people in this county think that [there was a connection]... the fact is that's not true."
Shaheen initially opposed same-sex marriage as governor of New Hampshire. In 2009, however, she came out in favor of the legislative enactment of marriage for same-sex couples, and became a sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act. She also voted in favor of the repeal of Don't ask, don't tell, and supports government recognition of same-sex spouses of military and other government personnel.[better source needed]
As a Senator, Shaheen has sponsored 87 bills, including:
Governor elections in New Hampshire: Results 1996-2000
|Year||Democratic||Votes||Pct||Republican||Votes||Pct||3rd Party||Party||Votes||Pct||3rd Party||Party||Votes||Pct|
|1996||Jeanne Shaheen||284,175||57%||Ovide Lamontagne||196,321||40%||Fred Bramante||Independent Reform||10,316||2%||Robert Kingsbury||Libertarian||5,974||1%|
|1998||Jeanne Shaheen (inc.)||210,769||66%||Jay Lucas||98,473||31%||Ken Blevens||Libertarian||8,655||3%||Write-ins||Write-ins||503||<1%|
|2000||Jeanne Shaheen (inc.)||275,038||49%||Gordon Humphrey||246,952||44%||Mary Brown||Independent||35,904||6%||John Babiarz||Libertarian||6,446||1%|
|Year||Democratic||Votes||Pct||Republican||Votes||Pct||3rd Party||Party||Votes||Pct||3rd Party||Party||Votes||Pct|
|2002||Jeanne Shaheen||207,478||46%||(inc.)||227,229||51%||Ken Blevens||Libertarian||9,835||2%||Bob Smith||Write-in||2,396||1%||*|
|2008||358,947||52%||John E. Sununu (inc.)||314,412||45%||Ken Blevens||Libertarian||21,381||3%|
*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 2002, write-ins received 197 votes.
|New Hampshire Governor Democratic primary election, 1996|
|New Hampshire Governor Democratic primary election, 2000|
|Democratic||Jeanne Shaheen (inc.)||45,249||60%|
|U.S. Senate Democratic primary election in New Hampshire, 2008|
|url=value (help). New Hampshire Public Radio. Retrieved 2009.
|Party political offices|
|Democratic nominee for Governor of New Hampshire
1996, 1998, 2000
|Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from New Hampshire
2002, 2008, 2014
|Governor of New Hampshire
|U.S. Senator (Class 2) from New Hampshire
Served alongside: Judd Gregg, Kelly Ayotte, Maggie Hassan
|Ranking Member of the Senate Small Business Committee
|Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
|United States Senators by seniority
|111th||Senate: J. Gregg | J. Shaheen||House: P. Hodes | C. Shea-Porter|
|112th||Senate: J. Shaheen | K. Ayotte||House: C. Bass | F. Guinta|
|113th||Senate: J. Shaheen | K. Ayotte||House: C. Shea-Porter | A. Kuster|
|114th||Senate: J. Shaheen | K. Ayotte||House: A. Kuster | F. Guinta|
|115th||Senate: J. Shaheen | M. Hassan||House: C. Shea-Porter | A. Kuster|
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