Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster

Representing the 2nd District of New Hampshire
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Fighting to Fix New Hampshire's Roads

May 12, 2014
Editorial

Hi All!

I hope you all had a great weekend.  Last week, I introduced a bill to protect funding for our infrastructure and hosted a telephone town hall with thousands of Granite Staters to hear from you about issues important to women and families.

Protecting our Roads in the Granite State

Following my recent tour of the I-93 expansion project in Windham, I introduced a bill this week to ensure that the Highway Trust Fund remains solvent for the remainder of the fiscal year.  During my tour of the expansion project, New Hampshire Department of Transportation officials and local leaders expressed their concern that should the Highway Trust Fund run dry, critical transportation projects across the state would be forced to come to a halt in the middle of the busy summer construction season due to lack of funding.   This would result not only in a loss of revenue for the state, but would also put the jobs of hardworking New Hampshire construction workers in jeopardy.  I introduced the DRIVE Now Act to help ensure the funding will still be available for these transportation projects.

Our transportation network is critical to growing our economy, creating jobs, and ensuring public safety in New Hampshire and all across the country. If Congress lets the Highway Trust Fund run out of money, then important projects like the I-93 expansion won’t get finished, leaving commuters in the lurch and hurting both New Hampshire businesses and the construction workers that rely on this funding for their livelihoods.  My bill will ensure that these vital projects can continue in the short-term, and I call on my fellow Members of Congress to pass a long-term transportation bill to fund the Highway Trust Fund for the next six years.

Hearing from YOU about Women’s Issues

On Wednesday evening, nearly 9,000 Granite Staters participated in a live telephone town hall I hosted in order to hear directly from Second District residents about how Congress can level the playing field for New Hampshire women and their families.  During the town hall I also discussed my Women’s Economic Agenda, a plan for Congress to help New Hampshire families succeed financially.  

During the call, I took questions from constituents, and heard numerous stories from male and female Granite Staters concerned about issues that affect the economic success of New Hampshire families. I was thrilled to get a chance to hear directly from so many Granite Staters on this call – both men and women – concerned about a number of the issues I’ve prioritized in my Women’s Economic Agenda.  From concerns over a fair minimum wage, to unequal pay in the workplace due to gender discrimination, to the importance of education and job training to better prepare those entering into the workforce, the stories I heard on today’s call underscore the need for Congress to prioritize initiatives that will better support the economic success of New Hampshire women and families.

Increasing Access to Capital for NH Small Businesses

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill I helped introduce to increase access to capital for New Hampshire small businesses and individuals.  As a member of the U.S. House Small Business Committee, supporting New Hampshire small businesses and helping them access the capital they need to grow is one of my top priorities. I worked with my Republican colleague, Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03), to help introduce H.R. 3329 late last year. This bipartisan bill would make it easier for smaller community banks that did not cause the 2008 financial crisis to raise capital, making more money available for loans to New Hampshire small businesses and consumers.

I’ve traveled from one end of New Hampshire to another to hear from small business owners about how the federal government can better support their job creation efforts. Over and over again, New Hampshire entrepreneurs have told me that limited access to capital is one of their greatest obstacles to success.  I was proud to reach across the aisle to work with my Republican colleague from Missouri to help free up more resources for our country’s small businesses, and I applaud my colleagues in the House for passing this legislation.

 Discussing NH Forests in Lyme

On Monday, I joined local and national leaders from the forestry community at Wagner Forest Management in Lyme to discuss challenges and opportunities facing New Hampshire’s timber industry and forest economy.  It was great to have the opportunity to hear from so many different stakeholders on a range of issues that impact our forests, including National Forest management, forest operations, renewable energy, and tax code revisions.

As the first member of the House Committee on Agriculture from New Hampshire in 70 years, it is critical for me to hear from the forestry community here in New Hampshire.  It was great to learn more about many of the issues facing the industry from people who have been doing this all their lives.  New Hampshire is the second most forested state in the country, and this industry is vital to supporting the economy of the North Country and thousands of jobs for Granite Staters.

Fighting Drug Abuse Through Rehabilitation

On Monday, I also spoke at a Graduation Ceremony at the Grafton County Drug Court in North Haverhill, recognizing five drug court participants who are in the process of completing the program.  The Grafton County Drug Court is a diversionary sentencing program which allows high risk non-violent offenders to enter a drug rehabilitation program instead of incarceration. The program combines intensive treatment with strict supervision, and each participant is evaluated weekly by a multidisciplinary team of experts.

The dramatic increase in drug abuse in New Hampshire and across the country is a destructive trend.  These men and women showed amazing courage to face this challenge head on and beat their addiction.  The Grafton County drug court is a terrific example of why these courts are so essential to the American judicial process.  Jail time without treatment is not an effective way to help those who are willing to take the necessary steps to better their lives, but don’t have the resources to do so on their own.

Have an excellent week and thanks for everything you do to make New Hampshire such a wonderful place to live!