September 4, 2020 Dear Friend,As our August district work period comes to an end and Congress prepares to return to Washington, I wanted to reach out to check in. I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a particularly difficult year, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and our long-overdue reckoning over racial injustice being some of the most pressing issues facing our nation. Over 180,000 Americans have lost their lives to the deadly COVID-19 virus, which has disproportionately impacted people of color, all while communities of color continue to grapple with racism and police brutality. While we have worked hard to prevent the spread of coronavirus, many states continue to see spikes in cases, and our nation has surpassed 6 million cases. Congress has taken some legislative action to support the American people through the COVID-19 pandemic – we passed the CARES Act in March to provide emergency relief to New Hampshire with state and local funds, expand Unemployment benefits, provide direct cash payments to lower and middle-income Americans, fund small business relief, and provide support for our hospitals and health care providers. Months later, much of this funding and support has run out or come to an end, and Granite State communities and Americans across the nation are depending on us to do more. More than 100 days ago, I voted for the HEROES Act in the House. The Senate has yet to take up this critical legislation which passed the House in May and includes a number of the provisions I proposed in my Roadmap to Recovery. This crucial relief bill provides substantial funding for testing, tracing, and treatment; critical fiscal relief to state and local governments to help them combat COVID-19; additional economic impact payments to qualified individuals, and expanded Unemployment Insurance to Americans in need through early 2021. American families and frontline heroes are depending on this help, but Senate Republicans refuse to act.
September 4, 2020
As our August district work period comes to an end and Congress prepares to return to Washington, I wanted to reach out to check in. I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a particularly difficult year, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and our long-overdue reckoning over racial injustice being some of the most pressing issues facing our nation. Over 180,000 Americans have lost their lives to the deadly COVID-19 virus, which has disproportionately impacted people of color, all while communities of color continue to grapple with racism and police brutality. While we have worked hard to prevent the spread of coronavirus, many states continue to see spikes in cases, and our nation has surpassed 6 million cases. Congress has taken some legislative action to support the American people through the COVID-19 pandemic – we passed the CARES Act in March to provide emergency relief to New Hampshire with state and local funds, expand Unemployment benefits, provide direct cash payments to lower and middle-income Americans, fund small business relief, and provide support for our hospitals and health care providers. Months later, much of this funding and support has run out or come to an end, and Granite State communities and Americans across the nation are depending on us to do more.
More than 100 days ago, I voted for the HEROES Act in the House. The Senate has yet to take up this critical legislation which passed the House in May and includes a number of the provisions I proposed in my Roadmap to Recovery. This crucial relief bill provides substantial funding for testing, tracing, and treatment; critical fiscal relief to state and local governments to help them combat COVID-19; additional economic impact payments to qualified individuals, and expanded Unemployment Insurance to Americans in need through early 2021. American families and frontline heroes are depending on this help, but Senate Republicans refuse to act.
Although I am frustrated by the insufficient action taken by the Republican-controlled Senate to support the American people during this health and economic crisis, I am proud of the discussions and meetings I’ve held throughout New Hampshire’s Second Congressional District both virtually and in-person over the last month. Throughout August alone, I led many conversations with advocates, officials and experts about preserving our environment and investing in outdoor recreation, combating food insecurity, expanding access to affordable and quality health care, investing in local agriculture, safely reopening schools, providing COVID-19 relief funding for state and local communities, expanding access to affordable housing, supporting child care providers, and ensuring businesses can stay afloat during the COVID-19 crisis. The insights I gained from these conversations are invaluable as I continue working to ensure that Granite State communities have the support and resources they need to get through this pandemic and to thrive. I look forward to continuing these ongoing conversations in the months ahead.
I was excited to be able to safely spend a few days last week in the beautiful North Country to meet with Granite Staters and discuss the important issues affecting our communities. From our physically distanced meeting with community leaders and the New Hampshire Food Bank in Berlin, to our outdoor discussion with local health care providers and leaders in Colebrook – I’m grateful for the opportunity to “mask up” and meet folks in their communities for these important conversations.
2020 has been a year of uncertainty, but I remain energized by the strength of folks across the Granite State who continue to work toward a brighter tomorrow. Serving you is my greatest honor as a Congresswoman. Here’s a look at my work for you in 2020 so far:
Expanding Access to Quality, Affordable Health Care
Last week, I visited the Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital (UCVH) and met with UCVH, Indian Stream Health Center, and North Country Healthcare leadership to receive updates on the region’s continued response to COVID-19. Ensuring access to quality, affordable care in rural areas like the North Country was already a challenge, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made it all the more difficult. The health care leaders I spoke with are committed to providing Granite Staters with the care they need, while also keeping them safe through the use of services like tele-health appointments - a tool that will remain critical in rural areas even after the pandemic is behind us.
My discussion with substance misuse & mental health providers. Watch here.
I also led two discussions with leaders in the mental health, substance misuse and health care fields. My first conversation focused on substance use disorder and mental health during the coronavirus public health emergency. The health and economic crisis caused by COVID-19 has created significant challenges for Granite State health care, mental health, and substance use treatment providers -- at the same time, we are seeing increases in substance abuse and mental illness across the state. I was glad to hear from these hardworking Granite Staters, whose perspectives will help guide my work in Congress as my colleagues and I continue our response to the dual crises of opioid abuse and COVID-19.
In my second conversation, I heard from health care leaders and providers from New Hampshire hospitals, community health centers, doctors, nurses, and home health care providers about their work and challenges amid the pandemic. These frontline workers have spent the last several months working tirelessly, and it’s clear that they are in need of greater funding to fully respond to the difficulties presented by COVID-19.
My discussion with health leaders and providers. Watch here.
Expanding Access to Affordable Housing
Last week, I toured the AHEAD Bethlehem Workforce Housing Project at Lloyd’s Hills in Bethlehem. I was excited to see the progress Affordable Housing, Education and Development (AHEAD) is making to ensure all Granite Staters can afford a place to call home. The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced my belief that Congress must do more to support projects, like this one in Bethlehem, that expand the housing stock here in New Hampshire. AHEAD’s past projects, including the Friendship House, have strengthened the community in the North Country and I have no doubt that the Lloyd’s Hills project will build on that track record of success.
Touring Lloyd's Hills.
Earlier in August, I held a virtual roundtable discussion with NH housing advocates to discuss the immediate and lasting impacts of COVID-19 on housing agencies, landlords and residents. Unfortunately, so many vulnerable Granite Staters are struggling to get by during this pandemic and are at risk of losing the roof over their head. The initial funding from the CARES Act was a much-needed lifeline, but it is not enough - Congress must do more to protect renters from eviction and foreclosures on homeowners that have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic.
My discussion with NH Housing Advocates. Watch here.
I held another virtual conversation with various New Hampshire Boards of Realtors to discuss the impact COVID-19 has had on their line of work. Housing plays a critical role in our economic stability and growth, and it is an issue that is deeply intertwined with other concerns facing our nation, such as racial injustice and access to reliable broadband. While having a safe, affordable place to live is an essential human right, access to reliable broadband within that home is key to succeeding in our 21st century economy, particularly during the COVID-19 crisis. In addition, homeownership is the pinnacle of the American dream, and we have much more work to do to ensure all Americans have the opportunity for homeownership.
Last week, I met with Berlin city officials and community leadersto discuss the impact of COVID-19 on food security in the North Country. No family should have to worry about being able to put food on the table, especially during a pandemic. Sadly, this is the reality many Granite Staters face in the North Country and across our state. It was wonderful to hear from advocates about what they are doing to combat the problem of hunger in this region. Their commitment to this important cause is a perfect example of what makes New Hampshire such a great place to live.
Investing in Local Agriculture
A few weeks ago, I stopped by Sanborn Mills Farm in Loudon to discuss the impact COVID-19 has had on New Hampshire’s agricultural community. Small farms like Sanborn Mills are the backbone of New Hampshire’s agricultural economy, and it is imperative that Congress work to ensure they get the relief they need. While offering support programs like the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program is a step in the right direction, small farmers have largely been overlooked in COVID-19 relief efforts. This is completely unacceptable, and it is clear that we need to continue assistance to small farmers in the form of direct payments, programs like the Paycheck Protection Program, and loan options through the Small Business Administration and the USDA.
Visiting Sanborn Mills Farm.
Supporting Our State & Local Communities and Local Businesses
Early in August, I held a virtual roundtable with Mayors and City Managers to discuss the impact of COVID-19 and the ongoing needs of New Hampshire communities. I’m grateful for the opportunity to connect with city leaders to discuss the challenges they are facing at this unprecedented time. Ensuring our cities can continue to deliver important services to residents and function effectively is key to our state’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. I will continue working to ensure New Hampshire communities have the funding and resources they need to weather this crisis.
I also hosted a virtual roundtable discussion with leadership from the NH Bankers Association, Gibson’s Bookstore, Lawson Group, Claremont Savings Bank, Ink Factory and Vegataball, and Governor Sununu’s Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery (GOFERR), to hear about their experiences with the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and state grant programs under the CARES Act. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant challenges for Granite State businesses, forcing some to close or lay off workers, and leaving many uncertain about the future and how to make it through this crisis. Over the last few months, I’ve worked to make it easier for struggling businesses to access the funding and resources they need to keep employees on payroll and stay afloat. By working together, we can safely restore our economy and protect New Hampshire’s business community.
Last week, I visited White Mountains Community College (WMCC) and met with school leadership to receive updates on the college’s reopening plans. WMCC’s commitment to providing a safe environment for their students during this unprecedented time is evident, however, educational institutions still need additional support from Congress. While the relief funding Congress has provided to schools has been helpful, we must take further action. I look forward to taking the insights I heard in this conversation with me to Washington as I continue my efforts to ensure schools and the academic sector have the necessary resources to get through this crisis.
Preserving Our Environment and Investing in Outdoor Recreation
Last week, I went to the Gorham Community Forest to view the Forest’s recent expansion and meet with local elected officials and environmental advocates to discuss the importance of community forests to the North Country economy. The Gorham Community Forest is a beautiful space that provides economic and recreational value to the North Country and a measure of environmental protection to our world. I was proud to be involved in securing the necessary Forest Service funding to add these important lands to the Gorham region. This project will provide countless benefits for the North Country and New Hampshire in the years to come. I look forward to my continued work with the advocates and officials I met on this visit to preserve and protect our environment.
At Gorham Community Forest.
I traveled to the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Crawford Notch Highland Center and met with local environmental leaders last week to discuss the Land and Water Conservation Fund’s key role in supporting the protection of the White Mountain National Forest and other public lands and waters. As we continue working to slow the spread of COVID-19, many of us are rediscovering our love of the outdoors and the importance of community recreation areas. The White Mountains are a natural treasure that draw in over 6 million visitors each year, and I’m thrilled the Great American Outdoors Act was signed into law to help safeguard and preserve this beautiful place.
At the Highland Center.
I also visited the Nansen Ski Club in Berlin last week, where I met with the club’s leadership, community leaders, and members of the “Friends of the Nansen Ski Jump” to discuss the restoration project of the ski jump. As a lifelong skier, the ski and outdoor recreation industry is near and dear to my heart and a critical part of New Hampshire’s economy and heritage. I was proud to support the Northern Border Regional Commission grant that made this restoration and redevelopment project possible, and I look forward to seeing the resumption of ski jumping at this historic site.
At the Nansen Ski Jump.
I made a stop at Parker Mountain for a conversation about the trail system and the importance of outdoor recreation in the North Country — so much more than a beloved pastime, it is a lifeline for our Granite State economy, and I remain committed to securing the funding and resources that are needed to support this industry and help it thrive.
Visiting Parker Mountain.
Everyone Has a Role to Play
It is important to remember that even if you feel fine and aren’t showing any symptoms, you still could have COVID-19 and infect others, so it is critical to wear a mask to help prevent the spread of the virus. In addition, keep a safe distance from others at public gatherings, wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, and avoid crowds.Click here for information about how to properly use cloth face coverings to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
COVID-19 testing is available at many locations throughout the Granite State -click here for a list of testing sites (and see map below).