The first woman in history to be elected a Governor and a United States Senator, Jeanne Shaheen has been involved in all levels of New Hampshire life. She taught in a New Hampshire high school, chaired the Town of Madbury's zoning board and served three terms in the State Senate. Shaheen became the first woman elected Governor of New Hampshire, serving three terms from 1997-2003. In 2008 Shaheen became the first woman elected to the United States Senate from New Hampshire.
A champion of middle class families, as Governor, Shaheen worked to make college more affordable, made public kindergarten a reality for over 25,000 additional children, and extended affordable health coverage to tens of thousands of New Hampshire children. Her focus on the economy led to the creation of nearly 67,000 new jobs during her six years as Governor and the third-highest high tech employment in the nation. Shaheen also signed historic civil rights laws, including legislation making New Hampshire only the 10th state to add sexual orientation to its anti-discrimination laws.
In 2005 she took on the challenge of forging a new generation of public leaders when she became the Director of Harvard University's Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of Government, but resigned to run for the United States Senate in the 2008 elections, which she ended up winning.
Question: Do you have a personal philosophy?
Jeanne Shaheen: Well I think it’s probably what we learned in kindergarten, what I learned in Sunday school. We should all try and live a good life, try and make a difference for other people. Be kind to other people. You know I can remember my father and I debating during the ‘60s when he and I disagreed politically about what was going on in this country, and his saying to me, you know, “I’ve tried to be good and helpful to the people who I come in contact with in my day-to-day job. I haven’t tried to solve the world’s problems, but I have tried to make a difference for those people who I came in contact with.” And I think that’s a great philosophy.
Recorded on: 6/13/07