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(NECN: Lauren Collins – Manchester, N.H.) - Senator Jeanne Shaheen, New Hampshire’s senior statesman, summed it up.
“Women make up over 50 percent of the country right now," she said, "and it's very important to bring our experiences to the jobs that we have.”
The jobs these women hold make them historic figures: Senators Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte, and Congresswomen Carol Shea-Porter and Ann McLane Kuster, make up the country's first-ever all-female delegation. They sat alongside New Hampshire Gov.-elect Maggie Hassan on Friday for an hour-long conversation at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anslem College.
“We're also all mothers,” Rep. Kuster said, “and if you can find peace with teenagers or toddlers, I think you can find common ground.”
The delegation believes that perspective gives them an edge as they reach across Washington's partisan divide -- and while they may have unique insight into issues like affordable child care and equal pay, “women are concerned about every issue that men are concerned about,” Sen. Ayotte said.
Shaheen and Ayotte both said the deficit is their No. 1 concern.
This isn't the first first for New Hampshire women. In 2008, the state became the first in the nation to have a female majority in the legislature.
Each of the women on the panel lauded models who served before them and weren't particularly impressed by their own accomplishment. Women in office, they all agree, should be the rule, not the exception.
“We're gonna get women elected to office when women run for office,” said Senator Shaheen, “and we need more women running and that means at all levels.”
In addition to the women on the panel, New Hampshire also has a woman as the Speaker of the House, Rep. Teri Norelli, and as the Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court, Hon. Linda Dalianis.