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N.H. Odd Couples: Jeanne Shaheen and Judd Gregg

I never thought that after working against someone’s election that I’d eventually end up partnering with that person on important New Hampshire issues, but that’s exactly what happened with Judd Gregg. We ultimately developed a strong relationship that successfully protected one of New Hampshire’s natural treasures: the land surrounding the Connecticut River headwaters.

In 1988 I ran Paul McEachern’s campaign for governor against then-Congressman Gregg. Just two short years later, I started serving in the state Senate while Gregg served as governor. We had our share of disagreements during this time.

But despite our differences, we both were always committed to protecting our state’s natural beauty. That’s why in 2001, when I was governor and Gregg was in the Senate, we came together to protect the Connecticut River headwaters land after International Paper Co. announced plans to sell 171,000 acres of land in Pittsburg, Clarksville and Stewartstown, including the headwaters of the Connecticut River. Because of this effort, the state now has a conservation easement on 146,000 acres of these lands, preserving its traditional uses – for forestry, hunting, snowmobiling, and other recreational activities – while also protecting the land’s natural habitats for wildlife.

Our relationship continued in the future, and I will always remember how both Judd and Kathy Gregg welcomed me warmly to the Senate when I arrived in 2009. All this despite the fact that I worked to defeat him early in my career.

(U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is a Democrat from New Hampshire.)

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