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Kuster makes House run official



Last modified: Thursday, June 03, 2010
Supporters at the State House cheered yesterday as Ann McLane Kuster filed as a candidate for Congress in the 2nd District.

Kuster, a Democrat from Hopkinton, walked with her husband and two sons through a hallway lined with about 200 people, according to her campaign, to sign her papers at the office of the secretary of state. She then spoke to supporters behind the State House, describing her campaign as a locally run effort that indicates her loyalties if elected.

"I am running to represent New Hampshire people and New Hampshire values," Kuster said, as her husband, Brad, and two sons stood behind her. "Frankly, I think Yankee values like fairness, frugality and responsibility could go a long way in Washington these days."

Kuster cast herself as a Washington outsider even as she pledged to help President Obama enact his agenda. She said the country needs "those of us who have spent our lives with our sleeves rolled up, helping families out here in the real world" to fix the country's problems. Kuster worked as an adoption attorney for 25 years and volunteered with organizations such as the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and Child & Family Services.

"I will be a voice for everyone who has had enough of the status quo and who wants to help our president shake things up down in Washington," she said.

Kuster said she would make job creation her priority. She said the government should support new tax credits for startup businesses, new lending for community banks, and programs to employ people who weatherize buildings and expand broadband access throughout the state.

Those gathered clapped as Kuster promised to invest in renewable energy, support gay marriage and oppose any restriction on abortion.

Among the supporters waving signs near the secretary of state's office was Betty Eberhart, 82, who said she's known Kuster since the candidate was born. Eberhart, a Contoocook resident who was an alternate delegate to the 1968 Democratic Convention, said she has donated time and money to support Kuster.

"She's got a lot of energy and a lot of talent," Eberhart said.

Standing behind the State House after Kuster's speech, Hopkinton resident Nancy Brown described herself as a longtime supporter of the candidate. Brown said she worries about America's use of its military around the world.

"I think she supports diplomacy, reconstruction, development, and these are the ways to make changes, other than military intervention," Brown said.

Kuster yesterday called for a flexible military and a strategy of development, diplomacy and then defense. She said the country must not "let the failed mindset that got us into Iraq get us bogged down even deeper in Afghanistan." Kuster has said she disagrees with Obama's decision to send 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan.

Elaine Loft, also of Hopkinton, said she has known Kuster only a few years but was quickly persuaded to support her campaign.

"I think she's tremendously honest, and I think people statewide will come to see her," Loft said.

Kuster said her campaign had raised $1 million by Tuesday night.

Kuster was born in Concord and lives in Hopkinton with her family. She is the daughter of the late Malcolm McLane, a former mayor of Concord and state executive councilor, and the late Susan McLane, a longtime Republican state lawmaker.

Kuster has been a partner in the Concord law firm Rath, Young and Pignatelli, where she focused on education, nonprofit and health policy law, and she also works as an adoption attorney. She has lobbied at the State House for NARAL Pro-Choice New Hampshire, Merck Vaccines, Fidelity Investments and Dartmouth College.

U.S. Rep. Paul Hodes, a Democrat, is leaving the 2nd District seat he's held for four years to run for the Senate.

Kuster will face Bow activist Katrina Swett in the Democratic primary. Republicans running for the 2nd District seat include former congressman Charlie Bass of Peterborough, Jennifer Horn, a former talk radio host from Nashua and the party's 2008 nominee, and Bob Giuda, a commercial pilot and former state representative who lives in Warren.