Sen. Kelly Ayotte: New Hampshire needs an independent voice

For the Monitor
Published: 11/6/2016 3:30:18 AM

When I look for solutions to the problems we face, I don’t start in Washington – I start here at home. The best ideas I get come from the hard-working families I see every weekend at Market Basket, the small business owners I meet who want to grow and provide jobs, or from the dozens of town hall meetings I’ve held from Pittsburg to Salem where I’ve listened and learned about the issues you care about most.

Over the last six years, I’ve been working to bring your common-sense solutions to the Senate to deliver results for our state, whether in combating the heroin epidemic, creating a better climate for good paying jobs or standing up for our families – I’ve gone to bat for the priorities that matter to you, and I’m willing to work with anyone to get it done.

Growing up in Nashua, I learned early on that the best way to solve problems is by reaching out with an open hand, finding common ground, and focusing on the things we can agree on first. It’s why I’ve been ranked as one of the most bipartisan senators in the country and was named a “Problem Solver” by the nonpartisan group No Labels.

I’ve brought this approach to some of the most pressing issues facing our state and country. The heroin, fentanyl and prescription opioid crisis gripping our state, for example, will never be solved by only one party. It’s a severe epidemic that demands a comprehensive, collaborative response. After meeting with families, law enforcement, health care providers, individuals in recovery and stakeholders all across the state, I took their ideas and solutions to Congress, where I helped write, introduce, and pass the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act – major legislation that will help us make a real difference in this fight. We achieved that because we worked together.

Coming from a small business family, I understand on a personal level that the policies coming out of Washington directly impact Mom and Pop retailers, start-ups and businesses across our state. I believe that we must come together to foster a better climate for good-paying jobs and that’s why I’m fighting for policies in the Senate that allow businesses to boost job creation.

Reaching across the aisle, I’ve worked on legislation to strengthen our workforce, give businesses a more competitive edge in the global market, and I’ve led the fight against the unfair online sales tax. This also means equipping our students with the skills they need to compete in the 21st-century job market.

I’ve introduced legislation that would encourage partnerships between educators and companies, pushed to expand access to Pell Grants for job training skills programs, and even helped pass a bipartisan law that prevented student loan rates from doubling.

As a mom who worked during two pregnancies, I know firsthand the challenges of balancing work responsibilities with making it all happen at home. It’s why I’ve worked across the aisle to make that balance easier, supporting legislation that would end workplace discrimination against pregnant workers, ensure equal pay for equal work and expand access to affordable child care.

Since my time as your attorney general, no issue has been more important to me than keeping New Hampshire safe.

As the wife of a combat veteran who served in Iraq, I’ve fought on the Armed Services Committee to ensure we are safe both here and abroad. I understand the sacrifices our service members – and their families – make every day, and when our heroes return home, it is our duty to ensure they receive the proper care they have rightly earned serving our nation. Party labels should not stop us from guaranteeing timely health care for our veterans, which is why I’ve worked with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen to ensure New Hampshire’s vets can get care closer to home.

There’s a lot more work to do, and it’s going to take someone with the courage to stand up to both parties to do what’s right for New Hampshire and someone who is able to find common ground to get things done, no matter which party wins the White House or Congress.

That’s what I’ve done in the Senate, and as we close out this election, I’m hitting the road on a “Solutions Tour” to talk with voters one by one about how I’m fighting for New Hampshire’s families and our future.

I hope to see you out there and have the chance to hear from you. I’m running for reelection because I want to continue the work that we’ve started together, and I humbly ask for your vote this Tuesday.

(Kelly Ayotte, a Nashua Republican, serves New Hampshire in the United States Senate.)

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