Boston Herald: Column: Maggie Hassan is “An Independent in a State that Honors Independence”

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

In a new column, The Boston Herald’s Jeff Robbins highlights Senator Maggie Hassan’s bipartisan record, calling her “an independent in a state that honors independence.”

Robbins writes that the non-partisan Lugar Center recently ranked Senator Hassan the most Bipartisan Senator  — and that because of her record as an independent voice in the state, “knocking Hassan off won’t be easy,” despite the millions of dollars that Mitch McConnell and the national Republican Party are pouring into the state to defeat her.   

To read Robbins’ full piece, click here or see below.

Boston Herald: Jeff Robbins: NH’s Sen. Maggie Hassan swims against the partisan tide

Every politician alive claims they aren’t afraid of a tough fight. Sometimes it’s true, and sometimes it isn’t. New Hampshire’s Maggie Hassan doesn’t flaunt it — or, for that matter, anything else — but where a willingness to take on fights is concerned, she’s got some bragging rights. […]

Unsurprisingly, as Sen. Hassan runs for re-election she has been targeted by the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who are pouring anti-Hassan money into New Hampshire in hopes of defeating her. The fire hose of attack ads flows as though the control of the U.S. Senate depended on it, which it very well may. With the Senate equally divided between Democrats and Republicans and the House of Representatives likely to pass to Republican control, Hassan’s defeat would formalize gridlock in Washington, with the Democrats controlling the White House, Republicans controlling both houses of Congress, and nothing, but nothing, achievable in our nation’s capital for the ensuing two years.

Knocking Hassan off won’t be easy. One of the reasons that Democrats risk being clobbered in November’s midterms is the caricature made of them, a caricature in part of their own making: punctiliously woke, dutifully singing from the “No-One-Has-Ever-Been-More-Progressive-Than-Me” hymnal. The big problem for national Republicans who need Hassan to lose won’t be finding enough money for television ads, but rather Hassan’s reputation as an independent in a state that honors independence.

Earlier this month the non-partisan Lugar Center at Georgetown University, founded by the late Richard Lugar, the Republican senator from Indiana revered for his decades of bipartisan work with Democrats, ranked Hassan the most bipartisan member of the Senate. The Center issues a Bipartisan Index measuring how often members of Congress work productively with the other party. It noted that in 2021 Hassan had obtained a Republican co-sponsor for each of the 48 pieces of legislation she introduced.

This included legislation enacted into law on cybersecurity protection, targeted tax cuts for new businesses and support for mental health. She joined with Republican Bill Cassidy (R-La.) to pass a law ending surprise medical billing, the so-called “No Surprises Act,” which protects patients from having to pay out-of-network costs for a range of services. She worked with Republicans to strengthen health care benefits for veterans. And she was one of the original Senate negotiators who crafted the bipartisan infrastructure law enacted last August.

This may not be bread-and-butter stuff for the Democratic Socialists of America, but it is for American families, including New Hampshire families. Hassan’s ability to work with those across the dreaded divide has gained the attention of those idealistic few who still believe that bipartisanship in America, however ailing, isn’t quite dead.

“In 2021, Sen. Hassan not only had the highest Bipartisan Index score in the Senate,” said Dan Diller, the Lugar Center’s Policy Director, “she posted the highest score by a Democratic senator in the 29 years for which we have data. In doing so, she demonstrated an exceptional commitment to bipartisanship that sets the standard for other senators.”

Not bad for a first-term senator. It’s part of the reason Mitch McConnell and company know they have their work cut out for them.


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