| United States Senator |
from New Hampshire
January 3, 2009
Servingwith Maggie Hassan
|Preceded by||John Sununu|
|Ranking Member of the Senate Small Business Committee|
April 2, 2015 –February 6, 2018
|Preceded by||Ben Cardin|
|Succeeded by||Ben Cardin|
|78th Governor of New Hampshire|
January 9, 1997 –January 9, 2003
|Preceded by||Steve Merrill|
|Succeeded by||Craig Benson|
|Member of the New Hampshire Senate |
from the 21st district
December 2, 1992 –December 4, 1996
|Preceded by||Constituency established|
|Succeeded by||Katie Wheeler|
Cynthia Jeanne Bowers
January 28, 1947
St. Charles, Missouri, U.S.
|Education|| Shippensburg University (BA)|
University of Mississippi (MSS)
Cynthia Jeanne Shaheen ( // shə-HEEN; née Bowers, January 28, 1947) is an American politician serving as the senior United States senator from New Hampshire since 2009. A member of the Democratic Party, she is the first female U.S. senator in New Hampshire's history, the first elected female governor of New Hampshire and the first woman elected as both a governor and a U.S. senator.
After serving two terms in the New Hampshire Senate, Shaheen was elected governor in 1996 and reelected in 1998 and 2000. In 2002, she ran for the United States Senate unsuccessfully against Republican nominee John E. Sununu. She served as Director of the Harvard Institute of Politics before resigning to run for the U.S. Senate again in the 2008 election, defeating Sununu in a rematch. She is the dean of New Hampshire's congressional delegation.
Shaheen became the first Democratic senator from New Hampshire since John A. Durkin, who was defeated in 1980. In 2014, she became the second Democrat from New Hampshire to be reelected to the U.S. Senate and the first since Thomas J. McIntyre in 1972. She was reelected to a third term in 2020 over Republican Corky Messner.
Jeanne Shaheen was born Cynthia Jeanne Bowers in St. Charles, Missouri, the daughter of Belle Ernestine (Stillings) and Ivan E. Bowers.She is a 12th-generation descendant of the prominent Native American Pocahontas. Her husband is Lebanese-American attorney and political operative Bill Shaheen. They have three children. She graduated from high school in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, and earned a bachelor's degree in English from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania and a master's degree in political science from the University of Mississippi. She taught high school in Mississippi and moved to New Hampshire in 1973, where she taught school and, with her husband, owned a store that sold used jewelry.
A Democrat, she worked on several campaigns, including Jimmy Carter's 1976 presidential campaign, and as the New Hampshire campaign manager for Gary Hart in 1984,before running for office in 1990, when she was elected to the state Senate for the 21st district. She was elected governor of New Hampshire in 1996 and reelected in 1998 and 2000.
In April 2005, Shaheen was named director of Harvard's Institute of Politics,succeeding former U.S. Representative and Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman.
Shaheen's decision to run for New Hampshire governor followed the retirement of Republican Governor Steve Merrill. Her opponent in 1996 was Ovide M. Lamontagne, then chairman of the State Board of Education. Shaheen presented herself as a moderate. According to a PBS profile, she focused on education funding issues, and pledged to expand kindergarten. She defeated Lamontagne by 57 to 40 percent.
Shaheen was the first woman to be elected governor of New Hampshire.(She was not, however, the first woman to serve as New Hampshire's governor; Vesta M. Roy was acting governor from December 30, 1982 until January 6, 1983.)
In 1998, she was reelected by a margin of 66 to 31 percent.
In both 1996 and 1998, Shaheen took a no-new-taxes pledge. After a court decision preventing education from being largely supported by local taxes, "her administration devised a plan that would have increased education spending and set a statewide property tax."
Running for a third term in 2000, Shaheen refused to renew her no-new-taxes pledge, becoming the first New Hampshire governor in 38 years to win an election without making that pledge.Shaheen's preferred solution to the school-funding problem was not a broad-based tax but legalized video-gambling at state racetracks—a solution repeatedly rejected by the state legislature.
In 2001 Shaheen tried to implement a 2.5% sales tax, the first broad-based tariff of its kind in New Hampshire, which has never had a sales tax. The state legislature rejected her proposal.She also proposed an increase in the state's cigarette tax and a 4.5% capital gains tax.
During the 2000 Democratic presidential primary in New Hampshire, Shaheen supported Al Gore and her husband served as Gore's New Hampshire campaign manager. According to the New York Observer, the Shaheens were critical in helping Gore win a narrow victory in the New Hampshire primary over Bill Bradley.
Gore added Shaheen to his short list of potential vice presidential nominees, which also included then-Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, then-North Carolina Senator John Edwards, then-House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, then-Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, and then-Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman.Shaheen responded to speculation about being selected by stating she wasn't interested in the job.
After a short time teaching at Harvard University (and a fellowship in the Institute of Politics with former Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift), she was named national chairperson of John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign in September 2003.
After three two-year terms as governor, Shaheen declined to run for a fourth, instead choosing to run for the U.S. Senate in 2002. Republican John E. Sununu defeated her by a 51 percent to 47 percent margin (19,751 votes). In a recent interview with the Concord Monitor , Shaheen attributed her loss in part to "discussion about the job that [she] did as governor." At that time, early Republican advertisements slammed her support for putting a sales tax on the ballot or faulted her for failing schools.
In June 2004, former Republican consultant Allen Raymond pleaded guilty to jamming Democratic Party lines set up to get New Hampshire Democrats to the polls in 2002, which some (most notably former Senator Bob Smith, whom Sununu defeated in the Republican primary) believe contributed to Shaheen's loss.A judge sentenced Raymond to five months in jail in February 2005. Charles McGee, the former state GOP executive director, was sentenced to seven months for his role.
Raymond alleged that James Tobin, Northeast field director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, masterminded the plot. In December 2005, Tobin was convicted of two federal felonies arising from the phone-jamming and sentenced to ten months in prison, but that conviction was reversed on appeal. In October 2008, prosecutors filed two new felony indictments charging that Tobin lied to an FBI agent when he was interviewed in 2003 about his role in the phone-jamming case.These charges were summarily dismissed in 2009 after the federal judge in Maine's District Court found them motivated by "vindictive prosecution".
It was the first time two candidates with Lebanese-American families, although Shaheen herself is not Lebanese-American, had squared off in a Senate race.
In early July 2007 through UNH, CNN and WMUR put out a pollshowing that Shaheen would beat Sununu in the 2008 Senate race (54–38). Other Democratic candidates did not have this type of lead, which led many to believe Shaheen would be the best choice to beat Sununu.
In April 2007, Shaheen met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Chuck Schumer (D-New York) about a Senate run. Both said she would have strong support from the DSCC if she ran. On September 14, 2007, Shaheen announced her candidacy.On September 15, she formally launched her campaign at her home in Madbury, New Hampshire. On September 21, EMILY's List endorsed her campaign.
Shaheen defeated Sununu 52% to 45% (44,535 votes).
Shaheen ran for reelection in 2014, facing former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown.
In March 2014, Brown announced he was forming an exploratory committee to run against Shaheen. According to the Boston Herald, "Granite State Republicans are calling U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen a hypocrite for asking potential GOP challenger and former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown to keep "outside" money out of the campaign while she fills the Democratic war chest on the West Coast".During the campaign, Brown criticized Shaheen for being a "rubber stamp" for President Obama and for failing to represent the best interests of New Hampshire voters.
In June 2014, WMUR reported that Shaheen had never released her tax returns in her 18 years of public service in New Hampshire. Shaheen said she would not rule out releasing her returns, but would like to see her opponent do so first.
She was endorsed again by Emily's List.
On election night, even as her party lost control of the Senate, Shaheen won reelection with 51 percent of the vote to Brown's 48 percent. As a measure of how Republican New Hampshire once was, Shaheen is only the second Democrat in the state's history to win two terms in the Senate.
Shaheen was reelected in 2020 with 56.7% of the vote to Republican nominee Corky Messner's 40.9%.
On January 6, 2009, Shaheen was sworn into the United States Senate. As a senator, she has sponsored 288 bills, five of which have become law.
On January 6, 2021, Shaheen was participating in the certification of the 2020 United States Electoral College count when Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. She tweeted during the attack that she and her staff were safe and that "We will not be stopped from doing our Constitutional duty".The day after the attack, Shaheen called Trump "unfit for office" and said that she supported impeaching him and removing him from office.
In 2009, Shaheen partnered with U.S. Senator Susan Collins to introduce the Medicare Transitional Care Act, which provides follow-up care for discharged hospital patients to reduce re-hospitalizations.The bill passed in 2010, and research at the University of Pennsylvania predicted the measure would lower the cost of health care by as much as $5,000 per Medicare beneficiary while also improving health care quality and reducing re-hospitalizations.
In December 2009, Shaheen voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA; commonly called ObamaCare or the Affordable Care Act).
In advance of the rollout of the PPACA, Shaheen said that people who liked their current health care plans could keep them.When asked about individuals who were losing their health care plans due to the PPACA, Shaheen said people could keep their health care plans if they were "willing to pay more."
In August 2019 Shaheen was one of 19 senators to sign a letter to United States Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin and United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar requesting data from the Trump administration in order to help states and Congress understand the potential consequences of the Texas v. United States Affordable Care Act lawsuit, writing that an overhaul of the present health care system would form "an enormous hole in the pocketbooks of the people we serve as well as wreck state budgets".
In October 2019 Shaheen was one of 27 senators to sign a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer advocating the passage of the Community Health Investment, Modernization, and Excellence (CHIME) Act, which was set to expire the following month. The senators warned that if the funding for the Community Health Center Fund (CHCF) was allowed to expire, it "would cause an estimated 2,400 site closures, 47,000 lost jobs, and threaten the health care of approximately 9 million Americans."
On October 11, 2011, Shaheen voted to proceed with a proposed bill that included $446 billion in spending on infrastructure and schools and provided funding for state and local governments, as well as an extension of the payroll tax deduction. The spending would have been paid for by a 5.6% surtax on incomes above $1 million. The bill failed to obtain cloture.
Shaheen used an earmark in a large appropriations bill to restore funding for a federal prison in Berlin, NH, despite a $276 million recommended cut.
Shaheen supports making it illegal for individuals on the terrorist watchlist to buy gunsand voted in favor of a bill proposing to expand background checks for gun purchases. She also voted to ban high-capacity magazines of over 10 bullets. In 2016, she participated in the Chris Murphy gun control filibuster in the wake of the Orlando nightclub shooting. Shaheen said that "moments of sympathy are not enough" and that common-sense gun laws must be enacted.
Following the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, Shaheen proposed abolishing the Minerals Management Service, the U.S. government agency tasked with regulating offshore drilling, arguing that reform had been insufficient and that a new agency was needed.Shaheen also proposed legislation giving the president's bipartisan BP Oil Spill Commission subpoena power in its investigation. She argued that subpoena power was necessary to avoid another such disaster, emphasizing the spill's economic costs to the Gulf Coast region and the economy as a whole.
On April 28, 2014, Shaheen introduced the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2014 (S. 2262; 113th Congress), a bill intended to improve efficient energy use.
In March 2019 Shaheen was an original cosponsor of a bipartisan bill intended to mandate that the Environmental Protection Agency declare per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances as hazardous substances that can be addressed with cleanup funds via the EPA Superfund law and require that polluters undertake or pay for remediation within a year of the bill's enaction.
Shaheen opposed the Nord Stream 2, a pipeline for delivering natural gas from Russia to Germany.
In 2002, when Shaheen narrowly lost to Sununu, both supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq and "regime change" for Iraq.
Shaheen said that she came to supporting the policy of removing Saddam Hussein from power after meeting with former Clinton-administration National Security Advisor Sandy Berger. According to the Concord Monitor and Associated Press, the issue was a minor one in the race.
Shaheen later questioned George W. Bush's handling of the situation in Iraq. In a September 2004 televised interview as Kerry presidential campaign chair she said:
George [W.] Bush has taken us in the wrong direction. He misled us into war in Iraq. That war has not made us safer and more secure at home ... You know, we have not stabilized Afghanistan. We have not stabilized Iraq. There is no plan to win the peace.
On July 28, 2004, while serving as Chair of the Kerry-Edwards Campaign, Shaheen answered questions about her prior support of the Iraq war during an interview on C-SPAN.
George [W.] Bush said that the reason we needed to go to war in Iraq, the reason we needed to remove Saddam Hussein, was because he had weapons of mass destruction, weapons that could be used against this country, because he had ties to al-Qaeda and the terrorists who were responsible for the September 11 tragedy. What we know now and what George Bush and Dick Cheney have admitted is that in fact Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction. (...) The links to al-Qaeda that the president talked about were not there. (...) While I appreciate that there was an effort to make people in this country think that [there was a connection] (...) the fact is that's not true.
Shaheen initially opposed same-sex marriage as governor of New Hampshire, but in 2009 she came out in favor of marriage for same-sex couples and sponsored the Respect for Marriage Act. [ better source needed ]She also voted in favor of the repeal of Don't ask, don't tell, and supports government recognition of same-sex spouses of military and other government personnel.
Governor elections in New Hampshire: Results 1996-2000
|Year||Democratic||Votes||Pct||Republican||Votes||Pct||3rd Party||Party||Votes||Pct||3rd Party||Party||Votes||Pct|
|1996||Jeanne Shaheen||284,175||57%||Ovide Lamontagne||196,321||40%||Fred Bramante||Independent Reform||10,316||2%||Robert Kingsbury||Libertarian||5,974||1%|
|1998||Jeanne Shaheen (inc.)||210,769||66%||Jay Lucas||98,473||31%||Ken Blevens||Libertarian||8,655||3%||Write-ins||Write-ins||503||<1%|
|2000||Jeanne Shaheen (inc.)||275,038||49%||Gordon Humphrey||246,952||44%||Mary Brown||Independent||35,904||6%||John Babiarz||Libertarian||6,446||1%|
|Year||Democratic||Votes||Pct||Republican||Votes||Pct||3rd Party||Party||Votes||Pct||3rd Party||Party||Votes||Pct|
|2002||Jeanne Shaheen||207,478||46%||John E. Sununu||227,229||51%||Ken Blevens||Libertarian||9,835||2%||Bob Smith||Write-in||2,396||1%||*|
|2008||Jeanne Shaheen||358,947||52%||John E. Sununu (inc.)||314,412||45%||Ken Blevens||Libertarian||21,381||3%|
|2014||Jeanne Shaheen(inc.)||251,184||51%||Scott Brown||235,347||48%|
|2020||Jeanne Shaheen (inc.)||450,771||57%||Corky Messner||326,229||41%||Justin O'Donnell||Libertarian||18,421||2%|
*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 2002, write-ins received 197 votes.
|New Hampshire Governor Democratic primary election, 1996|
|New Hampshire Governor Democratic primary election, 2000|
|Democratic||Jeanne Shaheen (inc.)||45,249||60%|
|U.S. Senate Democratic primary election in New Hampshire, 2008|
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|url=value (help). New Hampshire Public Radio . Retrieved May 23, 2009.
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|Party political offices|
| Democratic nominee for Governor of New Hampshire |
1996, 1998, 2000
| Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from New Hampshire |
2002, 2008, 2014, 2020
| Governor of New Hampshire |
| U.S. Senator (Class 2) from New Hampshire |
Served alongside: Judd Gregg, Kelly Ayotte, Maggie Hassan
| Ranking Member of the Senate Small Business Committee |
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Senators by seniority |
|111th||Senate: J. Gregg • J. Shaheen||House: P. Hodes • C. Shea-Porter|
|112th||Senate: J. Shaheen • K. Ayotte||House: C. Bass • F. Guinta|
|113th||Senate: J. Shaheen • K. Ayotte||House: C. Shea-Porter • A. Kuster|
|114th||Senate: J. Shaheen • K. Ayotte||House: A. Kuster • F. Guinta|
|115th||Senate: J. Shaheen • M. Hassan||House: C. Shea-Porter • A. Kuster|
|116th||Senate: J. Shaheen • M. Hassan||House: A. Kuster • C. Pappas|
|117th||Senate: J. Shaheen • M. Hassan||House: A. Kuster • C. Pappas|