Concord Monitor Endorsement: Shaheen is the easy choice for US Senate

Concord Monitor: Shaheen is the easy choice for US Senate

Let’s get this out of the way at the start. Of course Scott Brown is an opportunist. After his defeat by Elizabeth Warren, the former Massachusetts senator considered his opportunities – a run for governor of Massachusetts or president, a stint on Fox News, a curious business deal – and then seized upon New Hampshire and the U.S. Senate seat held by Jeanne Shaheen.

Brown has the right to run, and if his agenda were one that would benefit New Hampshire, that would be a good thing. Unfortunately, the policies and proposals Brown is peddling would harm, not help, the state. That makes Shaheen, who has served the state exceptionally well for two decades as a state senator, governor and U.S. senator, an easy choice for voters.

Brown is a lawyer and a centrist like Shaheen. He’s personable and smart, but his knowledge of the state and its people’s needs is reed thin. To make up for a lack of substance in his campaign, Brown has resorted to fear-mongering. He’s so much as warned that thanks to Shaheen’s inaction, ISIS fighters and Ebola victims could soon swarm over the nation’s southern border. That’s nonsense. He’s claimed that if Mitt Romney had been elected president instead of Barack Obama, we “would not be worrying about Ebola right now.” More nonsense. What’s next? Zombies?

Brown has pledged to do what he can, if elected, to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a policy change that has allowed millions of Americans and tens of thousands of New Hampshire residents to obtain affordable health insurance. Shaheen, to her credit, voted for the act, which has halved the rate of increase in health care costs and extending the fiscal life of Medicare.

Brown’s energy policies would do great harm to the Granite State. Unlike Shaheen, he supports permitting the export of U.S. supplies of natural gas. That would make the price of that fuel, which now heats New Hampshire homes and powers its electric generating plants, skyrocket and crush the economy. He supports continued subsidies for the oil industry, a needless giveaway that deprives the Treasury of badly needed revenue. Unlike Shaheen, he supports the immediate construction of the Keystone Pipeline to bring Canadian tar sands oil south through the American heartland. It is a policy that dooms the effort to combat global warming.

Brown, who appears to be running against the president as well as Shaheen, faults her for not criticizing Obama’s “no boots on the ground” insistence that American troops not return to a combat role in the Middle East. That however, is not only a policy the public supports, it’s the strategic position that, as Shaheen recognizes, makes sense. America’s allies, particularly those in Middle Eastern nations, aren’t going to spend a fortune and send their sons and daughters to war against ISIS if the United States is willing to do it for them.

Shaheen, in her steady, unassuming way, was a very effective governor, and she’s been a very effective senator. She has seen to the needs of the state’s veterans, helped to protect the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard from closure, expanded the military use of the former Pease airbase, and successfully helped procure the funds needed to replace the state’s aging bridges. She led the fight to open the newly built, but shuttered, federal prison in Berlin and the effort to open a federal job corps center in Manchester. She has a history of bipartisanship and worked on those efforts with Sen. Kelly Ayotte and other Republicans. Her word is good, and she has earned the trust of members of Congress in both parties. She does not grandstand, does not fear-monger. She gets things done. Give her your vote.