July 13, 2020 In the News

Shaheen’s first 2020 ad deals with opioid epidemic

New Hampshire Union Leader
By Kevin Landrigan
July 13, 2020

CONCORD — The reelection campaign of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen aired its first TV ad Monday, highlighting her effort to increase federal aid for New Hampshire to fight the opioid epidemic.

The 30-second commercial starred Anne Marie Zanfagna of Plaistow who began painting what she called “Angels of Addiction” after her daughter, Jackie, died due to a heroin overdose.

“These pictures I call Angels of Addiction. Like my daughter, Jackie, they all died from opioids. Jeanne Shaheen understands there haven’t been enough places for treatment in New Hampshire so she took on her own party and got New Hampshire 10 times more funding for treatment and first responders,” Zanfagna narrates in the ad.

“Jeanne Shaheen understands how families feel.”

Shaheen led a successful effort in Congress starting two years ago to change the grant formula for states dealing with the spike in overdoses and deaths due to heroin, fentanyl and other opioids.

The changes set aside additional grant money for states like New Hampshire that on a per capita basis had among the most overdose deaths in the nation.

As a result, the annual grants for New Hampshire went up from $3 million to $35 million.

“Among the first members of Congress to call for emergency opioid response in 2014, Jeanne Shaheen knows the substance use disorder crisis continues to be an urgent challenge during the coronavirus pandemic,” said campaign manager Harrell Kirstein. “She will continue to apply pressure at every level of government to ensure New Hampshire has the support it needs to help those who are struggling.”

GOP rivals respond to ad

Shaheen’s Republican primary foes said she should have done more.

“My dad battled with an addiction to opioids; I know firsthand the pain and challenges it brings to people and their families. No one will be a bigger champion for this cause than me in Washington,” said Bryant “Corky” Messner, a Wolfeboro Republican seeking the GOP nomination.

“However, it’s no surprise that D.C. Jeanne Shaheen’s first ad of the cycle tries to put distance between herself and her party. The fact is, though, no matter how hard she tries, she can’t run from the swamp she has immersed herself in.”

Retired Brig. Gen. Donald Bolduc, a GOP primary hopeful from Stratham, said the federal government has yet to come up with a comprehensive strategy to deal with the epidemic.

“The drugs crisis remains a serial killer in N.H. Shaheen’s efforts are appreciated, but she has been ineffective in dealing with the crisis since she was governor,” Bolduc said.

“You cannot politicize and throw money at the problem. We need an effective comprehensive plan that focuses on prevention, interdiction, treatment, and support services.”

Messner, a wealthy, Denver, Colo., trial lawyer, has bankrolled TV and radio ads promoting his candidacy.