August 17, 2020 In the News

Tri-City mayors endorse Shaheen as she calls for virus relief package

By Jeff McMenemy
August 17, 2020

Dover — U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., said Monday it was “very troubling” to her that “we still see an impasse in Washington over another package of assistance to help with the coronavirus.”

“I believe firmly that we are not going to get this pandemic under control, we are not going to put people back to work, we’re not going to get businesses back up and running” at 100 percent “until we get the virus under control,” Shaheen said during an appearance at Veterans Park in Dover.

“That means more testing, more contact tracing, we need more help for hospitals and medical providers, and for people who are ill,” Shaheen said. “And in order to do that, we need to have help at the federal level.”

Her comments came Monday after she was endorsed in the 2020 election by Dover Mayor Robert Carrier, Somersworth Mayor Dana Hilliard and Rochester Mayor Caroline McCarley. Shaheen is seeking a third six-year term in the Senate and is expected to face the Republican winner of the Sept. 8 primary in November.

Shaheen called on Republican Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell “to call back the Senate” and “to stay in session until we get this package of legislation done.”

In addition to addressing COVID-19 legislation, she also urged McConnell to “address the concerns with the post office, which have come to light over the last few weeks.”

Asked about the executive orders President Donald Trump recently signed, Shaheen said “they really do almost nothing. The only one that really has any teeth at all is the one on evictions.”

The orders, which Trump signed earlier this month, include implementing a payroll tax holiday, providing an additional $400 in federal unemployment benefits, suspending some student loan payments and protecting people from evictions.

But Shaheen said the eviction protection is “only for federally backed mortgages and (there’s) a lot of clauses in there that suggest it’s only if resources can be found to do that.”

She contended, too, that the monies for the extended unemployment benefits come “from FEMA so the dollars we really need to address emergency disasters would be used.”

Trump’s executive orders, she said, are “not the answer.”

“What we need is for Congress to come together and get a package done to address the continuing needs of the people of this country,” Shaheen said.

Carrier, Dover’s mayor, recalled how Shaheen once worked as a teacher at Dover High School, and said she “is the person who moves our state forward.”

“She fights for us very, very hard,” Carrier stated during Monday’s endorsement event. “She’s been an awesome advocate, for not only the city of Dover, but the state of New Hampshire.”

He credited Shaheen with taking the time to talk “to us mayors and all the administrators.”

She “finds out what the concerns are, addresses those concerns, and totally pushes things forward to help us,” Carrier said.

Hilliard, Somersworth’s mayor, called Shaheen “a great friend to the Hilltop City.”

He recalled first meeting Shaheen “when I was in the fourth grade getting ready to sing a poem that I had wrote with my class” about the Somersworth International Children’s Festival.

He added Shaheen was “one of the founders of the children’s festival.”

“Years later, I would just be inspired by her leadership as a young member of the Legislature,” Hilliard said.

“Sen. Shaheen has made such a difference to Somersworth and to all of our respective cities,” he said. “We need her in the Senate now more than ever.”

Hilliard said Shaheen “has been a critical ally as we’ve adjusted to life during the pandemic.”

When Republicans tried to “ram through relief packages” without education monies, Shaheen “blocked it,” he said. She negotiated “a better deal for New Hampshire,” which delivered millions for public education in the state.

McCarley, Rochester’s mayor, credited Shaheen for helping to get hospitals funding during the pandemic.

“Without that money, I have no idea what our health system would have looked like,” she said.