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Focused On Climate, And Social Distancing, Shaheen Returns to N.H. Campaign Trail

Annie Ropeik / NHPR
U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., speaking at Throwback Brewery in North Hampton, N.H.

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen returned to in-person campaigning on the Seacoast Wednesday, positioning climate change at the center of her re-election bid.

Shaheen, a Democrat, was at Throwback Brewery in North Hampton – joined, in masks and at a distance, by environmentalists, students and groups endorsing her.

“She understands this urgency,” said Molly Biron of the New Hampshire Young Democrats. “With a Democratic Senate, we can trust there will be a climate agenda to save and protect all Granite Staters and Americans and build our climate resilience.”

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Local advocates from the League of Conservation Voters and National Wildlife Federation also endorsed Shaheen, saying she has a long and consistent track record of supporting environmental protection – dating to her days in the state legislature.

Shaheen cited recent environmental victories in Congress, including passing permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

But she said her top concern is the economic effect that climate change is already having on New Hampshire – including the ski industry and farmers.

She said the economic recovery from the pandemic should highlight energy efficiency and renewable energy to curb planet-warming carbon emissions.

"Especially right now, when the economy is in such difficult straits,” she said, “it's a way to put people back to work, it's a way to invest in things that we need to do in this country."

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Shaheen said she thinks a Democratic Senate and White House, if elected this fall, could pass the climate-friendly infrastructure bill recently approved in the House of Representatives.

Shaheen also noted the disproportionate effect of coronavirus on people of color and other marginalized communities, and said it should be a reminder to Congress to focus their climate response on environmental and health justice, as well as science.

One of the Republicans seeking to challenge Shaheen, Corky Messner, has said he does not accept that human activity is causing the current rise in global temperatures.

Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.

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