Maggie Hassan (D)
Experience: Former NH Senate Majority Leader, State Senator 2004-2010
Family: Married, 2 children
Education: Brown University; JD, Northeastern University
Official Website: www.governor.nh.gov
Maggie Hassan, born February 27th, 1958, is a Democrat and the former Majority Leader of the New Hampshire Senate. She earned her BA degree from Brown University and received her JD from the Northeastern School of Law. She defeated her Republican opponent, Ovide Lamontagne, on Nov. 6, 2012. For a sample of her voting record, click here.
Hassan began her public service in 1999 when then-Gov. Jeanne Shaheen asked her to serve as an advocate on the Advisory Committee Adequacy of Education and Finance Commission. Shaheen said she felt Hassan was prepared for this position because of her experience as an attorney and her role as a parent of two children, one of whom has severe disabilities.
In 2004, Hassan was elected to the New Hampshire Senate, where she served as the Assistant Democratic Whip, President Pro Tempore, and Majority Leader of the State Senate during her 6 years in office. She lost her seat in the 2010 general election to Republican Russell Prescott, a year which saw a large tide of Republicans sweeping into the Statehouse. In October 2011, she announced she would run for governor. She has supported Gov. John Lynch, and has been very critical of Speaker Bill O'Brien. She vowed to keep taxes low and veto any sales or income tax as well as balance the budget.
She and her fellow Democratic candidates -- Jackie Cilley and Bill Kennedy -- engaged in a primary campaign marked by politeness with differences emerging primarily on the question of taxes. Hassan was an adherent to the so-called "pledge" against a broadbased sales or income tax. Cilley and Kennedy did not take the pledge.
Hassan beat her Democratic rivals in the Sept. 11 run-off with 54 percent of the vote, compared to 39 percent for Cilley and 7 percent for Kennedy.
In her acceptance speech, she drew a line in the sand with Republican nominee Ovide Lamontagne, calling his policies "divisive" and often comparing her "New Hampshire way" policies with the "Tea Party way" of Lamontagne.
Through the campaign, the candidates met at least a dozen times in various public forums/debates, with Hassan promoting an economy/jobs plan -- called Innovate NH -- that focused on creating a stronger educational core to help better prepare students for the jobs of today and tomorrow. That plan included restoring funds that had been cut from the University of New Hampshire System in exchange for tuition freezes. Lamontagne argued an economy jobs plan that relied less on government intrusion with business playing a greater role in policy and education.
They argued on the stump over health care, with Hassan advocating the Affordable Health Act option expanding Medicaid, while Lamontagne campaigned on an idea that would have replaced the government program with state program that partnered with the health care industry.
In the end, as close as polls indicated the race might be, Hassan handily defeated Lamontagne, 55 to 43 percent.
Hassan took the oath of office as the 81st governor (and the second woman governor) on Jan. 3, 2013. Read her inagural speech here.