Monday, October 27, 2014

Does Connection to Place Matter?

Scott Brown was born at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine. His father worked at Pease AFB in Portsmouth. The first couple of years of his life he lived in NH. He grew up in Massachusetts. He went to school there, got married there, started his family there, was part of his community there – in Massachusetts.  His political career began in Massachusettts. He was elected to the US Senate there, and he lost reelection there, too.

He moved to NH this year to run for the US Senate. Beyond having a vacation home, he has no ties to our state. He’s not part of a community. He hasn’t served on local boards or committees. He hasn’t welcomed the new babies, or comforted grieving neighbors over the loss of a family member. Brown has no base of support, which is visible at every debate. Sure there are people standing around with signs – but that has nothing to do with him, and everything to do with his political party. He has never worked in NH. I’m not sure he’s ever been to town meeting. He’s never voted in a statewide election.

That’s why his support is so thin. Temple Adath Yeshurun in Manchester had a breakfast forum on Sunday morning for CD 1 candidates Carol Shea-Porter and Frank Guinta, gubernatorial candidates Maggie Hassan and Walter Havenstein, and US Senate candidates Jeanne Shaheen and Scott Brown. Shaheen’s campaign is a machine. Volunteers kept arriving, and a van held enough signs to hand out to every person in Manchester. In contrast, there were some people holding Brown totems. The Shaheen volunteers started a chant. The Brown supporters had no chant. How could they? He’s never done anything here.

Jeanne Shaheen grew up in Missouri. She moved to NH 40 years ago. She worked as a teacher in Dover. She raised a family here. She’s been a part of her community. She served 2 terms in the NH state senate, then served 3 terms as governor. In 2002 Shaheen lost her first bid for the US Senate, in part because of GOP phone jamming on elecion day. John Sununu, Jr. served one term before being ousted by Shaheen in 2008.

So, does place matter?

This is a small state. Does it matter that she may be “from away,” but she’s been part of her community and her state for 40 years? As governor, when the paper mills started to die in Berlin, she fought to keep the mills open and the workers on the job. It was a big deal,  because most NH politicians don’t pay much attention to anything that happens in the vast frozen tundra north of Concord. She is still beloved in the north country. Jeanne Shaheen is on intimate terms with NH. She knows the challenges that face NH as we kick and scream our way into the 20th century. She knows the problems our state faces.

She’s been a public servant. NH isn’t a springboard for Shaheen’s ambition. This is where her family and friends are. This is where her life is.

Scott Brown may have lovely memories of vacations in NH. He has not been a public servant here. He hasn’t done anything for us. He doesn’t know what NH needs to move into the future. Quoting glib GOP slogans isn’t going to move our state forward – but it’s all he’s got.  NH is just a handy way station on his road to higher office. NH is not where his family and friends are. His life isn’t here – only his ambitions.


Jerry Conner said...

Spot on. As always.

JillSH said...

Scott Brown moved to NH because he wants to live in Washington DC.

Anonymous said...

Brown is nothing more than a political coat rider. He's as transparent as a sheet of plastic in everything he says and does. What a disgrace that individuals such as he charge into a state to launch a political dream of money and stardom on the backs of people who really need the help of GOOD legislatures. I felt the same way about Hillary Clinton who moved to a fancy neighborhood of NY to start her dreamy career. These people are real beauts.

The Artery Paint Your Own Pottery Studio said...

10091Fabulous piece Susan!!! As usual!

xteeth said...

I suspect that he thought that the naval yard was launching a ship, not a shit.