BERLIN – Campaigning in Berlin Friday, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen toured White Mountain Lumber as she sought to emphasize her work supporting North Country jobs. The senator also defended her attendance record on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in light of a recent Boston Herald article that she had skipped nearly half of the committee's public hearings over the past two years.
The state's senior senator, Shaheen is running for a second six-year term against her Republican opponent Scott Brown.
White Mountain Lumber General Manager Mark Kelley, Kitchen and Bath Sales Manager Evie Kelley, and Forester/Log Procurement Ross Caron took Shaheen on a tour of the company's drive-thru lumber yard as well as the wood yard.
Mark Kelley reported business is starting to bounce back since the recession and the sawmill is running four 10-hour days and occasionally runs an additional half day. The business sells between seven and eight million board feet of lumber annually. Kelley noted the company now spans three generations of the family. It was started by his father, is currently managed by he and his brother Barry, and both have children working in the business.
Shaheen said she wanted to contrast her record on job creation with that of her opponent. She charged Brown voted against Small Business Jobs Act while serving as a U.S. senator from Massachusetts. Shaheen said the bill, which she helped write four years ago, has cut federal taxes, increased access to credit, and provided grants for trade and export promotion.
Shaheen said Brown, as senator, supported special tax breaks for companies that shipped jobs overseas. After he lost in bid for re-election in Massachusetts, Shaheen charged Brown accepted a paid position on the board of Kadant Inc, a Massachusetts-based pulp and paper equipment supply company charged with outsourcing jobs to China and Mexico.
"Scott Brown voted against the Small Business Jobs Act — against tax cuts for the New Hampshire small businesses that create jobs here. But Scott Brown did vote for tax breaks for companies shipping jobs overseas to places like China and Mexico, and now he's cashing in by serving on the board of company that outsourced jobs to increase its bottom line. That's wrong," Shaheen said.
Shaheen said she worked across the aisle to successfully get the funding to activate the federal prison in Berlin. She said she has also worked hard to protect the state's natural beauty and promote tourism.
Shaheen responded to the Boston Herald article that she did not attend 11 out of 30 full public hearings held by the Foreign Relations Committee including one where officials warned of the emerging ISIS terrorism danger. Shaheen said she also sits on the Armed Services and the Appropriations Committees and sometimes the meetings overlap and she also has other meetings and issues on-going. But Shaheen said she is very focused on the threat of terrorism and supports the air strikes. She said she has participated in 16 different hearings and briefings on terrorism in Syria and Iraq and the threat of ISIS.
In March 2013, Shaheen noted she issued a press release raising concerns about reports that Syria had used chemical weapons.