NH Gov. Maggie Hassan optimistic in inaugural eve interview with NH1
CONCORD - "We've made some good progress in the last couple of years but it's really just the beginning," said Gov. Maggie Hassan, on the eve of her inauguration to a second term in office.
The big question for the Democratic governor is whether she can hammer out bipartisan solutions with a State House now dominated by Republicans. But in an interview with NH1, Hassan was optimistic.
"I think it always makes a difference who you're working with in any job. And certainly the good thing about these next two years is that I have relationships with so many of the legislators and I think we've all shown, Republicans, Democrats, and independents, that we can work together. So the issues change from time to time," Hassan said.
A former Senate majority leader, Hassan was an experienced legislator before becoming the state's chief executive.
"A piece of legislation may be something new that we haven't done before,'' Hassan continued.
"Some of the individual legislators may be new to the process, but at the end of the day this is always about doing our best to listen to the people of New Hampshire. They are very good at letting us know what their priorities are."
Hovering over the legislative session is campaign politics, and specifically whether Hassan will run for re-election in 2016 or instead challenge GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte.
Hassan demurred when asked about her future political plans, instead saying that "I'm very focused right now on our budget and the legislative session and that's where I intend to place my focus."
"My job as the governor of New Hampshire is the best job anywhere," Hassan added.
Despite the comment, state Democratic leaders are keen on convincing Hassan to move on believing she is the only popular politician who could knock off Ayotte, a rising star in the national GOP.
She won a second term over Republican businessman Walt Havenstein even though her GOP opponent had $3 million in paid attack ads from the Republican Governors Association.
Earlier this week, Hassan announced a $37 million tax cut in the unemployment tax that all state businesses pay. Hassan said the state's jobless rate remains low but she continues to push for more innovation in government and higher education to produce the highly-skilled workers in tomorrow's cutting-edge economy.