|Address||PO Box 453 |
Rochester, New Hampshire 03866, United States
|| December 02, 1952
Oct 06, 2017 07:44pm
Caucasian - Married - Catholic - Christian - Straight -
|Info||Winning her first election to public office in 2006, Carol Shea-Porter also became New Hampshire’s first woman in Congress. A former social worker and wife to an Army officer, Shea-Porter was a surprise victor, running a grass roots campaign in a mostly Republican district. “The next generation deserves the same opportunities that I had: affordable education and health care, and a livable wage,” she declared in her first campaign. “I want to make sure that your children and mine can still afford to dream big and reach their goals.”1 |
Born in Brooklyn, New York, in December 1952, Shea-Porter was one of seven children; her father was a lawyer and her mother, a homemaker. The extended family had deep roots in New Hampshire and they moved to Durham when Shea-Porter was a teenager. She graduated from Durham’s Oyster River High School before entering the University of New Hampshire. In 1975, she earned a B.A. degree in social services and also received an M.A. in Public Administration from the same school in 1979. 2 She and her husband, Gene Porter, an Army officer, moved to Colorado where she worked for an Army medical center. The family also spent a brief time in New Orleans where Shea-Porter directed senior centers. She continued her career as a social worker when her family relocated to the Washington, D.C., area. During her 15 years in the nation’s capital, she founded and directed a program to provide services to senior citizens and taught political science and history at a community college.3 After returning to New Hampshire in 2001, with her husband, son, and daughter, Shea-Porter became active in local politics serving as chair of the Rochester City Democrats. During the 2004 presidential primary season, she worked for Democratic candidate, General Wesley Clark.
In 2006, after two volunteer visits to New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Shea-Porter concluded that the “government had abandoned people” and her experience motivated her to run for the U.S. House of Representatives.4 Having never held elective office, she bested four other candidates in the Democratic primary, prevailing by nearly 20 percentage points.5 Shea-Porter embarked on a campaign against the two-term incumbent, Republican Representative Jeb Bradley for a seat in the 110th Congress (2007–2009). Bradley represented a district that included greater Manchester, east to the coast in Portsmouth, and north to Laconia and Lake Winnipesaukee. The district’s voters were considered solidly Republican and, running as a Democrat, Shea-Porter was a long-shot candidate.6 Yet, she developed a strong grass roots organization, financing her campaign through her own fundraising efforts. “We could hear the rumbling on the ground, and that’s why we never, never thought we could lose,” she recalled. “It’s easier if you get to run those big ads or whatever. But we worked relentlessly, relentlessly night after night after night.”7 Her consistent and vocal opposition to the war in Iraq also resonated strongly with New Hampshire voters. As part of a nationwide trend favoring Democrats, Shea-Porter defeated Bradley, taking 52 percent to his 48 percent of the vote. In her rematch against Bradley in 2008, Shea-Porter won by a similar margin.8
In her two terms in the House, Shea-Porter served on the Armed Services Committee, the Committee on Education and Labor, and the Natural Resources Committee. Her legislative agenda focused, in part, on the military. She balanced her opposition to the Iraq War with advocating support for veterans and their families. In 2009, Shea-Porter was one of 32 Democrats who opposed a bill allocating supplemental funds to further the American military presence in Iraq.9 She introduced a bill that same year assuring that returning veterans would receive adequate health care through the Veterans’ Affairs Administration. She also sought a full-service hospital for veterans in her district; New Hampshire was the only state without such a facility.10 As the only House Member who did not disclose her exact date of birth, personal privacy also became a key issue. In June 2009, she introduced bipartisan legislation with Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz to address possible invasions of privacy brought on by Whole-Body Imaging machines, which take detailed scans of passengers at airports.11 Shea-Porter also focused on legislation affecting families. She introduced a bill that sheltered some of a household’s home value in the face of a costly medical crisis and she supported extensions to the 1993 Family Medical Leave Act.12
Though she voted along more centrist lines, Shea-Porter nevertheless faced a stiff Republican challenger, Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta, in the 2010 general election. During the campaign, Guinta emphasized his opposition to President Barack Obama’s health-care initiative and economic stimulus package— Shea-Porter had voted for both—alongside his reputation for cutting taxes and reducing government spending.13 Guinta prevailed, taking 52 percent to Shea-Porter’s 42 percent.