U. S. Representative Annie Kuster

Hello, Nashua! I am truly honored and humbled to represent New Hampshire’s Second District in Congress. When I was first elected in 2012, I pledged to bring a new approach to Washington. And that’s why I’m committed to working across party lines to break through the gridlock and get things done. I’m continuing my work to strengthen New Hampshire’s economy and fight for the priorities that matter to Nashua families – like creating more jobs and opportunities for our workers, expanding passenger rail and other transportation options in order to support the success of thriving Southern Tier businesses, and working to lower the cost of college and increase access to important workforce development programs to help our students join the 21st century economy.

And one of the most important parts of my job is meeting with constituents right in their hometowns. That’s why I recently hosted a manufacturing summit to hear from local leaders and entrepreneurs about how we can work together to grow small businesses and create jobs. I’ve met with community members in the Southern Tier to discuss the importance of expanding passenger rail in New Hampshire to spark economic development and grow our economy. And I recently hosted a Women in Technology forum in Nashua with students, business leaders, and local advocacy groups to discuss the challenges women face and what our community can do to ensure women have the support and resources they need to succeed in this growing field.

The Southern Tier is so important to our state’s economy and democratic process, and I’m so thankful for all you’ve done over the years to stay involved. I look forward to seeing you soon!

Onwards!

Annie

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Services provided by Annie’s office:

Grant Assistance

In an effort to help make the benefits of the federal government more accessible to you, I wanted to make sure you know about an exciting grant opportunity that is available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development (USDA-RD).

In October, I was thrilled to congratulate Edgewater Farm in Plainfield and 30 other farms and small businesses around the state on receiving grants from the USDA-RD’s Rural Energy for America Program

 Announcing 31 USDA grants at Edgewater Farm.

(REAP) to help support renewable energy projects.  As our farms and small businesses look to succeed in today’s economy and business market, it is important they are adequately supported by rural development to embrace clean, renewable, sustainable forms of energy – and I am thrilled that this grant helps them to do just that without sacrificing their bottom line.  I fought to ensure REAP’s reauthorization and to streamline the application process in the 2014 Farm Bill, and it is wonderful to see Granite Staters benefiting from this program.

And while it is incredibly exciting for Edgewater Farm and all of the other recent grant recipients, the great news is that REAP is currently accepting its next round of applications! If you have a renewable energy or energy efficiency project in mind related to an agricultural business or small business that is under $80,000, you can apply for a grant to help offset 25 percent of costs related to the project. Contact Ken Yearman at 802-828-6070 or Kenneth.Yearman@vt.usda.gov for more information about applying for this funding.

Fighting for Granite State Veterans

If you or a fellow veteran is having trouble accessing the benefits you deserve, my office can help you cut through red tape at the VA. Additionally, we can provide guidance as you begin to take advantage of the new Veterans Choice Card, which allows many veterans access to private medical services closer to home. And we can also help resolve any issues you may encounter at your local VA. (Find more information about how we can help here.)

Standing up for Our Seniors 

My office is dedicated to ensuring every senior can easily access the benefits and health services he or she needs. (If you are having trouble receiving your Social Security benefits, or need help resolving issues with Medicare, you can contact my office here to speak to a caseworker.)

Coordinating Federal Funding 

Across the Granite State, great organizations are hard at work making New Hampshire an even better place to live for 2nd District residents. My office can help match many of these organizations with federal funding, so they can continue to do meaningful work. From non-profits looking to expand, food banks working to feed the hungry, senior centers offering recreational activities, fire departments in need of new equipment, and so many more, we are here to help! (Please contact my Concord office to find out more information about how we can help your organization apply for a federal grant.)

Visiting our Nation’s Capital

If you are planning on visiting Washington, DC, my office would be delighted to help you plan your trip. We can offer staff-led tours of the U.S. Capitol, and help you set up tours of other national attractions, such as the White House.  We are also happy to provide information on other sightseeing stops you may want to visit during your trip to our nation’s capital. (Find out more about the travel services we can provide here.)

Ordering an American Flag  

Every day, a flag is flown over the United States Capitol as a symbol of our nation’s commitment to freedom and democracy. Having just celebrated Independence Day, I’m also happy to tell you that my office can help you obtain one of these flags for your own home! (If you would like to purchase a flag that has been flown over the capitol, please reach out to my office here.)

Securing a Passport 

Did you know you now need a passport to travel to Canada? Details like this sometimes trip up even the savviest of travelers, who might find their adventures in danger of cancellation because of overlooked information, or a lost or stolen passport. If you ever find yourself in need of an expedited passport, you can contact our office for help! (Find out more about the passport services we can provide here.)

Other Services 

My office also offers many other services to constituents of New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District. Please visit my website to find out more about them:

It is my honor and privilege to serve as your Representative in Congress.  If you would like more information about any of the services listed above or have any other questions, please feel free to reach out to my Concord office at 603-226-1002.  Thank you so much for everything you do to make the Granite State such a wonderful place to live.

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Annie’s views:

Commuter Rail

Annie hosted a summit on this subject in Nashua on October 19.

Drug (Opioid) Addiction

Annie is co-sponsoring a bill (Feb 2016) with Alex Mooney (W. VA Republican) that would clarify language in the Affordable Healthcare Act that led some doctors to overprescribe pain killers such as opioids.  Also, in February, in Nashua, Annie hosted a session with roughly 20 field experts on the subject.

Energy – Kinder-Morgan Pipeline

Kinder Morgan Pipeline is a bad deal for New Hampshire

Dear Friends,

As the Representative for New Hampshire’s Second District, it is my responsibility to look out for the best interests of my constituents.  This is a responsibility that I do not take lightly.  Over the past year and a half, I have been engaging in a deliberative process regarding the Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline (NED), a natural gas project that proposes to build a 70-mile pipeline that would cut through 17 New Hampshire towns.

As I have assessed the project, I have met and spoken on countless occasions with Kinder Morgan officials, representatives from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), local business and community leaders, energy policy experts,  constituent stakeholders, and residents from affected communities.  It is important to me that I hear directly from my constituents, and that is why I chose to visit many of the critical sites along the proposed route of the NED Pipeline.  Based on what I have seen, heard and learned about the proposed pipeline, I do not believe this project serves the best interests of the Granite State and its residents.

My extensive research on NED has led me to find ways to leverage the voices of my constituents to impact Kinder Morgan’s pre-filing process with FERC.  I have signed onto eight letters with the full New Hampshire delegation to extend the comment period, hold additional open houses in the impacted communities, and voice other concerns from our constituents.

Additionally, I have sent several letters of my own to express my concerns about the proposed NED route.  Most recently, I led colleagues representing four New England states in signing a letter to FERC requesting a regional assessment of energy projects to analyze regional need and prevent overbuild given other proposed energy infrastructure projects currently under consideration in New England.

This regional assessment has been important to me because New England shares an electricity grid, and we all feel the impact of losing energy sources and adding new ones.  Furthermore, the cost of these projects is typically borne by all New England ratepayers.

Throughout this process, I have made it clear that I am in favor of bringing additional clean energy sources to our region while preserving the rural character and safety of our communities. However, it is critical that we are intentional and thoughtful about every project that is proposed and how it impacts our state’s future.  I believe that every project must prove beyond a doubt that it will lower energy prices for New Hampshire businesses and families while minimizing the detrimental impacts and risks to our citizens.

NED crosses crucial public water supplies, cuts across rivers, puts at risk the many private wells that are ubiquitous across southern New Hampshire, and impacts pristine conservation lands and state parks.  In addition to these concerns, the NED project creates a safety and security burden on small towns along the proposed route – many of which possess limited emergency response resources in the event of an incident with the pipeline or compressor station.  Furthermore, Granite Staters understand that the overwhelming majority of gas moved through the pipeline will go to other states.

Recently, Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan, filed a “certificate of public convenience and necessity” with FERC that will trigger a year-long environmental review by the agency.  As the sole agency in charge of citing natural gas pipelines in the United States, it is the FERC Commissioners who will ultimately decide if the NED project is in the best interest of the public.

As the Federal representative for 15 of the 17 New Hampshire towns located along the route of the NED pipeline, I have concluded that this project does not provide sufficient benefits to New Hampshire families and businesses to justify the disruption and long-term negative impacts to our communities. In the coming weeks, I will be filing my opposition to the project with FERC, and I will urge the agency to deny the issuance of a permit for the NED project.

Throughout the evaluation process, I have aimed to be fair, open and accessible when listening to both supporters and opponents of the NED project. However, without tangible evidence of substantial economic gains to the communities that are affected, I have not seen enough evidence to justify the potential damage. Given that there are less invasive projects being proposed in New England, I believe that the NED Pipeline, as it is proposed, is the wrong vehicle for bringing meaningful reductions in wholesale electricity costs in New Hampshire.

I am adding my voice to the thousands of citizens who have filed their opposition to the NED Pipeline with FERC. I implore FERC to take into account the potential damage to our water resources, our conservation lands and our environment when making a final decision on this project.   I believe that when taking these factors into consideration, FERC should see that the NED project is not in the best interest of New Hampshire families.

 

Fast Track Legislation – Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

Annie is sometimes portrayed as voting 100% with President Obama.  This is an instance where she did not.

Below is a link to Annie’s public statement on her vote on “fast track” legislation, as given to WMUR.

http://www.wmur.com/politics/-kuster-opposes-guinta-backs-obama-on-key-trade-vote-in-us-house/33555318

Federal Transportation Funding

Click on the following to read Annie’s Guest Commentary from The Nashua Telegraph on June 28.

Genetically-Engineered Food Labeling

In early June, Annie’s office responded to my personal inquiry regarding genetically-engineered (GE) foods.  Annie believes that consumers have the right to know when they are purchasing  and consuming GE food, and therefore, is an original cosponsor of HR 913 – the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act.  This bill would require the clear labeling of GE foods.

Import / Export Bank

In October, I joined a majority of my House colleagues in voting to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank. Since the Export-Import Bank’s charter expired earlier this year, businesses across the country have seen their ability to create jobs and hire more workers on U.S. soil severely limited. In New Hampshire, companies like The Mountain and 35 other exporters across the state have received $187 million in trade financing from the Bank to help them succeed in today’s global economy. The Ex-Im Bank supports economic growth by filling gaps in access to credit to ensure that American businesses can compete with economic certainty, and I urge my colleagues in the Senate to approve the Bank’s reauthorization so that we can better support the efforts of companies in New Hampshire and across the country.

Planned Parenthood

Annie supports Planned Parenthood.  Click here to read her August commentary in The Telegraph.

Renewable Energy

As the co-chair of the Congressional Biomass Caucus, I was honored to join my co-chair, Rep. Bruce Westerman (AR-04) to host a wonderful panel discussion about the important role biomass energy can and should play in NH and across the country.

 Speaking at the Congressional Biomass Caucus

The 2nd District is one of the most heavily forested districts in the country, and biomass energy not only creates good-paying jobs, but also has significant consumer and environmental benefits for our rural communities and energy consumers. The Caucus will work to not only educate the public on the benefits of biomass power as an important form of renewable energy, but also focus on policy solutions that can help these industries succeed

Social Security

Social Security is essential in supporting middle class Granite Staters.  Seniors and people with disabilities have worked hard their entire lives as they raised their families, strengthened our state and country, and paid into this vital program. 

Since I took office, I have been fighting for sensible steps to ensure Social Security’s solvency long into the future. There are almost 200,000 people over the age of 65 in New Hampshire – a significant population that deserves the respect and attention of its representatives and lawmakers. 

Social Security benefits alone add more than $2 billion dollars annually to the New Hampshire economy. Social Security has bolstered financial security for generations of widowed spouses, children, and people with disabilities.  I am proud to fight to preserve and protect Social Security, and to help ensure that Granite Staters receive the Social Security payments they have earned.

If you are having an issue with Social Security or any other federal agency, please reach out to one of my three New Hampshire offices – we’re here to help! Thank you for everything you do to make the Granite State such a unique place to live.

Veterans Support

In addition to chronic pain, many of our veterans are also dealing with mental health issues like PTSD, and over-prescribing opioids to these veterans could prove to be potentially life-threatening and increase the risk of suicide among those at-risk.  This is absolutely unacceptable, and I’m fighting to ensure that every VA center across the country is looking into alternative methods to treat chronic pain, so veterans can have a choice in their managed-care options.

I’m also continuing to work to protect and improve the Veterans Choice Card program to ensure better access to high quality health care for New Hampshire veterans.  I would like to hear from you about whether you’ve used your card, what your experience has been so far, and whether you have any suggestions or thoughts about ways to continue to improve the program.  Hearing your feedback will help me work to make this program better for all veterans.

During two other House VA Subcommittee hearings, I questioned VA officials about a lack of efficiency in the procurement process for non-VA care.  It is the VA’s duty to ensure that our veterans can access the highest quality of care at all times, and that includes non-VA care that has been procured through the VA.  The VA cannot live up to this goal if VA officials are failing to properly pay for the services they’ve purchased, or if they are purchasing care and materials without first looking into the most cost-effective and high quality options. This recklessness needs to stop immediately, and I urged the VA to take action to fix this flawed system so our veterans can rely on the VA to provide the services they need.

Thank you to all our veterans and their families for their dedicated service and for helping to make the Granite State a wonderful place to live!

Supporting Veterans in Small Business

On the heels of National Veteran Small Business Week, I recently hosted a roundtable discussion with local veterans, business owners, and employment specialists to discuss how Congress and the local community can best serve the needs of veteran entrepreneurs and veterans seeking employment.  Small businesses make up the backbone of New Hampshire’s economy, and our veterans play a critical role in driving our businesses forward.  We must do all that we can to ensure that our veterans are finding the jobs that give them the opportunity to utilize their skills and support their families when they return home.  During the roundtable, held at Harbor Homes in Nashua, local veterans and advocates shared their thoughts and concerns, and updated me on efforts that are currently underway to support the employment of veterans in New Hampshire.

The following are excerpts from Annie’s newsletter that impact our immediate area:

broadstpkwy

(June 4) Touring the Broad Street Parkway in Nashua

During a tour of  the Broad Street Parkway construction site in Nashua,  I highlighted the importance of immediately passing a long-term surface transportation bill in Congress.  All across the state, the New Hampshire Department of Transportation is relying on federal funding to complete infrastructure projects of crucial importance.  If Congress fails to pass a long-term surface transportation bill, many of these projects – and others like them around the nation – could come grinding to a halt right in the middle of the busy summer construction season.  These projects are vital not only to public safety, but also to scores of New Hampshire workers who rely on summer construction jobs.  That’s why I’m calling on my colleagues in Congress to put an end to the uncertainty, and pass a long-term surface transportation bill immediately.

(May 14) Combating Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Kuster May 14

Last week, I joined with New Hampshire Fire Marshal J. William Degnan and fire officials from Hudson and Nashua to announce the reintroduction of my bill, the Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act.  I’m proud to sponsor this legislation, which would help protect New Hampshire families from the grave dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide poisoning is the leading cause of accidental poisoning death in the United States, and is a particular concern in cold-weather states like New Hampshire. We must ensure that families have the resources they need to heat their homes safely and without incident, and this bill will go a long way toward that goal.

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