U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire will give the address at the 2016 Boston College Law School Commencement on May 27. The ceremony will take place in Conte Forum.
“It is a great privilege to have Sen. Shaheen join us as our commencement speaker,” Law School Dean Vincent Rougeau said. “She has offered outstanding service to New Hampshire and the nation, first as governor, and now as a United States Senator—she is the only woman in U.S. history to be elected to both these positions.”
Shaheen has served as a U.S. senator from New Hampshire since 2009. She is the first female U.S. senator and first female governor in New Hampshire’s history, as well as the the only woman to serve as both a U.S. governor and a U.S. senator. She is a member of the Senate Committees on Armed Services, Appropriations, and Foreign Relations and is the ranking member of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee.
Shaheen was elected governor in 1996 and was re-elected in 1998 and 2000. After her terms as governor, she served as director of the Harvard Institute of Politics. She ran for U.S. Senate in the 2008 election and became the first Democratic senator from New Hampshire since John A. Durkin, who lost a re-election bid in 1980. She was the second Democrat from New Hampshire to be re-elected to the U.S. Senate.
“I hope the students will be inspired by her example of public service, her commitment to shaping critical issues of law and public policy, and her strength of character as she broke new ground for women in politics.”
—Law School Dean Vincent Rougeau
She has sponsored 87 bills passed during the 111th, 112th, and 113th Congresses. In 2009, Shaheen partnered with U.S. Senator Susan Collins of Maine to introduce the Medicare Transitional Care Act, which provides additional care for discharged hospital patients to reduce re-hospitalizations. The legislation passed in 2010 and research by the University of Pennsylvania predicts that the bill will reduce the cost of health care by up to $5,000 per patient.
On April 28, 2014, Shaheen introduced the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2014, which intends to improve efficient energy use in the United States. She hopes that these new plans will assist in promoting cleaner energy, reducing pollution, and fostering job creation.
In 2009, she became a sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, a proposed bill in Congress that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and require the U.S. government to recognize same-sex marriages. She also voted in favor of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the U.S. policy banning LGBTQ service members in the military that was instituted in 1994 and lasted until September 20, 2011.
Shaheen also assisted in passing the Small Business Jobs Act and the Small Business Innovation Research Program of 2010. The law provides critical resources to help small businesses create new jobs and drive the economic recovery. It has offered billions more in lending support, tax cuts, and other opportunities for small-business owners.
She has also supported efforts to pass extensions of unemployment benefits to struggling families as well as a debt-reduction plan. In addition, Shaheen has supported the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), which hopes to reduce the number of nuclear weapons and launchers that the U.S. and Russia deploy.
“We should feel very proud at BC that devoted public servants like Sen. Shaheen are willing to make themselves available to us for our commencement exercises,” Rougeau said. “Their experiences and accumulated wisdom have a lot to offer our community. I hope the students will be inspired by her example of public service, her commitment to shaping critical issues of law and public policy, and her strength of character as she broke new ground for women in politics.”
Featured Image Courtesy of BC Law