By: Sean Newhouse – Contributing Writer
Senator Maggie Hassan (D – N.H.) spoke to an audience of around 80 UD undergraduates, law students, faculty, staff and members of the Dayton community on Friday in Keller Hall.
The speech, attended by President Eric F. Spina, was entitled, “Learning from those Around You: The Qualities that Can Help You Succeed in Your Career and as a Citizen.”
Hassan encouraged attendants to listen to those around them in order to achieve success and used anecdotes from her career in public service to emphasize her point.
While a law school student, she represented prison inmates. Though she dealt with complex issues, she resolved common sense problems by observing her environment.
For example, her team discovered food fights occurred when the prison cafeteria served canned beets because prisoners would throw the distasteful root vegetable against the wall. Her solution was simple, stop serving canned beets.
The former governor also discussed her time as a state senator in 2007 when New Hampshire legalized same-sex marriage. She said the state legislature facilitated marriage equality, but it was young people who voiced their concerns who affected change.
Hassan also talked about her family. Her father, a World War II veteran, would ask his children at dinner, “What are you doing for freedom today?”
She told stories about her son Ben, the reason she entered politics, who suffers from cerebral palsy and her gratefulness toward their community for enabling him to succeed.
Junior Tess Golonka, a political science, human rights, and sociology triple major, appreciated the senator’s speech.
“When we are able to relate on a personal level…issues that seem so divisive transform into human issues,” Golonka said.
The senator answered questions from the audience at the end of her speech, addressing the opioid crisis and the partisan nature of contemporary politics.
Regarding the opioid epidemic, she said constituents who come up and tell her their personal experiences are brave. She is inspired by them.
Listening to citizens is what keeps her going, even in this political environment. It’s how she would answer her father’s dinnertime question; it’s how she daily acts for freedom.
Photo Taken from UD Law twitter