Editor’s Note: The accolades are pouring in from around the state applauding the work Sen. Fuller Clark has done, but we will run those in a separate story so you can read the senator’s own words.
By Sen. Martha Fuller Clark
PORTSMOUTH – To the voters of Durham, Lee, Madbury, Newfields, Newington, Newmarket and Portsmouth and to my colleagues in the House and Senate and my family, friends and supporters.
Many of you will be disappointed to learn that I will not be running for re-election this June, but I know it is the right time for me to relinquish my seat as the State Senator from District 21 and time for a new generation of political leaders to fill this seat on behalf of the voters of District 21. While deciding not to run again has not been an easy decision – one that I have been wrestling with for months because I love what I do – I know it is the right decision. It is hard for me to believe that thirty years ago this June was when I first signed up to run for the New Hampshire legislature as a state representative, from Ward 2 in Portsmouth. Little did I know that decision to run for public office would lead to such an amazing, lengthy and rewarding career as an elected official.
I want you, my constituents, to know how much I will miss working with you and the elected officials in your communities. So many of you have reached out to me over the years with your concerns and questions, your good ideas and useful suggestions. Over and over again, you have befriended me, including me in your meetings, local happenings and special events. It has been fun and very meaningful for me to meet with you, learning more about you, your families and your lives. I have gained a much greater appreciation and respect for how much you care about your community and your neighbors, how hard you work everyday to be self reliant and self sufficient, how much you invest in caring for your families, in successfully running your businesses and managing your careers and how much you value being a Granite Stater.
Thank you for your support and kindness over the years, sending me back to Concord year after year where I have tried to represent you and your interests to the best of my abilities. It has truly been an honor and a privilege for me to serve on your behalf, first as a member of the NH House for 12 years and then as a member of NH Senate for an additional 12 years. I will miss you and miss speaking up for you in Concord.
I hope you also know that throughout my time in Concord, I have always tried to be mindful of your needs and those of your communities, especially with regard to protecting our environment, including clean drinking water, promoting your farms, fisheries and farmers’ markets, advocating for the protection of our natural and cultural resources, speaking out for better and less costly healthcare for all, supporting the needs of your businesses and fighting for continued state investment in your public schools. And I was pleased to be part of a Democratic majority in the House and Senate these past two years that successfully voted to send meaningful financial aid to your communities to help with the cost of your schools and your municipal services. As the Senator from District 21, it has also been my role to act as an advocate for the University of New Hampshire and Great Bay, Community College, insisting that we pass increased investment in higher education, including additional financial scholarship aid for New Hampshire students.
I thought you might want to know what I have learned as a legislator – and how I have benefited personally from this experience. – with the hope that it may be valuable to others planning to run for public office – and maybe for all of us in our daily lives, especially during this very stressful time. Working in Concord, I have learned the importance of listening, the value of patience, the willingness to work with those you may disagree with, the need to be open and receptive to compromise but still remain faithful to certain core values, to be willing to do the hard work learning about the many different issues needing a vote and to never go back on your word. I tried to use these lessons to guide my work and help me be more successful on your behalf.
I could not have been successful in these efforts without the support of the our caucus staff, the staff of our research and drafting departments, the expertise of our Commissioners and their staff and the advocates from the many special interest groups as well as from the public at large, my constituents and the press. Thank you so much for your support and assistance over so many years. Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes all of us together to pass good legislation. And when we do, the rewards for everyone are truly meaningful to each of us.
There is still so much more for the legislature to do to improve the quality of life and opportunity for all New Hampshire citizens, young and old, straight or gay or transgender, black, brown or white and to protect and strengthen our fundamentally sound economy, especially now as a result of the present Covid crisis. On the Seacoast, the closing of our restaurants, inns and hotels, museums and theatres these last three months has devastated our economy, not only for local residents but also for small businesses and all those dependent upon visitors and tourists for their livelihood. The disruption of our education system K through 12 and higher education is another enormous hurdle that will need to be addressed. It is clear that the next two years will be an extremely difficult but potentially exciting time in Concord as the legislature must struggle to come to terms with the challenge of finding new ways to address how we will all live, work and play as a result of the changes brought about by the Covid crisis and our weakened economy. The dramatic and sudden decline in state revenues will certainly present real challenges over the next biennium.
The current heartbreaking situation has made my decision not to run again an even more difficult one but I know that there are potentially many qualified and talented individuals with new ideas and fresh energy, more than capable of representing your interests in Concord. I will passionately and energetically support any and all Democrats who step forward to run for this seat in the upcoming fall elections. And I look forward to working closely with your next Senator once the elections are over.
I also want to thank to my husband, my children, my friends, my supporters and colleagues as well as my wonderful staff both here at home and in Concord who have made it possible for me to devote myself to the challenges and rewards of being an elected official. I have made so many friends, learned so much more about the state, myself and politics during this time.
It will be hard, and I know I will be sad, to leave the Senate and my colleagues at the end of this year but I am also looking forward to new challenges and new adventures, less pressure and more leisure time to spend with my family and friends. At the same time, I plan to stay actively involved with the NH Democratic Party, the National Democratic Party and our legislature. I am committed to continuing my support of the environment, the arts, history and preservation initiatives and organizations as well as women’s issues and concerns. I’m particularly excited to continue my work on behalf of women and girls in the Granite State as Chair of the Board of the New Hampshire Women’s Foundation
Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for enabling me to have such a transformative and meaningful career. Senator Martha Fuller Clark
With warmest regards,
Senator Martha Fuller Clark