Ann McLane Kuster (born September 5, 1956) is an American politician, author and attorney who has been the U.S. Representative for New Hampshire's 2nd congressional district since 2013. An attorney, lobbyist, and non-profit consultant from Hopkinton, New Hampshire, Kuster is a member of the Democratic Party. She was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2012.
Early life and education
Kuster was born in Concord in 1956. Both of her parents were politicians. Her father Malcolm McLane was Mayor of Concord, a member of the New Hampshire Executive Council, and an owner of Wildcat Mountain Ski Area. In 1972, he ran for Governor of New Hampshire as an independent. He got 20 percent of the vote, allowing Republican Mel Thomson to win the election with a plurality of 40 percent of the vote. In the 1976 presidential election, he endorsed Republican Gerald Ford. In the 1980 presidential election, he endorsed Republican turned independent John B. Anderson. Her mother, Susan McLane, was elected to the New Hampshire Senate as a Republican. In 1980, she ran for New Hampshire's 2nd congressional district, but got second place in the crowded Republican primary with 25 percent. Judd Gregg won with 34 percent of the vote, whilst Charles Bass (whom Kuster defeated in 2012) came third with 22%. Kuster's great grandfather, John McLane, was Governor of New Hampshire from 1905–1907. He was elected as a Republican in 1904 with 58 percent of the vote, defeating Democrat Henry Hollis.
Kuster graduated from Dartmouth College in 1978 with a degree in Environmental Policy and from Georgetown University Law Center in 1984.
After college, Kuster became the director of Rath, Young and Pignatelli's education and nonprofit law practice group.
Kuster was a consultant and owner of Newfound Strategies LLC, "a consulting and training practice that works with nonprofit clients to maximize their effectiveness and sustainability through fundraising, outreach and strategic planning."
She has worked previously as an "of-counsel" partner in the Concord law firm of Rath, Young and Pignatelli. Kuster's legal practice at Rath, Young and Pignatelli focused on education, nonprofit and health care policy. Kuster has also worked as an adoption attorney, having been involved in more than 300 adoptions since 1984. She is a member of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys.
Kuster has served as chair and board member of the Capitol Center for the Arts and as a founder and vice chair of the Women's Fund of New Hampshire. She has also served on the boards of the N.H. Charitable Foundation, New Hampshire Public Radio, Child and Family Services of NH, the Alumni Council and Tucker Foundation at Dartmouth College, and Womankind Counseling Center.
From 1989 to 2009, Kuster worked as a lobbyist in the state of New Hampshire, earning more than $1.3 million in fees from various businesses and non-profits. $460,000 of that money came from ambulatory surgical centers, $150,000 from investment companies, and $145,000 from pharmaceutical manufacturers and their association. In an editorial, the Union Leader stated, “she’s also a career lobbyist, not in dreaded Washington, but in Concord. But she’s refused to use that word.” Rather, Kuster referred to herself as a "public policy advocate.
Kuster's career has also involved many years of lobbying on behalf of clients such as Merck Vaccines; Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) -- with whom she helped created the NH Medication Bridge program, a public-private partnership which provides free prescriptions to patients in need; Fidelity Investments - with whom she helped create the NH UNIQUE College Savings Plan to help families save money for college tax-free; Dartmouth College and Medical School; NARAL Pro-Choice New Hampshire; Bedford Ambulatory Surgical Center; and the New Hampshire College & University Council.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Kuster took $192,553 in contributions from lawyers and lobbyists during the 2010 election cycle.
In 1998, while working on behalf of Hoffman-LaRoche, Inc., a pharmaceutical manufacturer, Kuster lobbied against HB 1553. The bill would have reclassified three drugs, including Rohypnol, linked to date rapes, assaults, robberies, and driving offenses, as Schedule 1 Controlled Substances, making them illegal to possess. The University of New Hampshire Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program’s coordinator called the rescheduling of Rohypnol an “imperative,” as the drug “poses an imminent and serious threat to public health and safety.” 
Early political career
Kuster served on the New Hampshire steering committees of the presidential campaigns for Barack Obama in 2007-08 and John Kerry in 2003-04. Kuster also served as Co-Chair with Peggo Hodes (the wife of Congressman Paul Hodes) of New Hampshire Women for Obama. Kuster was a 2008 delegate for Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention in Denver and a member of the 2004 New Hampshire Delegation in Boston. In 2000, Kuster received the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for dedicated service to the Democratic Party at the local, state and national levels.
According to the Concord Monitor, "For 20 years before her campaign announcement, she worked the halls of the New Hampshire State House as a lobbyist representing a range of clients. Kuster's government-relations work accounted for perhaps half of the comprehensive legal services she offered, in addition to her practice arranging private adoptions." Kuster's longtime lobbying clients included Dartmouth Medical School, which receives monies from the State of New Hampshire to reserve places in Dartmouth Medical School for students from New Hampshire. Working on behalf of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, Kuster's most prominent project was helping to create the NH Medication Bridge program  which provides free prescription medication to low-income patients earning under or near the poverty level. Kuster also fought proposed legislation that would prohibit drug makers from offering discounted drugs unless the discounts were offered to every buyer; the bill failed in subcommittee to strong bipartisan opposition. Kuster earned an average of $65,000 annually from 1989 to 2009 for this activity, according to reports she filed with the State of New Hampshire.
Kuster's long involvement in lobbying was a source of controversy during the Democratic primary for New Hampshire's 2nd congressional district. and her opponent in the general election, Congressman Charles Bass, also worked for the lobbying arm of a law firm Devine Millimet between his terms in Congress.
At a town hall meeting located at the New Hampshire Jewish Federation in Manchester, N.H. in November 2013, Kuster fielded questions relating to the Middle East. After reading a written question regarding establishing a select committee to investigate the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Kuster indicated that the questions "should stay focused on the Middle East." Audience members contended that Libya is located in the "Middle East". The video quickly went viral across the Internet, gaining more than 260,000 views in less than 48 hours.
Kuster supports the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
U.S. House of Representatives
See also: United States House of Representatives elections in New Hampshire, 2010 § District 2
In 2010 Kuster ran for New Hampshire's 2nd congressional district against Republican nominee Charles Bass, Libertarian nominee Howard Wilson, and Independent candidate Tim vanBlommesteyn. It was an open seat as Democratic incumbent Paul Hodes was running for the U.S. Senate.
Kuster was defeated by Bass 48%-47%, a difference of just 3,550 votes.
Main article: United States House of Representatives elections in New Hampshire, 2012 § District 2
Kuster ran for New Hampshire's Second District against Representative Charles Bass again in the 2012 general election. She received the endorsement of Democracy for America, and was selected as one of their Dean Dozen.
On November 6, 2012, Kuster defeated Bass 50%-45%. In doing so, she became a part of the nation's first all-female congressional delegation. This delegation included current Senior Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Junior Senator Kelly Ayotte, and Representative Carol Shea-Porter, who was defeated in the 2014 elections.
Main article: United States House of Representatives elections in New Hampshire, 2014 § District 2
Kuster ran for re-election in 2014, defeating Republican opponent and State Representative Marilinda Garcia 55-45%. Kuster was a member of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Frontline Program, designed to help protect vulnerable Democratic incumbents heading into the 2014 election. The primary election took place on September 9, 2014, with the general election held on November 4, 2014. Republicans who ran in Kuster's district included State Representative Garcia and former State Senator Gary Lambert. Former U.N. ambassador John Bolton and his super PAC spent $30,000 on a two-week television ad buy opposing Kuster and her response to the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya.
Main article: United States House of Representatives elections in New Hampshire, 2016 § District 2
Kuster ran for re-election in 2016, defeating her Republican opponent, former State Representative Jim Lawrence, 50-45%.
Representative Kuster has sponsored 11 bills of her own, including:
- H.R. 1747, a bill to create a tax credit for businesses cooperating with higher education institutions for the purpose of promoting job training programs, equal to $2,000 per institution, up to $10,000 per business, introduced April 25, 2013
- H.R. 2439, a bill to establish a National Responsible Father Registry, introduced June 19, 2013. H.R. 2439's companion bill is S. 1203.
- H.R. 4864, a bill to provide grants to states to help them install carbon monoxide alarms inside homes, introduced June 12, 2014
- H.R. 4865, a bill to permit the Secretaries of Health and Human Services and the Treasury to expand access to qualified health plans for working families without further legislation, and to exclude individuals from receiving health insurance premium assistance under the PPACA if their insurance is an employer-sponsored plan with required contributions exceeding 9.5% of household income, introduced June 12, 2014
Kuster is married to Brad Kuster, a fellow lawyer. They have two sons.
Kuster and her mother, State Senator Susan McLane, coauthored a book titled The Last Dance: Facing Alzheimer's with Love and Laughter. After her mother's death, Kuster and her father, Malcolm McLane, toured New Hampshire speaking publicly about aging and Alzheimer's disease and the burdens on families and caregivers that result.
In February 2013, WMUR-TV reported that Kuster had been late paying property taxes on a home in Hopkinton starting in 2010 and had failed to pay two tax bills for a property in Jackson in 2012. Following the report, Kuster stated that the bills were being paid. Kuster, whose assets have been estimated at $1.8 million, was reported to have been late on taxes six separate times since 2010, totaling $40,000 in back taxes. Kuster ultimately paid the taxes. When asked why she was consistently late, Kuster stated, “Life is expensive.”
- ^ abcMEIGHAN, PATRICK (November 7, 2012). "Voters usher in women leadership in seats representing New Hampshire, Nashua". Telegraph. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
- ^Our Campaigns - NH Governor Race - Nov 07, 1972
- ^Our Campaigns - Candidate - Malcolm McLane
- ^ abc"Kuster makes House run official" Concord Monitor (June 2, 2010)Archived June 5, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
- ^Our Campaigns - NH District 2 - R Primary Race - Sep 09, 1980
- ^Our Campaigns - NH Governor Race - Nov 08, 1904
- ^ abRath, Young and Pignatelli, P.C.: Ann McLane KusterArchived July 15, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
- ^ abRath, Young and Pignatelli, P.C.: Congressman Paul Hodes nominates Ann McLane Kuster for the 2007 Angels in Adoption awardsArchived July 15, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
- ^ abcdefLangley, Karen (2010-08-15). "Kuster's lobbying career". Concord Monitor. Archived from the original on 17 August 2010. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
- ^McCormack, Kathy (2010-08-14). "Lobbying remarks reach a peak in NH 2nd CD race". Foster's Daily Democrat. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
- ^"Rep. Ann Mclane Kuster". Open Secrets. Center for Responsive Politics. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
- ^Toole, John (7 April 1998). "Senate To Hear House Bill To Ban Dangerous Drugs". The Union Leader.
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- ^"2nd District House candidates sling lobbyist label" Union Leader (August 10, 2010)
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- ^"Kuster Benghazi dodge video goes viral". Amelia Chasse. 11 December 2013. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
- ^Parkinson, John (2013-12-10). "Rep. Ann Kuster Appears Baffled by Benghazi Question". ABC News. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
- ^Brindley, Michael (2014-02-20). "Kuster: ACA Should Be Improved, Not Repealed". New Hampshire Public Radio. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
- ^Nather, David (2013-12-26). "Ads hit vulnerable Dems on Obamacare". Politico. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
- ^Lavender, Paige (November 4, 2014). "Annie Kuster Defeats Marilinda Garcia In 2014 New Hampshire Congressional Race". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
- ^"DCCC Chairman Steve Israel Announces 2013-2014 Frontline Members". Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. March 5, 2013. Archived from the original on March 8, 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
- ^Distaso, John (2013-11-24). "State Rep. Marilinda Garcia wants to bring youthful perspective to Congress, GOP". Union Leader. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
- ^Davidsen, Dana (16 July 2014). "John Bolton's super PAC to launch first ad in New Hampshire". CNN. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
- ^Carosa, Kristen (November 9, 2016). "Kuster defeats Lawrence to hang onto 2nd District seat". WMUR. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
- ^"Representative Kuster's Legislation". Library of Congress. Retrieved November 28, 2014.
- ^"Members". New Democrat Coalition. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
- ^The Last Dance: Facing Alzheimer's with Love and Laughter at WorldCat
- ^"U.S. Rep. Kuster pays late taxes for Hopkinton home, apologizes 'for any inconvenience'". Concord Monitor. February 6, 2013. Archived from the original on February 8, 2013. Retrieved December 10, 2013.
- ^Landrigan, Kevin (February 6, 2013). "Kuster pays up late taxes; Republicans still demanding explanation". The Telegraph. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
- ^"Kuster on late tax payments: 'Life is expensive and it caught up to us'". Union Leader. February 11, 2013. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
Ann McLane Kuster was first elected to the House of Representatives to represent New Hampshire’s Second Congressional District in November of 2012, and she was sworn into office on January 3, 2013. She came to Washington determined to put an end to the gridlock, and during her time in office she has established a record of working across the aisle to get things done for her constituents in the Granite State.
Prior to taking office, Annie served as a longtime community activist and adoption attorney who focused her career on increasing opportunity for Granite State families. A strong advocate for seniors, students, veterans, and women and their families, Annie has always been committed to fighting for the issues that matter most to Granite Staters, like increasing access to higher education and affordable health care, and cutting waste, fraud, and abuse in the federal government to ensure our taxpayer dollars are used wisely. Annie played a key role in creating New Hampshire’s UNIQUE College Savings Program to help parents save for their children’s education, as well as the Medication Bridge Program to provide medicine to low-income families.
Since taking office, Annie has prioritized efforts to facilitate the creation of good jobs and to increase economic opportunity for every New Hampshire family. Annie knows small businesses serve as the backbone of our local economy, and she’s visited dozens of businesses through her Congress At Your Company series. These visits helped inform the drafting of her 2014 Middle Class Jobs and Economic Opportunity Agenda, a blueprint of legislative proposals that Annie is pushing in Congress to help New Hampshire businesses grow and create more jobs. Additionally, she hosts a series of job fairs throughout the Second District, where Granite State job seekers and employers can meet and connect.
The daughter of a WWII veteran and prisoner of war, Annie is also dedicated to ensuring our nation’s veterans have the support they need to make a smooth and successful transition back to civilian life. As a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Annie has pushed a number of legislative initiatives to improve the lives of veterans across the country. In 2014, she helped lead the successful fight to pass comprehensive VA reform legislation to ensure every veteran can get timely access to the health care they need, and in 2015 she was selected to serve as Ranking Member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. In this position, Annie plays a lead role in overseeing the implementation of reforms at the VA, as well as identifying additional opportunities to protect taxpayers and improve services for veterans.
As a lifelong Granite Stater, Annie recognizes the importance of family farms and healthy forests to our economy. In Congress, she also serves on the House Agriculture Committee, where she has championed Granite State priorities like conserving natural resources, cutting wasteful subsidies, supporting organic farming, and fighting childhood hunger. During her first term in office, Annie helped pass into law a bipartisan Farm Bill that included many measures she championed, including provisions to support local Granite State farms, protect wildlife habitat, promote the domestic maple syrup industry, and invest in renewable energy. The Department of Agriculture has a broad jurisdiction over many federal programs, and Annie is focused on working with the USDA to foster economic growth in New Hampshire’s rural communities.
Annie is also committed to protecting the programs Granite State seniors count on, such as Medicare, Social Security, and medical research funding for diseases that affect older Americans. With her late mother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease, Annie coauthored a book entitled “The Last Dance: Facing Alzheimer’s with Love and Laughter.” Before taking office, Annie and her father toured the state speaking out about Alzheimer’s Disease and the burdens it places on families and caregivers. In Congress, Annie has championed legislation both to increase funding for research on finding a cure to this deadly disease, and to provide vital support for caregivers who work full-time looking after their loved ones.
Annie graduated from Dartmouth College in 1978 as part of the College’s third class that included women students, and from Georgetown University Law Center in 1984. Annie is a member of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, and before her election to Congress she maintained a private adoption practice in which she helped hundreds of New Hampshire families adopt children.
Annie was born and raised in Concord, New Hampshire. Annie’s late mother, former State Senator Susan McLane, was a pioneer for women in New Hampshire politics. Her late father, Malcolm McLane, was Mayor of Concord, a New Hampshire Executive Councilor, and one of the state’s most prominent attorneys for over 50 years.
Annie and her husband Brad, an environmental lawyer, now live nearby in Hopkinton where they raised their two sons, Zach and Travis.