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Concord Monitor: Maggie Hassan: Keeping Americans, Granite Staters safe top priority as senator

August 17, 2016

Concord Monitor: Gov. Maggie Hassan: Keeping Americans, Granite Staters safe will be top priority as senator

by Maggie Hassan

The most fundamental responsibility of any government is to keep our people safe and secure – because the safety of our communities is the bedrock on which all else is built.

In order for our children to have the opportunity to grow up and live out their dreams and for parents to once again be confident that the next generation will be better off than the last, we have to keep our people, communities and country safe.

At every National Guard deployment ceremony I go to, I look at the faces of the brave men and women set to go off and defend our nation in some of the most dangerous places on earth. Seeing their faces is a reminder that nothing is more important than ensuring that New Hampshire and America forever remain safe, secure and strong.

The United States has the strongest armed forces in the world, and we must maintain our military superiority. At the same time, we must remain the greatest force for good and ensure that the use of our military might is a last resort.

And we must demonstrate to all those who seek to do us harm that they can never defeat the resilience and spirit that defines New Hampshire and the United States of America.

As governor, keeping our state safe has always been my top priority. I have worked to put more state troopers on the road and instituted active shooter trainings to prepare hundreds of state employees and patrolmen for active shooter scenarios. I have fought to ensure that the men and women of our National Guard have the resources they need. And in the wake of terrorist attacks in our country and abroad, I have worked with local and federal officials to ensure that Granite Staters are safe.

In the Senate, I will continue working to protect America and our communities. And I will stand up to anyone, regardless of political party, to keep our country safe.

Last week, I outlined the national security priorities that I will focus on as senator to bolster our national security. These priorities include destroying ISIS, protecting the homeland, strengthening our military, confronting aggression and maintaining America’s global leadership. These priorities are not exhaustive, but they are essential for keeping our people safe in the face of any threat, foreign or domestic.

I believe the United States and our allies must unite behind a comprehensive strategy to destroy ISIS that includes increasing airstrikes and the use of Special Forces, supporting moderate fighters in the region, supporting the military’s request for a 50 percent increase in funding to fight ISIS and surging our intelligence-gathering capabilities.

We must also double down on our efforts to prevent terrorists from entering our country and stop those who may be here already, including by strengthening security at our borders, improving vetting for all entryways into the country, preventing terrorists from buying guns and upgrading our nation’s cybersecurity.

Keeping our nation safe and secure also requires strengthening our military. As senator, I will work to ensure that our military remains prepared to combat any threat by supporting modernization efforts, providing the military adequate resources to carry out critical missions, and reinforcing our commitment to our veterans, servicemembers and military families.

America must also continue to demonstrate our strength in the face of aggression by those who would undermine our vital interests, threaten harm to us or our allies or violate international law. In the Senate, I will fight to ensure that we prevent Iran from ever getting a nuclear weapon and crack down on its support for terrorism while strengthening our commitment to Israel. And I’ll support efforts to ensure that China plays by the rules and to check Russia’s expansionary efforts.

And as we confront aggression by our adversaries, we must maintain America’s global leadership. I support efforts to bring countries together to address global challenges, fight back against any efforts to undermine our commitment to NATO, invest in humanitarian aid and international development to help fight the conditions that breed extremism and stand up for our values around the world.

Maintaining our safety, security and strength means remaining dedicated to the values of diversity, equality, and liberty and justice for all that so many brave Americans have fought and died for. In the Senate, I will serve by these values and I will always make America’s security my top priority – just as I have made New Hampshire’s security my top priority as governor.

Protecting our national security should not be a partisan issue. As I did when I opposed President Obama’s proposal to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay and when I spoke out to support strengthening vetting for all entryways into the country, I will always stand up to anyone, regardless of political party, to keep our country safe.

I will work with members of both parties to ensure that our military strength and our global leadership remain second to none. And in the face of any threat, I will do everything in my power to keep Granite Staters, and all Americans, safe.