Senator Susan McLane: Walking Purposefully


New Hampshire State Senator Susan McLane taught me how to quiet a crying baby. She took my newborn daughter in her arms and walked around the room. Bingo. Quiet baby. She told me the secret was to “walk purposefully.”

Senator McLane walked purposefully through life, and it was my great honor to work with her in the New Hampshire Senate duirng the all-too-brief enlightened reign of Senate President Vesta Roy. Senator McLane was the chairman of the Health and Welfare Committee, and an articulate advocate for those in need, especially women and children.

She was a lot like Spiderman. Wherever you found meanness or injustice, there she was. Let me give one example only, though there were so many: a woman on welfare taught an advanced dance class and in exchange her daughters got beginning dance lessons. The state Division of Welfare, pursuant to their legal duty, required this woman to declare the value of her daughters’ lessons as income.

If you’ve never known poverty, then you’ll never know what this kind of judgment can mean for a family, and I’m not going to try to tell you, because it would be a waste of time.

Similarly diligent employees of the D of W required welfare recipients to declare, as income, the monetary value of the produce from their gardens.

Susan McLane took a stand in cases like this, and the State of New Hampshire is better for it, now and forever. What kind of society do you want to live in, anyway? Do you want children to be happy?

Senator McLane was known as the “conscience of the Republican Party,” a post that has been conspicuously unfilled, and unlikely to be filled, since her passing. The party of Abraham Lincoln!

But I have high hopes for the newborn baby that she carried in her arms. Let us all walk purposefully now. So much is at stake.