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Nashua Telegraph: Government 101: Sen. Hassan visits Dr. Crisp Elementary

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Staff Photo by Hannah LaClaire Sen. Maggie Hassan calls on students during a question and answer portion of her visit at Dr. Crisp Elementary School

NASHUA -In what looked like the country’s cutest political rally, students in grades three through five sat in the gym at Dr. Crisp Elementary school Monday afternoon, waving handmade signs welcoming Sen. Maggie Hassan.

Students have been learning about the various levels of government in their classes, and welcomed the senator for a brief talk and question and answer session.

After explaining what she does as senator and how she was sworn in, Hassan asked the students if they thought there were more men or women in the senate.

The majority of them thought there were more women.

“New Hampshire has a lot of women in office,” she said, “but really there are 21 women in the senate,”and then, for those visibly trying to calculate the difference added, “that means that there are 79 men.”

The students seemed surprised, but Hassan said she thought that was understandable, as Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and herself were both senators and had also served as governor.

“I encourage you all to run for office,” she said, “not just because it’s a really fun thing to do,” but also because the best way to be heard is to get involved.

Then opened the Q & A portion, for which the students had prepared questions on index cards.

There was a wide range of questions, varying from “Do you really see the president at all?” (From time to time) to “Do you have servants?” (No).

One student asked about her background in politics, and Hassan related her history of running for office several times and what she learned from it.

“You can have trouble with something and not succeed, but if you try again, you can get better and better and be successful,” she said.

The question that received the most raised eyebrows from the adults in attendance (other than the student asking her age) was whether or not she supported President Donald Trump.

Hassan, however, did not skirt around the question, and instead answered directly that she is eager to work with him to help create change, but that in many areas she has significant disagreements with him.

Other students asked whether she lives in a big house, if she misses her family when she’s in Washington D.C., and what it feels like to be a senator.

To the latter, Hassan said she felt “honored and privileged” to serve the people of New Hampshire.

Before she left, she urged one more time that students run for office when they are older, that they encourage their parents to vote, and that until they are old enough to run or vote, they should write letters to their representatives, “so we can hear what you think.”

Before her visit, Hassan visited the new Dr. Crisp playground and toured the recently opened Arlington Street Community Center.