Senator Hassan Recognizes Cassandra Levesque as “Granite Stater of the Month” for February
Barrington Teen Fights to Outlaw the Practice of Child Marriage in NH
Click here to watch the Senator’s floor speech.
WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan yesterday recognized Cassandra Levesque, an 18-year-old from Barrington, as her “Granite Stater of the Month” for February. Cassandra fights to outlaw the practice of child marriage in New Hampshire, where she got a bill introduced in the state legislature that would have closed the loopholes that allow childhood marriage to occur.
Cassandra also launched a program in libraries around New Hampshire that helps kids learn about issues that they are passionate about and gives them the tools they need to become advocates.
To nominate a New Hampshire citizen to be a “Granite Stater of the Month,” constituents can complete the nomination form here.
Click here or see below for Senator Hassan’s remarks:
Mr. President, I also rise today to announce the next Granite Stater of the Month – a young woman who is well known among people in New Hampshire’s State House and across the Granite State.
Cassandra Levesque, an 18-year-old from Barrington, is an advocate at the forefront of an important fight: outlawing the practice of child marriage in New Hampshire and across the country.
Last year, after learning that child brides face a higher likelihood of domestic violence and divorce and a lower chance of professional success, Cassandra set out to close the legal loopholes that allow children as young as 13 to wed in New Hampshire.
As she took on this fight, she heard stories of women in her community who had been abused by their spouse after being married as a minor. Cassandra bravely shared the story of her own grandmother and great-grandmother, both of whom were married as young teenagers and were subsequently abused by their husbands.
With encouragement and support from her Girl Scout community, and with the help of a state representative, Cassandra got a bill introduced in the legislature that would have closed the loopholes that allow childhood marriage to occur.
She testified during a hearing on the bill, closely followed debate on the bill in the full House of Representatives, and spoke out in the media to explain why the legislation was so important.
While the bill ultimately failed by a close margin, Cassandra has continued to speak out and raise awareness, and just last month the legislative efforts to end child marriage began anew.
Cassandra exemplifies New Hampshire’s strong tradition of civic engagement – especially by women – and she has inspired other young people to become active in their communities too. Cassandra launched a program in libraries around the state that helps kids learn about issues that they are passionate about and gives them the tools they need to become advocates.
In New Hampshire, we roll up our sleeves and work together to address injustices and solve problems in our communities, and Cassandra is a perfect example of that spirit. I am deeply grateful for Cassandra’s hard work and I’ll continue to follow her efforts closely.
I look forward to the day when we can say that – thanks to people like Cassandra - child marriage is a thing of the past in New Hampshire.
Thank you, Mr. President, and I yield the floor.
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