Heard on the Hill

Take Five: Maggie Hassan

New Hampshire Democrat took up crossword puzzles while campaigning

New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan previously served two terms as governor was governor. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Freshman Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, who gave her maiden floor speech on Monday, talks to HOH about playing rugby, her son, and the greatest quarterback of all time.

Q: As a New Englander and someone who was born in Boston, what were your emotions when the Patriots and Falcons went into overtime at the Super Bowl last Sunday night?

A: As a Granite Stater, I was proud of our resilience and had faith in the greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady, to finish the job. It also helped that we won the coin toss.

Q: What genre of books do you enjoy reading?

A: A fairly wide range, but mysteries, in particular, and biographies, too. I [read] a Jack Beale murder mystery recently.

Q: What is something you do to clear your head?

A: In addition to exercise, which I do every day, I love crossword puzzles, which is a fairly new discovery. I’ve been doing them for the last year or so at the urging of my brother and sister-in-law. I do them online so I have a subscription. That way you can go through archives and you start with the very easy ones and gradually, you build up your confidence.

Hassan is sworn in on Jan. 3 by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. as her husband Tom looks on. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Hassan is sworn in on Jan. 3 by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. as her husband Tom looks on. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Q: You played rugby at Brown University. How did you get into the sport?

A: I had also rowed crew. I love team sports and I think a friend of mine was playing. It was my senior year of college and I thought it just looked like a lot of fun and a good way to clear my head but also be a part of the team. I really enjoyed it.

Q: What made you want to be a politician originally?

A:  I grew up in a family that was always attentive to politics and what was happening in our community and our state and our country. But it was the experience of having my oldest child Ben. Ben is now 28. He is a wonderful young man, if I do say so myself. He has cerebral palsy.

I realized that what happened in our state’s capital in particular impacted the quality of life that Ben has. As a result of civil rights protection that he had, our Exeter school system could include him. Families needed more people to represent everyone’s interests.

Quick hits

  • Last movie you saw: “Hidden Figures”
  • Last book you read: “Truman” by David McCullough
  • Favorite recent music: “Hamilton” soundtrack
  • Role model(s): Both parents
  • Lawmaker you’re closest to: New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

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