|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from New Hampshire's 2nd district
January 3, 2013
Ann L. McLane
September 5, 1956
Concord, New Hampshire, U.S.
|Parents||Malcolm McLane (father)|
Susan Neidlinger (mother)
|Education||Dartmouth College (BA)|
Georgetown University (JD)
Ann L. McLane Kuster (born September 5, 1956) is an American politician, author, and attorney who has been the U.S. Representative for New Hampshire's 2nd congressional district, elected in 2012. A lobbyist and non-profit consultant from Hopkinton, New Hampshire, Kuster is a Democrat..
Kuster was born in Concord in 1956. Both of her parents were politicians. Her father, Malcolm McLane, was mayor of Concord, a member of the New Hampshire Executive Council, and an owner of Wildcat Mountain Ski Area. In 1972, he ran for Governor of New Hampshire as an independent. He got 20 percent of the vote in an election that Republican Mel Thomson won with a plurality of 40 percent of the vote. In the 1976 presidential election, he endorsed Republican Gerald Ford. In the 1980 presidential election, he endorsed Republican turned independent John B. Anderson.
Kuster's mother, Susan McLane, was elected to the New Hampshire Senate as a Republican. In 1980, she ran for New Hampshire's 2nd congressional district, but came in second in the crowded Republican primary, with 25 percent of the vote. Judd Gregg won with 34 percent of the vote, while Charles Bass (whom Kuster defeated in 2012) came in third with 22%. Kuster's great-grandfather, John McLane, was Governor of New Hampshire from 1905 to 1907. He was elected as a Republican in 1904 with 58 percent of the vote, defeating Democrat Henry Hollis.
Kuster was a consultant and owner of Newfound Strategies LLC, "a consulting and training practice that works with nonprofit clients to maximize their effectiveness and sustainability through fundraising, outreach and strategic planning."
She also worked as an "of-counsel" partner at Rath, Young and Pignatelli. Kuster's legal practice at Rath, Young and Pignatelli focused on education, nonprofit and health care policy. Kuster has also worked as an adoption attorney, having been involved in more than 300 adoptions since 1984. She is a member of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys.
Kuster has served as chair and board member of the Capitol Center for the Arts and as a founder and vice chair of the Women's Fund of New Hampshire. She has also served on the boards of the N.H. Charitable Foundation, New Hampshire Public Radio, Child and Family Services of NH, the Alumni Council and Tucker Foundation at Dartmouth College, and Womankind Counseling Center.
From 1989 to 2009, Kuster worked as a lobbyist in the state of New Hampshire, earning more than $1.3 million in fees from various businesses and non-profits. $460,000 of that money came from ambulatory surgical centers, $150,000 from investment companies, and $145,000 from pharmaceutical manufacturers and their association. In an editorial, the Union Leader stated, "she's also a career lobbyist, not in dreaded Washington, but in Concord. But she's refused to use that word." Rather, Kuster referred to herself as a "public policy advocate."
Kuster's career has also involved many years of lobbying on behalf of clients such as Merck Vaccines; the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), with which she helped created the NH Medication Bridge program, a public-private partnership that provides free prescriptions to patients in need; Fidelity Investments, with which she helped create the NH UNIQUE College Savings Plan to help families save money for college tax-free; Dartmouth College and Medical School; NARAL Pro-Choice New Hampshire; Bedford Ambulatory Surgical Center; and the New Hampshire College & University Council.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Kuster took $192,553 in contributions from lawyers and lobbyists during the 2010 election cycle.
In 1998, while working on behalf of Hoffman-LaRoche, Inc., a pharmaceutical manufacturer, Kuster lobbied against HB 1553. The bill would have reclassified three drugs, including Rohypnol, linked to date rapes, assaults, robberies, and driving offenses, as Schedule 1 Controlled Substances, making them illegal to possess. The University of New Hampshire Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program's coordinator called the rescheduling of Rohypnol an "imperative," as the drug "poses an imminent and serious threat to public health and safety." 
Kuster served on the New Hampshire steering committees of the presidential campaigns for Barack Obama in 2007-08 and John Kerry in 2003-04. Kuster also served as Co-Chair with Peggo Hodes (the wife of Congressman Paul Hodes) of New Hampshire Women for Obama. Kuster was a 2008 delegate for Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention in Denver and a member of the 2004 New Hampshire Delegation in Boston.
At a town hall meeting in Manchester in November 2013, Kuster fielded questions relating to the Middle East. After reading a written question regarding establishing a select committee to investigate the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Kuster indicated that the questions "should stay focused on the Middle East." Audience members replied that Libya is located in the "Middle East". The video quickly went viral across the Internet, gaining more than 260,000 views in less than 48 hours.
Kuster supported the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). In a joint presentation in July 2017, she and Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) asserted the need to overcome diametrical partisan disagreement on Obamacare and to "find common ground in fixing Obamacare" by focusing on "individual markets."
On June 27, 2018, an amendment by Kuster addressing so-called "collateral misconduct," that is, often minor offense uncovered during probes of sexual violence, was approved for inclusion in defense appropriations legislation. "For far too long, service members have survived sexual assaults only to suffer in silence," said Kuster. "They've refused to bring their assailants to justice and receive medical attention, not because they fear their attacker but because they fear a military policy, which requires their commanders to punish them for minor violations. I hope that this study will enable the military to make reforms to ensure that no survivor of sexual assault fears coming forward."
On January 26, 2015, Kuster and Ann Wagner (R-MO) took to the House Floor to urge the passage of the Save Act, which they had introduced to curb human trafficking. "Every year, thousands of women, children, and men are trafficked around the world - even right here in our own backyard," said Kuster.
In April 2015, Kuster called on the Senate to pass human trafficking legislation that had been languishing for weeks and to strip restrictions added by Republicans. "All across the nation, victims of sex trafficking are being forced to endure indescribable terrors at the hands of their traffickers," she said. "This bill would help put an end to human trafficking."
Kuster was a cosponsor of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which prohibits employers from mistreating pregnant workers. In a December 2014 statement on the Supreme Court case Young V. UPS, Kuster said: "No woman should ever be discriminated against in the workplace simply because she is pregnant, and I was proud to help send an Amicus Brief to the Supreme Court supporting Peggy Young, whose treatment by her employer clearly violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
In November 2013, Kuster charged the National Security Agency, which had secretly tapped into data centers operated by Google and Yahoo, with violating privacy. "It just went way beyond what most people's expectations for privacy are in this country, and I think, despite people's best efforts to protect privacy, things had developed to a place where the American people now want to have a debate and have a conversation," Kuster said. "It's a balancing act between privacy and safety and security of our country....But my point of view is we don't want to lose our liberty in the course of trying to protect our safety." This statement came days after she swung her support behind the USA Freedom Act, which would overhaul the NSA and curb its "worst excesses."
In 2010 Kuster ran for New Hampshire's 2nd congressional district against Republican nominee Charles Bass, Libertarian nominee Howard Wilson, and Independent candidate Tim vanBlommesteyn. It was an open seat as Democratic incumbent Paul Hodes was running for the U.S. Senate.
Bass defeated Kuster 48%-47%, by a margin of just 3,550 votes.
Kuster ran for New Hampshire's Second District against Representative Charles Bass again in the 2012 general election. She received the endorsement of Democracy for America, and was selected as one of its Dean Dozen.
On November 6, 2012, Kuster defeated Bass 50%-45%. In doing so, she became a part of the nation's first all-female congressional delegation. This delegation included current Senior Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Junior Senator Kelly Ayotte, and Representative Carol Shea-Porter, who was defeated in the 2014 elections.
Kuster ran for re-election in 2014 against Republican State Representative Marilinda Garcia. In October of that year, State Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, a Republican, compared Garcia's looks favorably to Kuster's in a blog post: "Let's be honest. Does anyone not believe that Congressman Annie Kuster is as ugly as sin? And I hope I haven't offended sin." Garcia replied in a statement that Vaillancourt's comments were "sexist and have absolutely no place in political discourse."
Kuster beat Garcia 55-45%. Kuster was a member of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Frontline Program, designed to help protect vulnerable Democratic incumbents heading into the 2014 election. The primary election took place on September 9, 2014, with the general election held on November 4, 2014. Republicans who ran in Kuster's district included State Representative Garcia and former State Senator Gary Lambert. Former U.N. ambassador John Bolton and his super PAC spent $30,000 on a two-week television ad buy opposing Kuster and her response to the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya.
On June 12, Kuster announced she would seek a fourth term in Congress. She ran unopposed in the primary. Four Republicans, Robert Burns, Stewart Levenson, Jay Mercer, and Steven Negron, vied to run against her in the general election, while Tom Alciere filed as a Libertarian candidate. Levenson, reported the AP, "was one of the doctors behind a 2017 whistleblower complaint about care" at the Manchester Veterans Affaird Medical Center, and had "accused Kuster, whom he approached about the issue, of being slow to act on it." Negron won the 4-way Republican primary with 27% of the vote.
Representative Kuster has sponsored 11 bills of her own, including:
In 2000, Kuster received the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for "dedicated service to the Democratic Party at the local, state and national levels".
Kuster is married to Brad Kuster, a fellow lawyer. They reside in Hopkinton and have two sons.
Kuster and her mother, State Senator Susan McLane, coauthored a book titled The Last Dance: Facing Alzheimer's with Love and Laughter. After her mother's death, Kuster and her father, Malcolm McLane, toured New Hampshire speaking publicly about aging and Alzheimer's disease and the resulting burdens on families and caregivers.
In February 2013, WMUR-TV reported that Kuster had been late paying property taxes on a home in Hopkinton starting in 2010 and had failed to pay two tax bills for a property in Jackson in 2012. Following the report, Kuster stated that the bills were being paid. Kuster, whose assets have been estimated at $1.8 million, was reported to have been late on taxes six separate times since 2010, totaling $40,000 in back taxes. Kuster ultimately paid the taxes. When asked why she was consistently late, Kuster stated, "Life is expensive."
On June 21, 2016, Kuster announced from the floor of the House that she had been sexually assaulted as a college student. "I was an 18-year-old student, going to a dance at a fraternity, to enjoy the evening with friends," she said. "We danced, we listened to music, we enjoyed the party. Until one young man assaulted me in a crude and insulting way and I ran, alone, into the cold, dark night." In an interview given the next day, she said the assault was part of "a prank" intended to humiliate her. She also said that when she was 23 and working as an aide on Capitol Hill, her boss took her to dinner with a "distinguished guest of the United States Congress," who, under the table, put his hand under her skirt. Not long after, she was assaulted and mugged on a Washington street. Until these revelations, she had not told anybody about these incidents. She said she had been motivated to come forward by a sexual assault case at Stanford University.
After her revelation, her alma mater, Dartmouth College, issued a statement saying: "We were deeply distressed to learn about Representative Annie Kuster's experiences, but we applaud her courage. Sexual assault is a notoriously underreported crime. At Dartmouth, we want to see the number of reported incidents go up and the prevalence of incidents go down. Although the growing climate of reporting is encouraging, even one sexual assault is too many. It is revelations like Representative Kuster's that demonstrate why we must continue to expand our efforts in prevention, response, and accountability."
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Hampshire's 2nd congressional district
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Representatives by seniority