UNION LEADER: Shaheen calls on US to recognize its world impact As originally appearing in The Union Leader
By KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
BEDFORD — Prior to updating local business leaders on the status of New Hampshire’s economy, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen on Friday stressed the importance of America’s role in the world.
“One of the things that I am very concerned about in the debate and around our upcoming election is the rise of isolationism in our country, and that is not a good thing for America, I believe,” Shaheen said during a speech to the New England Council at the Bedford Village Inn.
The idea of building walls and failing to trade with the world fails to recognize where the country stands today, Shaheen said.
“The fact is, we are a global economy. If we don’t set trade rules, then we will leave the playing field to countries like China to set those rules,” she said. “If we don’t use our influence and our alliances — whether it is NATO or other areas — to provide for the security of this county and other parts of the world, then we leave a vacuum that is going to be filled by people we are not going to be happy to see.”
Shaheen stressed the importance of recognizing America’s influence in the world, maintaining that if that doesn’t occur, it leaves opportunities for others with different values to have more power.
Addressing the New England Council — an alliance of businesses, academic and health institutions, and public and private organizations that promotes economic growth in the region — Shaheen outlined several initiatives she has undertaken in the past year, and some issues that still need to be a priority.
Despite efforts to address the heroin and opioid epidemic facing the country, Shaheen said that legislators have failed to include resources needed to fight the battle.
“In New Hampshire, sadly, we are on track to lose more people this year than last year because of the crisis,” she told the crowd of about 70.
More recovery centers are needed and more tools must be provided to help assist and overcome the drug challenge, said Shaheen, vowing to continuing working on this issue.
She emphasized the need for New Hampshire employers to fully understand the war on heroin and opioid use, urging them to work together and get engaged in finding solutions to help Granite Staters.
Before the end of the year, it will also be crucial for emergency funding to be secured for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help develop a vaccine for the Zika virus, which is spread by infected mosquitoes and can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus.
“This is particularly critical,” Shaheen said of the funding, adding 346 pregnant women in the U.S. have tested posted for the Zika virus, including five cases in New Hampshire that involve two pregnant women.