Legislature will miss Heden

To The Editor:

Last week an editorial in the Nashua Telegraph stated that the new Republican majority in the NH Legislature had to decide what kind of party it will be. “Do they practice the politics of destruction and divisiveness – as happened when they were in control in 2011 and 2012 – or strive for something closer to their Lincoln legacy of compassion and inclusion?” Sadly, the new legislature will be without the cooperative spirit of State Representative Ruth Heden of Milford who believes that we make the best decisions when all people are heard.

Ruth first felt the desire to serve in the legislature when she observed a session of it as a teenager. Still, she once told me that she could not get elected because she was too liberal. However, her opportunity came when she was elected to the House in 2012; it was her fourth try.

She served on the Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee where she thought the hearings on consumer issues were especially fascinating. During her two year tenure she had perfect attendance for the general sessions and she missed only one committee meeting. She felt it was a great honor to serve in the House and she simply loved the job.

I once asked Ruth what it was like to work with Republicans and she said that it was fine. “We need to listen to them because they have good ideas, too. Sometimes they swayed me in a debate in a friendly way.” What was wonderful, she said, was to observe people from both sides change and improve a bill as it wound its way through the legislature. “Working together is the key to solving the challenges we face.”

Last Wednesday morning Ruth told me that she had retired for the second time in her life. The first retirement had come after nearly three decades as a public educator. Would that the members of our new legislature be blessed with her sense of bipartisanship, her tolerance of opposing views, and her ability to listen. She epitomizes the best in us all.

Gertrude Morgan

Milford Democratic Chair