At a Glance
- Career History:
Director, Institute of Politics, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (2005 to 2007);
of New Hampshire (1996 to 2002);
State Senator (1990 to 1996)
- Birthday: Jan. 28, 1947
- Hometown: Madbury, N.H.
- Alma Mater: Shippensburg College, B.A in 1969; University of Mississippi, M.S.S. (political science,) in 1973
- Spouse: Bill Shaheen
- Religion: Protestant
- DC Office: 520 Hart Building, Washington DC 20510; 202.224.2841
Path to Power
Born Cynthia Jeanne Bowers in St. Charles, Mo., Shaheen grew up in the Midwest. She attended Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, graduating in 1969. At Shippensburg she became more politically active and fought against a campus curfew that applied to only female students. She received a master's degree from the University of Mississippi in 1973. That year, she moved to New Hampshire, working as a teacher and running a small business with her husband.
Soon Shaheen and her husband Bill began working on Democratic presidential campaigns in the state. Bill Shaheen ran Jimmy Carter's New Hampshire campaign in 1976, helping engineer a come-from-behind victory in the crucial primary. In 1984, Jeanne Shaheen ran Sen. Gary Hart's (D-Colo.) New Hampshire campaign with equally successful results.
Shaheen's 1996 gubernatorial run focused on a platform of education, health care and jobs.
In their endorsement of her, The Boston Globe pointed to Shaheen's "sensible stands" on Social Security, embryonic stem-cell research and environmental protection.
Jeanne and her husband, Bill, have been key political operatives in New Hampshire since the 1970s, running presidential campaigns for Jimmy Carter, Gary Hart, Al Gore and John Kerry. Jeanne Shaheen is "exceptionally well connected with Democratic powers," according to The Washington Post.
The Shaheens endorsed Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential run. In fact, Bill Shaheen was the co-chair of Clinton's New Hampshire campaign. That is, until he suggested to the Washington Post that Barack Obama's admitted illegal drug use would open him up to criticism from the Republicans. "It'll be, 'When was the last time? Did you ever give drugs to anyone? Did you sell them to anyone?'" Bill Shaheen said. "There are so many openings for Republican dirty tricks. It's hard to overcome."