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Annie Kuster

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Annie Kuster
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Hampshire's 2nd district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded byCharles Bass
Chair of the New Democrat Coalition
Assumed office
January 3, 2023
Preceded bySuzan DelBene
Personal details
Born (1956-09-05) September 5, 1956 (age 67)
Concord, New Hampshire, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseBrad Kuster
Parent(s)Malcolm McLane (father)
Susan Neidlinger (mother)
EducationDartmouth College (BA)
Georgetown University (JD)
WebsiteHouse website

Ann L. McLane Kuster (born September 5, 1956) is an American lawyer and politician serving as the U.S. representative for New Hampshire's 2nd congressional district since 2013. A member of the Democratic Party, she previously worked as a lobbyist.[1]

Kuster chairs the New Democrat Coalition, a center-left caucus among House Democrats.

Kuster announced on March 27, 2024, that she would not seek re-election to a seventh term in the U.S. House.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Kuster was born in Concord, New Hampshire, on September 5, 1956. Both 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 received 20% of the vote in an election that Republican Mel Thomson won with a plurality of 40%.[3]

Kuster's mother, Susan McLane, was elected to the New Hampshire Senate as a Republican.[4] In 1980, she ran for New Hampshire's 2nd congressional district, coming in second in the crowded Republican primary, with 25% of the vote. Judd Gregg won with 34% of the vote, while Charles Bass (whom Kuster defeated in 2012) came in third with 22%.[5] Kuster's maternal great grandfather, John McLane, was governor of New Hampshire from 1905 to 1907. He was elected as a Republican in 1904 with 58% of the vote, defeating Democrat Henry Hollis.[6]

Kuster graduated from Dartmouth College in 1978 with a degree in environmental policy. She received a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1984.[7]

Legal career[edit]

After college, Kuster became the director of Concord law firm Rath, Young and Pignatelli's education and nonprofit law practice group.

Kuster was a consultant and owner of Newfound Strategies LLC, a consulting firm.[7][dead link]

Kuster also worked as an "of-counsel" partner at Rath, Young and Pignatelli. Her legal practice focused on education, nonprofit, and health care policy.[4] Kuster has also worked as an adoption attorney.[8]

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 New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, New Hampshire Public Radio, Child and Family Services of New Hampshire, the Alumni Council and Tucker Foundation at Dartmouth College, and Womankind Counseling Center.[8][dead link]

Lobbying career[edit]

From 1989 to 2009, Kuster worked as a lobbyist in New Hampshire, earning more than $1.3 million in fees from various businesses and nonprofits. $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 wrote, "she's also a career lobbyist, not in dreaded Washington, but in Concord. But she's refused to use that word." Rather, Kuster called herself a "public policy advocate".[9][10]

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.[4][9]

According to OpenSecrets, Kuster took $192,553 in contributions from lawyers and lobbyists during the 2010 election cycle.[11]


In 1998, while working on behalf of the pharmaceutical manufacturer Hoffman-LaRoche, Inc., 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".[12]

Presidential campaigns[edit]

Kuster speaks at a Hillary Clinton presidential rally at Southern New Hampshire University in 2016.

Kuster served on the New Hampshire steering committees of the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama in 2007–08 and John Kerry in 2003–04. She and Peggo Hodes (the wife of Representative Paul Hodes) also co-chaired New Hampshire Women for Obama. Kuster was a 2008 delegate for Obama at the Democratic National Convention in Denver and a member of the 2004 New Hampshire Delegation in Boston. In 2020, Kuster endorsed Pete Buttigieg for president, which broke her streak of endorsing the candidate who became the Democratic nominee.[13]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Kuster during the 113th United States Congress



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%, a margin of 3,550 votes.[14]


Kuster ran against Bass again in the 2012 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%.[1][15] In doing so, she became a part of the nation's first all-female congressional delegation. It included Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Senator Kelly Ayotte, and Representative Carol Shea-Porter.[1]


Kuster ran for reelection in 2014 against Republican State Representative Marilinda Garcia. Kuster beat Garcia 55-45%.[16] She was a member of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Frontline Program, designed to help protect vulnerable Democratic incumbents in the 2014 elections.[17] The primary election took place on September 9, and the general election on November 4. Republicans who ran in Kuster's district included Garcia and former State Senator Gary Lambert.[18] 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.[19]


Kuster was reelected in 2016, defeating the Republican nominee, former State Representative Jim Lawrence, 50-45%.[20]


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 Steve Negron, vied to run against her in the general election, while Tom Alciere filed as a Libertarian candidate. Levenson, reported the Associated Press, "was one of the doctors behind a 2017 whistleblower complaint about care" at the Manchester Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and had "accused Kuster, whom he approached about the issue, of being slow to act on it".[21] Negron won the Republican primary with 27% of the vote.[22] Kuster was reelected.


Kuster ran for reelection to a fifth term. She defeated Joseph Mirzoeff, her sole Democratic challenger, in the primary.[23] In the general election, she faced a rematch with Negron which she won with 53.91% of the vote.[24]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Kuster was selected as the chair of the New Democrat Coalition for the 118th Congress.[25] She was previously a vice chair of the caucus and a longstanding member of the moderate caucus.[25][26]

Political positions[edit]

Kuster voted with President Joe Biden's stated position 100% of the time in the 117th Congress, according to a FiveThirtyEight analysis.[31]


At a November 2013 Manchester town hall meeting, Kuster fielded questions about 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 in the "Middle East". Libya is generally not included in definitions of the Middle East, but it is part of the Arab world and the Arab Maghreb. The video quickly went viral online, gaining more than 260,000 views in less than 48 hours.[32][33]

Health care[edit]

Kuster supported the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).[34][35] In a joint presentation in July 2017, she and Representative Peter Welch asserted the need to overcome partisan disagreement on Obamacare and to "find common ground in fixing Obamacare" by focusing on "individual markets".[36]

Intelligence agencies and privacy[edit]

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", she 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 supported the USA Freedom Act, which would overhaul the NSA and curb its "worst excesses".[37]

Electoral history[edit]

New Hampshire's 2nd congressional district: Results 2012–2022
Year Democratic Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
2010 Ann McLane Kuster 105,060 46.8% Charles Bass 108,610 48.3% Tim vanBlommesteyn Independent 6,197 2.8% *
2012 Ann McLane Kuster 169,275 50.2% Charles Bass (incumbent) 152,977 45.3% Hardy Macia Libertarian 14,936 4.4% *
2014 130,700 54.9% Marilinda Garcia 106,871 44.9% *
2016 174,495 49.7% Jim Lawrence 158,973 45.3% John Babiarz Independent 17,088 4.9% *
2018 155,358 55.5% Steve Negron 117,990 42.2% Justin O'Donnell Libertarian 6,206 2.2% *
2020 207,863 53.9% 168,491 43.7% Andrew Olding 9,093 2.4% *
2022 171,636 55.8% Bob Burns 135,579 44.0%

* Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 2010, Libertarian candidate Howard L. Wilson received 4,796 votes. In 2012, write-ins received 206 votes. In 2014, write-ins received 613 votes. In 2016, write-ins received 236 votes. In 2018, write-ins received 151 votes. In 2020, write-ins received 147 votes.

Honors and awards[edit]

In 2000, Kuster received the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for "dedicated service to the Democratic Party at the local, state and national levels".[38]

Personal life[edit]

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, The Last Dance: Facing Alzheimer's with Love and Laughter.[39] 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. After the report, Kuster said the bills were being paid.[40] 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 said, "Life is expensive."[41][42]

On June 21, 2016, Kuster announced from the floor of the House that she had been sexually assaulted as a college student. 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" (South African heart surgeon Christiaan Barnard) who, under the table, put his hand under her skirt. Not long after, she was assaulted and mugged on a Washington street. She had never previously told anyone about these incidents. She said she had been motivated to come forward by a sexual assault case at Stanford University.[43]

In Washington, Kuster lives with her close friend House Minority Whip Katherine Clark and other members.[44]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c MEIGHAN, PATRICK (November 7, 2012). "Voters usher in women leadership in seats representing New Hampshire, Nashua". Telegraph. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
  2. ^ Alfaro, Mariana (March 27, 2024). "New Hampshire Democratic Rep. Ann Kuster to retire from Congress". Washington Post. Retrieved March 27, 2024.
  3. ^ Our Campaigns – NH Governor Race – Nov 07, 1972
  4. ^ a b c "Kuster makes House run official" Concord Monitor (June 2, 2010) Archived June 5, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Our Campaigns – NH District 2 – R Primary Race – Sep 09, 1980
  6. ^ Our Campaigns – NH Governor Race – Nov 08, 1904
  7. ^ a b Rath, Young and Pignatelli, P.C.: Ann McLane Kuster Archived July 15, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ a b Rath, Young and Pignatelli, P.C.: Congressman Paul Hodes nominates Ann McLane Kuster for the 2007 Angels in Adoption awards Archived July 15, 2011, at the Wayback Machine [dead link]
  9. ^ a b Langley, Karen (August 15, 2010). "Kuster's lobbying career". Concord Monitor. Archived from the original on August 17, 2010. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  10. ^ McCormack, Kathy (August 14, 2010). "Lobbying remarks reach a peak in NH 2nd CD race". Foster's Daily Democrat. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  11. ^ "Rep. Ann Mclane Kuster". OpenSecrets.
  12. ^ Toole, John (April 7, 1998). "Senate To Hear House Bill To Ban Dangerous Drugs". The Union Leader.
  13. ^ Merica, Dan (January 15, 2020). "Rep. Annie Kuster of New Hampshire endorses Pete Buttigieg for president". CNN. Retrieved June 23, 2022.
  14. ^ "Our Campaigns - NH - District 2 Race - Nov 02, 2010". www.ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  15. ^ "Our Campaigns - NH - District 02 Race - Nov 06, 2012". www.ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  16. ^ Lavender, Paige (November 4, 2014). "Annie Kuster Defeats Marilinda Garcia In 2014 New Hampshire Congressional Race". Huffington Post. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
  17. ^ "DCCC Chairman Steve Israel Announces 2013–2014 Frontline Members". Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. March 5, 2013. Archived from the original on March 8, 2013. Retrieved March 27, 2014.
  18. ^ Distaso, John (November 24, 2013). "State Rep. Marilinda Garcia wants to bring youthful perspective to Congress, GOP". Union Leader. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved March 27, 2014.
  19. ^ Davidsen, Dana (July 16, 2014). "John Bolton's super PAC to launch first ad in New Hampshire". CNN. Retrieved August 4, 2014.
  20. ^ Carosa, Kristen (November 9, 2016). "Kuster defeats Lawrence to hang onto 2nd District seat". WMUR. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  21. ^ Morales, Stephanie (June 12, 2018). "Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster seeks fourth term in office". The Seattle Times. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  22. ^ Enstrom, Kirk (September 12, 2018). "Negron wins tight 2nd Congressional District GOP primary". WMUR. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  23. ^ "2020 State Primary Democratic State Primary". New Hampshire Department of State. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  24. ^ Gardner, William M. (November 19, 2020). "2020 General Election Results". New Hampshire Department of State. Retrieved November 22, 2020.
  25. ^ a b "Rep. Annie Kuster Defeats Pharma-Friendly Lawmaker In Bid To Lead Moderate Democrats". HuffPost. December 2, 2022. Retrieved June 2, 2024.
  26. ^ "Members". New Democrat Coalition. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  27. ^ "Membership". Congressional Arts Caucus. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  28. ^ "Members of the Veterinary Medicine Caucus". Veterinary Medicine Caucus. Archived from the original on March 27, 2019. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  29. ^ "90 Current Climate Solutions Caucus Members". Citizen´s Climate Lobby. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  30. ^ "Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute".
  31. ^ Bycoffe, Aaron; Wiederkehr, Anna (April 22, 2021). "Does Your Member Of Congress Vote With Or Against Biden?". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved November 15, 2023.
  32. ^ "Kuster Benghazi dodge video goes viral". Amelia Chasse. December 11, 2013. Retrieved August 11, 2014.
  33. ^ Parkinson, John (December 10, 2013). "Rep. Ann Kuster Appears Baffled by Benghazi Question". ABC News. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  34. ^ Brindley, Michael (February 20, 2014). "Kuster: ACA Should Be Improved, Not Repealed". New Hampshire Public Radio. Retrieved March 27, 2014.
  35. ^ Nather, David (December 26, 2013). "Ads hit vulnerable Dems on Obamacare". Politico. Retrieved March 27, 2014.
  36. ^ Sananes, Rebecca (July 21, 2017). "Welch And N.H. Rep Annie Kuster Want 'Solutions Over Politics' In Health Care Reform". VPR. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  37. ^ Fleisher, Chris. "Kuster Calls for Curbs on NSA". Valley News. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  38. ^ "Kuster, Ann McLane". Our Campaigns. Retrieved August 10, 2018.
  39. ^ The Last Dance: Facing Alzheimer's with Love and Laughter at WorldCat
  40. ^ "U.S. Rep. Kuster pays late taxes for Hopkinton home, apologizes 'for any inconvenience'". Concord Monitor. February 6, 2013. Archived from the original on February 8, 2013. Retrieved December 10, 2013.
  41. ^ Landrigan, Kevin (February 6, 2013). "Kuster pays up late taxes; Republicans still demanding explanation". The Telegraph. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  42. ^ "Kuster on late tax payments: 'Life is expensive and it caught up to us'". Union Leader. February 11, 2013. Archived from the original on October 24, 2014. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  43. ^ Nilsen, Ella. "U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster speaks out about personal experiences with sexual assault". Concord Monitor. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  44. ^ Mucha, Sarah (July 15, 2021). "Katherine Clark's friend-filled path to speaker". Axios. Retrieved January 22, 2023.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Hampshire's 2nd congressional district

Party political offices
Preceded by Chair of the New Democrat Coalition
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by United States representatives by seniority
Succeeded by