Jenn Coffey Works To Make A Difference

By Jennifer Coffey

People who read Larry Chase’s letter in the last issue of the Beacon might gather that I am an amateur author with a penchant for preserving our rights as parents, as individuals, and as a nation. Like the generations before us, I learned from my parents and grandparents that government is not here to meet my every need, but instead is here to provide common services and serve as a safety net for those suddenly finding they are unable to care for themselves.

Some of us own a gun for hunting or protection and some a knife meant for a particular or maybe even a peculiar purpose. Hopefully, you learned my focus in the state legislature is on creating jobs, enhancing services, and improving medical care.

Mr. Chase’s critique of my book, Knives, Lipstick, and Liberty, was sort of welcome, but may I remind you all that I am an amateur writer. [See an excerpt from Jenn’s book on page ??.] I would like to think everyone would enjoy the book, but I am a realist who knows you cannot please all of the people with every chapter. I truly wish he had understood I was conveying a personal story of a woman who has faced cancer and won and how that fight showed me how important it is to be involved in life, including our government and how it works.

My interest in knives came about from my injury at a rescue scene, the proper knife tool unavailable because of a law passed in the 1950s. I am proud the bill to make knives used as tools had bipartisan support. I am proud that it passed the House and Senate unanimously and was signed into law by Governor Lynch. But I think this bill was minor compared to others I had worked on, and I never expected it to gain national attention.

The book does include a description of how the Free State Project reminded my family of what a great state New Hampshire is and why my grandfather graduated from Woodsville High School. New Hampshire was chosen as the “Free State” because it is a place where people can live without being overly burdened by intrusive government – a far cry from my native state of Massachusetts, with all its taxes and restrictions.

Mr. Chase missed bills I have submitted, co-sponsored, and promoted in my four years in the New Hampshire legislature. I worked to stop the early release of violent offenders, like rapists and violent predators, back onto our streets. There are bills on healthcare, protection for healthcare workers, and expanding treatment options where decisions are made by the patient. I stood against bills such as the so called “early offer” bill that takes advantage of the poor; also against the bill that sought to interfere with end-of-life care; and the bill to force women seeking abortions to watch a government-created video to name a few that had direct impacts on the lives of those I represent.

I sponsored a bill to generate jobs by streamlining the process of starting and running a business and a bill to stop the Department of Revenue Administration from burdening small businesses with unnecessary and redundant forms. Groups like the National Federation of Independent Business and the New Hampshire Save America’s Free Enterprise Trust Committee have taken note of my efforts to help the small businesses, and they have endorsed my re-election.

I have a bill request currently to expand mental healthcare, which is in crisis in this state.

If there is one thing I have discovered in the four years I have served in the New Hampshire House, it is that there is still much left to do, more work to be done to keep New Hampshire a safe and successful state in which to live, which can only be done if we work together.

I have never seen being a volunteer as a 9-to-5 job. (And the legislature is volunteer work; we get paid $100 a year.) My cell number is 748-1985, and I am always available to listen, to assist, or to work on an issue. If I don’t answer, please leave me a message; I always return my calls. If you prefer to write, send me an e-mail at

The message I hope people can take from my book and from my service in the legislature is that no matter what comes our way, we have the ability to make a difference. Whether great or small, we all have the ability to leave it a little better than we found it.