Perkins Kwoka has abortion and clean energy on his mind for upcoming legislative sessions – The New Hampshire

Rebecca Perkins Kwoka will once again serve as New Hampshire State Senator for District 21 in Strafford County, running unopposed in this year’s election. The 40-year-old is looking forward to representing the people of Durham, Lee, Madbury, Newmarket, Portsmouth, Newfield, Newington and New Castle in the upcoming 2022-24 legislative sessions.

When Perkins Kwoka first ran for the Senate in 2020, her campaign focused heavily on the state’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, which included visiting small businesses to analyze where they were. needed support and to ensure that those who had lost their jobs had adequate housing. But as a progressive lawmaker in what should be a Republican-majority Senate, Perkins Kwoka will focus this session on the fight for statewide abortion care, diving deeper into the future of energies renewable and advocating for increased student benefits such as access to mental health resources. and student debt reduction.

Growing up in Stratham, New Hampshire, Perkins Kwoka always knew she would dedicate some of her life to the state she holds so close to her heart, but she never imagined becoming a state senator. . Before running for the job in 2020, Perkins Kwoka’s activism led her to Portsmouth City Council, where for six years she learned the ropes of public policy. A self-proclaimed nerd, Perkins Kwoka said one of the reasons she fell in love with policy-making was all the new information she is constantly exposed to, saying she likes to approach her position as a big “business opportunity”. ‘learning”.

“I’m just a person who likes to gather information, assimilate it, process it, ask questions and that’s all you really need. It helps me to know a lot about housing and energy, but there are a lot of things we legislate on. You really have to be prepared to educate yourself,” Perkins Kwoka said.

One of Perkins Kwoka’s biggest priorities for the 2023 legislative session is to continue his advocacy for abortion rights.

After New Hampshire’s first 24-week abortion ban was passed in the 2021 state budget, Perkins Kwoka became the primary sponsor of the abortion care access bill, SB 436, which was written to codify Roe v. Wade in New Hampshire Law. The bill failed in the Senate on a 12-12 vote.

Despite his opposition in the state senate, Pekins Kwoka continues to work for the repeal of all restrictions on abortion care and a woman’s right to choose. As a mother of two, who was ironically 24 weeks pregnant when the ban was passed, Perkins Kwoka firmly believes that “mothers and their primary caregivers are in the best position to make decisions about their bodies and those of their children. Not politicians.

“I watched it all [anti-abortion] bills are progressing, I testified against them in committee, I tried to contribute my personal experience, but they still came through the house, and [the bill] went through the Senate floor in the budget,” Perkins Kwoka said. “It’s been a sad thing to be involved, but it’s also made me very grateful to be finishing up as a state senator right now and having the voice that I do in Congress.”

In addition to using his legislative voice to fight for access to abortion care, Perkins Kwoka also plans to promote the use of renewable energy in New Hampshire.

When not in the Senate or busy raising his two daughters alongside his wife, Perkins Kwoka works as a clean energy lawyer and is currently Vice President of ReWild Renewables, a solar development company that strives to reduce fossil fuels through solar energy farms. . As someone who has dedicated his professional life to working with renewable energy, Perkins Kwoka intends to use that experience to advocate for policies regarding a statewide transition to cleaner energy.

Perkins Kwoka said some of the hard-hitting things she’s seen adopted in other states, like Massachusetts and Maine, are stretch targets and renewable energy purchases, which the New Hampshire legislature doesn’t. hasn’t paid attention yet.

“A clear statement setting out those energy goals is very important,” she said. “So [little renewable companies in this industry] can do their jobs better and can say, ‘Okay, that’s what’s happening in New Hampshire, and that’s how we can work with them.’

Another thing Perkins Kwoka would like to see addressed by the Senate this session is student debt, which she says is a difficult topic to discuss in a Republican-dominated legislative body.

“There aren’t a lot of opportunities to meaningfully tackle student debt,” she said. She thinks the most effective way for the state to alleviate student debt would be to increase public funding for New Hampshire’s university system.

“[New Hampshire] currently funds eight to 10% of the university system budget, which is 49% in the country in percentage terms. This leaves the rest of these funds to be borne by students and others. It would therefore be ideal to reduce costs for our students,” said Perkins Kwoka.

As for how she plans to achieve these goals, Perkins Kwoka says it all depends on the outcome of the November 8 election. Even if Democrats don’t take over the House and Senate, she says she’ll continue to push forward more progressive bills and seek bipartisan consensus, noting that even as a minority freshman senator, she still has been able to get 20 of his 30 sponsored bills. past.

“It’s tough. There are things you can compromise on; there are things you can’t. It doesn’t matter who’s sitting in those [Senate] seats, it won’t change whether I’m going to introduce bills in Congress, but it will change whether or not I can do it,” she said.

Although she is running unopposed, Perkins Kwoka is encouraging people to go to the polls and vote Democratic if they want to lead New Hampshire to a more prosperous future.

“People want to be happy and free in their lives, and right now we’re in a situation where people feel tied down by the cost of housing, health issues, lack of childcare and low wages. “, she said. “We need to stop acting like every problem solves itself. I think the Democrats will; I don’t think the Republicans will.

For students looking for more information on how to vote in the upcoming November 8 election, 603 Frontoffers information on their website. Students can also access more information on how to vote by visiting the University of New Hampshire Voting Page.