“It’s time for Americans to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again. People working from home may feel safe to start returning to the office. »
Those were the words of State of the Union President Joe Biden three weeks ago, but the message apparently did not reach U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (DN.H.). She is one of a handful of senators who still keep her Washington, DC office closed to the public.
The junior Granite State senator’s locked doors were first spotted by the Washington Free Beacon, which published a photo of Hassan’s locked office in the Hart Senate Office Building.
“A Washington Free Beacon investigation after Biden’s speech found that many Democratic offices were completely closed and unstaffed, with several displaying signs that they were not returning to work due to COVID-19,” it said. -he brings back.
On Tuesday, a New Hampshire Journal reporter called Hassan’s office and asked if the office was open. The person who answered the phone was unable to answer the question and had to consult a colleague before confirming that the office is closed to the general public. Visits are permitted by appointment only.
When asked why the staff member was unable to answer. “It’s just office policies that we have, I don’t have answers as to why.”
The reporter was transferred to a staff member who only identified herself as “Emily” and refused to answer why Hassan’s office is still closed to the public.
“The policy is you need a date,” Emily said. When asked why, she replied, “Because we only accept dates.”
This is a very different policy than that of Sen. Lindsey Graham (RS.C.) where, according to communications director Kevin Bishop, “Our offices in DC and South Carolina are open. We are all here. We meet constituents every day.
And Free Beacon reporter Matthew Foldi, who walked through the legislative office buildings, said he had no problem walking the halls and snapping pictures of the doors of congressional offices. “The Hart building was open. Joe Manchin’s office, for example, was full when I walked by.
While Hassan’s employees declined to answer the question, fellow Democrats who also keep their offices closed to the public say it’s in response to COVID fears.
According to the Free Beacon.
“In an effort to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria, Senator Sanders’ office is closed to the public,” the sign reads.
Hassan has several offices in New Hampshire, Manchester, Nashua, Concord, Portsmouth and Berlin. None of these offices have opening hours listed and the phone numbers go directly to the same voicemail. Hassan’s press team did not respond to an email asking about the New Hampshire offices.
Thanks to Biden’s plummeting polls, Hassan faces a tough re-election environment next year. Closing offices and refusing to respond to basic media requests could fuel her opponents’ narrative that she is an absentee U.S. senator who avoids tough questions.
“Hide Hassan”, tweeted an RNC spokesperson in response to the Free Beacon story.
GOP challenger Kevin Smith is already raising the question.
“As City Manager (of Londonderry) I fired all the staff and reopened the Town Hall in June 2020,” Smith said. “As the next U.S. senator, this office will once again be open to serve the people.”
Another Republican candidate, State Sen. Chuck Morse (R-Salem), said Hassan’s decision to close up shop shows she is incapable of fighting for New Hampshire.
“Maggie Hassan’s continued decision to keep her Senate office closed highlights her inability to fight for New Hampshire and our 603 Way,” Morse said. “Make no mistake – when I am in the United States Senate, we will keep our office open and I will never stop serving my constituents.”
Smith has previously accused Hassan of being an “absent senator”, saying she was unavailable as Londonderry navigated the pandemic.
“We have heard from Senator Jeanne Shaheen several times. We haven’t heard Maggie Hassan once in two years ask how Londonderry is doing during the pandemic,” Smith said.
Hassan disputes this, telling WMUR that she was in frequent contact with people across the state, including some in Londonderry.
“I participated in roundtables and was in constant contact with municipal leaders, mayors and municipal managers from across the state. Sometimes those round tables included people from Londonderry,” she said.
But not, apparently, in his office.