New Hampshire: Depression and Diversification

Depression and Diversification

The Great Depression of the 1930s severely dislocated the state's economy, especially in the one-industry towns. The effort made then to broaden economic activities has been continually intensified. The recent establishment of important new industries such as electronics has successfully counterbalanced the departure to other states of older industries such as textiles.

In the 1980s, New Hampshire produced many new jobs and had one of the fastest growing economies in the United States. The state benefits from its close proximity to the Boston metropolitan area with its many high-technology firms, but when Massachusetts experiences a recession like that of the late 1980s and early 90s, New Hampshire is similarly affected.

After decades of Republican control of the governorship, Democrat Jeanne Shaheen was elected governor in 1996, serving two additional terms, and then was elected to the U.S. Senate (2009- ), the first Democrat from the state to serve in that body since 1981. The Republicans briefly held the governor's office again (Craig Benson, 2003-05), but then Democrat John Lynch (2005-13) narrowly defeated Benson. Democrat Maggie Hassan (2013-17) left office shortly before the end of her second term after being elected to the U.S Senate, making her and Shaheen the only two women to be elected both their state's governor and Senator. Moderate Republican Chris Sununu is the current governor (2017- ), now in his third term in office.

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