Nov. 7, 2012 – 12:02 a.m.

113th Congress: Ann McLane Kuster, D-N.H. (2nd District)

Ann McLane Kuster says her coalition-building skills, honed over nearly three decades as a lawyer and public advocate, will be an asset in Congress.

Policy issues that top her agenda include creating jobs, finding ways to reduce the cost of health care and expanding access to financial aid for college students.

She has her eye on the Energy and Commerce Committee, where she would like to tackle health care costs and take steps to place the renewable-energy business on equal footing with the oil and gas industry. Renewable energy is big business in her sprawling district, with three wind farms, a growing residential solar market and a $275 million, 75-megawatt bioenergy plant in the northern town of Berlin.

She would also like to serve on the Education and the Workforce panel, to try to spur private-public partnerships to provide college tuition aid, and the Armed Services panel, to address the needs of her state’s significant veteran population.

Kuster stresses she is not a lifelong politician, although this was her second run for Congress and she’s been around politics all her life. Her father was a GOP mayor and an unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate in 1972, and her mother was a Republican state senator who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1980.

She vows to work across party and chamber lines, noting that she has forged alliances with Republican Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Rob Portman of Ohio. “I was born bipartisan,” she says.