Sen. Sylvia B. Larsen is serving her tenth term representing District 15 which includes the state’s capital City of Concord, along with Henniker, Hopkinton and Warner. For the 2013-14 session, she is the Vice Chairman of the Capital Budget Committee and is also a member of the Senate Finance and Joint Fiscal Committees.
Sylvia serves as Senate Minority Leader and was New Hampshire’s longest serving female Senate President from 2006-2010. For two of those years, 2008-2010, she led the nation’s first legislative body to include a majority of women with 13 female senators elected to the 24 member body.
In the course of her 20 years in the Senate, Larsen was the prime sponsor of a first-in-the-nation tax-free college tuition savings plan, the Unique Plan. She sponsored laws establishing the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP), Healthy Kids and workforce housing opportunities. More recently, she co-sponsored legislation to raise the high school dropout age, to ban the burning of demolition debris, to establish a research and development tax credit for business, establish a state code of ethics and to reinstate the state’s job training fund, including a Pathway to Work program for unemployed persons establishing self-employment.
Her legislative priorities include funding education, to include higher education; promoting job growth; expanding workforce housing; establishing affordable health care; safeguarding our environment; and advancing property-tax relief.
Larsen served as the Senate’s representative for 10 years to the New Hampshire Children’s Trust Fund and the Healthy Kids Corporation. In addition, she was chairwoman of the New Hampshire College Tuition Savings Plan Commission for many years, a member of the Land and Community Heritage Commission and the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium Commission. She also served on the New Hampshire Workforce Opportunity Council, and the New Hampshire Youth Council.
In 2007, Larsen was named Outstanding Legislator of the Year by the New Hampshire Association of Counties. In 2008, she was one of three senators recognized as Legislators of the Year by the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of New Hampshire. She also received the New Hampshire Award to End Homelessness in 2008. Her successful efforts 10 years ago to establish the Unique college savings program led the New Hampshire College and University Council to recognize her with a New Hampshire Higher Education Partnership Award in 2007. She also was named Democratic Legislator of the Year in 2007 by the New Hampshire Social Workers Association. Other honors include the Woman of Achievement Award by the Business and Professional Women’s Association of Concord, as well as the Dunfey-Kanteres Award for exemplary service to the people of New Hampshire and the 2007 Woman of Distinction Award for New Hampshire Remarkable Women.
Larsen served the City of Concord as a councilor-at-large from 1989 to 1998. In that capacity, she was a member of the Economic Development, the Solid Waste and the Fiscal Goals committees, and was chairwoman of the Community Development Advisory Committee.
In addition to her responsibilities in the Senate, Larsen was co-chairwoman of the Capitol Center for the Arts capital campaign drive and the Concord Boys and Girls Club Teen Center drive. She served on the Concord Regional Development Corporation, and is an incorporator of the Merrimack County Savings Bank. Larsen is past-chair of Families in Transition-Concord Advisory Board. Past participation on boards also include service as a trustee of Concord Hospital and as president of Bancroft Products Inc.
A graduate of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Larsen worked for seven years in the Wisconsin state Senate. In New Hampshire, she served as the legislative liaison for Gov. Hugh Gallen. Past professional experience includes positions with the New Hampshire Historical Society, the New Hampshire Disability Council and the New Hampshire Council on World Affairs.
Larsen and her husband, Robert, live in Concord. They have two adult children.