Fergus Cullen: Relentless Rubens sets sights on Shaheen
As a freshman state senator in 1995, Rubens took on PSNH to force competition on it. Once the market was opened to other providers, Rubens fought PSNH’s efforts to get bailed out for its stranded costs. Out of office, Rubens continued working to prevent PSNH from pushing hundreds of millions in expenses for the Bow mercury scrubber onto ratepayers. Today he’s fighting PSNH on Northern Pass.
Forty years ago, it would have been hard to imagine Rubens running for Senate one day, harder still to imagine him doing so as a Republican. Guilt-ridden about his middle-class upbringing in suburban Connecticut, Rubens dropped out of Dartmouth, gave away what savings he had, and lived in a Canaan commune. “I just decided I would start without the advantages that I’d been given in life,” Rubens says of his deliberate decision to begin at the bottom. A draft number in the 300s meant he didn’t report to Vietnam while he found himself.
Instead, Rubens became a serial entrepreneur, starting and selling nearly a dozen businesses, including a pair of retail furnishings stores serving Hanover’s high-end clientele. A commercial development project nearly bankrupted him in the late 1980s, but by his early forties Rubens hit enough singles in business that, combined with a frugal lifestyle, he had achieved the financial security to live off his investments and devote himself to intellectual pursuits and public service.
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