Rocks and Dinosaurs

In 1981, Mindi Messmer enrolled at Syracuse University and started to study computer science. Soon told her mother that this particular major was not for her.  “Well,” said her mother, “You’ve always liked rocks.”  And so Mindi switched her major to geology. 

Mindi graduated from Syracuse in 1985 and went on to study bedrock geology at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.

In 1988 Mindi started to work in the environmental science field.  She continued to work in that field starting her own woman-owned business in 1998.  

Later that year, Mindi's son Justin was born and in 2002 Mindi's son Kegan was born. Working at home in her own business afforded Mindi the opportunity to keep up with the needs of her family and her business at the same time.

In 2013, Mindi decided to try classes at Georgetown University to better understand how toxins impact public health.  She enrolled and graduated with an M.S. Degree in Clinical and Translational Science in May 2018.

Cancer Cluster

In early 2014,  Kegan Messmer, ten, of Rye, NH, told his mother that kids in his elementary school were getting sick.  Really sick.  One of the boys had leukemia and others had cancer.  Kegan’s mom, environmental consultant Mindi Messmer, had recently enrolled in a graduate program in epidemiology at Georgetown University.  She was taking classes remotely, visiting the Washington, DC, campus about once a month.  

Mindi was alarmed by Kegan’s news. It seemed to her an unusually high concentration of childhood cancer cases for such a small area.  She talked with friends who were equally concerned.  Four cases of a rare childhood soft-tissue cancer, rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), come to light.  The women suspected that the cause of the outbreak was environmental.

Mindi investigated further.  Based on her research, in March 2014, she contacted the State of New Hampshire Cancer Registry, based at Dartmouth University’s Geisel School of Medicine, and reported the cancer cluster in Rye.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a greater-than-expected number of cases of the same type of cancer, occurring in a limited geographical area over a limited period of time, comprises a cluster.

The Cluster 

From 1972 to 1982 the Coakley Landfill, a 27-acre site located in the towns of Northampton and Greenland, abutting Rye, accepted municipal and industrial waste products from surrounding towns.  When this practice was discontinued, the site was used for disposal of incinerator residue from the Pease Air Force Base.  As early as 1979, residents of properties near the landfill complained to the state about the poor quality of their well water; in December of 1983, the Superfund National Priorities List, which tracks known releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants throughout the United States and its territories, identified the following “substances of concern” (read: carcinogens) at the landfill: benzene, tetrachloroethene, arsenic, 2-butanone, phenol, diethyl phthalate, chlorobenzene, dichloroethane, chromium and nickel.  In 1989 the landfill was declared a source of contamination in local surface waters, groundwater and, to an unknown extent, in wetlands to the west.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s website, “The primary source of contamination is the landfill. VOCs and metals are the primary contaminants. On- and off-site surface water and groundwater are contaminated. The site is located on a groundwater/surface water divide, and residential wells to the south, southeast and northeast are contaminated with low levels of VOCs. Residential and commercial areas surround the site.” https://cumulis.epa.gov/superc... 

On February 11, 2016, two years after Mindi Messmer voiced her concerns to the New Hampshire Cancer Registry, Mindi and another mother were called to the Rye Library, where state epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan told them that, in fact, cases of children with cancer were occurring at a higher-than-expected rate in Rye, Portsmouth, North Hampton, Greenland, and New Castle.  But the NH Department of Health and Human Services said no action would be taken because the cause of the outbreak could not be definitively determined.

A month later, speaking to Rye residents gathered at the Rye Elementary School, Dr. Chan repeated that a high number of cases had occurred in the five towns in close proximity to the Coakley Landfill, from which, according to the EPA, the various carcinogens listed above had leaked.  

On the evening of Tuesday, March 15, 2016—two years after Mindi Messmer voiced her concerns to the New Hampshire Cancer Registry, state epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan told a gathering of residents at the Rye Elementary School that, indeed, an unusually high number of cases of RMS had occurred in the five towns in close proximity to the Coakley Landfill, from which, according to the EPA, the various carcinogens listed above had leaked.  

Residents at the meeting expressed concern about the Coakley Landfill.

But Dr. Chan repeated that no action would be taken because the cause of the cluster could not be definitively identified.

Not everyone was convinced.

Activism 

In 2016, then-New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan, a resident of nearby Exeter quickly created a Task Force on the Seacoast Cancer Cluster.  The governor appointed Mindi to the task force.  Later it was converted to a commission.  It is work is still ongoing.

Among those who were impressed by Mindi’s work on the cluster issue was State Rep. Dr. Tom Sherman of Rye.  Sherman, who had decided to run for a seat in the State Senate, urged Mindi to run for his open seat.  

She told him he was nuts.  She told him she was a mom, a scientist, a business owner, but not a politician.  He told her, “We need more scientists in policy-making.  

She ran.  She won. She was the top vote-getter in the district.

In less than two years, she has (fill in a short list of activities). And she has continued to seek justice and closure to the families of cancer sufferers who live in close proximity to the Coakley Landfill.

The Next Chapter

Last fall, after U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH announced that she would not run for re-election, Mindi considered entering the race to succeed her.  

She examined the makeup of the current Congress and noted that the great majority of its members were lawyers or businessmen.

You could count the number of scientists on one hand and have fingers left over.

During her time in the State House Mindi has effectively advocated for an increase in the minimum wage; reproductive rights; gender equality; universal health care; expanded Social Security, and a range of environmental issued based on her conviction that every American has the right to clean air and clean water.  

She determined that, in one way or another, a scientist’s perspective would enrich the conversations about each of these issues on the national level.

On November 14, 2017, she announced her candidacy.  

She has been working hard running a grassroots campaign ever since.

check out the campaign website: www.mindiforcongress.com

facebook: @mindi4congress

twitter: @mindi4congress

Donate to the campaign: https://secure.actblue.com/don...


Show your support for this campaign by endorsing it and sharing why!

  • endorsed

    “Mindi is a truly extra-ordinary individual. She combines an extensive knowledge of scientific and technical concepts with a deep desire to help solve "people problems" and "community problems". Those skills are quite rare to be combined in one individual, let alone in an individual that is committed to serve our best public interests as a politician. We can't let those rare gifts and skills get away in a time when our difficult scientific and technical issues of health, environmental contamination, and survival scream out for someone with Mindi's skills and expertise . She deserves our complete support to be elected to New Hampshire's 1st Congressional District in the primary election September 11th, and in the general election in November.”

  • endorsed

    “I support Mindi Messmer because of her dedication to clean water, appropriate regulations regarding contamination and accountability of polluters.”

  • endorsed

    “Mindi Messmer is a passionate advocate and a seasoned fighter for the principles I care most about - womens' rights and reproductive choice, public health and environmental protection, universal health care, common sense gun safety laws, LGBTQ rights, labor rights, and economic justice. As a scientist, she knows the importance of making evidence-based policy choices. As a legislator, she is well-respected by Democrats and Republicans and knows how to reach across party lines to find common ground. She refuses to take SuperPAC money because she has seen the powerful influence wielded by national and state lobbyists and her vote is not for sale. She has deep connections to New Hampshire and is the most worthy successor to Carol Shea-Porter in the first congressional district. Join me in supporting her grassroots, people-powered campaign and help send her to Washington!”

  • endorsed

    “She's a smart and passionate and works for proactive improvement.”

  • endorsed

    “Just spend one minute with Mindi and you will understand. Or listen to her at a meeting, making a presentation. Sure, Mindi is a scientist and she knows her stuff...but her message - what she cares about - are the things we care about. She cares about giving kids a healthy environment and a great education and the decent healthcare they deserve; she cares about protecting senior citizens. Her message is delivered with profound empathy. Yeah, she's smarter than most, she knows the issues better than most...but, unlike most politicians, she never condescends. And, boy, when she discovers that our kids are in harm's way...watch out! She will raise hell on earth...and goodness knows, we could use a few more hell-raisers in Congress...I believe Mindi and I believe in her. She's my choice. Take a hard look at her. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. An amazing person who will protect what we care about. She's the one.”

  • endorsed

    “Mindi's views and legislative successes, based in both scientific expertise and citizen common sense, have protected people's rights, by protecting what these rights ultimately trace back to--our ecosystems and our equal access to opportunity.”

  • endorsed

    “Because she has already proven herself as a warrior for Economic, Social, Racial and Environmental Justice and is going to take the Political Revolution that Bernie Sanders started to the U.S. House of Representatives!”

  • endorsed

    “Mindi fights for change that will benefit not just the here & now but the future as well. She has been and will continue to fight for issues that have long term, lasting impact on our future generations.”

  • endorsed

    “We need to have policy makers who understand science!”

  • endorsed

    “We need clear headed science people making policies!”

December 28, 2017

EPA's Pruitt Slap in the Face to Vets

New Hampshire has the highest rate of breast cancer in the country. We also have the first double pediatric cancer cluster in the history of New Hampshire in the Seacoast area.  Children have higher than expected rates of brain and central nervous system cancers in the seacoast. We have a problem. 

EPA’s Pruitt is delaying bans of 3 hazardous chemicals despite clear directives from Congress for him to act to protect public health. One of the three, TCE, poisoned 900,000 veterans at Camp Lejeune and pollutes the water at Pease Air Force Base. EPA, IARC, and our National Toxicology Program have all classified TCE as a known human carcinogen. TCE is one of the most prevalent chemicals found at Superfund sites across America including Pease.This decision by the Trump administration indicates a complete reversal of President Trump's promise to our military members and veterans. 

Right now, there is only one scientist, Bill Foster, in Congress who says he’s “lonely” fighting against changes to EPA that will cause “damage long-term” to the Agency. It’s going to take a lot of work to fight against and unravel what is being done to EPA.  

MSgt. Ensminger says this about my candidacy for the CD-1 seat:

"In this era of "science denying" by elected members of our United States Congress, it is imperative that we fight back and elect candidates who believe in science. Mindi Messmer not only believes in science...she is a scientist. It is time for sanity and honesty to reclaim our Congress. Let's do our part by sending Mindi Messmer to represent New Hampshire's 1st Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives." – J. M. Ensminger, MSgt, USMC (Retired)

 

In Congress, I will fight to keep regulations meant to protect us and restore the EPA. But, I need your help to reach the fundraising goal by the end of December.  Please, give $27, $50 or more right now - or whatever you can spare by December 31- to help send me to Congress so I can use my experience to fight for the health of our families and children and for generations to come.

Thank you for joining the fight,

Mindi

Back to all updates

Show your support for this campaign by endorsing it and sharing why!

  • endorsed

    “Mindi is a truly extra-ordinary individual. She combines an extensive knowledge of scientific and technical concepts with a deep desire to help solve "people problems" and "community problems". Those skills are quite rare to be combined in one individual, let alone in an individual that is committed to serve our best public interests as a politician. We can't let those rare gifts and skills get away in a time when our difficult scientific and technical issues of health, environmental contamination, and survival scream out for someone with Mindi's skills and expertise . She deserves our complete support to be elected to New Hampshire's 1st Congressional District in the primary election September 11th, and in the general election in November.”

  • endorsed

    “I support Mindi Messmer because of her dedication to clean water, appropriate regulations regarding contamination and accountability of polluters.”

  • endorsed

    “Mindi Messmer is a passionate advocate and a seasoned fighter for the principles I care most about - womens' rights and reproductive choice, public health and environmental protection, universal health care, common sense gun safety laws, LGBTQ rights, labor rights, and economic justice. As a scientist, she knows the importance of making evidence-based policy choices. As a legislator, she is well-respected by Democrats and Republicans and knows how to reach across party lines to find common ground. She refuses to take SuperPAC money because she has seen the powerful influence wielded by national and state lobbyists and her vote is not for sale. She has deep connections to New Hampshire and is the most worthy successor to Carol Shea-Porter in the first congressional district. Join me in supporting her grassroots, people-powered campaign and help send her to Washington!”

  • endorsed

    “She's a smart and passionate and works for proactive improvement.”

  • endorsed

  • endorsed

    “Just spend one minute with Mindi and you will understand. Or listen to her at a meeting, making a presentation. Sure, Mindi is a scientist and she knows her stuff...but her message - what she cares about - are the things we care about. She cares about giving kids a healthy environment and a great education and the decent healthcare they deserve; she cares about protecting senior citizens. Her message is delivered with profound empathy. Yeah, she's smarter than most, she knows the issues better than most...but, unlike most politicians, she never condescends. And, boy, when she discovers that our kids are in harm's way...watch out! She will raise hell on earth...and goodness knows, we could use a few more hell-raisers in Congress...I believe Mindi and I believe in her. She's my choice. Take a hard look at her. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. An amazing person who will protect what we care about. She's the one.”

  • endorsed

    “Mindi's views and legislative successes, based in both scientific expertise and citizen common sense, have protected people's rights, by protecting what these rights ultimately trace back to--our ecosystems and our equal access to opportunity.”

  • endorsed

  • endorsed

    “Because she has already proven herself as a warrior for Economic, Social, Racial and Environmental Justice and is going to take the Political Revolution that Bernie Sanders started to the U.S. House of Representatives!”

  • endorsed

    “Mindi fights for change that will benefit not just the here & now but the future as well. She has been and will continue to fight for issues that have long term, lasting impact on our future generations.”

  • endorsed

    “We need to have policy makers who understand science!”

  • endorsed

    “We need clear headed science people making policies!”

  • endorsed

  • endorsed

  • endorsed

    “I support Mindi Messmer because she is a passionate advocate for safe drinking water and a clean environment.”

  • endorsed

    “Mindi has true interest in the welfare of the people of NH and of the environment--the common good.”

  • endorsed

    “I endorse Mindi Messmer because she generally is concerned about clean water in NH and the health of the citizens and really understands the science.”

  • endorsed

    “I am endorsing Mindi because we need more scientists, clear-thinkers, and progressives in Congress.”

  • endorsed

    “Her voice is needed in Washington.”

  • endorsed

    “A Scientist - An IDEAL Politician! Thank you for working so hard to ensure clean air and water for NH citizens!”

  • endorsed

  • endorsed

    “Always ready to endorse an environmental candidate.”