Kelly Ayotte’s tenure on Caterpillar board marked by over 2,000 jobs offshored

Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte thanks supporters Wednesday morning, Nov. 9, 2016, after telling them her race with Democratic challenger for Senate, Gov. Maggie Hassan was too close to call in Concord, N.H. She joined the board of Caterpillar after losing the seat. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

By Colin Booth

May 6, 2024

During her six-year stint on the board of directors for Caterpillar Inc. following her failed 2016 Senate re-election bid, leading 2024 Republican candidate for New Hampshire governor Kelly Ayotte presided over the offshoring of 2,014 American jobs, including over 1,500 to China.

This aggressive pursuit of offshoring strategies occurred while Ayotte served as chair of the Sustainability and Other Public Policy Committee at the company, where she advised on trade policy and international trade negotiations — a committee that would have likely been involved in such policy.

Ayotte collected compensation totaling over $1.6 million in salary and stock during this period.

Multiple records from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance paint a clear picture of the human cost of these corporate decisions, with thousands of jobs from across the country being shifted overseas under Ayotte’s watch.

This offshoring activity benefitting large corporations at the expense of American workers is particularly notable when juxtaposed with Ayotte’s voting record in the U.S. Senate.

Throughout her legislative career, Ayotte consistently voted against measures designed to disincentivize offshoring, opposing legislation that would end tax deductions for companies offshoring jobs and voting against providing assistance to workers displaced by such corporate strategies.

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In September 2011 Ayotte voted against renewing an aid and retraining program for workers who lost their jobs due to outsourcing, known as Trade Adjustment Assistance. She voted against the program again in 2015.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who also served in the Senate at the time, voted in favor of the measure.

In July 2012 Ayotte played a pivotal role in killing a senate bill that would give tax breaks for companies that “insource” jobs to the U.S. from overseas while eliminating tax deductions for companies that move jobs abroad.

She voted against the program again in 2014 with a similar outcome.

In April 2017 Caterpillar shut down a plant in Aurora, Illinois that employed 800, shifting a number of those jobs overseas.Similar actions were taken in other U.S. locations, including Victoria, Texas.

State Representative Brian Sullivan, ranking Democrat on the House Labor Committee, said the dissonance between Ayotte’s profiting from a corporation that offshored thousands of jobs and her legislative stance against measures to protect American workers from such offshoring should be concerning to working families.

“It is distressing to have somebody running for governor who does not seem to have respect for the American workers,”Sullivan said. “And certainly, one would expect a governor would be supporting New Hampshire workers, United States workers, rather than favoring the movement of these jobs overseas.”


  • Colin Booth

    Based in Epsom, Colin Booth is Granite Post's political correspondent. A Granite State native and veteran political professional with a deep background in journalism, he's worked on campaigns and programs in battleground states across the country, ranging from New Hampshire, Texas, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C.

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