State Rep. Richard “Dick” Ames, D-Jaffrey, became the first elected official in New Hampshire to endorse Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris Tuesday.

Ames, in his fourth term and the vice chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said Harris’ debate performance last week proved “she is the candidate we need in this moment, and I’m proud to announce my endorsement,” according to a news release from the Harris campaign.

“Kamala is the best possible candidate to go up against Donald Trump in a general election. She is focusing her campaign on the issues that keep Americans up at night ...,” Ames went on to say in the release. “Kamala also understands the existential threat of climate change, and will treat the crisis with the urgency it deserves.”

Ames also praised Harris’ education plan, which the campaign said would give a 23 percent raise to New Hampshire teachers, on average, according to a 2017 study from the Economic Policy Institute.

Ames is one of two Democratic state representatives serving Dublin, Harrisville, Jaffrey and Roxbury in Cheshire House District 9.

Another early Granite State endorsement of Harris came from former New Hampshire Democratic Party chairman Joe Keefe last week.

Ahead of the candidate’s return to the Granite State July 14, Harris’ New Hampshire Communications Director Nate Evans said Ames’ endorsement is a sign of growing support for the California senator in the first-in-the-nation primary.

“We are very excited that Senator Harris’s impressive debate performance is resonating with key Granite State leaders like Representative Ames. There is a huge amount of enthusiasm for Harris around New Hampshire, and it is clear that Harris’s real, tangible solutions to problems facing Granite Staters are resonating.”

Jake Lahut can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1435, or jlahut@keenesentinel.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JakeLahut.