15 May Our Voices: May 2022
Commentary from Sagadahoc Democrats
Mills v. LePage: Lest We Forget
Are there differences between the tenure of Paul LePage as governor and Janet Mills in the same role? Let us count the ways.
LePage refused 5 times to expand voter-approved Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, denying thousands access to basic care while he and his wife took advantage of their healthcare coverage to have weight loss surgery while he was governor. Governor Mills enacted Medicaid expansion on her first day in office. To date, 90,000+ Mainers now have access to care that had been denied.
LePage ignored climate science and fought the expansion of solar installations at every opportunity. His interference in a contract that Norwegian energy company, Statoil, had made with the PUC caused the company to take its $2.5 billion investment in off-shore wind to the UK. Governor Mills has set the state on a path to achieve 80% of our energy needs with renewables by 2030, making Maine a leader in climate change progress.
Governor Mills brought to fruition a $40 million investment in the Lands for Maine’s future program. The Sportsmen’s Alliance characterized the program as “dangerously close to collapse” when LePage withheld $6.5 million in voter-approved LMF bonds.
Despite tragic losses from covid-19, Governor Mills has guided the state through a pandemic with some of the lowest death rates and highest vaccination rates in the country. LePage mused about how he’d handle a pandemic saying, if we “all do our part” we can avoid lockdowns, etc. No clue what that means.
But the real differences may be in tone and style, and that really matters when you need collaboration and consensus to get public policy enacted. The state is confronting issues that will take everyone at the table to solve. “My way or the highway” won’t work.
Senator Roger Katz, a Republican who served with LePage spoke of “… a legacy of missed opportunities.” LePage was “unable to sit down with well-meaning people in both parties and listen and compromise and try to get to middle ground.”
Sandy Maisel, chair of the Political Science Department at Colby said LePage made politics “personal and nasty. Maine has had tough politicians, but none demonized their opponents and the concept of public service as has Paul LePage.”
Sara Gideon, who was Speaker of the Maine House while LePage was governor felt a “period of healing would be necessary” after LePage left office, “… a shift of the culture … back to a desire to function.”
Bill Nemitz, columnist for the Portland Press Herald wrote, LePage “… repeatedly, as a matter of policy, turned his back on the people who need government the most.”
Janet Mills loves Maine and that comes through in any public speech she makes. Who remembers something positive Paul LePage said about Maine?
Lepage says he’s changed, but the phrase “lipstick on a pig” keeps coming to mind. When someone shows you who they are, believe them.
We know Paul LePage. Maine can’t afford more Paul LePage.
Mary Ann Larson
(All quotations from The Maine Monitor, December 19, 2018.)
Representative Jared Golden for Congress
Maine’s Congressman Jared Golden (D) is running for re-election in Maine’s second district. His opposition is Bruce Poliquin (R), who lost the seat to Golden in the last election. April’s newsletter contained examples of why Poliquin should not be reelected. This article will look at the same three issues we did with Poliquin: Environment, Healthcare and Tourism.
Environment: National Environmental Scorecard gave Rep. Golden a lifetime score 94%. Poliquin’s was 16%). Of over seventy votes on environmental issues, Golden voted yes on all but four and was excused for one.
Healthcare: Congressman Golden is a defender of the Affordable Care Act. He has been a champion of prioritizing lowering out-of-pocket drug costs for seniors on Medicare. He supported bills to lower prescription drug prices and bills to expand Medicare coverage, including dental, hearing and vision care.
Tourism: Along with Senator King, Golden introduced a bill to designate a Down East Heritage Area in Washington and Hancock counties. The bill recognizes the contributions of Downeast Maine’s agriculture – including blueberries, heritage fishing and forestry. There are currently 55 National Heritage areas across the country.
Congressman Golden understands how important it is to stay in touch with his constituents. He has consistently held town-hall type meetings throughout his large district. Some of the towns included are Dixfield, Farmington, East Millinocket, and Island Falls. He held a healthcare roundtable in Bangor and in Blue Hill had an open coffee-hour meeting with small business leaders. In Stonington he met with lobstermen to discuss the impact of NOAA’s proposed regulation on the lobstering community.
Congressman Golden serves on the House Armed Services Committee. He serves on the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee and the Readiness Subcommittee. He also serves on the House Small Business Committee. He is the Chairman of the Underserved, Agricultural, and Rural Business Development Subcommittee. The Congressman is a member of over twenty caucuses/task forces.
Some of the legislation he has sponsored or co-sponsored are important to the welfare of many of Maine’s citizens. They include The Careers Act, Disaster Assistance for Rural Communities, Responsible Ownership of Firearms Act of 2021 and the DHS Rural and Remote Hiring and Retention Strategy Act of 2022.
Congressman Golden and family live in Lewiston. He was in the Marine Corps infantry and served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a graduate of Bates College.
Candidate Orion Breen
Thank you Sagadahoc Dems for all the little things you do to make this an amazing place to live, and a special thanks to everyone who has made a $5 clean election contribution through www.maine.gov/cleanelections. I’m Orion Breen and I’m running to represent the new House District 98 which includes parts of Topsham, Bowdoin, and Lisbon as well as Durham and Pownal.
Neighbors helping neighbors is what makes this such a special community. Working together we make a difference on the things that really matter. Our economy and our children will be feeling the effects of the pandemic for years. The rise of mental health and substance abuse issues is literally a matter of life and death. But when we come together and really listen to one another we can come up with better answers by which we can all thrive, not just survive the challenges we are facing, and even turn them into opportunities to build stronger communities.
We need to use our heart and our head. We need compassion and fiscal responsibility. We need to make sure our tax dollars get the best return on their investment. We should constantly reevaluate our programs and rules to see if they are achieving clear goals. That’s why we need to bring everyone to the table. Even folks who don’t like a policy may have a perspective that can improve it, if we really listen to each other. Compassion doesn’t do much good without accountability, which is something embraced even in the nonprofit world.
As a volunteer with United Way, I’ve helped decide where millions of dollars are invested in the community, and every year programs are reevaluated to make sure they are on track with real data on the number of people helped and how. We should do the same in Augusta. On the chamber of commerce’s advocacy committee, I’ve helped prioritize goals of increasing the affordability of housing, childcare, transportation and energy. These are investments that will pay dividends and help businesses and families across the region, and they are morally the right thing to do.
It’s easy to get pessimistic, but just this year we saw progressive groups like the Maine People’s Alliance, environmental groups like the Natural Resources Council of Maine, and business groups like the state and regional chambers of commerce all come together in support of more affordable housing, proving that Mainers continue to come together to get things done. If elected, I will follow the pledge I took as an AmeriCorps Volunteer in Service to America: “I will get things done for America – to make our people safer, smarter, and healthier. I will bring Americans together to strengthen our communities. Faced with apathy, I will take action. Faced with conflict, I will seek common ground. Faced with adversity, I will persevere.”
Why I am Running for Office
I am running for office because I care about our community and want to see all of us, from our youngest to our oldest residents, thrive. Like many of us, I was raised to ‘leave things better than I found them’ and running for office is one of the most impactful ways I can think of to work on making things better for current and future generations of Mainers. There are many ways we can work on achieving this goal, including increasing access to healthcare, supporting and expanding education starting with universal pre-K, and addressing the impacts of climate change head on. There are many who came before me that had the political will to do meaningful work on these issues. I also have that will and intend to continue that good work. Mainers deserve to grow up and live in a healthy and safe environment – one where they will do well, where they will feel they are part of a community, and where they will have access to the resources necessary to live fulfilling and productive lives. It is our duty as responsible citizens to pave the way for future generations, just as previous generations did for each of us. Together we can keep Maine on the path of progress.
Candidate for House District 51 (Topsham)