12 Apr Our Voices: March 2023
Hello, Newsletter readers. Welcome back to the Sagadahoc Democrats newsletter. Your newsletter team have taken a break since the November elections. But we’re back and we’ll be here mid-month, every month moving forward.
In “normal times” March of an off-cycle year would mean things are quiet and there is little to do politically. But as we’ve come to know, we are no longer in “normal.” Even though only a few candidates have officially announced that they are running for President in 2024, it feels like we are well into the presidential election cycle. The culture wars continue to escalate and there is no sign that this will let up. And there are so many fundamental issues to be addressed – climate change, gun reform, women’s healthcare rights, voter protection, childcare, education, equal rights, economic issues, protecting Medicare and Social Security—just to name a few.
You told us back in our January 2022 brainstorming session that you are a Democrat because:
- You want to elect leaders with democratic values
- Democrats have progressive ideas
- We have a shared sense of purpose
- Dems work for all the people, not just a few
And that you are a member of the Sagadahoc Democrats because:
- Local political work is important
- We are an incredible community, and we get things done
- It’s important to be active if we are to preserve a democratic way of life
- We are responsible for the future
- We are welcoming and are excellent cooks 😉
Because there is so much at stake and so many critical issues, now is the time for us to mobilize, build our ranks and ensure that we are prepared for 2024. This is where YOU come in! This is where we ALL come in: to engage, but also encourage our friends, neighbors, and family to join us in supporting democrats and democratic values.
What can you do to get involved and engage others?
- Mark your calendar for our new “Conversations with Voters” monthly sessions. These will occur the third Saturday of every month. Join us on Saturday, March 18th at 10am at the Topsham office for our first session.
- Rep. Becky Jauch will be speaking about childcare and the childcare bill she has in this session. Coffee and snacks will be served. And please feel free to bring a friend!
- Bring a friend to the Spring Social. Mark your calendar! Our Spring social will be held on May 7, 2023 from 2-4 at the West Bath Grange. Garrett Martin from Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP) will be speaking.
- Do you like to plan events? Join our events planning committee and bring your creative events planning spirit to life! We need your help with our Spring Social
- We all love interacting with people: We’re Democrats! Volunteer to staff the Sagadahoc Dems office.
- Are you great at organizing and posting on social media? We are looking for a social media coordinator.
- Do you have experience with Mailchimp? You could become our next Mailchimp czar 😉
- Are you a terrific writer? We would love to have you write an article for the newsletter or write a Letter to the Editor on a topic that is important to you. This is your chance to share your views!
Let’s focus on bringing more people to our ranks and getting more people engaged throughout 2023 so that we can hit the ground running for the 2024 elections!
To volunteer, please email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Maine Needs Meaningful Public and Private Investment in Childcare
The conversations in Maine lately have focused on our state’s workforce shortage. We have the nation’s oldest population and as more people leave the workforce, we are finding we do not have enough young people to fill those workforce vacancies. Most everyone agrees that the housing shortage is one of the major obstacles to attracting young people to our state. I would argue the other big issue is childcare.
Our state’s childcare shortages are the result of several factors, most notably a lack of childcare providers and the difficulty parents have in affording childcare. This is not a problem specific to Maine, but it is one we are feeling keenly and one that needs to be addressed immediately. Childcare workers are a historically underpaid and undervalued sector of the workforce. Traditionally low wages make it hard to attract workers to the field, in turn leading to fewer childcare providers and fewer slots in childcare centers. Childcare workers deserve higher wages, but many families cannot afford to pay higher childcare fees. When families are already struggling to pay for housing, utilities, and basic necessities like food, childcare often becomes the expense that can’t be met. This keeps some parents out of the workforce entirely or forces other parents to try and cobble together friends and family to provide childcare – a system that can quickly become unreliable, inconsistent, and more of a stress than a help.
The lack of affordable, quality childcare is something that affects many Maine families and dissuades young families from moving to our state. We cannot ask families to pay more for childcare and we cannot expect childcare providers to continue working for less than a living wage. It is beyond time for businesses and the State to start providing meaningful financial investment into the childcare sector. When businesses and government invest in childcare, everyone benefits. Consistent, quality childcare not only allows parents to go to work, it makes them more productive employees who miss fewer days of work. It also ensures children are in safe environments where they can learn to socialize with their peer group and begin their early childhood education journey on equal footing with one another.
One of the reasons I ran for office was to be a voice for working parents and families. I have a bill in, LD 103, that would create a working group to study the issue of childcare specific to Maine and to report back within a year with recommendations for ways to expand access to childcare for families in our state. It is my hope that the recommendations of the group can be acted on with legislation to make Maine a welcoming, inviting, and supportive state for young people and families. Investing in childcare today will lead to a brighter future for all of us tomorrow.
State Representative, House District 51 (Topsham)
Stephen August – County Commissioner
We are pleased to note that the Governor has appointed Stephen August of Bath to serve as Sagadahoc County Commissioner representing Bath and Bowdoinham to serve out the term of Robert Lenna who resigned. His term will expire in 2024. Steve previously served as Chair of RSU 1 from 2012 – 2021, and as President of the Patten Free Library and serves as President of Kennebec Estuary Land Trust. Among other career highlights, he served as Director of Budget Studies for the New York State Assembly from 1986-2009.
New resource for Sagadahoc Democrats
You know those cute little “lending libraries” that have popped up on people’s lawns near you? Well, the Sagadahoc Democrats also have a lending library at our office at 24 Main Street in Topsham. Avid reader Abben Maguire has stocked it chronicles and studies in political courage from his personal collection. Other donors have added more recent releases, including Living History by Hillary Clinton and American Psychosis: A Historical Investigation of How the Republican Party Went Crazy by David Corn. You are welcome to check out books for as long as you’d like, but we do ask you to return them. Browse our titles the next time you are at office (like for the conversation with Rep. Becky Jauch’s on Saturday, March 18th)!