South Portland & Cape Elizabeth
State Representative, District 32
Overwhelmingly, when I talk with constituents I hear some common themes:
People want jobs that pay fair wages. People want our schools funded so our teachers and students have the resources they need to educate our future workforce. People want access to health care. People want to grow the economy and support R&D and other opportunities to put Maine on the cutting edge in the 21st Century economy.
And we all want civility in our government -- a government that operates free from partisanship and free from the influence of corporate special interests.
As your Representative in Augusta, I have fought for (and will continue to fight for) these issues that are so important to all of us.
Fighting for Fair Wages...
An honest day's work should earn an honest paycheck that allows you to pay your bills. Maine's minimum wage hasn't been adjusted in a half decade, and year after year the value of that hourly wage is worth less and less as inflation increases the cost of living.
In my first term, I was honored to sponsor LD611 "An Act to Adjust Maine's Minimum Wage Annually Based on Cost-of-living Changes." This much needed boost would have improved the economic conditions of tens of thousands of low-income Maine families. It would have increased the minimum wage incrementally over three years, and then indexed it to inflation to 1) avoid a decline in the minimum wage's real value year after year, and 2) to ensure that it rises with the tide of inflation rather than at the political whim of whoever is at the helm in Augusta.
Standing Up for Our Schools...
A solid public education system is the key to a strong future for Maine. Period.
Today's students are tomorrow's workforce, so we should invest in public education, K-12, Head Start, the University of Maine and Community College systems to give our schools, teachers, and students the tools they need to thrive and compete.
Not only will education investments give us a more prepared workforce to drive Maine’s economic future, it’s the right thing to do for our kids to give them the means to succeed. We owe it to our future economy to deliver a highly trained labor pool, and that starts with the decisions we make today.
Promoting Economic Development...
There are tremendous opportunities to grow Maine’s economy in the short term, and steps we can take to lay the groundwork for a stronger economy and job market in the future.
In my first term, serving on the Labor, Commerce, Research, and Economic Development Committee broadened my perspective on economic development opportunities, as well as obstacles standing in the way of Maine's economy. R&D, job training, supporting our community colleges that are educating our workforce - there are so many opportunities that Maine can pursue to keep up with the 21st Century global economy.
Expanding Access to Health Care...
Every family deserves to have a family doctor. We have a moral obligation to ensure that every Mainer has access to the health care they need to keep their family healthy.
In both the 126th and 127th legislatures, I fought alongside my fellow Democrats in the House to expand Medicaid access in Maine. This will 1) provide health care to over 70,000 Mainers, 2) accept $1,000,000 (million) per day in federal dollars, and 3) ensure greater access to health care for lower income Mainers.
Ending Hunger and Promoting Opportunity
25% of Maine children are food insecure. That means 1 in 4 Maine kids don't have reliable access to adequate nutrition. Between 2010 and 2014 (the first four years of Governor LePage's administration) extreme child poverty rose by an alarming 50% which was the sharpest increase in America. Across the United States, food insecurity has decreased since the end of the recession, however Maine is one of the few states where food insecurity has actually increased and we now have one of the highest rates of deep hunger in the country.
This trend is not an accident. It is the result of Governor LePage's attacks on families and children living in poverty, which he calls "welfare reform." These "welfare reform" schemes do not help families escape poverty, they do not help families regain self-sufficiency, they do nothing to lessen hunger and poverty for low income families. They are designed to do one thing: cut families and children off of welfare without a plan to stabilize their lives. The results are detrimental, particularly for children.
Hunger and poverty undermine a child's brain development. It holds back kids from low income households, when they're at a disadvantage in the classroom. This is a risk to our future workforce. While the Governor and Republicans believe the solution to poverty is more poverty, I have been a steady voice for children and families living in the crisis of poverty. I have fought to extend emergency food assistance for regions of the state hit by mill shutdowns and facing chronic and acute unemployment (some over 20%). I have advocated for legislation to increase access to a federal program designed to ensure kids at risk of hunger have quality nutrition at daycare. I was instrumental in supporting legislation to create a public-private partnership to address obesity and other diet-related diseases by making Maine grown fruits and vegetables available to families who are food insecure.
And finally, just this past April I sponsored legislation to establish a Task Force to investigate child poverty, which has risen sharply over the past several years. The Task Force studies the causes of child poverty, impacts of poverty on children, obstacles to self-sufficiency for the parents, ways to improve efficiencies in programs. The Task Force would have the authority to propose legislation prior to the next legislative session, so we could start on day one with a plan to address this alarming trend.
© 2016 Paid for and authorized by the candidate.