2012 Scheduled Events and Activities
Watch for the opening of our 2012 Campaign HQ in Bath or Topsham this spring!
Click HERE for complete schedule.
Watch for the opening of our 2012 Campaign HQ in Bath or Topsham this spring!
Click HERE for complete schedule.
Thursday, October 13
State House Augusta
Join ME AFLCIO march for Jobs Not Cuts.
Maine needs JOBS NOT CUTS. How can we pay for it? Tax Wall Street! Join us for a rally and march to call on our elected officials to create jobs by investing in roads, bridges and schools. We will rally at the State House and then march to the Federal Building to deliver a list of building projects and a giant check for $312 billion, the money that can be generated annually if Congress passes the Financial Transaction Tax.
Good morning, I’m House Democratic Leader Emily Cain from Orono.
Thank you for tuning in.
With the summer winding down, many of the laws we passed this year will be going into effect in September. You may begin to feel the impact of those laws very soon. One of those laws is the major health insurance overhaul Republicans pushed through the Legislature a few months ago.
We are already seeing the negative impacts of this health insurance overhaul. The Ellsworth American reported last week that small businesses in rural Maine will be seeing their health insurance costs go up more than sixty percent as early as October.
The local newspaper reported that small businesses in Hancock, Washington, and Aroostook counties will see skyrocketing increases in health insurance costs. One local insurance broker told the paper that several of his clients with five employees or fewer may see increases as high as 70 percent. In Presque Isle, according the Ellsworth American report, one company would see a 90 percent increase.
The paper reported that premium hikes like these will put the companies at their breaking points.
Democrats in the Legislature opposed this law for many reasons, but most of all for this dangerous impact. We feared it would drive up costs for small businesses in rural Maine. We feared it would hurt people living in rural Maine. We feared it would hurt anyone over the age of 48.
When the law was debated in the Legislature, Republicans would not give the state Bureau of Insurance time to provide an updated analysis of its impact. However, an analysis of a similar proposal from 2007 showed the measure could cause health care rates in rural Maine to go up at least 20 percent.
Now, we see the reality may be even worse than the initial estimates.
Governor LePage and Republicans in the Legislature recklessly rushed this bill into law with no data to back up the merits of the plan.
The overhaul will allow insurance companies selling individual policies to set rates based on age at up to five times higher than the lowest rate. And, most troubling, there will be no limits on rate changes depending on where you live, or what kind of job you have.
The bill also creates a reinsurance pool controlled almost completely by insurance companies that will be paid for with a new tax on every insurance holder.
In addition to making health care more expensive for rural Mainers, the law repeals rules that limit how far an insurance company can ask policyholders to travel to get care in network. It will now be more expensive for people living in rural communities to visit their local doctor.
While younger Mainers living in the south will see lower costs from the Republican plan, the people who need health insurance the most, and can least afford it, in our state will suffer. That’s not the Maine way.
Businesses across Maine already say health insurance costs in our state make it hard to do business here. The impact of the law has yet to be fully felt, but we are already seeing that this misdirected law is causing harm to our small businesses.
The law is especially bad for a state in which more than 70 percent of our businesses are small.
Democrats believe working to lower the cost of health care for Maine people with market reforms, while increasing quality and accessibility, is and should be our top priority. How to get there is what fuels the health insurance debate. Now we have proof that the Republican plan is taking us in the wrong direction.
Thank you for listening. I’m Rep. Emily Cain from Orono.
New “China-Vassalboro” plan brings population difference down to three, moves only seven towns
AUGUSTA – Democrats on the bipartisan panel advising the legislature on drawing new Congressional district lines submitted a compromise proposal to the independent chair of the redistricting commission today in keeping with the agreement made by both parties during the panel’s first meeting on Aug. 15.
The new Democratic proposal, the “China-Vassalboro” plan, moves Unity Township, China, Vassalboro, Rome, and Albion to the second Congressional district, while moving Oakland and Wayne into the first congressional district. The plan brings the population difference between the districts down to three people, and it moves only seven towns totaling 19,191 people. It also splits only one county, continuing the historical divide of Kennebec County.
“We worked to find a compromise based on what our Republican counterparts said was most important: the deviation of one,” said Sen. Seth Goodall, D-Richmond, who is leading the negotiations for the Democrats. “We believe our plan reflects a good faith effort to address the concerns expressed by our Republican colleagues, while still preserving our goal of making it the least disruptive to Maine people.”
Earlier in the week, Democrats proposed an even simpler plan to move Vassalboro, a total of 4,340 people, to the second Congressional district during a meeting of the panel in Augusta. Republicans on the commission presented a separate plan that displaces roughly 25 percent of the Maine’s population from one district to another. The independent chair, Michael Friedman asked both parties to present a compromise or alternative proposals by noon today.
“Our goal continues to be to present a map that is reasonable, consistent with law, and displaces as few voters as possible,” said Senator Seth Goodall, D-Richmond. “We hope the chair will see this as a step in the right direction.”
For 38 years, Maine citizens have been able to register and vote on Election Day. We have one of the highest rates of voter turnout in the country. Unfortunately, the 2011 Maine Legislature passed a law that bans Election Day registration, making it more difficult for Maine people to exercise our right to vote. Join us in the fight to Protect Maine Votes.
Volunteers across Maine are collecting signatures for a people’s veto of the new law. And thousands of Maine people have already signed the petition. We’ve secure more than 1,200 signatures in Sagadahoc county (where Representatives Kim Olsen and Kerri Prescott voted with their party to end Election Day registration).
Join us in the final push to collect another 500 signatures before August 2.
Sagadahoc County Democrats will be circulating petitions at Richmond Days from 10 am to 6 pm on Saturday, July 30. We are looking for volunteers to staff our booth or walk the crowd collecting signatures. The two-hour shift will fly by! It is fun. People are receptive. It is important.
For more information or to volunteer, please contact Bronwen Tudor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bring the family, enjoy the fun, and Protect Maine Votes.
This year Richmond is “Going Hollywood!” Activities include: Movie Night in the park on Friday night with a 40ft screen, great fun for the family (movie to be announced). Saturday look out for pirate’s, cannons, and a pirate ship in our harbor, they will be giving tours, rides and demonstrations. Other activities include, film festival contest, “Oscar” awards for best parade float, magician, music, food and more!
Richmond Days annual events include; the Fireman’s Muster, Swan Island Tours, pontoon boat rides, lobster crate races, inflatables, food and music as well as a parade and Fireworks! FMI: Visit www.richmondmaine.com.
By Ben Grant, Special to the Bangor Daily News
Posted July 01, 2011
Now that the Legislature has adjourned for the year, it would be easy to look back and remember this year for the gaffe-ridden, scandal-rocked three-ring circus that defined
the LePage Administration. It got so bad that even prominent members of Gov. Paul
LePage’s own Party took to the newspapers to distance themselves from his behavior.
But, as fascinating and revealing as the sideshow was, the more important story of the last six months is much more substantive. The simple fact is that last November Mainers voted for change — a change they hoped would translate into a more stable and prosperous Maine. The Republican clarion call of tax cuts and deregulation finally blossomed into votes. And, even as LePage spiraled out of control, his team insisted that the administration “has a laser focus on job creation.”
A laser focus.
For all the controversies that will haunt the LePage Republicans as 2012 approaches, it is these three words that truly highlight the reason this GOP regime needs to be
Mainers are desperately yearning for leadership that addresses real-world, kitchen-table challenges that people face every day. The LePage Republicans had a golden opportunity to put a stranglehold on the message of economic development. A laser focus on jobs
was within their reach. However, they squandered this opportunity. Instead of shunning the partisan demands of the far right wing to chart a course of sensible policy, they allowed this session to become a vehicle for unleashing a generation of pent-up Republican frustration. Rather than a “laser focus” on jobs, Maine was treated to a buckshot assault on political
adversaries and long-settled policy debates.
Hyperbole? Look at the record.
The LePage Republicans proposed: crippling the state employee’s union; rolling back child labor protections; preventing business owners from setting their own firearms policy; eliminating same-day voter registration; eliminating Clean Elections; taxing Maine people to support health insurance companies; rolling back consumer protections on prescription drugs; lifting the ban on billboards; allowing dangerous chemicals back
into kids’ sippy cups; cutting taxes for millionaires; repealing 30 years of environmental policy; allowing guns in the State House; and cutting funding for the Maine Public Broadcasting Network. This is not an exhaustive list, merely highlights.
AUGUSTA – June 20. Maine House Democratic leaders today expressed relief that Gov. Paul LePage signed the state’s two-year $6.1 billion budget after months of tough negotiations and compromise.
“We are glad to see that the governor put politics and ideology aside to sign a budget that took months of tough negotiations by all sides,” Rep. Emily Cain, D-Orono. “Democrats strongly opposed the governor’s original budget, but we worked vigorously with Republicans to find a compromise we could support. We understand no compromise is perfect.”
Democratic and Republican lawmakers made significant changes to the governor’s original proposal, rejecting the most devastating cuts to teachers, state employee retirees, and the safety net. Lawmakers lowered taxes by $153 million. The two-year budget also restores the governor’s unpopular plans to cut the Fund for a Healthy Maine and prescription drug coverage for the elderly.
“Five months ago, many said agreement on the budget was impossible,” said Rep. Terry Hayes, the assistant Democratic House leader. “We rejected the most extreme measures of the governor’s original proposal. Democrats fought to keep our state’s promises to public employees, to protect our elderly and most vulnerable, and to support our schools and communities.”
Last week, the budget passed with strong votes in the House by 123-19, and in the Senate by 29-5.
The Sagadahoc County Democratic Committee will meet Saturday morning June 25 at the home of Sam Jones and Becky Halbrook in Phippsburg. In addition to pancakes, sausages, maple syrup and coffee, the agenda includes a legislative wrap-up on on the session due to end June 15, final plans for our float in the July 4 Bath Heritage Days parade, and the election of Sagadahoc representatives to three committees of the 2012 Maine Democratic Party Convention. RSVP: email@example.com
We have three slots on the Platform Committee which includes representatives from the sixteen counties plus three at-large members from the Democratic State Committee and representatives from affiliated organizations such as the Maine College Democrats. The group will meet four or five times before the end of the year to review, revise, and re-articulate the MDP’s positions on major social and economic issues. The meetings are usually in Augusta.
The Platform affirms core Democratic values and expresses the consensus views of Maine Democrats on specific issues. It serves as a guide for candidate selection and messaging during an election and helps to shape Democratic policies and determine legislative priorities afterward. A discussion draft of the Platform will be circulated to the County committees for comment and then presented to the State Committee for review and amendment before being voted on at the State Convention next June. This is a great opportunity to make your voice heard on the issues you care about.
The Credentials Committee is responsible for certifying upgrades from Alternate to Delegate status and for resolving disputes arising from the delegate selection process at the municipal or county levels. They will meet at least once following the March 2012 municipal caucuses and then on-site 24 hours before the convention opens. Members also serve in rotation at the registration area throughout the convention. The Permanent Organization Committee is largely pro-forma and meets only once or twice to nominate Convention officers and approve the Convention agenda. We have one representative on each of these committees.
Any Democrat registered in Sagadahoc County is eligible to serve on a Convention committee and it is not necessary to be present at the June 25 meeting to be elected. For more information or to volunteer, contact Sagadahoc County Chair – Bronwen Tudor at: firstname.lastname@example.org Please RSVP at: email@example.com
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Good Morning. Thank you for tuning in to the Democratic Radio Address. This is Senator Bill Diamond. Presently, I am the State Senator representing Windham and surrounding towns. But not so long ago I served as Maine’s Secretary of State. As the Constitutional officer leading the state’s elections, I saw first hand democracy in action. There are basic tenants to our democracy that we all agree on, for example:
“Every vote counts.” That’s what we’ve been told since our first civics classes.
The Constitution—it’s the law of the land that guarantees our democracy.
The First Amendment—perhaps the most revered right in this nation. And casting our vote is one of the best ways to exercise our First Amendment right. Thousands have fought for this right—and thousands have waited decades, generations even, to have the right to vote.
Earlier this week, our rights got a little slimmer. How so?
The Legislature—led by my Republican colleagues—proposed a bill that eliminates same day voter registration—the ability to go to the polls on election day to register to vote and then to vote there.
Some may not see the harm in making these changes. Perhaps, like me, you’ve lived in the same town for several years. But let’s look a little closer. Let’s, for a moment, think about our neighbor…our new neighbor. Or our elderly parents and grandparents. Or perhaps even our college-aged child and the 18 year old who is voting for the first time. These are the people who will be impacted the most.
But they’re not the only ones hurt by this change. Also impacted are people who are simply doing the best they can to juggle multiple demands like their jobs and kids. We must look beyond our own personal situation and acknowledge that some times, some people find it difficult to register to vote until election day.
And for thirty-eight years Maine has allowed—and some times even encouraged voters to register and vote on the same day only because we embrace voter participation. And for thirty-eight years this has occurred without significant incident.
So I am not clear why some of my Republican friends in the legislature are working so hard to stop this long-held right. Eliminating same day voter registration isn’t fixing a problem. In fact it’s creating a problem for tens of thousands of people who will be told they cannot vote when they go to the polls on election day.
Did you know that in 2008, more than sixty-thousand Mainers registered to vote on election day? That is remarkable that under this new law they would have been told they can’t vote!
It is remarkable that in a state of this size so many people came out on election day to vote either as a first time voter or first time voter in a new community. I’m proud of this. I’m proud to say that I live in a state that values civic expression. I’m proud to say that I live in a state that consistently ranks among the top in the nation for voter turn out. And, I’m proud to say that I live in a state where voter fraud has not been an issue for decades.
Contrary to what some would have you believe, there are not “bus loads of out-of-staters being driven around” to vote in multiple elections. And if that were to occur, there are criminal penalties in place to punish offenders. We cannot pass a law that will disenfranchise tens of thousands of people in order to prevent a “just in case” situation.
Eliminating same day voter registration is chasing a boogeyman man that doesn’t exist.
Eliminating the right for people to register to vote on election day is a solution to a problem that also doesn’t exist.
Some would say we’ve made this change to help the town and city clerks. But not one town clerk has testified that registering to vote on election day is a burden. We also did not hear that there are cases after cases of voter fraud.
Placing barriers to the voting booth diminishes the importance of Democracy. The Constitution is a living document that is meant to be immune to political influence. Unfortunately, those who are trying to prevent people from registering to vote on election day will literally be stopping thousands of people at the polls on election day saying, “Stop! We’ve changed the rules. You can’t vote.”
We all know that every vote really does count. And Democrats in the legislature stand ready to continue defending your Constitutional rights.
Thank you for listening. Again this is Senator Bill Diamond. Have a great weekend.
AUGUSTA – Late Thursday evening June 9, the Maine Legislature’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee unanimously passed the $6.1 billion two-year budget and both House and Senate Democratic leaders praised it as a bipartisan compromise.
“Committee leaders and members worked tirelessly to find bipartisan compromise even on the issues that most divide us,” said Sen. Barry Hobbins of Saco, the Senate Democratic leader. “We proved once again that we can work together to find reasonable solutions to the challenges that face our state.”
Democratic and Republican lawmakers worked to make key changes to the governor’s original budget proposal, rejecting the most draconian cuts. Democrats fought to keep the state’s promises to public employees and retirees, to preserve health care for 28,000 Maine people, and to protect the elderly and disabled.
“Democrats came ready to work, providing substantive alternatives to many of the governor’s proposals,” said Rep. Emily Cain of Orono, the House Democratic leader. “We stood strong for our core values and worked across the aisle to find a compromise we could support.”
The committee restored cuts to the Fund for a Healthy Maine and prescription drug coverage for the elderly, and it preserved the safety net for the Maine’s neediest families. Lawmakers also rejected the governor’s proposed elimination of funding for Maine Public Broadcasting Network.
Democrats also succeeded in eliminating the governor’s proposal to put a 2 percent tax on employee contributions, and ultimately agreed to cap future cost-of-living increases at 3 percent a year, instead of 2 percent as proposed by the governor. The cost-of-living increases would apply only to the first $20,000 of retirees’ annual pension payments.
“Democrats worked hard to push back against the governor’s proposals on pensions,” said Rep. Peggy Rotundo of Lewiston, who serves as the lead House Democrat on the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee. “We have a bipartisan commitment from those of us on the committee to continue to work to raise the cap on cost-of-living-adjustments and find a longer-term solution.”
“Our budget is a statement of our principles and priorities,” said Senator Dawn Hill of York, the lead Senate Democrat on the committee. “Democrats worked incredibly hard to protect our most vulnerable citizens and to honor our promises to our communities.” The budget also lowers taxes for Maine people and businesses, while offering incentives to traditional Maine industries, like commercial fishing and windjammers.
The budget faces further votes in the House and Senate, where it must earn support from two-thirds of the lawmakers.
May 27, 2011
Democratic Weekly Address 2011-05-27
Good morning. And, thank you for tuning in to the Democratic Weekly Radio Address. I’m Senator Justin Alfond—Assistant Democratic Leader from Portland.
We are just ten days away from wrapping up the legislative session and, there is still a lot to do. Hundreds of bills need to be voted on and we have to pass a two year budget. Everyone understands the massive work ahead.
Democrats and Republicans agree that recovery from this economic downturn is job number one. Improving the business climate, creating jobs, and developing economic priorities unite us.
However, the distinctions between Republicans and Democrats has become more clear as we progress through the legislative session. Week after week, bill after bill, Democrats continue to stand up and fight for the working people of Maine. And, time and again, we are faced with opposition from the GOP—who is fighting equally hard for big-business and out of state interests. You need only look to what has happened in the last couple of days to see that their actions certainly speak louder than words.
Republican lawmakers are fighting hard to give tax breaks to the wealthiest among us. Just this week, they gave a free pass to those inheriting between one million and five million dollars. This will benefit just six hundred people. These six hundred people, who are given more than a million dollars, will not have to pay taxes to the state of Maine. Seems to me that’s a pretty generous gift to be giving at a time when Mainers are tightening our belts. Gift giving comes at a cost. And the cost for this gift is seventy-three million dollars. How will Maine pay for this cost? The GOP’s plan calls for nearly 4,000 working people of Maine to pay more in their taxes so that the millionaires don’t. Republicans preach fiscal responsibility and personal responsibility. Yet while they are granting a free lunch to the millionaires’-club, they are asking teachers and state workers to “share in the pain.” At a time when tough decisions are being made like reducing support in all areas of the budget including to Maine’s elderly, we should not be giving a tax break that focuses exclusively on the wealthiest among us.
Adding insult to injury, Republican lawmakers voted against increasing the minimum wage by fifty cents over the next two years. That’s right. Fifty CENTS over two years. So the minimum wage would go from $7.50 per hour to $8.00 an hour. In defending a worker’s right to earn a liveable wage, Democrats were told that “minimum wage earners are not poor.” That’s right, you heard me. The GOP believes earning less than $15,000 isn’t poor. Well then, I ask this: if it’s not poor then is it a liveable wage? I have an offer for the GOP. Let’s ask the thirty-five percent of working Mainers who earn $7.50 an hour if this is a liveable wage. Or we can also look at recent statistics that show in order to meet a “basic needs budget”–a budget that factors in the cost of food, housing, transportation, health care, child care, and clothing—a job would have to pay TWICE the existing minimum wage.
Republicans argue that raising the minimum wage hurts business. My Democratic colleagues and I would argue that not mandating a liveable wage hurts people and families. And to quote my good colleague, Senator Stan Gerzofsky, “We need to remember who we are here to fight for. Minimum wage helps PEOPLE and if it is our job to help Mainers come out of the recession then we must do something about it.” Let’s not forget our history—it was not the American people who caused the recession. It was corporate greed. Let’s not forget that the middle class was borne from the aftermath of the Great Depression—which created the minimum wage. When we pay higher wages, all of us are better off, not just some of us.
Understanding that we are not the majority party, Democrats are in a different role. We are no longer steering the ship. And while we can’t make all of the changes we want, we will not sit idly by and be accomplices to the Republican hypocrisy. Democrats will not neglect Maine people and workers.
So I can’t predict what the next ten days will look like. There’s no doubt tough decisions will be made. There’s no question that the state will be leaner than ever. But, we have to continue asking ourselves the questions “at what expense” and “what unintended long term consequences” are we willing to take? Tax cuts come at a cost. We must be judicious with our spending and our cutting. And we must remember that for every decision we make there’s someone in our state who will be impacted. Democrats remain committed to walking the walk and standing up for the people of Maine.
Thank you for listening and have a good weekend.