COVID-19 and the recession are an unprecedented threat to our health, our economy, and our way of life. And it has exposed the fault lines in our social safety net. As we emerge from this pandemic, working together, we are going to have an opportunity to rebuild our state in ways that can benefit all of us. A Maine that is more resilient, equitable, just, and sustainable.
“ I look forward to working with community leaders, educators, healthcare workers, the business community, and everyone who wants to lend their voice to charting our post-pandemic future. ”
To support our workforce and our communities, we need to encourage entrepreneurs and startups, incentivize state-wide capital investment, and support our diverse small business community. We need to recognize, reward, and promote businesses that are committed to fair wages and benefits, long term career prospects, and continuing education.
“ I support economic programs that reflect our democratic values. ”
Graduates that choose to work in public service (e.g. our teachers, home healthcare workers, first responders), should not be burdened with soul-crushing student debt. We have a responsibility to take care of them as they have taken care of us.
“ I support student debt forgiveness programs. ”
Every student deserves access to healthy food every day, and offering all students meals at no cost, often referred to as universal free school meals, is a great way to make that happen. Removing the financial barrier of school meals for students increases meal participation which leads to better educational outcomes.
“ I support a year-round universal school breakfast and lunch program. No child should ever go hungry nor be shamed. ”
We need to prepare our graduates for the careers of the future and then make sure they can apply those skills right here in Maine. We can do that by investing in world-class public education and pathways to success including traditional public schools, public charter schools, trade apprenticeships, and non-traditional programs.
“ I support public education programs that give every student an opportunity to thrive and position our graduates for success. ”
Before COVID-19, I advocated that in order to thrive, 21st Century businesses, schools, hospitals, factories, and families all need fast, reliable, and affordable high-speed Internet access.
In the midst of the pandemic, it has become more and more obvious that Internet access is necessary for the health and well-being of all our citizens. It is a lifeline to essential services including healthcare and quality education.
So many rural Mainers don’t even have an option to connect. Imagine having no access at all – day in and day out. For others throughout the state, access is available but it is not affordable. That is not fair. Internet access is as essential as electricity and must be treated as an essential utility.
“ I support the Maine High-Speed Internet Infrastructure Bond referendum. I support access to high-speed affordable Internet connectivity for all Mainers. ”
The time for action is now. Maine has an abundance of renewable and affordable energy options. At the state level, we need to continue to promote and incentivize the municipal and individual transition to clean renewable energy and look to expand model sustainability programs such as the South Portland | Portland One Climate Future initiative.
“ I support Governor Mills' pledge to transition Maine to a carbon-neutral economy by 2045. ”
According to the ACLU, more than half of states are hostile to abortion rights. Only 13 states are supportive. Here in Maine, we must continue to protect and defend a full range of reproductive health services.
“ I support reproductive freedom for all women. ”
Privacy is defined as the right to control our personal information. All too often personal information is collected in secret. Following California’s lead, Maine should require consent to collect and use personal information.
“ I support personal privacy protections. ”
In early 2020, when it appeared Maine tax revenue was significantly higher than anticipated, I advocated for increasing the rainy day fund. This spring, we’ve experienced first-hand how quickly our economic circumstances can change. Inclusive of a constitutionally mandated balanced budget should be a mandatory annual contribution to the Budget Stabilization Fund (BSF).
I support a mandatory annual "rainy day" budget allocation.
“ I support a mandatory annual "rainy day" budget allocation. ”