Category Archives: Discussions / Blog

What is Ranked Choice Voting

Here is a great explanation from the Maine Secretary of State:

 

This May 2018 animation explains how ranked-choice voting will work in Maine elections. The State of Maine will be the first state in the nation to use RCV in a statewide election, for the June 12, 2018 Primary Election. For additional resources and information about ranked-choice voting, visit our RCV Resources webpage at http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/upc….

MAINE VETERAN FINANCIAL BENEFITS

MAINE VETERAN FINANCIAL BENEFITS

Income Tax

Military retirement is tax-free.

Property Tax Exemption

An other-than-dishonorably discharged resident Maine veteran who served during wartime and is 62 years or older; or, is receiving 100% VA disability; or, became 100% disabled while serving, is eligible for a $6,000 property tax exemption. Un-remarried surviving spouses are also eligible.

Paraplegic veterans, and their qualifying spouses are eligible for up to a $50,000 property tax exemption.

MAINE VETERAN EMPLOYMENT PREFERENCE

State Employment preference points shall be added to passing examination scores for state employment.

Honorably discharged veterans get a 5 point preference, 10 percent or greater disabled veterans get a 10 point preference. Spouses may be eligible as well.

MAINE DEPENDENTS EDUCATION BENEFITS PROGRAM

Maine offers a 100 percent waiver of tuition and all fees at state schools for dependents of Maine veterans who are permanently and totally disabled, died of a service connected disability, or was killed in action.

This benefit applies to dependents of Maine veterans who entered the service from Maine or has been a resident for 5 years immediately preceding application for aid and, if living, continues to reside in Maine throughout the duration of benefits administered under the educational

Spouses have 10 years from the date of first entrance to complete the program, children have 6 academic years from the date of first entrance to complete 8 semesters.

 

 

MAINE VETERAN RECREATION BENEFITS

Hunting & Fishing Licenses for Disabled Veterans

A disabled veteran who has a service connected disability evaluated at 50% or more may obtain a complimentary license to fish, trap, hunt, including archery, muzzle load, bear, migratory bird, pheasant, spring/fall wild turkey, coyote night hunt, crossbow, one expanded archery antler less deer permit, and upon meeting the qualifications, a license to guide.

This license is available to residents of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

This license(s) remains valid for the life of the license holder, as long as the license holder continues to satisfy the residency requirements.

State Park Admission Fees

Any Maine veteran with an other-than-dishonorable discharge gets free admission to all of Maine’s state parks and historic sites.

Maine residents who are enlisted active duty members and their dependents also receive free admission to state parks and historic sites.

Active Duty Military Hunting & Fishing Licenses

Active duty Maine residents, and their dependents, can buy a discounted hunting, fishing, or combination hunting and fishing license.

Hunting & Fishing Licenses for Non-Resident Active Duty Members

Any military member stationed in Maine, as well as their dependents,  can pay the resident fee for a hunting, fishing, or trapping license.

MAINE VETERANS MEMORIAL CEMETERY

The Maine Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery System consists of four cemeteries. One of which is located in Caribou, two in Augusta and one in Springvale. Burial is free of charge to veterans with an other-than-dishonorable discharge as well as their dependents.

Visit the Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services website for more information on any of these programs.

A REPORT FROM THE DEMOCRATIC STATE CONVENTION

A REPORT FROM THE DEMOCRATIC STATE CONVENTION

Delegates heard compelling speeches by Democratic candidates for Governor and the Second Congressional District, as well as many others.  At the conclusion of the convention, Democrats went home from Lewiston fired up to elect Democrats this November.

During the Platform Committee process prior to the Convention, the existing plank opposing the private East West Corridor was dropped.  After a vote of our members at a county committee meeting, we managed to get the plank back on the agenda.

At the convention, Hancock County got this matter addressed as the first item considered on the floor of the convention.  We made the case with help from the Piscataquis County Democratic Committee.  We explained that we are not opposing progress or public transportation projects to benefit Mainers.  We are opposing a private, corporate boondoogle intended to benefit Canadians at the expense of Maine’s environment and economy.  We explained that the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Council of Maine and the Maine Small Business Coalition are with us on this issue.  WE WON THE VOTE ON THE FLOOR.  Thank you, HCDC members, who supported our efforts!

Hancock County delegates at the State Convention elected new members to the State Committee.  These members will serve until the next State Convention in 2020.

Members: Sandy Snow, Surry

Loren Snow, Surry

Stephen York, Stonington

Alternate: Gary Pinder, Brooklin

All About $5 Clean Election Contributions

Maine Clean Election Funding Explained:

Video is less than 2 minutes

Clean Election Contributions Needed

$5.00 Contributions Needed to fund this campaign

Maine.gov/cleanelections

EMERGENCY (YES, a real one!)
CLEAN ELECTIONS FUNDING THREATENED
PLEASE ACT NOW

Due to obstructionism by Maine’s House Republicans, the legislature failed to complete actions to fund Maine’s Clean Elections program for the 2018 elections.

Candidates must now collect all their $5 donations to the Clean Elections fund well before June 30.  If they don’t, they won’t receive full funding and they will be seriously disadvantaged running against traditionally financed candidates.  Any funds must be disbursed by June 30, which means you should make your donation by June 20. 

Why this matters so much: Most Democratic legislative candidates in Hancock County are running as Clean Elections candidates. For each additional 15 qualifying $5 donations, House candidates receive $1,275 to a maximum of 180 qualifying contributions.  For each additional 45 qualifying $5 contributions, Senate candidates receive $10,200 to a maximum of 535 qualifying contributions. This means they need to collect as many $5 donations to the Clean Elections fund as possible – NOW.  Delays may seriously damage their ability to wage effective campaigns against traditionally financed Republican candidates.

If you have already donated, thank you!  if you have been waiting …

 Just click here:  www.maine.gov/cleanelections 

  1. Hit the green  Contribute  button,
  2. Fill in your name and address so they know you are a registered voter,
  3. Hit the green  Continue  button,
  4. Follow directions to contribute $5 to each candidate of your choice.

It really is that easy. So just DO IT!

An excellent explanation of the problem was presented by the League of Women Voters:

Funding for Clean Elections

One of the bills caught in the crossfire is LD 1894 An Act To Correct Errors and Inconsistencies in the Laws of Maine. There was a drafting error regarding funding for Clean Elections in the biennial budget passed at the 11th hour last summer. Because of the way that budget bill was worded regarding the early transfer of $3 million from FY 2019 to FY 2018, the error prevents the Ethics Commission from disbursing money to candidates from the Maine Clean Election Fund after the end of this fiscal year, June 30, 2018.

To make matters worse, it now appears that candidates participating in the Clean Elections program will not be allowed to raise private money to make up the difference. The Maine Clean Election Act provides that participating candidates may raise private money to finish their campaigns IF the fund runs out of money. In this twisted circumstance, the fund is NOT out of money. The fund HAS plenty of money. But the Ethics Commission is not allowed to disburse it.

Everyone agrees it was a drafting error. Remember, this is not more money, just moving the money from one year to another. The legislature attempted to fix the problem in the so-called Errors Bill, which normally sails through unopposed. Not this time. This is among the “undead” bills remaining for legislative action when and if the legislature comes back.

We need a special session, and we need this bill to pass. Candidates and voters from all parties have been relying on the Clean Elections program. We have three gubernatorial candidates already qualified, and now hundreds of legislative candidates have qualified, too. This funding was part of a bipartisan budget deal hammered out last year. There is no legitimate reason for House Republicans to renege on that deal now. You can find contact information here. Tell your representatives how much you want them to fix this problem.

What Is Single Payer Health Care?

What Is Single Payer Health Care?

Single payer refers to the method of financing health care in Maine. In a single payer system, health care is funded by the public whose money is managed by the state government or governmental agency. It is not Socialized Medicine. Unlike “socialized medicine,” the delivery of health care in a single payer system is handled by the same private health care providers that we use now. The Federal Medicare system uses this model, as do most developed countries around the world.

Single payer funding has advantages over private health insurance:

Single payer is nonprofit. There are no private shareholders and overpaid CEOs making fortunes from the financing of health services

Single payer is efficient. Doctors and hospitals deal with one payment entity, rather than with a multitude of insurance companies thereby eliminating much of the current administrative burden and cost.

Single payer is fair. The funding for health care is raised through taxes, which are set according to our ability to pay.

Single payer controls costs. A public process determines the level of health spending, and providers are reimbursed at uniform, negotiated rates.  This would be similar to the way pubilc utilities are regulated.

Single payer allows your choice of doctor and hospital.

Single payer savings are used to provide health care to all people as a human right. Patients no longer have to worry if they will be able to afford health care.  Preventative care will reduce hospitalizations and emergency room visits.

Single payer financing in Maine would preserve our health delivery system, which is known for high quality.

  • Federal support for Medicare, Medicaid, and the Veterans Administration would continue.
  • Single payer assures adequate funding for rural hospitals.
  • State revenues derived from taxes would replace private insurance premiums.
  • Corporate “stakeholders” would no longer be able to take enormous profits from the financing of health care, in the process bankrupting individuals, and draining the economy.
  • Single payer would put health care financing where it belongs—in the hands of the people, and our democratically elected representatives.

Everybody in, Nobody out!

Michael Reynolds – A brief Bio…

Michael Reynolds

Vote for Change

    Michael Reynolds for Change

Candidate Maine Legislative District # 130

Bucksport and Orrington

A Brief Biography

I was born in Belfast, Maine on July 19, 1951 during a huge lightening storm according to my mother.  My family consisted of my parents, a brother five years older and a sister nine years older. We lived on a 20 acre farm in Waldo. When I was 15 my parents and I moved to Lincoln due to my father’s work and a promotion to manager of an auto parts store. I graduated from Mattanawcook Academy in 1969

I enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1970 and served 2 years active duty. This experience opened my eyes and my mind to how we have to work together as a team to accomplish worthwhile goals. It was the GI Bill that allowed me to earn a bachelor’s degree from Husson College (now Husson University). My health care is provided thanks to the Veteran’s Administration.

I’ve maintained a career in finance for most of the 40 plus years of earning a living. I’ve been the finance director at the Waldo County YMCA for the last 14 years and am planning on retiring from that position around the end of 2018.

I’ve lived in Bucksport for just over 14 years with my life partner Anna. Initially we moved here to help care for her mother Jane who was having difficulty maintaining her home. We decided to purchase the home after Jane’s death. Since then we’ve been living the American Dream.

For most of my adult life thus far, I’ve been an independent voter enrolled in no political party. Bernie changed that for me. In February 2016, I joined the Democratic Party just so I could better support Bernie’s message of hope and a better life for all Americans not just the privileged few. I was elected as a delegate for Bernie to the state convention in 2016. It was a rousing time and the air was electrified. I am running for the legislature now so I and the many people that are supporting me can carry on the message of hope for a better life. Working together we will prove that Maine is a place where we create good paying jobs, protect the environment, provide racial and social justice and have affordable and accessible health care for all Maine people.

Contact: Cell:   (207)659-0827 Call or Text

Email: mike@my207.com

FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/MichaelReynolds2018/

 

Gun Safety

Gun Safety:
Democratic platform position: Supports responsible gun ownership in accordance with the 2nd amendment of the U.S.
Constitution and works to strengthen background checks for every firearm sale or transfer within the State of Maine.

Republican platform position: Defend the individual’s right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Maine and U.S. Constitutions;

My Position: I’m generally not in favor of regulations that limit an individual’s right to live free of unnecessary intrusion. That being said, we have a huge issue surrounding violence on a mass scale that we’ve not experienced in the past. To address the extreme violence means addressing a complex web of issues. I support measures that will to thwart this escalating violence without diminishing the rights of responsible gun owners.

A Look at the Democratic Party Platform for 2018

Here’s a look at the Democratic Party platform for 2018

Link to the Democratic Party platform

Specific points in this platform will be addressed in separate posts on this site.  Please join the discussion.  Democracy needs participation to function properly.

MAINE DEMOCRATIC PARTY PLATFORM 2016
Preamble
Our American democracy is a powerful and effective form of organization that strives to treat all with
dignity and functions for the betterment of the collective good.
Democrats believe that the foundation of a strong democracy is an educated and informed electorate.
We believe that in a democracy all members of this electorate have the right and an obligation to
collectively set the political agenda and to debate those issues important to them.
Building on that foundation, Maine Democrats will work actively to ensure that all people in Maine have:
 Economic, racial and social fairness, security, opportunity, and justice
 Universal access to quality healthcare and education
 Ethical, transparent, and accountable government
 Freedom to make personal choices
 Safety and national security
 Guarantees of all human and civil rights
 Environmental protection and sustainability
 The benefits of global peace
 A fair, progressive system of taxes.
We have long fought and will continue to fight for these policies and principles.
We adopt this platform as an expression of what Democrats in Maine support and as a guideline for
elected officials in their political work.
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A. Economic Security, Economic Opportunity, and Economic Justice
We support a democratic government that:
• Maintains the Democratic Party’s strong record of fiscal responsibility in its historical stand in
support of a new economic deal for all Americans and all Mainers.
• Upholds the right of all people to participate fairly in our economy and earn equitable rewards
for their contributions.
• Reverses the 35-year trend of increasing economic inequality.
• Recommits itself to reconstructing the social safety net.
Economic Security in Maine means:
1. Jobs with livable wages for all who can work; a minimum wage high enough to raise workers out
of poverty.
2. Safe, sanitary, affordable housing.
3. A health care system that protects all Mainers against the significant economic consequences of
illness and injury.
4. Strong public Social Security and Maine Public Employees Retirement System programs with
realistic cost of living adjustments; unemployment compensation; rigorous regulation of all
pensions; and protection of workers’ pension funds.
5. Public services provided without profit motive.
6. Protection from the repercussions of natural disaster including those induced by climate change.
7. A strong commitment to democratic control over economic regulation and consumer
protection.
8. Strong opposition to agreements that cede our rights, our jobs, and our public health and safety
to multinational corporate control. We support negotiating global fair-trade standards that
support good jobs, and social standards that support a decent life for all people.
9. Promotion of Maine as a leader in organic farming, as well as sustainable and best practice
farming and fishing, “farm/boat to table” initiatives, demonstrable policies to encourage and
support fishermen and small farmers, and immigration into Maine of future farmers.
Economic Opportunity in Maine means:
10. Economic growth based on Maine’s strengths and unique qualities via responsible sustainable
practices that enhance Maine’s brand, reputation and vitality.
11. Support for Maine-owned and operated businesses in all economic sectors and support for
Maine entrepreneurs through innovation centers and business incubators.
12. Assurance that small businesses are not unfairly disadvantaged by public policies designed for
large businesses.
13. Ensuring open and affordable statewide access to broadband and cellular technology,
particularly in rural areas.
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14. Active recruiting of high technology and biotechnology research laboratories and cutting edge
manufacturing facilities.
15. Fair workplaces with all workers guaranteed the opportunity to organize unions, bargain
collectively, and strike without replacement or reprisal.
16. Opposition to so-called “Right to Work” laws.
17. Regulations that support the existence of Maine’s small farms, fisheries, and other small
businesses.
18. Support for increased capital, technical assistance, distribution systems and markets, especially
for small and mid-sized farms.
Economic Justice in Maine means:
19. Workplaces free from health and safety hazards, discrimination, and harassment; respect for
employees’ family obligations, health, and other needs; and effective monitoring and
enforcement of laws protecting workers.
20. An economy free from discrimination, including equal pay for equal work.
21. Support for those suffering hardship, including strong measures to fight root causes of poverty
and homelessness.
22. Support for initiatives that would increase the number of worker-owned businesses in Maine.
23. Reinstitution of strong consumer protection, including protection from predatory practices in
financial markets. We support fully implementing the Dodd-Frank Act and reinstituting the
Glass-Steagall provisions that separated commercial from investment banking and prevented
banks from gambling with customer’s money.
24. Support for a financial transaction tax that will reduce risky and unproductive high-speed trading
and other forms of Wall Street speculation.
25. Strengthening and expanding Social Security to make sure that everyone in this country can
retire with the dignity and respect they deserve. We support eliminating the income cap on
Social Security taxes and repealing the provisions that prevent public sector employees from
collecting the Social Security benefits they earned from work in the private sector.
26. Giving priority to pension obligations at full value in corporate bankruptcy settlements.
27. Implementation of a “Fair Chance” job application process that prohibits denial of jobs to
persons based on arrest or conviction records.
B. Health Care
We support a democratic government that:
1. Affirms health care as a fundamental human right and takes action to improve the health and
wellness of all people by ensuring them access to quality and affordable health care. This goal is
best achieved through the adoption of a universal, single-payer and non-profit health care
system for Maine and the nation by extending Medicare to all.
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2. Expands and improves the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). We support
transforming our healthcare system to a proactive/preventive model from its current
reactive/curative model, which will significantly reduce healthcare costs, and provide worldclass
healthcare that will not be a financial burden on our citizens.
3. Supports nationally negotiated prescription drug pricing, in order to rein-in the accelerated drug
price increases.
4. Establishes its own Maine-based exchange to better serve the health care needs of the people.
5. Ensures adequate access to health care resources for low-income individuals and families by
using available Federal Medicaid program funding through PPACA to finance expansion of
MaineCare eligibility.
6. Addresses the need for health services including mental health, vision, hearing, and dental care.
7. Strengthens all medical services in currently underserved regions.
8. Protects women’s right to reproductive choice and full access to reproductive health services.
9. Guarantees access to health and reproductive resources regardless of gender identity or sexual
preference.
10. Ensures a safe, secure, nutritious food supply, including comprehensive truth-in labeling
requirements which include but are not limited to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and
country of origin.
11. Deals with the crisis in opioid and other drug abuse, including expansion of rehabilitation
services.
12. Provides health care and community support that enables people with disabilities to live
independently and work productively.
13. Addresses the crisis in elder care by fostering an age-friendly environment through increased
access by the elderly to care, through development of strong training and support for care
givers, and through continuing support for Social Security and Medicare.
14. Supports the right to informed individual choice in end of life care.
15. Respects the dignity of all individuals who may be impacted by mental illness and ensures to
those individuals the same legal and societal rights as those who are not so impacted.
C. Education:
We support a democratic government that:
1. Guarantees an equitable, universal, quality public education system that spans early childhood
through college and workforce training.
2. Strengthens the development and capacities of all children through quality preschool and
childcare programs.
3. Ensures that all students can choose from multiple educational pathways that meet individual
learning needs, and can graduate from high school prepared for college, career, and citizenship.
4. Ensures that all students have teachers who are well trained, equipped, and supported.
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5. Guarantees that parents and guardians have opportunities and support needed to engage in
their children’s education.
6. Supports coordinated efforts to provide students and workers with the skills needed to match
current and future private and public employer needs, so as to promote expansion of middle
class job opportunities in Maine.
7. Holds our education system accountable for efficiently and effectively developing citizens who
are well educated, well rounded, and capable of participating successfully in our economy and
democracy.
8. Supports strategic investments in public universities, community colleges, apprenticeships, and
other workforce training programs.
9. Addresses the high cost of higher education through policies that promote cost-effective
operations and better need-based financial aid, while promoting and expanding programs that
seek to keep the best and brightest college graduates in Maine.
10. Believes the state has a primary role in subsidizing the cost of higher education and should not
diminish that responsibility with budget cuts that could lead to lower quality education and
higher tuition costs.
11. Honors the 2003 citizen-mandated state budgetary commitment to pay 55% of all public school
education costs.
D. Ethical Government and Democracy
We support a democratic government that:
1. Maintains the integrity of the U.S. and Maine Constitutions and laws by strengthening
separation of powers and requiring executive, legislative, and judicial accountability.
2. Supports a state constitutional amendment that provides a procedure by which voters can
remove a governor from office through a direct vote before his or her term has ended.
3. Promotes electoral reforms that result in officials elected by the majority of the voters and
legislative bodies being truly representative of their constituencies, through the use of such
reforms as ranked choice voting and nonpartisan redistricting processes.
4. Makes the process of electronic voting transparent and fraud-proof by putting all aspects of it
under public control, including the use of open-source ballot-handling software and an effective
auditing process.
5. Understands the importance of freedom of speech and the importance of the open exchange of
ideas to a functioning democracy and a well-informed electorate; and, therefore refrains from
censorship and control of the media, while supporting non-profit and publicly funded media
sources to ensure expression of a broad range of ideas.
6. Calls for the people of the State of Maine and all branches and administrative divisions of state
and local government to recognize and respect the sovereignty and self-determination of all
Native American tribes located in the state.
7. Opposes the legal concept of corporate personhood as it is applied to participation in the
political process.
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8. Calls for constitutional or legislative steps to establish that, for political campaigns, money is not
speech.
9. Ensures the continued integrity of the Maine Clean Elections Act through appropriate legislative
action and adequate funding
10. Promotes reforms to reduce the influence of professional lobbyists and increase the public’s
ability to influence laws and rules.
11. Opposes contracting the jobs of public employees to private entities or profitmaking agencies.
12. Places a priority on negotiation, mediation, arbitration, reconciliation, restorative justice and
restitution; and enables prevention, management, and peaceful resolution of conflict.
13. Supports an emphasis on rehabilitation and reform in the criminal justice system and the
development of alternatives to incarceration, while refraining from unduly harsh and
irreversible punishments, including the death penalty.
14. Understands drug abuse and addiction as a public health crisis and treats addicts as patients.
15. Makes needed public investments in and actively works with the Federal Government to
develop Maine’s transportation, energy and communication infrastructure.
16. Limits land taking by eminent domain to government entities, exclusively for projects directly
benefiting the public and not for private gain.
17. Strengthens regulations to protect citizens and consumers.
18. Enacts fair compensation for state legislators and provides the tools and resources they need to
perform their work.
19. Upholds a strong, clearly defined, transparently enforced code of ethics that holds legislators,
the governor, and constitutional and statutory officers to a high standard of behavior while in
office.
20. Supports an increase in the allowable number of terms for state legislators.
21. Supports the legalization of marijuana for adults 21 years and older while protecting minors
from its use.
22. Promotes enforcement of laws and equal protection for men, women and children against
domestic and sexual violence.
E. Freedom, Safety, and National Security
We support a democratic government that:
1. Cherishes our Constitutional and individual liberties and respects international law.
2. Protects the full enjoyment of the Constitution, especially its guarantees of free speech, free
exercise of religion, separation of church and state, and freedom from all forms of
discrimination.
3. Endorses the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including rights to food, water, shelter,
health, and education.
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4. Guarantees citizens’ rights to privacy, rejects the unauthorized collection of personal data by
private or public entities, and rejects spying on citizens without individual warrants.
5. Upholds habeas corpus for all people, rejects secret or indefinite detention, and provides
detainees access to adequate and competent counsel and loved ones.
6. Supports responsible gun ownership in accordance with the 2nd amendment of the U.S.
Constitution and works to strengthen background checks for every firearm sale or transfer
within the State of Maine.
7. Does not conduct, aid, or condone torture.
8. Endorses the statewide and national expansion of broadband and the protection of an open
internet with net neutrality.
9. Resolves to swiftly absolve those unjustly convicted and incarcerated.
F. Civil Rights
We support a democratic government that:
1. Promotes full participation of all persons in all of society’s activities by, for example, enforcing
the Americans with Disabilities Act and bringing all public accommodations into full compliance,
including state and federal facilities.
2. Promotes full constitutional equality for women and men as articulated in the new Equal Rights
Amendment (H.J.Res.52 – 114th Congress) and endorses its passage and ratification, including
Maine’s power to enforce its provisions by appropriate legislation.
3. Applauds the work of the recent Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation
Commission regarding the abuse of native people, especially children, and pledges to
accomplish the recommendations coming from the work of the Commission.
4. Acknowledges and seeks to dismantle institutional racism in state systems and the public, and
repairs the effects of historical trauma.
5. Promotes and enforces laws, including Affirmative Action and hate crimes laws, that protect civil
rights; prohibits racial, ethnic, and religious profiling; guarantees equal access to education,
employment, and housing; and prohibits discrimination based on race, color, real or perceived
gender identity, age, physical and mental disability, religion, ancestry, national origin, or sexual
or romantic orientation.
6. Respects the dignity of all immigrants, ensures their human rights, and offers a path to legal
residence for long-term and otherwise law-abiding undocumented asylees, refugees and
immigrants.
7. Extends to people of all marginalized orientations, gender identities and intersex statuses – such
as LGBTQ people – all the same legal and social rights as their heterosexual, cisgender, and
dyadic counterparts receive, and opposes all efforts to dismantle or limit these rights.
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8. Opposes the use of state funds for travel to or official business with states that have laws
limiting the civil rights of LGBTQ citizens.
9. Implements a transparent, equitable voting system where every vote counts, including write-ins,
opposes policies that would suppress voter turnout and enforces laws against intimidating and
coercing voters or restricting voter rights.
10. Protects employees against unfair and arbitrary dismissal by, at a minimum, creating a right to
administrative due process.
11. Fairly and uniformly protects injured workers for the full term of their disability.
12. Opposes ‘tort reform’ that makes it more difficult for injured people to file a lawsuit and/or
obtain a jury trial, and that places limits on the amount of money that can be received in a
lawsuit.
13. Recognizes that it is a Civil Right to be protected from predatory economic speculation and
predatory lending practices.
G. Environmental Protection
We support a democratic government that:
1. Recognizes its obligation to effectively protect our environment for the sustainable use of
present and future generations by conserving and restoring our natural resources, our
communities and our cultural resources, resulting in equitable economic growth and increased
social equality.
2. Takes action and provides funding to reduce the risks of climate change while creating job
opportunities by:
o Implementing conservation measures
o Developing renewable energy technologies
o Supporting more sustainable farming practices
o Building energy-efficient transportation systems
o Improving standards for energy-efficient buildings
3. Applies the precautionary principle that those developing, manufacturing or selling products
and technologies, and agencies approving them, are obligated to demonstrate their safety to
public health and the environment.
4. Ensures access to clean, safe, public drinking and swimming waters, and protects surface waters
and aquifers.
5. Actively works to restore and conserve the Gulf of Maine Marine Life Habitat and the
communities dependent on the health of that ecosystem, given the threat posed to the
continued viability of our fisheries by warming of the Gulf of Maine and increased acidification
of its waters.
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6. Leads the region in fighting airborne pollution; defines, limits, and monitors out-of-state waste;
eliminates harmful waste and prohibits improper chemical disposal; enforces the state’s “Solid
Waste Hierarchy”; and promotes waste reduction, redemption, recycling, and composting.
7. Recognizes that Maine woodlands must be maintained as a sustainable resource for the
foreseeable future and that they serve as an effective source of carbon sequestration; and that
forest management best practices benefit not only the wood products industry, but also the
communities dependent on the forests for jobs and recreation.
8. Opposes the proposed private, Maine East-West Corridor.
H. Global Peace, Security, and Justice
We support a democratic government that:
1. Leads by example and action to wage peace in the world; safeguards national security through
peaceful solutions to international challenges; supports international law; works closely with
allies; strengthens the United Nations; opposes subversion of democratically elected
governments; acts to prevent genocide; and cooperates with the International Criminal Court.
2. Supports democratic reform and human rights, avoids support for oppressive regimes, and
stands up against violations of international law throughout the world where armed
perpetrators terrorize local populations.
3. Condemns the use of kidnapped children for fighting and sexual servitude.
4. Maintains an effective defense force that is equipped and organized to handle real foreign
threats to vital U.S. interests and complemented by an intelligence service that protects the
privacy of citizens, never launches undeclared or pre-emptive wars, minimizes use of private
contractors, works to prevent civilian casualties, reduces the world arms trade, and eliminates
weapons of mass destruction.
5. Expands citizen cultural and educational exchanges with all nations, and supports NGOs and
universities in the developing world.
6. Prioritizes multilateral efforts to end terrorism and those situations of inequity and injustice that
are the breeding grounds of terrorism.
7. Strives for peace and stability in the greater Middle East through renewed emphasis on
diplomacy, economic and social development, human rights, and other actions, notably:
a. In Afghanistan, temporarily continuing U.S. combat operations to prevent Taliban and
other terrorist forces from taking control and bringing back the terror, with a plan to
end operations.
b. In Iraq, Syria, the Middle East and North Africa, cooperating with coalition forces to end
the civil wars and to defeat ISIS (ISIL), Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.
c. In Iran, by giving full support to the Nuclear Action Plan against nuclear weapons, using
the new relationship with Iran to limit its support for terrorism.
d. In Israel and Palestine, by supporting a mutually agreed upon two-state solution.
8. Welcomes the establishment of normal relations with Cuba.
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9. Increases support for humanitarian assistance, refugees, disaster relief, international
development, and the elimination of poverty.
10. Leads in shaping a global economy that supports a fairer distribution of growth and
development among all peoples; respects indigenous leadership, trades, and resources; and
protects the environment, labor rights (including right to a living wage), public health, and the
public good.
11. Strengthens international financial mechanisms and regulation of international transactions and
prevents currency and commodities manipulation.
12. Opposes the “fast track” process and current and future trade agreements, such as the Trans
Pacific Partnership Agreement in its present form, which put thousands of American jobs in
jeopardy.
13. Supports and strengthens domestic jobs, businesses, and farms; eliminates all forms of
government assistance for corporations that outsource jobs and business; and reforms existing
trade agreements to include enforceable protections for workers, consumers rights, and a
sustainable environment.
14. Supports the International Violence against Women Act and the ratification of the Convention
for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women.
I. Veterans
We support a democratic government that:
1. Honors veterans and current military personnel by proactively providing all necessary support
services to them and their families.
2. Works to have the Bureau of Veteran Services actively coordinate federal, state, and local
resources, both public and private, with the commitment to end homelessness for veterans in
Maine.
3. Supports expanding veterans’ eligibility to enroll in the Veterans Administration health care, and
expanding local and state efforts to help veterans adapt to civilian life with a commitment to
prevent suicides among veterans in Maine.
J. Budget and Taxes
We support a democratic government that:
1. Uses the state budget to promote Maine’s sustainable economic growth, job creation, and
equity in Maine.
2. Commits to fiscal responsibility through a balanced budget as required by the Maine State
Constitution.
3. Implements a budget that reduces local government dependence on regressive property taxes
by meeting the state legislative commitments to Maine communities of 5% revenue sharing and
55% state support for education funding.
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4. Opposes extra-constitutional veto of legislation by defunding programs in the budget, for
example, the Clean Elections Act.
5. Supports a fair, progressive tax system that pays for needed public services and focuses tax
responsibilities on those most able to pay.
6. Is committed to reducing the property tax liability for individuals whose property tax payments
represent a large portion of their family’s income through mechanisms such as circuit breaker
programs and income tax refunds.
7. Works to reform the fiscal balance in Maine based on the following principles:
a. A greater portion of the tax base be graduated and progressive income taxes.
b. All government pensions be exempt from the state income tax in the same manner as Social
Security income.
c. Inheritance or estate taxes be made fair and appropriate.
d. A greater portion of the tax burden be placed on tourists and nonresidents.
e. Sales taxes are regressive and should play a smaller role in the fiscal system in Maine and
should be low, broadly based on most goods and services, with exemptions for food and
inexpensive clothing items, transparent and easy-to-collect but with as few special
exemptions as possible.
f. Offers tax incentive programs that are carefully considered, limited in time, and only offered
in exchange for clear commitments to job creation, with penalties for repayment for failure
to meet commitments.
g. It is appropriate to impose higher taxes on products or activities that are associated with
causing health and/or social costs such as alcohol, tobacco, carbonated and highly
sweetened beverages, snacks high in sodium and carbohydrates, non-medical marijuana,
and gambling.
8. In order to assure adequate funding for public safety without further burdening local property
tax payers, the State must continue to provide funding to Maine’s county jails at levels that had
been agreed to previously by the Board of Corrections as appropriate.
Closing
We, as Democrats of Maine, support these principles and pledge to work cooperatively with local
governments, other states, nations, and parties for a better future for all of Maine’s people.

A Look at the Maine GOP Platform for 2018

Here’s a look at the Republican Party’s platform for Maine for 2018.

Link to the Maine GOP platform

Subsequent posts will address specific points relating to some items. in the following platform. 

Ratified by The Maine Republican State Convention, April 22, 2016

​Maine Republican Party Platform
Generations of Americans have fought to preserve the Republic, our freedoms, and the American way of life. We appreciate and honor the service of active duty and reserve military, veterans, fire fighters, police officers, sheriffs, first responders and EMTs, and all those who serve our state and nation. Today our Constitutional Republic is threatened by a failure to adhere to the principles put forth in our founding documents. It is only by restoring the principles of Liberty that we can prevent the moral and economic collapse currently unfolding.

I. This platform embraces principles and identifies actions to implement them.

  1. We proclaim allegiance to the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Maine.
  2. The Constitutions, both the U.S. and State of Maine, are the framework to which all legislation must adhere. Progressive principles are incompatible with the principles of The Republican Party of the State of Maine.

In order to define the specific policies encompassed by said constitutional principles, be it resolved:
II. The government of Maine exists to preserve and protect certain natural, inherent and inalienable rights endowed by our Creator for the benefit, protection and security of all citizens and future generations. To maintain this doctrine, the U. S. and Maine Constitutions are the framework to which all legislation must conform, therefore we pledge to:

  1. Defend the individual’s right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Maine and U.S. Constitutions;
  2. Defend state’s rights as reserved in the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution;
  3. Defend the sovereignty of the United States

III. The strength of Maine and the United States lies with the rights and responsibilities of the individual:

  1. The expression of religious faith must not be excluded from the public forum and US military;
  2. The profits of an individual’s efforts and accumulation of private property belong to the individual;
  3. Support the assimilation of legal immigrants into Maine society;
  4. Affirm English as the official language of the State of Maine and the nation.

IV. Capitalism and the free market system encourages individual initiative and a Prosperous economy:

  1. Promote economic prosperity through sound investment opportunity and a positive business climate;
  2. Enact Right to Work laws to better stimulate economic growth;
  3. Provide Health Care through free market solutions;
  4. Protect ownership of private property which is fundamental to liberty and a strong economy;
  5. Implement a comprehensive energy policy – removing government obstacles and reducing the cost of energy for Maine families and businesses;
  6. Eliminate Maine’s income tax.

V. The most effective government is closest to the people and the least intrusive:

  1. Federalization of the Maine Woods will not be tolerated;
  2. Municipal Home Rule is to be honored and respected;
  3. Maine’s colleges and universities should be marketplaces of ideas where any individual’s political and religious beliefs may be expressed and shall be respected;
  4. Individuals are responsible for decisions affecting their lives and well-being;
  5. To maintain the safety-net for Maine’s most vulnerable, we support comprehensive welfare reform;
  6. Support the restoration of local control in education as specified in the Maine Constitution;
    1. Parents have the right and responsibility to direct their children’s education;
    2. The best academic opportunities are made possible through educational choice;
    3. Maine State Government shall not support Common Core State Standards (CCSS), also referred to as Maine Learning Results, and any application of Proficiency Based Learning (PBL) and diploma requirements;
  1. Protect local food rights and policies;
  2. Ensure the integrity of the election process.

VI. The family is the foundation and strength of a stable society; therefore, the government must not interfere, but rather support and protect the integrity and rights of the family:

  1. Promote Family values;
  2. Marriage is defined as the union of one man and one woman;
  3. Parents – not government – are most capable and responsible to make decisions in the best interest of their minor children, including medical, disciplinary and educational decisions;
  4. We believe in the sanctity of human life – from conception to natural death;
  5. Prohibit the use of state funds for abortions or activities that run counter to the sanctity of human life;
  6. Support faith-based family resources.

VII. Fiscal restraint and accountability for all levels of government is paramount:

  1. Work to reduce spending at all levels of government, federal, state, county and local to ensure fiscal stability and minimal debt for future generations;
  2. Through sound fiscal management reduce the Maine tax burden, including fees;
  3. Institute zero based budgeting in all programs and require the government and all agencies adhere to the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

VIII. Moving forward Maine Republicans support the following initiatives:

  1. We encourage all Republican candidates to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, and oppose any and all efforts to increase taxes and fees;
  2. Reducing the regulations and processes that have a negative impact and place undue burdens on private enterprise;
  3. Ensure environmental regulations are based upon sound science and recognize the value of Maine’s outdoor heritage;
  4. Conform the state tax code to the federal tax code to achieve fairness and equity;
  5. Repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) and all initiated components;
  6. Mandatory minimum sentences to protect the innocent and the victims of crime;
  7. The Office of Program Evaluation & Government Accountability (OPEGA), Maine’s governmental oversight agency and its mission to achieve effective and efficient state government;
  8. All state quasi-government authorities must be held accountable to the state legislature and the governor;
  9. Legislation that requires photo identification to vote in the State of Maine;
  10. Secure the U. S. borders in accordance with current Federal law.
  11. Repeal taxpayer funding for political campaigns, requiring instead that political candidates raise campaign funds in a manner that is both voluntary and transparent.
  12. We support the Convention of States Project application which seeks to call an Article V convention limited to only proposing amendments to the U.S. Constitution that impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and terms of office for federal officials and members of Congress.


​For too many years, Americans have trusted that our elected officials were working to protect and defend our interests. Without persistent vigilance by the people, this trust is often misplaced. It is therefore incumbent on all of us to stay informed and involved in the American experiment of self governance. Those of us who have united behind the Republican banner invite you to join us in this task and support the Republican candidates for office that uphold these principles.

May God Bless America!

TESTIFYING AT A LEGISLATIVE HEARING – IT’S EASY AND REWARDING

Your elected state legislators are interested in your views on proposed legislation. Speaking at a public hearing is an effective way to let them know your opinion. This article explains how you can participate in the Legislature’s public hearing process.

Click Here for Full Article