Climate change poses a threat to all of us, and coastal communities like Biddeford face significant risks of flooding, groundwater contamination, and costly infrastructure damage, whether you live west of the turnpike, downtown, or close to the beach. We all have a role to play in facing these risks head on and working toward solutions, and we need our elected officials to prioritize addressing the crisis.
I support the Maine Won’t Wait campaign’s goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by switching to clean, renewable energy, generating 80% of our energy by renewables by 2030 and creating 30,000 jobs in the process.
In the legislature, I will work with Mainers inside and out of state government to help us achieve our goals, including by digging in on the nitty gritty details of changes we need to make in order to be successful: ensuring our electrical grid is safe, reliable, and capable of handling the transition to renewables; ensuring that Maine has the proper capacity to generate and store power created by renewables; and ensuring that Maine has the infrastructure in place to distribute the power created by renewables to Maine homes and businesses.
While we do this, we also must work together to ensure that any workers displaced by our necessary transition away from fossil fuels are supported and given a hand up. At the same time we must ensure that particular care and attention is paid to Mainers disproportionately impacted by the crisis. We must not leave anyone behind.
Finish off the pandemic & help Mainers move forward
COVID has impacted all of us in immeasurable ways. The crisis has not only caused trauma and illness and economic damage, it has been profoundly disorienting. We will never be able to get back to anything approaching “normal” until we get the pandemic under control.
First and foremost, every eligible Mainer who can get vaccinated needs to get vaccinated. Every Mainer who is eligible for a booster needs to get their booster.
As a legislator, I will work with public health experts to ensure that our policies follow science and an ethic of compassion towards our neighbors. The legislature must do whatever it can to ensure that any barriers towards accessing vaccination and treatment are eliminated.
Unfortunately, right-wing extremists and their corporate supporters have tried to divide us on how to fight the pandemic, and on questions of basic human decency. From anti-mask protests filled with hateful rhetoric to promoting false conspiracy theories about vaccines, these bad actors have made it harder for us to get back to normal. I will fight against this anti-science, anti-social extremism with everything I have on behalf of every at-risk patient, small business operator, and essential worker in the state.
And as we turn the tide against the virus, we must make the necessary investments in our people so that we can recover from the middle out, not the top down. It would be great if Congress would pass President Biden’s jobs and climate bill, but regardless of what happens in Washington we need to act here in Maine.
Housing Mainers Can Afford
Housing costs in southern Maine are out of control. Whether you are looking to rent or buy, it’s increasingly difficult for people to afford a place to live in Biddeford, which has historically been a place where working class families can build their lives. That’s unacceptable.
We need to build more housing and we need to get costs under control.
This is why I am pleased that Speaker Fecteau has led the way on this issue, working with our city’s delegation and municipal leaders. He helped create and co-chaired the Commission to Increase Housing Opportunities in Maine by Studying Zoning and Land Use Restrictions, which is making several recommendations, including getting rid of single-family zoning restrictions in residential areas, increasing the number of units allowed on each lot, and allowing “in-law” apartments.
Some of the work Speaker Fecteau and others have done will remain after his term is done, and I intend to grab the baton from him and work as hard as I can with leaders across the region to make sure that our community is a place where all are welcome, and all can afford to live in.
The right of patients to access reproductive health care, including the right to a safe and legal abortion, is under attack across the country both by right-wing politicians and right-wing judges. We’re lucky here in Maine - our state protects access to abortion and provides state funds to ensure that every Mainer who needs abortion care can receive it. There is more we can do, and if elected I will work to ensure that we are doing what we can to ensure that patients can receive the health care they need.
But make no mistake about it: abortion rights in Maine are on the ballot in November. Republicans have made it clear that they want to follow the lead of states like Texas and Mississippi in criminalizing abortion. I will fight against any attempts to erode Maine’s abortion rights.
Protect Mainers' Civil Rights
I was proud to work for the Maine Senate Democrats when we passed same sex marriage the first time. It was heartbreaking to see it lose at the polls in 2009, and then inspiring to see the state reverse course and vote in favor of it in 2012.
Maine has a proud history of leading the way on civil rights for LGBTQ+ individuals, including by passing a historic ban on conversion therapy, which was sponsored and fought for by Speaker Fecteau.
Lately, we have witnessed hateful, cynical attempts by the right-wing to divide Mainers by pursuing harmful anti-trans bills, in particular bills targeting trans youth participating in school sports. When this happened, communities across the state stood up for basic human decency, led by some amazing students who stuck their necks out and testified at public hearings. I’m with those kids.
We must protect the dignity of work. President Biden has wisely said on multiple occasions that unions built the middle class. I agree. As a legislator, I will fight to protect the right of Mainers to organize their workplaces (including farmworkers), and I will support efforts to ensure that labor laws are enforced so that bad employers are not able to get away with exploiting workers for their own gain. Supporting unions, properly investing in enforcement, and ensuring that workers are compensated fairly for their work are core values to me. I will support efforts to strengthen workplace protections and oppose attempts to weaken them.
Health care is a right that should be backed by the government. While ultimately it would be great to see us move toward a Medicare For All-style system nationally, in the meantime we can work to make it more easily affordable and accessible here in Maine by reducing the cost of prescription drugs, fighting against price-gouging, and making sure that every Mainer has coverage they can afford which also meets their needs.
I also recognize that health care is frequently at risk. In 2017, I worked with Mainers from different communities and organizations to lobby our federal delegation to protect the Affordable Care Act when it seemed destined for repeal. Fortunately it was, and even more fortunately Mainers voted to expand Medicaid. Unfortunately Governor LePage blocked the expansion, and it took electing Janet Mills to make it happen. This helped thousands of Mainers get health coverage they otherwise would not have been able to afford.
As a legislator, I will support efforts to strengthen Maine’s health care system, I will oppose efforts to undo it, and I will support necessary investments in our public health infrastructure.
While the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis are real threats facing our state, we cannot ignore the other epidemic taking a tragic toll on Maine: the opioid epidemic. Through the first three quarters of 2021, approximately 455 Mainers have died from drug overdoses. While many lives have been saved due to increased access to naloxone, far too many families have lost loved ones or are struggling to support a friend or family member who is dealing with substance use disorder. Data indicates that the isolating effect of the pandemic has only exacerbated this crisis.
There is no single solution to getting Maine to the other side of this. We cannot arrest our way out of it, and we cannot ignore the significant influx of fentanyl into the state.
We have to build on steps already taken and significantly increase Maine’s capacity to provide treatment to individuals struggling with addiction by providing funding and pathways to connect people to services. We need to build on steps already taken to expand access to harm reduction tools, from naloxone to fentanyl test strips to clean needle exchanges. Finally, we need to ensure that all entities, from government agencies to treatment providers to activists on the ground to law enforcement, are fully coordinating efforts.
In addition, we need to continue to support efforts to hold opioid manufacturers accountable for the harm they have caused. No amount of financial penalties can compensate for what the Sacklers and others have wrought, but we should ensure that they are held accountable and that funds received from any settlements are used for abatement of this crisis and not other purposes. As a legislator, I intend to keep a close eye on these funds to ensure that they are being used in the most effective way possible to help people recover and save lives.
Democracy and voting rights are under attack by right-wing extremists. From states passing voter suppression laws to Donald Trump trying to steal the election and fomenting a violent insurrection, it is more important than ever for elected officials at every level of government in every state to defend democracy and the freedom to vote. I will do that as your State Representative.
When Paul LePage was governor, he attacked voting rights and promoted his own lies about election results. I proudly worked with the coalition who fought back and restored Same Day Voter Registration after LePage and his Republican allies got rid of it. In recent years, Maine has done excellent work in strengthening the freedom to vote and in ensuring that our elections run effectively and fairly. I will support efforts to further strengthen voting rights, and will strongly oppose efforts to weaken them. I will also fight tooth and nail against right-wing attempts to subvert election results.
Support & Invest in great public schools
Maine is finally funding public education at 55%, as voters demanded more than a decade ago. We need to ensure that we are investing in great public schools by expanding access to early childhood education, paying teachers more, supporting a broad curriculum from math and science to history and the arts, and making sure local schools have the tools they need to help children at every grade level succeed.
Some politicians lately have been treating schools like a political football. As a public school parent myself, I find that shameful. If elected, I’ll fight for the things that matter in our children’s education.
Making government work for people
If we want our government to work effectively, we need to invest in making it work effectively.
We need to make efforts to attract new workers to work in state government as the current workforce ages. We need to invest in effective systems for public health, transportation, wastewater management, the courts, environmental protection, food safety, and more.
When we neglect these systems, they falter. We cannot afford to let that happen.
Paidfor and authorized by Marc Malon for State Representative