Maine Dems Newsletter: Rise & Organize with Sen. Bernie Sanders; Collins Puts Big Business Backers First

17 mins read

This Week in Maine

May 21, 2020 

Maine Dems Updates — Legislative Spotlight — Grassroots Update — Other News

This Week in 200 Words

In this week’s Legislative Spotlight, Gov. Mills announced new federal funding to expand lab and testing capacity across Maine. Gov. Mills secures WiFi & learning devices for every Maine student reporting a need during this crisis. And, Senate President Troy Jackson is hosting a virtual town hall meeting on May 27.

In Grassroots Updates, we spoke with Megan Smith from Milford, who is a member of our volunteer team that’s hard at work making phone calls to Maine voters.

In Other News, Susan Collins revised the Paycheck Protection Program to help her big business backers, according to a new report. Rep. Golden continued his push to reauthorize and expand small business development centers. And, Rep. Pingree introduces legislation to pilot medically tailored meals.

Maine Dems Updates

NEW SPEAKER: Rise & Organize Rally.

Senator Bernie Sanders will be joining the Maine Dems Rise & Organize Rally on Sunday, May 31 at 3:00 PM! He joins previously announced featured speakers, including Senator Elizabeth Warren, Governor Janet Mills, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, Congressman Jared Golden, and our three candidates for US Senate, Speaker Sara Gideon, Bre Kidman, and Betsy Sweet! You’ll also get the chance to hear from members of the Maine Legislature, other Maine Democrats, and many more special guests to be announced soon! You won’t want to miss this!

You’ll be able to watch the live-streamed event on Facebook and other platforms to be announced soon!  Let us know you’re coming by grabbing your free virtual tickets here.


Commit to Vote Campaign.

You may be asking yourself, “Now that I can’t volunteer to knock on doors, what can I do to make an impact on this November’s election?” Well, the answer is simple: Commit to Vote, and then multiply your impact by getting others in your network to do the same! The primary date has been changed to July 14th, and the safest way to participate is by voting absentee. We’re making phone calls, sending emails, and writing texts, but that alone isn’t enough. That’s why it’s so important that we gather as much information now as we can. That’s why, after you Commit to Vote, you have a chance to share your opinions about candidates in your district. But in order to make up for the lack of in-person door-knocking, we need to get our Commit To Vote card distributed as widely as we can. Real grassroots support is how we win, and that starts with you.

Can we count on you to get five friends to commit to vote this week? A reminder to vote is especially powerful when it comes from a friend!

Commit to VOTE for Democrats this November

Make Phone Calls to Voters From Home.

Making phone calls to voters from home is as easy as 1-2-3: Sign up – Attend a training – start calling. It’s easy, fun, and helps advance our mission to elect Democrats up and down the ballot.

Click here to sign up to make calls to voters from home!


Maine’s July 14 Primary.

Originally scheduled for June 9, but delayed due to the COVID-19 crisis, Maine’s July 14 primary is about choosing our nominees for US Senate, US House, State Legislature, and other local offices. To learn more about the July 14 Primary, information about how to register, where and when to vote, and anything else you might be wondering about how to exercise your fundamental right to participate in our democracy, visit www.voteinmaine.comAnd to learn more about our three US Senate candidates competing in the Democratic Primary, Speaker Sara Gideon, Bre Kidman, and Betsy Sweet — one of whom will defeat Susan Collins this November — visit our website by clicking here.

Click here to request your absentee ballot for the July 14 Primary!


Work the Polls for Maine.

We need a new generation of Mainers to step up and staff the polls this year! COVID-19 will push many voters to cast ballots by mail, but offering in-person voting is still critical. But 6 in 10 of Maine’s poll workers are over 60—our neighbors most at risk for COVID-19. Towns are having trouble recruiting poll workers and need your help!

Sign up here to work the polls and share with your friends! All registered Maine voters are needed, regardless of party membership or county of residence.


Help Maine Clean Elections Candidates.

Did you know you can donate to your State House and Senate candidates safely from the comfort of your home without having to meet them in-person? Donations through the Clean Elections portal will go to help qualified and committed Democrats unlock additional public funding for their campaigns.

Click here to make a $5 contribution to your local State House and Senate candidates.


Volunteer to Check-in with Senior Citizens.

Maine State Senate and House candidates are looking for volunteers to help make check-in calls to senior citizens in Maine who may be the most at-risk in this public health crisis, and connect them to resources they might need.

Want to help make check-in calls to senior citizens? Click here to sign up with State Senate candidates and Click here to sign up to make calls with State House candidates


State Delegates: Participate in Remote Elections May 29-31

State delegates elected at caucuses or at county vacancy elections will have the chance to participate in remote elections for delegates to the Democratic National Convention, presidential electors, Maine’s DNC Representatives, and Democratic State Committee members. State delegates (and alternates who may be eligible for upgrade to state delegate) must check-in on May 27 or 28 online or by phone to participate. Voting will open each morning at 8:00 AM, beginning Friday, May 29, and close each evening at 8:00 PM. There are elections May 29, May 30, and May 31 that state delegates should plan to cast their votes in.

Click here to learn more about remote voting, including how and when to vote.


Legislative Spotlight

Maine’s Legislative leaders and Gov. Mills are hard at work responding to this public health crisis, even despite the difficult but necessary decision to adjourn the Legislative Session early. 

Gov. Mills announces new federal funding to expand lab and testing capacity across Maine.

  • Governor Janet Mills announced this week that Maine has received $52.7 million in federal grant funding from the CDC to bolster epidemiological and laboratory capacity to respond to the pandemic.
  • This funding builds on the Mills Administration’s partnership with IDEXX to expand testing in Maine and allow for the elimination of the testing prioritization system so that health care providers can recommend testing for anyone they suspect of having COVID-19. 
  • The state has three primary goals for the usage of this funding: 1) Expanding the state’s lab capacity, 2) Bolstering rural hospitals’ lab capacity, and 3) Establishing drive-through testing sites.

Gov. Mills secures WiFi & learning devices for every Maine student reporting a need during this crisis.

  • On Friday, Governor Mills and Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin announced that the Department of Education has secured internet access and devices for 100% of Maine’s schoolchildren who reported a need.
  • This development allows every Maine student to access online forms of instruction, which have been providing students with meaningful personal connections and continued educational opportunities in this time of crisis.
  • Maine educators have demonstrated incredible creativity and commitment during this crisis, and Gov. Mills has made it possible for those educators to connect with all students across the state.

Senate President Troy Jackson is hosting a virtual town hall meeting on May 27. 

Use the above suggested language to help supplement your letters to the editor! As a refresher, here are some best practices for writing a LTE.


Grassroots Update

Even during this uncertain time, the MDP is doing everything we can to elect Democrats up and down the ballot. However, we would have no chance of winning this November without our grassroots volunteers. This week, we spoke to Megan Smith from Milford, who is a member of our volunteer team that’s hard at work making phone calls to Maine voters:

What motivates you to volunteer with the Maine Dems?

I am motivated to volunteer with the Maine Dems because there is nothing more important to me than the Democratic Party taking back the majority in the US Senate in November.

Mainers are worried about a lot of issues, especially in light of this public health crisis. What are some worries that you’ve heard about when making phone calls to voters?

The most common concerns that I am hearing from voters is that they fear the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic for themselves and their communities, and that many people feel that the pandemic has highlighted the need for a single-payer healthcare system.

What is the best story you have from a call you’ve made in the last few weeks?

I recently spoke to a couple who have never been very active in politics but they are fearful for people across the state and the country who have recently lost their health insurance due to being unemployed. They are now ready to get involved with the Democratic Party in order to work towards a single payer healthcare system that is not tied to employment because healthcare is a human right.

We need folks like you to join Megan on our volunteer team, which will be the key force electing Democrats up and down the ballot in November. Sign up to get involved here!


Other News

Susan Collins revised the Paycheck Protection Program to help her big business backers, according to a new report.

  • A recent report showed that Susan Collins made a change to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to benefit the corporate special interests backing her campaign.
  • Originally, businesses were only eligible for PPP loans if they had fewer than 500 employees, but Collins made a revision which allowed for any business with fewer than 500 employees “per physical location” to access the loans.
  • In the first quarter of this year the American Hotel and Lodging Association PAC, the Hilton Worldwide PAC, and the International Franchise Association gave Collins $13,000 in campaign donations. Their investment paid off big time when Collins tweaked her signature program in the coronavirus aid package to allow those same donors access to hundreds of billions of dollars that were supposed to go to struggling small businesses.
  • While Susan Collins insists that the PPP has been helpful for small businesses, this report continues the parade of evidence showing that the program she wrote has been mostly useful for big business and Republican donors, while real small businesses have been left to fend for themselves.

Rep. Golden continues push to reauthorize and expand small business development centers.

  • At a recent meeting of the House Small Business Committee, Rep. Golden advocated for Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) and underscored their importance — particularly in an economic recession — to the success of small businesses in Maine and across the country. 
  • This is a continuation of Rep. Golden’s efforts to lead the charge in the House to expand SBDCs and equip them to provide more small businesses with their low- and no-cost training and consulting services. 
  • Rep. Golden introduced and passed the Small Business Development Centers Improvement Act through the House last year. In March, he introduced legislation to direct additional funds to SBDCs to help small businesses navigate the COVID-19 crisis.
  • WATCH: Rep. Golden addresses the House Small Business Committee

Rep. Pingree introduces legislation to pilot medically tailored meals.

  • This week, Rep. Chellie Pingree joined a bipartisan group to introduce a bill that would establish a Medicare pilot program to address the critical link between diet, chronic illness, and senior health.
  • Their bill would help ensure that nutritious meals reach medically vulnerable seniors in their homes, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, while at the same time providing the data we need to build a more resilient and cost-effective health care system.
  • We’ve long understood the improved outcomes and potential savings associated with preparing healthy meals for vulnerable people. Medically-tailored meals rely on the simple principle that access to nutritious food is foundational to good health. 
  • When seniors and those with serious conditions are at the highest risk for contracting COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to invest in their health.

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DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks, but are sustained solely on donations from grassroots supporters. Because our revenue isn’t click-driven, we don’t take in any direct revenue from the creative contributions of grassroots activists who post on the site. This sets us apart from other media sites. And we’re proud of that.

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