This Week in Maine
May 28, 2020
Maine Dems Updates — Legislative Spotlight — Grassroots Update — Other News
This Week in 200 Words
In MDP Updates, make sure you tune in for our Rise & Organize Rally THIS SUNDAY at 3:00PM, with featured guests Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Governor Janet Mills, Reps. Pingree and Golden, our US Senate candidates, and some last minute additions we’ll be announcing before Sunday! We need your help getting five friends to commit to vote this week. Making phone calls to voters from home with our phone banking program is as easy as 1-2-3: sign up, attend a training, start calling. Learn more about the three candidates running for the US Senate Democratic Primary, Speaker Sara Gideon, Bre Kidman, and Betsy Sweet, and request your absentee ballot now for the July 14 election now. The state needs a new generation of Mainers to step up and staff the polls this year. Maine Clean Elections candidates need your help with a $5 contribution that can be made safely online from the comfort of your home. Maine State House and Senate candidates are looking for volunteers to help make check-in calls to senior citizens. And, state delegates should plan to participate in remote voting elections starting TOMORROW, May 29 for national delegates, presidential electors, DNC representatives, and Democratic State Committee members.
In this week’s Legislative Spotlight, Gov. Mills announced an expansion of contact tracing to curb the spread of COVID-19. The Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee will meet tomorrow, May 29 to address the impact of the virus on Maine’s economy. And, Gov. Mills & State Treasurer Henry Beck announced stable bond ratings, even in midst of the COVID-19 economic crisis.
In Grassroots Updates, we spoke with State Sen. Ned Claxton of Auburn to reflect on his past work and how he is preparing for the future.
In Other News, we launched a website tracking Susan Collins’ refusal to say whether she supports Trump’s reelection. Rep. Golden led a Small Business Subcommittee virtual forum. And, Rep. Pingree announced that she voted for two bipartisan bills to improve the Payment Protection Program.
Maine Dems Updates
Rise & Organize Rally THIS SUNDAY.
Make sure you tune in for our Rise & Organize Rally THIS SUNDAY at 3:00 PM! Our featured speakers include Senator Bernie Sanders, 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 some last minute additions we’ll be announcing soon! You won’t want to miss this!
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!
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.
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.com. And 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.
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.
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 THIS WEEKEND
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. Check-in has now closed, but voting opens May 29 at 8:00 AM! Voting will open each morning at 8:00 AM 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.
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 announced an expansion of contact tracing to curb the spread of COVID-19.
- Governor Janet Mills announced this week that the Maine DHHS is devoting more resources to contact tracing, the process by which the Department watches the spread of the virus and monitors who has come into contact with it.
- The contact tracing strategy has 3 components: 1) Quadrupling the number of personnel available to trace contact; 2) Deploying the Sara Alert system, which allows individuals who have been diagnosed or potentially exposed to COVID-19 to report daily symptoms; and 3) Expanding social support to ensure people who have come in contact with the virus can stay in isolation for longer.
- “Expanded testing and contact tracing are critical to both identifying and limiting the spread of COVID-19 in Maine,” said Governor Janet Mills. “By increasing the number of people conducting contact tracing and by deploying the new Sara Alert system to assist us, we can improve our efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus, protect the health of Maine people, and support our goal of safely restarting Maine’s economy.”
The Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee will meet tomorrow, May 29.
- The Maine Legislature’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs (AFA) Committee will meet tomorrow, May 29 at 10:00 AM.
- The Committee will address the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on Maine’s economy, as well as how the state will administer its share of federal stimulus funding from the CARES Act.
- “The COVID-19 pandemic has put the health and safety of our family, friends, and neighbors in jeopardy, as well as our economy,” said Senate Committee Chairwoman Cathy Breen. “Together, we will review the latest economic report, take stock of our finances and savings, and look at how we can leverage federal funding to support Maine people, small businesses and communities.”
Gov. Mills & State Treasurer Henry Beck announced stable bond ratings, even in midst of the COVID-19 economic crisis.
- This week, Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poors Global Ratings (S&P), providers of global credit benchmarks, have affirmed their credit ratings and outlooks on the State of Maine’s general obligation debt.
- “Moody’s and S&P affirming our stable credit rating during this economic crisis speaks to the strong fiscal management by Governor Mills and the Legislature,” said Treasurer Beck.
- Seven states have seen downgrades recently, but not Maine. Bond rates have stabilized since March and yields for high grade 10-year bonds are near all-time lows.
- Gov. Mills acknowledged that “difficult decisions lie ahead” but that “these stable ratings demonstrate that Maine is a worthy investment as we prepare to advance bonds to fix our roads and expand broadband in rural Maine.”
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.
Even during this uncertain time, the MDP is doing everything we can to elect Democrats up and down the ballot. Some of the hardest working Democrats in Maine are our very own state legislators. We checked in with State Senator Ned Claxton of Auburn, as he prepares for his re-election campaign, for his reflections on his past work and preparing for the future:
What are some accomplishments from your first term that you’re particularly proud of?
My work as co-chair of the Committee on State and Local Government to create good working relationships within the committee and with all members. Several of the members commented that the committee was well-run, respectful and productive. This is not always how legislators describe committee work. I wrote a bill to fight unfair billing practices and unexpected costs in the course of referrals for care. I was able to contribute my medical knowledge in helping other legislators understand the impact of bills they were working on and to help improve several of those bills. I worked with a Republican Senate colleague on a bill to update child car seat safety standards. That legislation passed and was signed by the Governor.
You are currently running for re-election to the Maine Senate. What will be your top legislative priorities in your second term?
Given my medical experience and knowing how important health insurance and access are, I’ll continue to work to expand the numbers of insured and lower the cost of medicines, routine care and referral care. I will continue to work on getting funding for my bill that will allow unused medicine to be distributed to those who can’t afford their medicine. With the hard decisions that will need to be made in the next 2 years, I’ll be doing everything I can to foster respectful working relationships in my committees and in the Senate.
COVID-19 has obviously affected all of us across the state of Maine, and has made campaigning look a lot different, from volunteering to being a candidate for office. What has changed about your campaign over the last two months, and how are you planning on reaching voters in your district in the midst of this pandemic?
I will continue to hold Facebook town halls to discuss current issues and offer insights while answering questions. I’ll write occasional op-eds and will join community events where that can be done safely. We’re working on regular Facebook posts and an effort to have voters use absentee ballots in the primary and the general elections. Much of my work now is trying to help individuals get their Federal and State unemployment benefits. Many people have not received their benefits and are struggling as the process takes too long and is too drawn out.
We need folks like you to help re-elect Democrats like Sen. Claxton and other Democrats up and down the ballot in November. Sign up to get involved here!
The Maine Dems launched a website tracking Susan Collins’ refusal to say whether she supports Trump’s reelection.
- This week, the Maine Democratic Party launched a new website to track Susan Collins’ refusals to tell Mainers whether she supports Trump’s reelection campaign. The site documents Collins’ history of dodging this question repeatedly dating all the way back to 2018, and features a timeline that will be updated each time Collins refuses to answer this question in the future.
- Susan Collins has refused to say whether she’s voting for Trump for 529 days. However, Donald Trump is 100% behind her re-election.
- What Collins doesn’t want Mainers to know is that Trump supports her because she has supported him. Despite her best efforts to dodge the question for the last year and a half, it’s clear that Collins will continue to be a reliable vote for Trump.
- Click here to visit our website tracking Susan Collins’ Refusal to say if she supports Trump.
Rep. Golden led a Small Business Subcommittee virtual forum.
- This week, Congressman Jared Golden, who serves as the Chair of the House Small Business subcommittee, held a virtual forum on how Small Business Development Centers are helping businesses adapt to COVID-19.
- This is a continuation of Rep. Golden’s push to provide Maine small businesses with critical advising and training services through Maine’s 22 Small Business Development Centers.
- Click here to watch the virtual forum.
Rep. Pingree announced she voted for two bipartisan bills to improve the Payment Protection Program.
- Rep. Chellie Pingree today voted to pass bipartisan legislation that would alter the Payment Protection Program (PPP) to make it more accessible to the businesses which need it most, and supported a bill to provide more transparency over the loan program.
- The legislation makes several overdue changes to the program, including extending the period for payroll loan forgiveness to 24 weeks, as well as allowing the terms of the loans to last until December 31st rather than ending in June.
- Rep. Pingree noted that “for many small businesses in Maine, the PPP’s eight weeks of costs eligible for loan forgiveness is proving insufficient.”
- “Small businesses should not be driven deeper into the red because of shortcomings with this loan program that can be easily fixed by Congress,” said Rep. Pingree.
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