This Week in Maine
June 4, 2020
Maine Dems Updates — Legislative Spotlight — Grassroots Update — Other News
In response to the murder of George Floyd and ongoing protests around the country, Maine Dems Chair Kathleen Marra released a statement earlier this week:
“African American Mainers have been fighting for racial justice for generations but we all have a responsibility to rise to this challenge. For many Mainers across the state, that means understanding and acknowledging our privilege. It means recognizing that injustice against one Mainer is an injustice against every Mainer. It means grieving with Maine people of color and sharing the anger of those whose pain and experiences have been ignored or silenced. And it means harnessing this moment to bring about real change.
“Black lives matter, unequivocally. And it’s time that we back up our words with action.”
This Week in 200 Words
In MDP Updates, in the wake of Donald Trump’s visit to Maine, we’re doing our part to fight back and get him out of office, so sign up to take part in next week’s virtual week of action. We need your help getting five friends to commit to vote this week. 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. Thank you for attending our Rise & Organize Rally on Sunday! And, thank you to all the state delegates who participated in last weekend’s remote elections.
In this week’s Legislative Spotlight, Gov. Mills rebukes President Trump ahead of Maine visit, saying “check the rhetoric at the door.” Gov. Mills & MaineHousing extended their rental relief program. And, Sen. Breen and the Legislature’s Budget Committee propose relief for restaurants and hungry Mainers.
In Grassroots Updates, we pay tribute to Alain Nahimana, who passed away over the weekend. Alain was a fierce advocate for Maine immigrants who worked to strengthen Maine’s many different immigrant communities, and founded the Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center, which has always been very welcoming to the Maine Democratic Party.
In Other News, Susan Collins is hosting a high dollar fundraiser benefiting herself and Trump during his visit to Maine tomorrow. Since the US Senate has returned to session, Collins has been a rubber stamp for Trump nominees but secured no additional funding for Maine. And, Rep. Pingree cosponsors two legislative initiatives to condemn police brutality and lessen social disparities for Black men and boys.
Maine Dems Updates
Virtual Week of Action.
In the wake of Donald Trump’s visit to Maine, we’re doing our part to fight back: get him out of office. The best way to do that is by making phone calls to Maine voters. That’s why we are hosting our Week Of Action next week! You can plug in and help whenever you have time by making calls to Maine voters from the comfort of your own home! Having one-on-one conversations with voters encourages them to support candidates who are serious about trying to fix things, and boosts voter engagement. We’re hosting remote trainings next week to ensure that you have the opportunity to help beat Donald Trump, defeat Susan Collins and Flip the Senate, and elect Democrats up and down the ballot!
Commit to Vote Campaign.
There’s another important action you can take to make sure Democrats win in November: 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!
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.
Did you see the op-ed from Ryder Kessler, our Voter Protection Director, in the Lewiston Sun Journal this week? –> “A new generation of Maine people can rise to the occasion of this crisis: they can raise their hands, rise up, and work the polls.” 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!
Rise & Organize Rally.
Thank you for tuning in to our Rise & Organize Rally this past week! If you didn’t get a chance to watch it, you can find it on YouTube here.
Remote Voting Election Results.
Thank you to all the state delegates who participated in last weekend’s remote elections! You elected delegates to the Democratic National Convention, presidential electors, Maine’s DNC Representatives, and Democratic State Committee members. You can see all the election winners by clicking here. The Democratic State Committee is going to be addressing the MDP Platform and Charter ratification process and timeline this weekend. We will have an update on that process next week.
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 rebukes President Trump ahead of Maine visit, saying “check the rhetoric at the door.”
- On Monday, Governor Janet Mills held a press conference to address a call she was on with President Trump earlier in the day, where he addressed the Governors of the 50 states. The call came just hours after the President announced he would be visiting Maine this Friday.
- Governor Mills said that the “tone and the substance” of the President’s comments on the call were alarming, particularly when it came to the anti-racism protests across the country.
- Regarding Trump’s visit to Maine, Mills addressed the President directly asking that “when you arrive here that you rise above the language I heard this morning. I ask that you check the rhetoric at the door and abandon the divisive language that sows seeds of distrust among our people.”
- Click here to read the full text of Governor Mills’ remarks.
Gov. Mills & MaineHousing extend rent relief program.
- Gov. Mills and MaineHousing announced today an extension of the COVID-19 Rent Relief Program.
- The rental assistance program, established in April, allows households that meet certain income and ability to pay requirements to receive a one-time, up to $500 payment in rental assistance to be paid directly to their landlord. With the extension, the program now covers rent for the months of April, May or June.
- “This program has helped provide a small measure of relief to thousands of Maine renters and their landlords,” said Governor Janet Mills. “As people across the state continue to feel the impact of COVID-19, we hope it will continue to help more.”
- Since its creation in April, the program has served more than 5,200 Maine households in April and May with 2,800 applications still in process.
Sen. Breen and the Legislature’s Budget Committee propose relief for restaurants and hungry Mainers.
- Sen. Cathy Breen and her colleagues on the Budget Committee recently proposed an administration partnership with community groups and restaurants in Cumberland, York and Androscoggin counties to move perishable food to Maine’s food insecurity programs.
- “By working with restaurants who had planned on resuming dining room services on Monday to fill gaps in our hunger programs, we have an opportunity to step up for small businesses and Maine people in their hour of need,” said Senator Breen.
- The costs of these efforts could be covered by funding from the federal CARES Act, a law passed by Congress to provide relief to states during the coronavirus crisis.
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.
We were sad to learn that Alain Nahimana passed away over the weekend. Alain was a fierce advocate for Maine immigrants and worked to strengthen Maine’s many different immigrant communities. He co-founded the Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center, an organization which works tirelessly to integrate new Mainers into the Portland community. The Center has always been incredibly welcoming to the Maine Democratic Party, and we are grateful for Alain’s role in making the Center an essential part of the Portland area.
We echo this beautiful tribute to Alain — and call to action for the rest of us — from the Press Herald Editorial Board: “We need leaders who can reach across the divide and build trust on both sides. We need people who can think creatively in a crisis. Nahimana was that kind of leader. The path forward will be harder without him.”
For those who would like to celebrate Alain’s life, there will be a virtual memorial service this Friday at 4 pm. Click here for more information. In addition, his family has organized a GoFundMe page, donations to which will go to his memorial service and to a memorial fund in his name. Click here to donate.
Susan Collins to host high dollar fundraiser benefiting herself and Trump during Trump’s visit to Maine.
- Susan Collins told Mainers that she’ll be working in Washington during Trump’s visit to our state tomorrow. However, a leaked fundraiser invitation shows that she will actually spend her afternoon fundraising from PACs and wealthy donors.
- The fundraiser, held tomorrow at 1:30 over Zoom, will boost both Collins’ reelection campaign as well as the Maine Republican Party, which is working to reelect Trump. The minimum donation required to participate is $1000.
- Susan Collins continues to be accessible to wealthy donors and the corporate special interests she serves in Washington while refusing to show up for Mainers when it counts. Tomorrow, she’ll be doing what she does best: avoiding accountability.
Since the US Senate has returned to session, Collins has been a rubber stamp for Trump nominees but secured no additional funding for Maine.
- When Senators returned to DC this week after their 10 day recess, they got to work right away. However, instead of using their time to secure support for states and municipalities, Collins and her allies in the Republican caucus have spent their time confirming one Trump nominee after another.
- Since the Senate returned on Monday, Collins has voted to confirm three Trump nominees, while doing nothing to get state and local governments the support they need.
- This is all while local governments around Maine are facing massive shortfalls, and while states and municipalities around the country are struggling. It is yet another demonstration that Senator Collins’ priorities lie not with the state of Maine, but with doing the bidding of Mitch McConnell.
Rep. Pingree cosponsors legislative initiative to condemn police brutality and lessen social disparities for Black men and boys.
- This week, Rep. Pingree cosponsored two legislative initiatives to address systemic police brutality, racial profiling, and the use of excessive force against Black Americans.
- One resolution calls on Congress to condemn police brutality, racial profiling, and to take urgent action in response, and another bill would create a commission to examine social disparities that affect Black males in America.
- “After endless reports documenting excessive use of force, it is more important now than ever for Congress to step up to condemn racial profiling and police brutality and work to unravel the fabric of inequality that harms and kills Black Americans in this country,” said Pingree.
- “For George Floyd and too many Black Americans before him who’ve had their lives cut short at the hands of police, I am supporting this legislation to help address and dismantle the well-documented problem of police brutality toward communities of color.”
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