Sunday, December 31, 2017

Does Maine Really Need A Congressman Representing Wall Street?


Frank Schaeffer’s last roadtrip for 2017 took him from Agua Dulce in California’s Santa Clarita Valley to Lewiston, Maine to talk with progressive Democrat Jared Golden. Frank bonded with Jared over the service Jared and Frank’s son both experienced as marines in Afghanistan. If you’re not from a military family, you may find what Frank and Jared had two say about that in the video enlightening. Give it a watch.

Goal ThermometerJared is running on a change ticket in Maine’s second district. His opponent, multimillionaire Republican Bruce Poliquin is a Wall Street shill who serves on the House Financial Services Committee, takes immense legalistic bribes from the banksters and then votes for their agenda. Last cycle, Wall Street poured $936,474 into Poliquin’s campaign war-chest. So far this cycle, they’ve already ponied up another $479,250. They don’t want to see a dedicated and proven tribune of the working and middle class like Golden replacing their boy in Congress. With Democratic monied interests supporting one of their own— a multimillionaire inheritor— Jared is depending on grassroots contributions to fund his own campaign. Please consider contributing at the ActBlue thermometer on the right.

When Jared first declared his candidacy in August, he told us that he plans “to make this race an example of how Democrats can win back districts that have gotten away from the party.” He reminded us that Bill Clinton, Gore, Kerry, and Obama all carried the district but that “something changed recently. Republican Bruce Poliquin won the seat in 2014, and Trump carried the district in 2016. The Democratic Party needs to work to understand how it has lost support in districts like this and pay attention to the basic, kitchen table issues that matter to the people that live in my region. My part of the country has been hit hard. Free trade deals that benefit CEO’s but not workers have led to mill closures and the loss of good paying jobs. The opioid epidemic is growing out of control. The poverty rate among Maine children has grown at eight times the national average in recent years. I’ve seen what happens when our rigged economic system leaves people behind. In the Marines, I was taught to leave no one behind.” He was just getting started.

My district voted for both Bernie Sanders in the primary and Donald Trump in the general to send a message that the political establishment in both parties has let them down. They want action on infrastructure, jobs, and health care-- and they are tired of hearing politicians talk without walking the walk to protect their interests in Washington.

Bruce Poliquin’s vote for the disastrous Republican health-care plan is just the latest example, as it would have taken health insurance away from tens of thousands of Mainers and resulted in the loss of many good paying jobs at rural hospitals.

In the oldest state in the nation, with a struggling economy, real leaders shouldn’t be working to take health-care away from their constituents, they should be fighting to ensure access to health-care for all of them.

I think the Democratic Party has a lot to learn from us up here in Maine. In the State House, my job as Assistant Majority Leader is to serve as the whip, the guy who counts the votes. I’ve counted the votes-- and I can tell you, we can’t get to a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives without figuring out how to win districts like mine.

How are we going to do it? By cutting through the rhetoric and talking plainly and directly to people about issues that impact their lives. We need to have the courage to stand by our progressive values while meeting people where they are to engage with them about how we can work together to make real progress.

My campaign is going to relentlessly focus on economic issues: creating jobs with investments in infrastructure, from transportation and public works to renewable energy; strengthening organized labor because as they’ve declined so have wages; opposing trade deals that benefit our neighbors to the north and south more than they do us; pushing for Medicare coverage for all and a fair tax code that benefits the working class.

In the Maine Legislature I’ve stood strong by our union brothers and sisters. It’s my great honor that the Maine AFL-CIO has awarded me its top honor for legislators, the Edie Beaulieu Award, this year for my work on behalf of working class people and priorities.

In 2017, I’ve sponsored and passed legislation to address wage theft by employers who steal from their employees, to make access to workers’ compensation easier for firefighters and police officers diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress, and to provide state health-care services for veterans experiencing a mental health crisis.

We can win back districts like mine by being strong on behalf of the people that need our help most, unafraid to expose the GOP agenda as disastrous for the people, and by connecting to them on a personal level. To win, we need to be honest about the struggles our communities face, and offer solutions that really improve people’s lives.

That’s been my record in the Maine State House, and it’s what I’ll do in Congress.

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