We are fighting to unrig the system so that every American can thrive.
We must get money out of politics to achieve this.
Maine is a state with the hardest working people in the world and an unparalleled abundance of natural resources. Yet we were just ranked one of the least innovative states in the country and our second congressional district is in a decade-long economic depression. We believe that this is because of bad governance and we now have a huge opportunity to reenvision what Maine’s future economy can be. There are several industries — including technology, renewable energy, agriculture, and aquaculture — that have begun to grow in recent years and have the potential to be the cutting edge of innovation. With bold leadership and massive investment in all regions of the state, Maine can be a leader in American innovation and start paying people a high wage.
We always ask why the richest country in the world doesn't have excellent affordable universal healthcare or why tax cuts continue to be given to the wealthiest Americans. We can say once and for all that we all know the reason. It is because corporations and the ultra-wealthy control policy in Washington -- and this needs to end. We are running without a single penny from corporations or PACs because we need to usher in a new era of real public servants who are not influenced by big money.
There is no excuse for why the richest country in the world has forced millions of people to live in fear about their next medical bill or trip to the hospital. No one should wonder how they are going to pay for medicine that would save their lives and pharmaceutical lobbyists need to stop standing in the way of making Americans healthier. The Affordable Care Act has increased the percentage of Americans covered by insurance and ensured that people with preexisting conditions can’t be taken advantage of. However, it still doesn’t work well for all Americans and we deserve better.
We can create high-wage jobs here in Maine and save our planet from the devastation of global warming at the same time. The future of our planet depends on us significantly curbing CO2 emissions and we are not doing nearly enough. The effects of climate change are real and will continue to take a devastating toll on Maine, the United States, and our planet, including: natural disasters; rising waters; shrinking and moving fish populations, including lobsters; wildfires; spread of disease; water scarcity; loss of wildlife; and agricultural struggles. The 4 last years were the 4 hottest in human history -- and we must do everything to save our planet.
As a teacher, I have seen first-hand how privatization is damaging our public schools and creating more inequality. Privatization ("school choice") and standardized testing are scams that make profit for investors, but damage the integrity of education. Schools can be the great equalizer and America can get the highest quality teachers into school buildings by raising teacher pay and creating better teacher training programs. The goal of any school must be to develop the whole child, with an emphasis on authentic learning tasks and the progressive development of the child's physical, social, and emotional well-being.
We believe America should be a force for peace, freedom, and security around the globe. Americans who put themselves in harm’s way to defend our freedoms deserve the highest quality services. No questions asked. There is no excuse for rampant veteran homelessness. There is no excuse for second-rate care, long lines, old equipment, denial of service, limited access to facilities, or long claims processes. We owe our soldiers the very best when they come home and we must provide pathways to happy, productive lives right here in our country.
The recent tax bill made it abundantly clear that big corporation and the ultra-wealthy control Washington. We have taxes because all levels of government need money to run programs that benefit the common good of our society. Effective government -- not “big government” -- gives every person in this country the opportunity to live the American dream. No one likes taxes and the idea of tax cuts is a good one, but only when it applies to the Americans who can use cuts the most: the middle class and small business.
Families are the backbones of our schools and our communities. We must give families every support possible to ensure we can stay together, be healthy, eat meals together, celebrate each other’s joys, and raise up citizens who contribute to American progress. We need to provide top-notch healthcare, better education, and be more supportive with family leave policies and childcare subsidies.
Women are beyond capable in the boardroom, at the surgical table, and in the Oval Office. Women now outperform men in education attainment and now need to be paid equally in the workplace. Women deserve the right to choose how they treat their bodies and men have no right to say otherwise.
We live in a time of historic economic disparity and we are sad to admit that the American Dream has increasingly become a privilege that only wealthy Americans can access. The 1% have more money than ever — 40% of all wealth, to be exact — and hard-working Mainers keep getting a smaller and smaller piece of the pie even though we are working harder than ever before. There are several common sense things we can do in Washington to stop this seemingly unstoppable problem.
We owe our seniors the best life possible and we must provide the necessary supports so that all Americans can age with dignity and purpose. Every senior should have opportunities to thrive as members of their families and communities. We support expansion of Social Security, Medicare, in-home care, and research to combat Alzheimer’s disease, adult-onset diabetes, and other conditions that disproportionately affect seniors.
The United States is strongest and safest when we are a force for peace and partnership around the globe. We cannot be fooled by jingoistic language such as “America First,” meant to appeal to our darkest emotions and increase defense company profit by way of the military industrial complex. It is our moral imperative to not give into the calls of profit-seeking fear mongers, but instead serve as a role model for human rights, prosperity, freedom, cooperation, and economic justice.
Fighting the opioid epidemic requires a joint emergency response on the local, state and national levels of government that starts with getting pharmaceutical companies out of Washington. Individuals and families affected need wrap-around support from health care services, mental health providers, faith centers, and community groups. Mainers need support groups and increased access to overdose-reversing treatment, which requires more certified providers.
We believe that people of different creeds, races, religions, sexual orientations, genders, nationalities, and backgrounds belong right here in Maine with equal rights and protections under the law. We have been reminded far too often this year that we have too long a way to go until we achieve racial equality. The criminal justice system too often penalizes people of color with harsher enforcement and longer sentences. The education system too often treats people of color like a problem rather than an opportunity. We need to open doors to successful futures and stop closing them due to antiquated racial biases.
The American story is one of people coming to America with hopes and ideas and dreams. As has always been the case, our future prosperity depends on our ability to welcome immigrants with open arms. Immigrants start businesses at almost twice the rate of native-born Americans, create jobs, build new innovation, contribute to research, and are active members of American communities. I stand with all immigrants who seek to make a better life for their family here in America.
People have the right to love who they want and be who they are without questions, fear, or judgment. We must enshrine this right as federal law by guaranteeing equality and outlawing all forms of discrimination nationwide, including in the realms of employment, health care, education, and military service.
America’s university system is the best in the world, but that certainly does not mean everyone has equal access. My wife and I had over 150,000 dollars of debt when we left college and most of our friends have a similar burden. This is a crisis of mass proportions that is preventing a whole generation of working-class Americans from buying homes, going to college, and taking steps to advance up the economic ladder. This will lead to large-scale economic disaster if left unfixed.
Indigenous people first lived on the land that we now call America, but we continue to do the unthinkable: take more from them. Our land was not discovered in 1492. It had been loved and cultivated and kept by a people whose history we must seek to understand and respect. In keeping with the integrity of our legal system, it is only proper that we respect the reservation laws that already exist and expand upon them.
America has made progress with people with disabilities through legislation like the Americans With Disabilities Act, but it isn’t nearly enough. With 80% of Americans with disabilities unemployed, it is our obligation to reenvision an America where people with disabilities thrive as members of a community with jobs and meaningful support systems. With funds drying up for essential housing, care, and services, we must commit to fully funding programs at the Department of Health and Human Services so that we can truly value every American’s life equally.
Less than 1% of Americans are active duty military -- and yet we have so many Americans clamoring to work and do good for our country. It has been almost 60 years since President John F. Kennedy lifted the national discourse with his call to “ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” This generation of Americans is ready for a large-scale national call to service. Whether it's through military service, community service, or public service, Americans should be encouraged and empowered to contribute to their communities and their country.