Weekly Radio Address: Sen. Brannigan
Good Morning. This is State Senator Joe Brannigan of Portland.
The holiday season has officially arrived. Many of us spent Thanksgiving with family and friends and reflected on the many reasons we have to be grateful and thankful. As we move toward the end of 2011 and start a new year, we often see a surge of people reaching out a helping hand toward one another. Maine people are known for a spirit of generosity and kindheartedness toward our neighbors. It’s perhaps embedded in our core values.
In fact, Volunteering in America, a national organization, found that Maine ranked 4thin the nation for volunteer hours—averaging nearly 48 hours per resident. Volunteer time adds up! In just two years, from 2008 to 2010, Mainers contributed over one-billion dollars in services just from volunteering.
Every day we hear stories of people rising to the occasion and making a real difference. We don’t need to look far to hear about Mainers reaching out to help a struggling neighbor—whether it’s fuel assistance to warm a family home, providing food for a family meal, or providing shelter to those without, many individuals are working hard to lend a helping hand.
Difficult times bring people and communities together. With a growing economic inequality in our country and right here at home, it is easy to focus on ways in which our society is pulling apart. But it is important to look at not just what divides us but at what we share—what we have in common—and how we can pull together. With a can-do attitude, and by being concerned citizens and good neighbors, we can pull together to help lift up our struggling neighbors, shore up our communities, and strengthen our state.
We’ve seen the dangers of inequality in our society. More so than ever before, extreme wealth is concentrated in fewer and fewer hands and the middle class standard of living is under assault. Jobs are hard to find. Wages are falling—or at best, flattening. And, many are faced with hard choices like, which bill to pay (or not pay); how to trim the grocery bill so there’s money left to fill the gas tank; and hoping—on a wing and a prayer—that sickness doesn’t crop up. Frustration is growing as the American Dream fades.
My Democratic colleagues and I know that it is our job to work for Maine people—by coming up with real solutions for job creation and retraining our workforce; by putting policies in place that make health care more affordable to Maine people, and by strengthening our education system so that the next generation of Mainers is prepared for the jobs of the future.
There’s no doubt that times are tough. But now, more than any other time of year, we are reminded of the resourcefulness and resiliency of Maine people.
And, so It is important to remember that there are those who have needs greater than our own, and think about ways we can help them. In keeping with the tradition of giving, there are many ways in which anyone can help a family this holiday season. Even the simplest acts of kindness may mean a world of difference.
This is State Senator Joe Brannigan. Thanks for listening. Have a healthy and happy holiday season.