Maine Doesn’t Need Lawmakers Who Choose Winners and Losers
Good Morning. This is State Senator Troy Jackson of Allagash.
This week in Augusta, the legislature wrapped up most of its work for the session. In looking back, we are reminded that lawmakers were sent to Augusta with a clear message to create jobs and grow our economy. Even the governor, when he took office last year, said it was his priority. Yet, there’s inconsistency—perhaps even hypocrisy—between what has been said and what has been done on the part of the governor and his legislative allies.
All it takes is a glance at the recent headlines to see that not enough has been done for Maine workers or our economy.
The state of Maine has lost jobs to the tune of more than 1,000 people
in 2011, alone. Just yesterday we read about more than 60 people in Oxford losing their jobs.
Earlier this month, we learned that Maine is lagging behind the rest of the country in personal-income growth, at a rate of only 3.4 percent. Meaning, Maine workers saw an increase of only $23 in their weekly paycheck—the smallest of any state.
We know that as our state climbs out of the worst recession our nation has ever seen, we need to do everything we can to be sure that Mainers get a fair shot at getting ahead. We need to create opportunities to put more money in to the pockets of working and middle class Mainers.
Instead, for the last year and half, the Governor and his allies have taken every opportunity to undercut Maine workers and the families who are living pay check to pay check to make ends meet.
While there might be party-difference over the role of government, I think most would agree that at the very least, government should exist so that the ladder of success is kept in place so that people have a fair shot at getting ahead.
Instead, Governor LePage and his allies in the Legislature have consistently pitted Mainer against Mainer and chosen sides that enable those who have already made it, to pull the ladder up behind them. This flies in the face of what I was taught, which is, when you’re climbing the ladder of success, don’t pull it up for the people climbing behind you.
Just in the last month, the governor and his allies have passed bills that harm severely injured workers in order to line the pockets of the insurance industry; strip away the rights for independent child-care workers and small businesses to collectively bargain, and took away rights that protect the factory-farm workers at DeCoster Egg Farm. And this is on the heels of an anti-worker agenda from last year, where child labor rights, minimum wage, and other worker protections were threatened.
Bills like this do nothing to create jobs or grow our economy. Yet, the Governor and his legislative allies continue to do the bidding for big-out-of-state business at the expense of Maine working families.
This is unacceptable. We must hold the governor and his allies accountable for their job-LOSS record.
The economic conditions are hard enough right now for working people and small businesses to make it. We know that many Maine people are nearly at their financial breaking point. And for far too long, Mainers have experienced a growing struggle of making ends meet.
We should be working together on policies that are proven to create jobs—not pushing a divisive agenda that is from the national Republican playbook. We need to do everything we can to help give people a chance to get ahead—not put forth fend-for-yourself economic schemes.
Let’s not forget that Maine workers are the backbone of our economy.
We need lawmakers who are going to work hard to restore economic security for Maine working families.
I understand what it’s like to lay awake at night and wonder how to pay the bills. But I’m also aware that as I struggle to climb the ladder there are those behind me who also need opportunity.
And so, we need lawmakers who don’t choose winners and losers but work on behalf of everyone—Democrats fought hard this session and will continue to fight for Maine workers, Maine families, and Maine’s small businesses. We’re committed to holding that ladder so that all Maine people have an opportunity to get ahead.
This is State Senator Troy Jackson. Thank you for tuning in. Have a good weekend.