Good morning, I’m Rep. Emily Cain from Orono, the House Democratic leader.
Thank you for tuning in.
Most people don’t have time to pay attention to what’s going on in Augusta between work, family, and the obligations of our everyday lives. But the decisions made here affect you and your neighbors.
After nearly two years, Republicans have made it harder to live and work in Maine.
I want to tell you a short story about three Maine people today.
These are Mainers who will probably sound a lot like people you know. They might even sound like you.
The first story is of a 50 year old man living in Franklin County. He’s worked hard his whole life, putting in long shifts on his feet all day just to keep dinner on the table, warm clothes on his kids and to save up enough for a rainy day.
Thanks to laws passed by the Republican majority, he’s going to have a harder time. His health insurance is probably going to get far more expensive. The roads he drives to work will be in bad shape and do damage to his truck, sending him to the shop more often with bigger repair costs. If he gets hurt on the job, the state will be far less helpful with workers compensation until he’s back on his feet, and will probably cut him off before its time.
If he loses his job through no fault of his own, the unemployment insurance that he and his family have earned and will rely on will come with new strings attached and fewer protections. Families like his in rural Maine will face higher costs, less certainty and fewer options.
Or, how about the 84 year-old grandmother in Aroostook who has worked her whole life just so she could live with dignity in her old age. Now, the meager retirement she saved up just isn’t enough to help cover the cost of her heart medication and she has to choose between heating oil or paying for groceries. Because of new laws passed by Republicans, she won’t be able to live the life she worked or planned for.
The last story is about a Maine mom from Hancock County working two jobs just to make ends meet. Because of the new laws passed by Republicans in Augusta she will have to pick between keeping her pay check or having safe child care for her infant.
Now, add to her worries that the cost of going to the doctor or paying for medicine for her family just keeps growing. Instead of standing up for her, Republicans have sided with the insurance companies. She and her family deserve a family doctor not insurance companies telling her what’s best.
Democrats believe Maine people should be working their way into the middle class not getting pushed out. Everyone working and living in Maine knows it gets a little harder every day. The last thing we need is for the state to make it worse.
Unfortunately, we’ve seen one bill after another attacking working people and middle class families, and not a single one will create jobs or get our economy back on track.
Maine has lost more than 1,000 jobs since 2011 and was recently rated dead last in the country for personal income growth.
In these recessionary times, Republicans eliminated and reduced health care for tens of thousands of Maine seniors, children, and people with disabilities. Make no mistake the cost shift will fall squarely on middle class families who are already struggling to make ends meet.
Aren’t we all already worried about rising property taxes and increasing health care costs?
It’s time we tax fairly and cut wisely, not tax the middle class and cut services to our children, seniors and public safety.
We believe our Republican colleagues are leading our state down the wrong path. Their solution for fixing Maine’s economy isn’t working. This fend-for-yourself economics is leaving middle class families behind.
Instead, Democrats have a vision for making Maine a place where we can all raise a family and prosper. We believe the best way to improve our economy is by making common sense investments that will help small businesses, job training and public education.
We want good American jobs, wages, and benefits for a hard day’s work. We should all be able to recoup the American dream we grew up believing in.
Thank you for listening. I’m Rep. Emily Cain.