But I have to tell you, every single time one of these bills came up, I felt something. Every time I listened to Mainers retell their stories of struggle, their pleas to not “let them down,” I got more and more fired up. Every day that I think about the folks who were deemed “poor” but just not “poor enough” to have health insurance, I can’t help but see today as a make-or-break moment for our state and for our people.
The radical Republican agenda makes me think of when my mother, a single parent and college graduate, began teaching, only to be rewarded with an income that left us in an unheated camp without running water. I think of my friends who have left northern Maine because they couldn’t find work in the woods despite wealthy Quebec contractors cutting only miles from our homes. I think of a friend of mine who died in his twenties and left a daughter behind because he had no health insurance and could not afford to go to a hospital when he began having chest pains. When I think of all of these things and what the Republicans are doing I become more determined. No Mainer should have any of these worries.
I’m here to say: My children or yours, no two young people should be faced with these situations. No young adult should ever look upon their hometown with sad eyes and ache at its best days being in the past. We can do better than that. We want better than that. We must do better.
Democrats this session have fought for Allagash’s proud loggers, just as we have for the entrepreneur in the renovated mills of Biddeford and the tireless millworkers in Rumford, the lobstermen in Rockland, the potato farmers in Caribou, and the Maine Guide in Jackman. Day after day we have stood up for the hardworking people of Maine and the workers of Maine who through no fault of their own can’t find a job. It is our job, as leaders of this state, to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to climb that ladder of success.
Sen. Troy D. Jackson is serving his second term in the Maine Senate representing District 35, Aroostook County. He is the Democratic leader on the Labor, Commerce, Research, and Economic Development Committee.