Democratic Weekly Radio Address: Sen. Craven- helping the less fortunate is the moral and ethical thing to do
Good Morning. This is State Senator Margaret Craven of Lewiston. Thank you for tuning in.
As we prepare to gather and celebrate the holidays with our families and friends, it’s important to take the time to be grateful for what we have—and also be mindful of those who have less.
The spirit of Christmas is often one of peace and generosity—helping those are less fortunate than ourselves and those in need. This time of year, stories abound about random acts of kindness. And while we may be uplifted by our own good deeds or perhaps even from hearing about the charity of others, there are too many people who remain out of reach from kindness and support of family, friends, or even a stranger.
As we continue to recover from the recession, the pressures of the holidays can be challenging—making it even harder for Maine families and working people to make ends meet. And, unfortunately, the Governor’s extreme political agenda is not making it any easier. In fact, the Governor’s proposed budget isless than helpful to Maine people—it will actually hurt. It will hurt tens of thousands of Maine people. 65,000 seniors, veterans, children, and people with disabilities will be harmed by the Governor’s irresponsible budget.
Last week, hundreds of people packed the State House and spoke out against the Governor’s reckless budget cuts. As a member of the Health and Human Services Committee, I heard first-hand the real stories, from real Mainers about how their lives will be impacted by the Governor’s proposal. In addition to all of the public testimony, my colleagues and I received hundreds of emails and letters from people across this state—worried about their own fate or the fate of a loved one.
Some of the most touching stories came from men and women who are now taking care of their elderly parents. One woman told of her dad who is a Korean war veteran. A hard working man his entire life, he owned a small business in Fort Kent, took great pride in maintaining and caring for his home and garden, and a religious man—teaching Sunday school and volunteering with Hospice. In fact, his daughter recounted, “according to my dad, the greatest possible sin was being lazy.” This is a man who served his country, contributed to his community, paid his bills and knew that helping the less fortunate was the moral and ethical thing to do. But as he and his wife aged and they both became ill, they were no longer able to take care of themselves or each other. The family struggled to fill in the gaps where their aging parents could no longer make do, but it became overwhelming and eventually impossible to keep them safe. They now live together in an assisted living facility in Bangor. They are monitored by staff who treat them kindly and respectfully. They are fed healthy meals and perhaps most importantly, they are able to live safely and with dignity—together.
This is only one of many heartbreaking stories. Mainers are proud people. Many have spent their entire lives contributing to Maine’s economy and now when they need assistance, the Governor is elimating their support.
Even in tough times, the Governor’s “fend for yourself economics” doesn’t fit the values of Maine people. We find strength in our community ties. We look out for our neighbors—and care for our families—especially in times of need.
In looking ahead to the new year, my Democratic colleagues and I hope that the Republicans across the aisle will join us in doing what is right for Maine people. It is important, as we work toward a fair solution to balancing the budget, that we all remember the stories behind the numbers. Each number is a story—a life impacted. And we must act responsibly.
Thank you for listening. This is State Senator Margaret Craven. Have a very happy and safe holiday.