Weekly Radio Address: Alfond says, “As we consider the issues the new legislature has to tackle, it’s clear that the stakes are too high for us not to listen to one another.”

Posted: December 26, 2014 | Senator Alfond, Weekly Radio Address

As 2014 draws to a close and we look upon the new year, it is a natural opportunity to evaluate—what we can do better, differently, and our successes. Welcoming a new year is an obvious marker of new beginnings.


Good Morning. This is Justin Alfond, the Senate Democratic Leader.


Much is made of our personal new year’s resolutions, but the truth is, this is also a tool used in business and by lawmakers in the state Legislature.


As a business owner, I can tell you that when I look ahead to 2015, there are a number of things we will be doing differently to make our business more customer-friendly.


In the Legislature, as we embark not only on a new year but also a new legislative session, we know that the most important job we have, is to work through the challenges that lie ahead.


While the recession might be in the rear-view mirror, according to the economists, we know that there are still thousands of Mainers who continue to feel economically insecure. They aren’t making what they earned before the recession and, the income inequality gap is the largest it’s been since the 1920s. Too many students aren’t able further their education—because they can’t afford college or other training programs. And, too few new or young people are moving into our state—causing a talent gap.


So as we consider all the issues the new legislature has to tackle, it’s clear to see that the stakes are too high for us not to listen to one another.  Maine lawmakers must roll up our sleeves and work together to find solutions to our state’s problems.


It won’t be easy—and we knew that when we signed up for the task. But, it’s the oath of office we took to serve all the people of Maine. Regardless of which political party we belong to, our job is to get the job done.


And we shouldn’t forget Maine’s track record:  from Margaret Chase Smith to Bill Cohen and George Mitchell and Olympia Snowe, Maine lawmakers have a long tradition of working across party lines to get things done.


It is our hope that here in the state legislature, our colleagues across the aisle are ready to show up and work together. We have the power to create a culture where getting things done is the norm.


We owe it to the folks back in our district to find solutions to our state’s problems. Even when we don’t agree, let’s be civil.  And, if we stay at the table long enough we will be able to find common ground. After all, we are all Mainers.


So as we welcome the new year, let us also welcome a return to the tradition of the style of Maine politics that has worked for the people of Maine.


Thank you for listening. This is Senator Justin Alfond.  And I wish you and yours a happy and healthy New Year.