Comprehensive Policy Plan to Invest in Our People and Our Country
For too long, Congress has been stuck, unable to solve the problems facing Maine and our country. It’s time for a change.
The economy is growing, but working people in rural Maine aren’t seeing the benefits, as hedge fund managers cash in and big corporations payoff their shareholders with the windfall they received from the tax giveaway, the only significant legislation passed this year in Congress.
As we look forward to November, Democrats cannot repeat the mistakes of the past.
We cannot be timid. We cannot be afraid to be bold or to challenge the conventional wisdom. We must upend the status quo.
We must seize this moment to push for BIG ideas and bold solutions to the problems facing our county and to tell a story of a better America.
Here’s my plan to get our country back on the right track by investing in our people and our future and ensuring that the people of Maine’s 2nd Congressional District have a strong voice in Washington that listens to them.
Jobs and the Economy
Vice President Joe Biden said it like this: “A job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It’s about your dignity. It’s about your self-respect. It’s about your place in your community.”
The people who live and work in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District are hard working, independent and capable of accomplishing great things. They’ve made a good living in the mills, fishing, farming and in the woods. They are innovators and makers. Right now they are working harder than ever, but they are earning less and less. Stagnant wages and increased costs mean working families are struggling to hold on to their middle-class lives.
The problem isn’t just finding a job. It’s finding a good job with benefits that makes a solid, middle class life possible.
Rising income inequality and politicians and rules that favor the super-rich and big corporations have put working people at a disadvantage and made it more difficult to earn a decent living.
- Make smart investments in infrastructure, including expanding broadband to every community in Maine and support House Resolution 63, which sets 10 principles for action, including:
- Prioritizing public investment in roads, bridges, rail and broadband;
- Embracing clean-energy jobs, promoting full energy efficiency;
- Ensuring that investments are not paid for with cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid or other vital programs;
- Protecting clean air and water and other critical environmental standards; and
- Paying a prevailing wage and emphasizing worker safety
- Raise the federal minimum wage;
- Create a national investment bank that backs small businesses with greater access to loans, particularly in rural areas like Maine’s 2nd District;
- Adopt a Small Business Bill of Rights that will make sure government is an ally for Maine’s small business community;
- Support the Healthy Families Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act, to make sure workers are healthy and can take care of their families;
- Strengthen collective bargaining rights and oppose new barriers to unionization;
- Defend the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and protect consumers from predatory lending and other financial abuses, which led to the Great Recession;
- Support Maine’s tourism economy and work to bring new visitors and economic activity inland; and
- Create a rural economic revival by investing in innovation in Maine’s traditional, core industries: working forests, fishing and farming.
Maine voters have spoken with a loud and clear voice: They want to be able to see their doctor when they are sick. Under President Trump and Congressman Poliquin, health care has continued to be out of reach for too many Maine families. Premiums are rising, creating economic strain on working people, and prescription medicine is too expensive. In fact, Congressman Poliquin voted to take health care away from more than 100,000 Mainers. I support universal access to health care and consider access to health care a right. It’s time for Medicare for All.
Here’s how we can make insurance more accessible and more affordable:
- Support expansion of Medicare with the goal of creating universal access to health care for every American;
- Reject efforts to cut Medicare, Medicaid and to privatize VA health care in order to pay for President Trump’s disastrous tax policy;
- Give Medicare the ability to negotiate for lower prescription drug costs and to pass those savings on to consumers and crack down on drug company price gouging;
- Strengthen rural hospitals and Federally Qualified Health Centers;
- Ensure that mental health care is treated on par with physical health care; and
- Support Planned Parenthood and guarantee the right of every woman to make her own health care decisions in consultation with her doctor and family, regardless of economic circumstance;
Social Security is a promise that we have made to generations of working Americans. Policies supported by Congressman Poliquin have put the program – which allows older Mainers to retire with security and dignity – at risk. We must protect Social Security.
- Oppose any effort to cut, privatize, or weaken Social Security, including raising the retirement age, cutting benefits and slashing cost of living increases;
- Expand Social Security to ensure that it appropriately recognizes the economic contributions of women who are widowed or needed to leave the workforce to care for their children, parents or other family member;
- Modernize the Social Security cost of living adjustments to recognize that older Mainers pay a disproportionate amount of their income on high-cost items such as health care and prescription medicine; and
- Fix, once and for all, problems with the Windfall Elimination Provision (WPO) and Government Pension Offset that make Maine teachers ineligible for Social Security.
Opioids and Substance Abuse Disorder
Opioids are killing more than one Maine person every day. There is a lot of talk from politicians about the issue, but we are well past the time for talk, study groups, or committees. It is time to act and save lives.
- Begin recognizing addiction as a public health emergency and reduce the stigma associated with receiving treatment;
- Restore the DEA’s power to shutdown drug distributors who refuse to curb diversion;
- Support the INTERDICT Act, which will improve the ability of US Customs and Border Protection to stop fentanyl, synthetic opioids and other narcotics from coming into the country;
- Dramatically expand evidence-based treatment programs at the community level by passing the Respond NOW Act, which would create a $25 billion opioid response fund and dedicate more than $18 billion to state efforts to expand medication-assisted treatment;
- Create new supports for families and children impacted by opioid addiction; and
- Expand access to Naloxone by allowing third-party prescriptions, expand distributions programs and pass Good Samaritan and liability protections so that providers or people responding to an overdose aren’t punished for acting in good faith.
Our country’s veterans have made tremendous sacrifices in the service of the United States of America. It’s passed time we meet our commitments to them. We must reform the Department of Veteran Affairs, increase access to mental health and job placement services, and increase educational and economic opportunities for the men and women who have served.
- Fully fund the VA and remove arbitrary budget caps and resist efforts to privatize VA health care;
- Improve VA and Department of Defense health care and research for mental health and traumatic brain injuries;
- Pass the Women Veterans Access to Quality Care Act as part of an effort to improve programs for women veterans;
- Defend and strengthen the Access Received Closer to Home (ARCH) Program and the Veterans Choice Program, which were originally created by Congress with the support of Congressman Mike Michaud. These programs provide critical access to healthcare especially for veterans living in rural and remote areas of the Second District, especially Aroostook, Washington, Piscataquis, Somerset and Oxford Counties;
- Invest in telehealth services;
- Expand the veteran’s caregiver program to include all veterans;
- Expand veterans’ employment and job placement services including significant enhancements of pathways to meaningful employment for disabled veterans;
- Take every step necessary to ensure the Department of Defense continues to expeditiously identify and recover the remains of service members who are Missing In Action (MIA) with special attention paid to MIAs from the Second World War, the Korean War and the Vietnam War;
- Hold VA employees accountable for providing first-class care to veterans; and
- Above all else we will ensure that no veteran is left behind, no military family feels alone and that our Gold Star survivors are always treated with the utmost respect and appreciation
Climate Change and the Environment
Climate change is one of the most important issues facing the world and the United States. The extreme policies of Congressman Poliquin have forfeited our country’s leadership on this critical issue while ignoring the real world impact of climate change on people in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District. The US must adopt policies that reduce the use of fossil fuels; promote renewable energy, energy efficiency and innovation; and invest in clean energy jobs.
- Block offshore drilling along Maine’s coast, which would endanger our coastal fishing and tourism economies and make our country more dependent on fossil fuels;
- Re-engage in the Paris Climate Agreement and make the US a leader in clean energy technology and pollution reduction;
- Defend vehicle emissions standards and fuel efficiency requirements and stop the Trump administration from rolling them back;
- Defend the Clean Power Plan;
- Reform leasing on public lands with a renewed focus on environmental protection and clean energy production and stop the giveaways to fossil fuel companies;
- Reduce methane gas emissions and create incentives and standards for reducing leaks; and
- Protect Maine’s natural resources.
Fight Harassment and Abuse
Our country is at a powerful turning point, where the stories of women who have faced sexual abuse and harassment are finally starting to be heard. We have the obligation to listen – and believe – people who have suffered abuse, and make systematic change to hold abusers accountable and to change a culture that has allowed abuse to go unpunished.
- The first step in ending the culture of sexual harassment, domestic violence, and gender inequality is to say something when we see something and to end the conspiracy of silence that has empowered and protected abusers. But there are also commonsense policy solutions that need to be enacted immediately, including:
- Eliminate the slush fund used by members of Congress to silence victims of sexual harassment;
- Immediately reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.
- Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act to close loopholes that allow employers to pay women less than men for the same jobs;
- Raise the minimum wage and enact paid sick and family leave policies Economic security for women is a key component of ending domestic violence;
- Support legislation that would require government agencies and contractors to disclose the number of sexual harassment complaints they receive annually; and
- Support Planned Parenthood and guarantee the right of every woman to make her own health care decisions in consultation with her doctor and family, regardless of economic circumstance
Having the right skills are essential to competing in today’s economy. We are fortunate in Maine to have world class public and private universities. Support for those must continue as we diversify our economy. We also need to recognize that a four-year college degree is not the only path to a successful career. We must do more to ensure that community colleges, workforce training, and continuing education are accessible and that the training available to students and employees matches the needs of employers and creates lifelong learners who are able to adapt to a changing world and changing economy.
Details: I have identified specific areas that can help ensure students and workers have access to world-class educational opportunities:
- Invest in school construction and modernization;
- Provide universal pre-K;
- Fully fund school breakfast, lunch, and after school programs;
- Guarantee free two-year community college for anyone with the grades to get in;
- Re-investment in vocational education at all levels;
- Meet the federal government’s commitment to fund special education; and
- Reduce the crush of college debt through a refinancing program and income-based repayment program, while holding lenders accountable for abusive practices and restoring consumer protections for student loans.
Money in Politics, Voting Rights
Years of dysfunction have led to many people losing faith in Congress and the federal government. It is time to enact commonsense reforms that allow our democracy to function as intended so we can get to work solving the problems facing our country.
- Pass a Constitutional Amendment to end Citizens United and reduce the role of money in politics;
- Strengthen financial disclosure requirements for members of Congress to shine light on conflicts of interests:
- Support the Disclose Act, which increases transparency in campaign spending;
- Support the Government by the People Act, which creates a system similar to the Maine Clean Election Act;
- Support the Honest Ads Act, which increases disclosure requirements for online advertising;
- Support the Get Foreign Money out of Politics Act, which prohibits campaign contributions from foreign corporations and nationals.
- Require presidential candidates to disclose five years of federal tax returns;
- End the practice of gerrymandering that has been abused to create unfair political advantages; and
- Protect voting rights, reduce barriers to participation and restore the protections of the Voting Rights Act
Ranked Choice Voting
I am the is the only candidate in the race for the Democratic nomination who joined a successful lawsuit to compel the state to implement ranked choice voting, as demanded by a People’s Veto, in time for the June primary.
Details: Simple. Respect the will of Maine voters and trust them to make decisions about how they chose their elected leaders.