Lucas on the Issues


Jobs and the economy

The people who live and work in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District are hard working, independent and capable. They’ve made a good living in the mills, fishing, farming and in the woods. Right now, they are working harder than ever but stagnant wages and increased costs mean working families are struggling to maintain middle class lives.

Young people are leaving because the opportunities to build a good life don’t exist. The costs of basic items like heating oil, prescription drugs, and property taxes are making it harder to retire. It’s not just a question of jobs, it’s a question of good jobs with benefits.

We need to create an opportunity for rural revival. The resources that made Maine’s rural communities successful are still there – our people, natural resources, and quality of life. But we must think about them in new ways and promote innovation and entrepreneurship.

Small businesses: We need to increase access to markets for Maine-made goods and services, and use federal dollars to invest in workforce development, job growth, and innovation.

We should consider an idea called the American Investment Bank, which would back small and medium businesses with loans and investments so that capital is available to more people who want to start a business in rural Maine.

A new generation of farmers: We are fortunate that younger Mainers are returning to farming. It’s time we negotiate trade deals that support both commodity farmers and diversified farms. Smart investments in our infrastructure will open new markets and decrease the time needed to bring products from fields to tables, reducing costs and creating jobs.

Expanding high-speed broadband: Access to the internet is as important to the economic success of our children as the highway system was to our grandparents. Technology has made it possible for a marketing company in Lewiston to do business anywhere in the world or a saw mill in Allagash to sell its products to people in Seattle.  We need the federal government to step up and connect every home and business to ensure we can succeed in the modern economy – just like they did with the highway system 60 years ago.

Renewable energy and energy efficiency: Properly sited with local input, renewable energy – including solar, wind and tidal power presents an incredible opportunity for job creation and new investment in Maine. We also need to support local power generation and empower consumers to adopt renewable energy systems. But the opportunities go beyond just large projects. Improving energy efficiency is the smartest way to reduce energy costs.

Tourism: Every year millions of people visit Maine for the very reasons we live here: the natural beauty, close knit communities, and unmatched recreational opportunities. Tourism remains a critical part of the economy and presents an opportunity to create good-paying jobs. We need to continue to market our beautiful coastline and ramp up efforts to attract tourists inland. By showcasing the entire state, we can bring the multi-billion dollar benefits of the tourism industry to communities in all corners of Maine’s Second District.

Opioid addiction

In Maine, we’re losing more than one person a day to drug overdose. While policymakers talk about the problem, they haven’t taken real action.

To fight this crisis, we have to begin by recognizing that we’re facing a public health emergency. Drug addiction is a disease and should be treated like one. We need to put a comprehensive plan into action that addresses three critical areas: prevention, treatment, and harm reduction. But we also have to do two other things: end the stigma that prevents treating the addiction crisis as a public health emergency and address the hopelessness and lack of support that too often leads to addiction.

Health care

Americans, including voters in Maine, have spoken loud and clear: They want more access to health care, not less.

Everyone should have access to affordable, quality health care. Lucas strongly supports Medicare and Medicaid and will oppose efforts to cut the programs or rollback coverage. Improvements need to be made to the Affordable Care Act, but Lucas opposes efforts to repeal it.

He supports reforms that will:

Health care reform should focus on better care and lowering costs to ensure no one has to choose between seeing a doctor and putting food on the table.

Social Security

Social Security is one of the most successful and popular government programs that has ever been created. It protects older Americans from poverty and ensures that they can retire with dignity. The program should not be privatized, cut, or otherwise undermined. Lucas supports expanding the program to better recognize the value of the labor of women who may have left the workforce to care for their families and to improve the way the annual cost-of-living adjustments are calculated. Lucas opposes raising the retirement age.

Veterans

We must reform and invest in the Department of Veterans Affairs. The systematic failures have gone on too long. The men and women who have served our country deserve better treatment than they have received. We need better outreach and a greater concentration on helping returning service members re-integrate into civilian life.

Specifically, Lucas will work to increase education and job training programs for veterans.

We also need to eliminate the stigma sometimes associated with mental health issues and ensure that all veterans have access to the care that they have earned. We must increase attention and resources for the prevention of homelessness and suicide among veterans. As a country, we need to do more to recognize the sacrifice of the men and women who serve and provide them with the support they have earned.

Climate change, land conservation, and the environment

Climate change is one of the single largest challenges facing the world and the United States. The extreme policies of Republicans in Congress and the president have forfeited our country’s leadership on this critical issue while ignoring the real world impact of climate change on people of the Second District. The US must adopt policies that reduce the use of fossil fuels, promote renewable energy and innovation, and increase energy efficiency.

The Trump administration has launched an unprecedented attack on the environment and public lands by rolling back critical safety regulations that protect people, air and water, and by handing millions of acres of public lands over to special interests, including oil, gas, and mining interests. Lucas will protect coastal waters and public lands from exploitation and fight to hold big corporations accountable and require them to safeguard public health and the environment.

Public lands are the legacy we leave for future generations. They deserve real investment so that they can continue to have a positive economic impact. Public lands are also an important tool for protecting biodiversity and storing carbon, which contributes to climate change.

Women, Domestic Violence and Equality

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.

We also have to be personally accountable, to say something when we see something and to end the conspiracy of silence that has empowered and protected abusers. And we need to make sure that we are raising our children to treat others with respect and dignity.

The work to counter domestic violence needs new urgency. Maine has a low crime rate, but there is a significant and persistent problem of domestic violence. The Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence reports that one in four women has been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner and that domestic abuse homicides account for about 50 percent of all homicides in Maine. As we have seen from the Trump administration, there are still too many people who refuse to hold abusers accountable for their actions. It’s got to stop.

We cannot separate domestic violence from other chronic problems, including lost job opportunities, drug abuse and economic insecurity, and the impact that it has on children.

Civil rights and social justice

Everyone deserves the equal protection of the law and no one should face discrimination based upon the color of their skin, religion, disability, country of origin, gender, age, or sexual orientation.

Lucas will fight against efforts to suppress voter participation and efforts to write discrimination against LGBT people into the law. He supports efforts to restore the protections of the Voting Rights Act, end partisan gerrymandering and make it easier for citizens to vote.

Lucas opposes private prisons for both state and federal prisoners.

Education

Mainers are rightfully proud of our university and community college systems, as well as the private colleges and universities in Maine. You can get a world-class education without ever leaving the state.

Over time, the cost to fund education has shifted from a community investment to an individual investment. Property taxpayers and college students carry too much of the burden even though having a skilled and educated workforce strengthens the entire state’s economy.

Lucas’s six-point education plan includes investment in school construction and modernization; quality, universal pre-K; increased support for school breakfast, lunch, and after school programs; free two-year community college and a re-investment in vocational education; and a reduction in 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.

Accountability, transparency, and campaign finance reform

Voting and participation is critical to a successful democracy. Maine has a strong tradition of voter participation, often leading the country in turnout. At the national level, we should adopt policies that will expand voting, which include policies that break down barriers to participation. Republicans around the country have promoted efforts to make voting harder, hiding behind the myth of voting fraud. We must restore the protections of the Voting Rights Act.

We must reduce the role of money in politics. Dark money groups and deep-pocketed special interests are undermining our democracy and helping to concentrate political power in the hands of a few wealthy mega-donors.

Lucas supports a constitutional amendment to address the deeply flawed Citizens United and Buckley v. Valeo decisions. We also need to end the practice of gerrymandering, which has been used to undermine democracy, particularly in the US House of Representatives where most districts aren’t competitive.

Ranked Choice Voting

Lucas is the only candidate in the race for the Democratic nomination who has joined a lawsuit that seeks to compel the state to implement ranked choice voting, as demanded by a People’s Veto, in time for the June primary.