Having moved to Surry several years ago from Maryland, I’ve had the opportunity to experience firsthand the theme of Governor Mills’ State of the State address – “We’re not Washington; we’re Maine.” As a newcomer disgusted by much of the national political activity, it’s been a pleasant surprise to see the Maine Legislature and the Governor actively focused on improving the current lives and future prospects of the people of Maine.
In particular, the Maine House, under the energetic and capable leadership of Sara Gideon, has really impressed me. And our local freshmen representatives, Nicole Grohoski and Sarah Pebworth, have certainly thrown themselves into creating practical, non-ideological change. Here’s just a bit of what the House accomplished in the 2019 session:
- Subsidizing USDA certification of fruit and vegetable farmers to encourage sale and purchase of locally grown produce.
- Raising the share of state funding of education and increasing teacher salaries over time.
- Preventing internet service providers operating in Maine from selling or sharing customers’ personal data without their permission.
- Prohibiting oil and gas drilling off the Maine coast.
- Enacting Death with Dignity legislation.
- Putting federal Affordable Care Act protections into state law.
- Creating a 10-year strategic plan for economic growth in Maine.
- Passing workers compensation reform and creating earned, paid sick leave.
What’s the opposite of a “do-nothing Congress”? Apparently it’s the Maine Legislature! Compared to their peers in other states, these folks (including the Governor) are paid pretty little. Yet they are bringing energy, intelligence and dedication to their work every day. Makes me proud to live in Maine. If you feel the same, please take a few minutes to write, call or email your representatives to let them know.