Archive for September 1st, 2012

Weekly Democratic Radio Address by Sen. Troy Jackson (Allagash): Labor Day an important time to remember the strength, resiliency of Maine workers

Posted on September 1, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: |

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Good morning. This is State Senator Troy Jackson of Allagash.

It’s labor day weekend—a long-held tradition that honors the American worker. This holiday, which began more than a hundred years ago, was borne out of a time similar to ours—a time when workers were working harder for less; a time when a paycheck didn’t stretch far enough to pay the rent; and a time when the voice of the worker was muffled by the power of big monied corporations.

This year, this holiday couldn’t be more important. Labor Day, the day that honors the social and economic achievements of American workers, is critical to rebuilding our country, our state, and our towns. Right now, we wake up each morning seeing the rest of our country emerge from the worst economic recession of our lifetime, yet Maine continues to lag behind.

Too many Mainers are working harder for less. The daily paper reminds us that in the last two years, under Republican leadership, Mainers’ incomes have fallen—and, we are the fifth worst state in the country for job growth. We can do better than that. We want better than that.

The middle class has always been the engine of our economy, but right now there are more Mainers who are falling out of the middle class than joining it.

In the last two years, under Republican watch, Governor LePage and his legislative allies have made it harder to live and work in Maine. They have promoted policies that undercut Maine workers. They’ve tried to take away protections for workers in factories, roll back child labor laws, and take away benefits for workers who were permanently injured on the job through no fault of their own. We need to be strengthening workers and the middle class, not taking away their rights.

I come from a long tradition of loggers—and I am proud of the work I do. I’m also more fortunate than many to even have a job in the woods. In Aroostook County, where I live, there are more people who are unemployed than in the rest of the state. As a logger, I know firsthand what it means to be unsure of when, where and even what my next job is going to be. I know what it’s like to be away from my home and my family for days on end just to earn a living. And sadly, I also know what it’s like to watch my son struggle with the decision to leave our hometown because there’s no opportunity for work—no matter how badly he wants to remain where our family has been since the 1830s. Young people shouldn’t be faced with these situations—not mine and not yours.

We need leaders who stand by us and with us. We need policies where everyone gets paid a fair wage for a hard day’s work. And, we need leaders who are willing to create an atmosphere of opportunity so that anyone who wants to work can also strive for a future in which they too can climb the ladder and achieve economic success. That’s a desire we all share.

I am hopeful that Maine can once again be on the track for prosperity. Maine people are resilient. Maine workers are determined. But it’s time for lawmakers to look out for the very people who sent them to Augusta to get to work.

So this Labor Day weekend, let’s be thankful for the strength and resiliency of Maine workers who each and every day contribute to the success of our state—in our mills and Maine Streets, our office buildings, on our oceans, and at our farms, Maine workers are second to none and are the backbone to our state’s accomplishments.

This is Senator Troy Jackson of Allagash. Thank you for listening and have a great Labor Day weekend.

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Weekly Address of President Obama: Honoring Our Nation’s Service Members and Military Families

Posted on September 1, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Hi, everybody. On Friday, I visited Fort Bliss in Texas, where I met with some of our extraordinary men and women in uniform to mark the second anniversary of the end of major combat in Iraq.

It was a chance to thank our troops for the outstanding work they’ve done over the last decade. Fort Bliss is home to soldiers who took part in every major phase of the Iraq War – from the initial assault on Baghdad; to the years of fighting block by block; to the partnership with the Iraqi people that helped give them a chance to forge their own destiny.

And while the war itself remains a source of controversy here at home, one thing will never be in doubt – the members of our armed forces are patriots in every sense of the word. They met every mission and performed every task that was asked of them with precision, commitment and skill. And now, with no Americans fighting in Iraq, it’s my privilege on behalf of a grateful nation to once again congratulate these men and women on a job well done.

This anniversary is a chance to appreciate how far we’ve come. But it’s also a reminder that there is still difficult work ahead of us in Afghanistan. Some of the soldiers I met at Fort Bliss had just come home from the battlefield, and others are getting ready to ship out.

We’ve broken the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan, and begun the transition to an Afghan lead. Next month, the last of the troops I ordered as part of the surge against the Taliban will come home, and by 2014, the transition to Afghan lead will be complete.

But as long as we have a single American in harm’s way, we will continue to do everything in our power to keep them safe and help them succeed. That means giving them a clear mission and the equipment they need on the front lines. But it also means taking care of our veterans and their families. Because no one who fights for this country should have to fight for a job or a roof over their head when they come home.

I also told our soldiers at Bliss that part of honoring their service means strengthening the nation they fought so hard to protect. As we turn the page on a decade of war, it’s time to do some nation-building here at home.

My grandfather’s generation came back from World War II and helped form the backbone of the greatest middle-class in history. They helped this country come back stronger than before. Today’s veterans have the skills, the discipline, and the leadership skills to do the exact same thing – and it’s our job to give them that chance.

It’s time to build a nation that lives up to the ideals that so many Americans have fought for – a nation where they can realize the dream they sacrificed to protect. We need to rebuild our roads and runways and ports. We need to lay broadband lines across this country and put our veterans back to work as cops and firefighters in communities that need them. And we need to come together to make America a place where hard work is rewarded and anyone willing to put in the effort can make it if they try.

That’s how we can honor our troops. That’s the welcome home they’ve earned.

Thanks, and have a great weekend

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Weekly Labor Day Message by MDOL Commissioner Robert Winglass

Posted on September 1, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

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Hello Mainers, this is Commissioner Bob Winglass of the Department of Labor. Today sitting in for Governor Paul LePage.

It has been my pleasure – my sincere pleasure – to serve Governor LePage during the past year and a half. Although I look forward to my upcoming retirement, I’d like to reflect momentarily upon the challenges facing our workforce and the steps we need to take to grow Maine’s economy and ensure that everyone has meaningful employment.

Now as Commissioner, I’ve traveled the state, meeting with loggers, lobstermen and women, shipbuilders, hospitality workers, teachers, machinists, farmers, and construction workers, just to name a few. These people keep our industries and our economy humming. I’m proud of the work that all of these employed Mainers do. They imagine, they create, they sell and they inspire all of us in public service world to work harder to make their work easier.

Now our economy has presented some hurdles. There’s no question about that. Unemployment remains too high. The Department of Labor has strived to lower our unemployment rate while nonetheless maintaining the integrity of our Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. A solvent and strong fund enabled this state to avoid the need to borrow federal funds to pay unemployment benefits. Keeping business costs down means more money can be invested in people and equipment.

Lowering the unemployment rate means putting people back to work. Growing our economy and letting the private sector create jobs is certainly the best way. This administration has overseen a steady increase in the number of private sector jobs. As our economy strengthens as a result of other reforms – such as tax, workers’ compensation, welfare and other programs—businesses will create even more jobs. But that’s still not enough.

Many businesses, like manufacturing, have jobs to fill but they cannot find enough skilled workers. We need to train more people for the jobs that are in demand right now. This month, the Department of Labor will submit a proposal to restructure Maine’s workforce investment system, cutting administrative overhead by an estimated eight hundred-thousand dollars. These savings that will be redirected to workforce development and training.

We’re training more women, for example, in non-traditional occupations – jobs that pay better with better benefits. We’re strengthening our services to veterans, helping them convert military experience into civilian employment. We’ve energized vocational training efforts for citizens with disabilities – certainly a worthy undertaking. Such programs enable Mainers to provide a better life for their families and instill the pride that comes with a paycheck.

The Department of Labor has a talented team of technical, dedicated people who effectively serve members of the workforce and employers. I have been honored to serve as their Commissioner, and I wish them all continued success as they continue their service to the men and women of the Maine workforce. These men and women provide the drive, the determination, and the skills that will keep our economy growing.

Have a wonderful Labor Day. You’ve earned it!

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