Weekly Address of Senator Dawn Hill (York): It Is Critical to Set Tone of Cooperation, Fairness to Navigate Future Challenges
At the start of each new year, we are often more reflective—acknowledging that the welcoming of a new year is an opportunity—a time full of possibility, things that have never been—but can be. Just as in our personal lives, we in the legislature too, can learn from our past, and grow from our experiences.
Good Morning, this is State Senator Dawn Hill of York.
Earlier this week, we witnessed Congress conclude months of unyielding partisan gridlock. We shook our heads in frustration at the inability of some members of Congress to set aside their extreme ideology at the expense of the public good.
Here in Maine we are different. We have a strong history of collaboration—working across party lines. And a track record of getting things done.As the Senate chair of the Appropriations Committee, our state’s budget writing committee, I will be working first-hand on the tough challenges before us. It is critical to set a tone of cooperation and fairness as we prepare to navigate the tough challenges before us.
This week lawmakers began to look closely at a package of $35.5 million dollars in spending cuts to our state’s budget that the Governor has proposed, including taking away $12.6 million dollars from our schools and $13.4 million dollars from our health services. This is just the tip of the iceberg. We will also need to address a $100 million dollar shortfall in the Department of Health and Human Services; and looking ahead we will have to write a new two-year budget for the State of Maine.
We have no choice but to work together. The stakes are too high for us not to listen to one another.
Maine lawmakers know we must roll up our sleeves and work together to find solutions to our problems. We know it won’t be easy. But we knew that when we signed up for the task. We owe it not only to the people of our districts, but to all the people of Maine to work together for the common good. Let’s not forget, that we took an oath of office to serve all the people of Maine. And regardless of which political party we belong to, our job is to get the job done.
In Maine, we have neither the time nor the interest in scoring political points, or playing partisan games. We’ve seen the damage caused by that kind of toxic politics, and it is not for us.
It shouldn’t take a potential “fall over the fiscal cliff,” or a national disaster, for us to think about what’s right for our state. We should always be doing that.
The decisions we make at the State House affect our communities, and our neighbors. We owe it to ourselves and to each other to work together and find solutions to our problems. We won’t always agree. But we must begin from a place of wanting to work together—regardless of political party and ideology. Solving the challenges for our state requires putting our differences aside and finding common ground. We are all Mainers.
So as we welcome the new year, let us also welcome a return to the tradition of Maine politics working for the people of Maine.
Thank you for listening. This is State Senator Dawn Hill. And I wish you and yours a Happy New Year.