Troy Jackson’s Heart
I could go on and on about the man that has become my friend over the past three years, but instead, I am gonna let him do the talking. Then you decide for yourself whether the Governor is right about Assistant Majority Leader Senator Troy Jackson (D-Aroostook) having “no brains and a black heart.”
On LD 1546, “An Act To Strengthen Maine’s Hospitals, Increase Access to Health Care and Provide for a New Spirits Contract”, the first Medicaid expansion bill this session which was vetoed publicly by Governor LePage.
“It’s … embarrassment that I had health insurance and they didn’t (re: two friends who died of similar heart conditions to his own). It’s embarrassment that I’m alive and they didn’t have that opportunity.”
Next, I want you to listen to Troy talk about his fellow Democrats at last year’s Maine Democratic Convention in Augusta and what he sees as the responsibility of elected officials to their constituents:
Expounding on the theme of the “ladder to success,” Jackson said that LePage had “pulled the ladder up behind you once you climbed it,” and that:
“We will do better. THAT is why we are Democrats!
Because, Brothers and Sisters, we are the party of Allagash’s proud loggers, just as we are the party of the entrepreneur in the renovated mills of Biddeford. We are the party of the creative economy on Congress Street in Portland, just as we are the party of the tireless mill workers in Rumford. We are the party of the lobstermen in Rockland and the Maine Guide in Jackman.
It is we who are, the party of the potato farmer in Caribou and the teacher in Waldoboro. It is we who are, the party of the HARD WORKING state employees here in Augusta and the abused Decoster workers a few miles north. We are the party of children, whether they’re in Jay or Machias, and we are the party of the elderly whether they’re in Greenville or Belfast.
Brothers and Sisters – we are going to go forth together and win in November. And when we do we will make damn sure that the ladder of success is there for every Mainer. We are on the right side of this fight, we are on the right side of history, we are the party of the people of Maine – we are the Democrats AND we have your back!”
Compare that with, at the Maine Republican Convention weeks’ prior, we heard this from Governor LePage:
“This November represents a real choice at the ballot box. Do you want to remain a sinking welfare state? Can we revive the American dream? Remember Eliot Cutler? He’s still running for governor. He mocked me. He said I was pandering. But we did what Eliot Cutler and the liberal media said wasn’t possible: We passed the largest tax cut in Maine’s history… I understand welfare because I lived it. I understand the difference between a want and a need. The Republican Party promised to bring welfare change. We must deliver on this promise. Maine’s welfare program is cannibalizing the rest of state government.
To all you able-bodied people out there: Get off the couch and get yourself a job.”
A reminder: Maine voters flipped both Legislative chambers from Republican control back to the hands of the Democrats with the November elections.
Additionally, under the LePage Administration thusfar, it has been reported that Maine has the third slowest economic growth rate of the nation’s fifty states and our is the worst per capita regarding job losses.
In fact, Maine was one of only three states to lose jobs between 2012 and 2013.
But, let’s go even further back- to really see some contrast.
From Mar 2, 2011 at a rally held outside of the Maine State House in support of state workers opposed to Governor LePage’s proposed biennual budget.
It was -30 with the wind chill and yet Troy stood out there in the blustery cold and addressed almost a thousand shivering Maine workers who came to protest. Troy understands hard work, because he has done it his whole life- and does it to this day.
(Incidentally, this was the first time I ever saw or heard Senator Jackson and this speech was what made me realize I needed to meet this man ~AP)
From March of this year, Sen. Troy Jackson (D-Allagash) Maine Labor Lobby Day 2013 Address.
This is not a man with no brains and a black heart; this is a man who believes in his beloved home state and her people, with every fiber of his being.
- “Good morning, brothers and sisters, and thank you for being here today. If you are here today, it is because you’re part of a growing number of folks who are recognizing things need to change if our economy is ever going to return to some sense of normalcy. If you are here today, it is because you believe in yourself, your friends, and your neighbors to be part of the restrengthening of Maine’s middle class. If you are here today, it’s because you reject the notion that the United States has to change its place in the world in order to meet the changes of the world.
I am with you. But I am also here because as a young man who grew up in a place where people work unimaginably hard their entire lives, I learned just how badly people like us need to make sure our voices are heard in these halls. When a group of my fellow Allagash loggers and I came here in the 1990s, we saw how unfair the system can be to folks who are just trying to do the best they can for their families.
The fact of the matter is simple; people who work for a living deserve action and respect from those who exist beneath this dome and behind these stairs. Today is the day working people and their families stop being a talking point and start being a focal point!
Later I will be presenting a bill that if passed would direct the State of Maine to buy American resources at every realistic opportunity. With American manufacturing still fighting to come back, one of the greatest things we can do to help is to make sure when government money is spent, it goes back to that sector and our economy. That means it will be going toward keeping good jobs with good benefits that people can be proud of. Some would rather not acknowledge it, or would like to think that the best part of our past can’t be one of the good parts of our future, but having an industrialized nation with a high quality of life means having a strong middle clas.
We must stop downplaying that making things is what the United States has always done best. Of course, it’s one of many things that we like to think that Mainers do best. The least we can do is make sure that our state supports this tradition, whether it’s by buying steel from Pennsylvania or boots from right down the road in Auburn. Let’s be in the business of purchasing paper from mills right here in Maine, not in eastern Canada. Let’s institutionalize common sense and fairness. We were sent here to Augusta by Maine’s people, not multinational corporations with factories in China and Korea, and I can tell you that every legislator with us today is determined to prove our commitment to coming good on that.
There’s another bill being heard today that would raise Maine’s minimum wage to $8.50 an hour and allow it to adjust to inflation on an annual basis. Brothers and sisters, we need to do this. We need to do this for every single parent who just can’t put enough hours in to cover the bills that keep piling up. We need to do this for every student who graduated last year but has been unable to find a job that makes paying back student loans feasible. We need to do this for every large family that’s crammed into an apartment that’s too small for now because they can’t afford a place that fits. Hard work is more than the great virtues of sweat and dignity. If the value of milk and bread have changed, shouldn’t the value of a person’s time? We hear a lot about how Mainers ought to get off the couch, but the reality is that most Mainers are the best of workers, and maybe they can’t afford a couch- even the ones from Marden’s.So to everyone on minimum wage, we say to you: Don’t let anyone tell you you’ve done wrong because $7.50/ hour wasn’t enough.
Don’t let anyone tell you it’s your fault that $7.50 couldn’t buy even 2 gallons of gasoline when you burn four going to work every day. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re a bum because even after putting in every hour you could, you don’t know how you’ll afford the mortgage on the home that has been in your family for generations. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re a bottom feeder because after you couldn’t find a second job, you stopped at the food pantry, the five or six mouths at home the only thing on your mind. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re lazy when you put your children to bed at night and you feel guilty that that college fund you started hasn’t had a deposit in it for more than two years, because after you got sick without health insurance $7.50 wasn’t enough. $7.50 isn’t enough!
American workers are the best workers in the world and Mainers are a shining example among them! There is nothing we can’t do from right here in Maine, if we allow Maine to get to work the way it wants to! I see a future where the industries of our past are revived to compliment the markets and jobs of the future! Maine is an extraordinary state defined by an exceptional people and we’re not going to let anyone tell us different anymore! Thank you!
No wonder on May 1 of this year, Senator Troy Jackson received the Frances Perkins award.Assistant Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, was given the Frances Perkins Award at the Western Maine Labor Council’s annual Workers’ Memorial Day Dinner on Sunday, April 28 in Lewiston.
The award is given annually in honor of Frances Perkins, who was Secretary of Labor under President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the first woman appointed to a federal cabinet position.
“Frances Perkins spent her life fighting for working people,” said Jackson in a press release from the Senate Majority Office. “I feel honored and humbled to win an award in recognition of her. We can thank the unions for the 40-hour work week, for safer working conditions, and for better wages and benefits for all workers. Frances Perkins believed that the ladder of success should be held for everyone, and that in a race to the bottom, everyone loses. Every day I arrive in Augusta, I think about how best I can help working Mainers climb that ladder to success.”
Counterpoint that recognition with this previous write-up, Governor LePage and MuralGate, let alone some national attention on the matter (March 2011):
So, WHO has “no brains and a black heart”? I think we all know the answer to that- and it isn’t Troy Jackson.