Weekly Democratic Address by Leader Seth Berry (Bowdoinham): Lawmakers Accomplish Much For the People of Maine, While Governor Picks Fights
Lawmakers in Augusta wrapped up an unprecedented legislative session this year. Despite a divided government and a governor prone to personal attacks and distortions, Democrats and Republicans were able to work together on some of the most important issues of the day.
We passed a bipartisan, compromise state budget that protects property tax payers from the massive tax increases proposed by Governor LePage, while also making sure that public schools get the support they need for the classroom.
Working with reasonable Republicans, we also ensured that elderly Mainers and people with disabilities will be able to afford their life-saving medicines.
And we passed a bipartisan comprehensive energy plan that will help to reduce heating costs while also protecting the environment.
While the governor wanted to fight, Democrats were willing to do the hard work necessary to build consensus and find compromises to move our state forward.
Good morning. I’m Rep. Seth Berry of Bowdoinham, the leader of the Maine House Democrats.
When Democrats first took office, we made a commitment to work to strengthen our middle class and Maine’s economy. We passed a responsible budget that will prevent massive property tax hikes across the state for working families and businesses.
We worked with Republicans to reject Governor LePage’s harmful budget and prevented a state shutdown that would have undermined our economy. We put more money into classrooms for children and restored funds to help seniors and people with disabilities pay for their medicine and care.
Democrats set out to strengthen our workforce and ensure that our workers would be able to get the skills they need to succeed in this global economy. We delivered on that promise — passing key measures to close the state’s skills gap and provide that critical training.
Maine people elected Democrats because we offered a positive alternative to Governor LePage and his harmful agenda that puts the interests of corporations ahead of people and stands up for polluters instead of mothers looking out for their children.
We put the brakes on the Governor’s special interest agenda: Stopping the roll back of rights for workers and women; putting much needed resources into classrooms; fighting against toxins in baby bottles and pollution in our air and water.
While we were able to find common ground with many Republicans, Governor LePage’s confrontational approach and record-breaking veto spree sought to divide our state and pit people against one another
More than two-thirds of the bills vetoed by the Governor had bipartisan or unanimous support. It was disappointing to see Republicans flip flop on vote for vote.
Time and again, good work was sacrificed as Republicans joined with the governor to put party loyalty ahead of loggers in Aroostook County, businesses along the coast, at risk children, and working families in every community in our state.
Despite these challenges, we accomplished a lot for the people of Maine.
Nearly 500 bills became law this session, from ensuring that veterans could get work and transition smoothly into the state’s workforce, to protecting teens from suicide.
Governor LePage’s obstructionism cost Mainers much this year, from life-saving health care to clean water and safe children’s products.
But Democrats won’t stop standing up for Maine values. We will continue to work on behalf of the people
Thank you for listening; I’m Rep. Seth Berry of Bowdoinham. The House Democratic Leader.