Speaker of the House/ 2014 Maine Democratic Convention Chair Mark Eves (D-N Berwick) Speech to Delegates
- FULL TEXT OF SPEECH AS PREPARED
Welcome to the Maine Democratic Party convention.
I’m Speaker of the Maine House Mark Eves.
For the past two years, Senate President Justin Alfond and I joined forces to lead the Democratically-controlled Legislature.
We were on the frontlines standing up to Governor LePage on behalf of the people of Maine.
I want to thank Senator Alfond, our leadership teams, and all of the members of the Maine House and Senate here tonight for their hard work for our citizens.
I also want to thank Ben Grant, party chairman, and the amazing team he has assembled, led by Mary Erin Casale and Chuck Quintero.
We are poised for victory. We are poised to reclaim Our Maine.
We are the Party that stands for economic opportunity for everyone — not just those at the very top.
Democrats can be proud of the candidates up and down our ticket.
We are the party made up of everyday Mainers — firefighters, police officers, mill workers, moms, teachers, doctors, nurses, farmers, and small businesses owners.
We are Maine. And we are proud.
My mother was a school teacher and my father was a chaplain in the United States Military. I’m the youngest of seven children. Growing up, my family, struggled, like so many Maine families today. My parents taught my brothers, sister and I that when you pull together and work together, we all do better. They taught us the values of public service and giving back to the community.
These are the values that hold Maine communities together across our state.
My wife and I have been so proud to raise our three children here.
He has stood in the way of measures that would put more money in the pockets of Maine families, from expanding health care to increasing the minimum wage.
He’s squandered a $1 million of taxpayer funds on a controversial and plagiarized study to bolster his campaign talking points.
The Governor has mismanaged our state — even refused to do his job.
His unprecedented veto spree is nothing more than failed leadership.
When you govern by veto pen, Maine families lose.
As a family therapist helping people struggling with mental illness, I’ve seen first hand how lack of access to a health care can tear families apart. How mounting medical bills can lead to bankruptcy or even homelessness.
That’s why as Speaker of the House, I made it my top priority to expand health care to 70,000 Maine people, including nearly 3,000 veterans.
Five times — in five different bills — we worked to pass a measure that would allow us to take the federal government up on its offer to fund health care for our citizens.
We even worked across the aisle with reasonable Republicans
But Governor LePage and his Tea Party Republican allies said no:
They said no to life saving health care for our citizens.
They said no to a $1 million per day in economic investment
They said no to the 4,000 jobs it would have created.
They said no. And they had NO good reason!
For Maine people who are struggling to pay for their medicine for diabetes or face life threatening diseases, it’s hard to understand why politics stood between them and a doctor.
For Laura Tasheiko of Northport that became a terrifying reality.
When she found out she had seriously aggressive cancer she was fortunate to get the treatment she needed because she qualified for life-saving health care through Medicaid.
In January, she was among the 24,000 Mainers who lost coverage because we didn’t expand Medicaid.
Imagine being left without health care coverage while recovering from the ongoing and debilitating effects of cancer, surgery, and chemotherapy.
It’s heartbreaking; It is shameful and it is inhumane.
Governor LePage is the only Governor in the country to have vetoed Medicaid expansion five times.
He even considers it one of his highest accomplishments.
Well, I have a message for the Governor and his Republican allies in the Legislature from the tens of thousands of Mainers like Laura Tasheiko:
It’s no badge of honor to deny life saving health care to our citizens.
That message will be delivered in the voting booths across our state in November. The people of Maine will remember!
We are counting on all of you to help get Mike Michaud elected along with Democrats up and down the ticket — So that on day one of Governor Michaud’s administration, Maine can stop saying no … So that Maine can say YES to life-saving health care and the jobs and economic investment that comes with it.
During the past two years, I’m proud to say that Maine Democrats were able to improve the lives of our citizens despite the Governor.
We bolstered job training and workforce development. We invested in education for our students at all levels and health care for our seniors and people with disabilities.
We did it all working with Republicans and Independents, while the Governor sat on the sidelines waving his veto pen.
We also put a stop to some of the governor’s most harmful policies to gut protections for clean water and clean air in our state.
We prevented massive property tax spikes for middle class families and seniors.
We held back his effort to undercut worker’s rights to collectively bargain for wages and benefits.
I’m so proud of the work we did. I’m proud to have stood with Senate President Justin Alfond against Governor LePage.
But what we did is not enough.
Maine needs champions that bring us together. Maine needs leaders that build opportunity for everyone. That’s why we need to elect Mike Michaud and a Democratic Majority in the Maine House and Senate. It’s why we need to keep Maine 2nd Congressional District blue, its why we need progressive leaders like Chellie Pingree in Congress, and its why we need to elect Shenna Bellows to the U.S. Senate.
So are you with me? Are you ready to take back our state? Are you ready to reclaim Our Maine?
It won’t be easy. Our opponents never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
They manufacture crisis after crisis, they disregard the truth.
But we can’t let that stop us. We can’t and we won’t back down.
We must restore the pride the people of Maine have in our state. The Maine where we unite to help one another and lift each other up, where we celebrate our accomplishments not denigrate our people, our schools, or our workers.
This is Our Maine.
So I’ll ask again: Are you with me? Are you ready to elect Mike Michaud our new Governor and Democrats up and down the ticket?
Join me in this fight to the finish.