Attorney General Janet Mills Addresses 2014 ME Dem Convention (Video, Transcript)
Attorney General Janet Mills Addresses 2014 Maine Democratic Convention (speech as prepared)
- Attorney General Janet T. Mills
Remarks to the Maine Democratic Convention
Saturday, May 31, 2014, Bangor Maine
Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you members of the Maine Democratic Party.
Thank you, Matt Dunlap, the hardest working, most productive Secretary of State we have ever had!
Thank you, Ben Grant and Mary Erin Casale for your leadership and difficult work during good times and bad. And for bringing back a well-deserved majority in the Maine State Legislature!
Folks, it’s May 31st. The ice is finally out, in most of the state. The lakes and ponds are stocked, the sidewalks smelling of lilacs at last. In western Maine the mowing has begun. We have shaken off the snows of January, the hardships of a frigid February, as we enjoy a long delayed spring and commence the annual recycling of goods at neighborhood yard sales.
Our long wintry nightmare is over. And this year our recycling starts right at the Blaine House!
No one deserves this fresh, fruitful season more than we do, you and I.
It has taken courage to weather the storm.
During cold and difficult times over the past three and a half years, I have seen many acts of courage.
I have watched as the brave co-chairs of Appropriations, Democrats Sen. Hill and Rep. Rotundo (the first time both chairs have been women), worked all night, many nights, writing budgets from scratch, preserving funding for our schools, saving local fire and police services and life-saving social programs, while the Governor, refusing to write a budget at all, eschewed governing and headed for Jamaica to play golf….and then accuse the entire legislature of “not working hard enough!”
I saw people like Rep. Joan Welsh hold the line against mining rules and slack environmental enforcement that would destroy our natural resources, even sell them off to the highest bidder.
I saw freshmen Reps. Ann Dorney and Sara Gideon bravely, patiently, persistently push to reintroduce and enact legislature that will save the lives of people who overdose, despite a veto and a failure it to override last year.
I saw Rep. Drew Gattine and Senators Colleen Lachowitz and Margaret Craven question the Commissioner of Health and Human Services repeatedly about why her budget was no longer about health or human services but about electioneering, auctioning off social services and about sweetheart business deals funded by programs to feed children.
I saw women and men—Democrats—stand up for women’s rights on the floor of the House and the Senate, against a governor who vetoed every reasonable measure to protect the health of Maine families.
I saw them fight valiantly against this Governor’s veto of Rep. Jane Pringle’s bipartisan bill (LD 1247) to ensure that thousands of low-income women have preventive health services, cancer screenings, annual physicals, birth control, pap tests and health information, saying, after he had vetoed the bills that would cover them with insurance, “they can go buy insurance!?” “Let them eat cake!” the man says.
I heard Paul LePage say he is dead set against abortion because he was one of 18 children. Seriously. So he believes women should be forced to bear children against their will, regardless of hardship, regardless of sexual assault, regardless of circumstances?
I saw our Democratic party work to raise the minimum wage, in a state where 60 percent of minimum wage workers are women, while this Governor tried to actually lower the working wage for young people.
I listened to Gov. LePage give lip service to domestic violence while pulling the rug out from those same women and children seeking emergency help from General Assistance.
I watched as our Democratic leadership cried foul when this Governor prevented the DEP from protecting Maine children from toxic household chemicals, claiming that BPA is not harmful, saying: “…[I]t gives off a chemical similar to estrogen. So the worst case is some women may have little beards.”
Maybe he still thinks, like some of the Republican leadership, that “Women are from Venus, men are still from Mars!”
This is worse than junk science, junk politics. It is junk governance.
Governing is not a game of Candy Crush or Farmville.
It is not played in a sand box, throwing dirt in people’s faces.
It is not done from a golf course in Jamaica.
Governing is about leading—by words, by deeds and by example.
It is about helping, not hurting. It is about working hard.
It is about taking us through difficult winter storms and not giving up on the courage, the heart and the soul of Maine people.
That is why, come next winter, I will be proud to stand with our new Governor, Mike Michaud, who will lead with integrity, experience and example.
Let us work as hard as we can, through the summer and the fall, to reelect our courageous Democrats to the Maine Legislature, repair the reputation of our state, restore the voice of the people, renew faith in our government and elect a governor who will not leave Maine people out in the cold ever again.