UPDATED: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Recount*

Posted on December 1, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

UPDATE: Despite the fact that the panel of seven senators that will be tasked with resolving the SD 25 election has not even yet been selected and named, let alone met to take up the messy problem, the Maine State Senate webpage has been amended to give the win to the Republican candidate, Cathy Manchester:

    About the 127th Maine State Senate

    All members of the 127th Maine Senate have been elected to serve a two-year term. Of the 35 members, there are 21 Republicans and 14 Democrats. Eight are women (4 Republicans and 4 Democrats) and 27 are men (17 Republicans and 10 Democrats).

The link to NEW Contact Information for Members of the 127th Maine Senate (excel spreadsheet) continues to have Democrat Cathy Breen as the winner.

A pair of press conferences were held on Monday with each side repeating their stance as to whether what occurred was a mistake or something more deliberate:

    “It appears that there was just a clerical error that 21 ballots didn’t get counted. And we’re glad they’ve been counted. But we want to find out for sure,” said Senator Roger Katz, R-Augusta.

    “We expect Republicans to share this concern of potential ballot tampering because, again, this is not about a political party, it is about the integrity and confidence we can all have when we cast our ballot,” said outgoing Senate President Justin Alfond D-Portland.

———-

Senator Elect Nate Libby of Lewiston is congratulated by Secretary of State Matt Dunlap.

Senator District 21 Elect Nate Libby of Lewiston is congratulated by Secretary of State Matt Dunlap.


Before Thanksgiving, the Secretary of State’s office was tasked with settling a handful of disputed elections, as happens periodically. At one point, WCSH and MPBN reported there would be recounts in Senate District 2 (Aroostook County) and 13 (Lincoln County). But later it was confirmed that the requests for both had been withdrawn.

That left three races for resolution in Senate Districts 11, 21 and 25. These recounts were a result of either being automatically generated due to the closeness of the initial tallies or per request of a candidate. Preliminary totals via BDN:


    Senate District 11 (Waldo County), Democrat Jonathan Fulford versus Mike Thibodeau. According to unofficial election results compiled by the Bangor Daily News (the Secretary of State’s office has not yet posted its results), the incumbent Thibodeau won the seat 9,064 votes to 8,949, a 115-vote margin. Thibodeau, the former Senate minority leader, was nominated by his Republican peers Friday to be president of the Senate for the 127th Legislature, though that is subject to approval by the full Senate when it convenes in December.

    Senate District 21 (Lewiston), Democrat Nathan Libby versus Republican Patricia Gagne. According to the BDN’s unofficial results, Libby was victorious by a vote of 6,636 to 6,572, a 64-vote margin. This seat was formerly held by Democrat Margaret Craven, who opted not to seek re-election.

    Senate District 25 (part of Cumberland County), Democrat Catherine Breen versus Republican Cathleen Manchester. According to the BDN’s unofficial results, Breen took the seat by a vote of 10,897 to 10,890, a seven-vote margin. This seat was previously held by independent Richard Woodbury, who opted not to seek re-election.

The manual examinations included recounting all ballots separately for each municipality within the district, searching for any potentially overlooked ballots accidentally tucked into stacks of absentee envelopes, ensuring that the overseas ballots from other areas of the state were either not accidentally included or that overseas ballots were not accidentally omitted and investigation of all rejected ballots.

The process of recounting the ballots is methodical, meticulous, slow and tedious work, carried out by Deputy Secretary of State Julie Flynn and her staff in the Florian Room of the Maine Public Safety Building in Augusta. The entire proceedings, open to the public, included teams made of an official from the Secretary of State’s office working with both a registered Democratic and Republican volunteer. There were attorneys for both parties available throughout the recounts to weigh in on disputed ballots, irregularities and the like, as well as other support staff tabulating the final tallies before the final certification for each race.

Results were made public by Secretary of State Matt Dunlap in press releases and on Facebook.

Senate District 25 recount began at 9am.

Senate District 25 recount began at 9am on November 18.

    (Friday, Nov. 14) Senate District 11: “In the State Senate District 11 recount, results show that Republican Michael Thibodeau is the winner. Jonathan Fulford (D) received 8,974 votes, while Thibodeau received 9,109 in the recount.”

    (Monday, Nov. 17) Senate District 21: “The State Senate District 21 (City of Lewiston) recount is now complete. Results show that Democrat Nathan Libby remains the winner, with 6,646 votes to Republican Patricia Gagne’s 6,563.”

    (Tuesday, Nov. 18) Senate District 25:

And here’s where “a funny thing happened”.

By 5 pm on the 18th, not only was there no clear winner after all of the present ballots were re-examined, but it was told to this reporter that a box of ballots had been discovered to still be in Westbrook and being brought to Augusta by Maine State Police- an unusual turn of events that meant a further delay of SD 25’s final results.

Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap

Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap

Even funnier- later on that evening, Secretary of State’s office issued the following statement:

    The State Senate District 25 final results will be decided by the Senate. The recount showed a reversal in the apparent winner, with Catherine Breen (D) getting 10,916 votes and Cathleen Manchester (R) getting 10,927, but the results were not accepted by both candidates.

    When the Legislature convenes in January, its standing Senatorial Vote Committee will review the situation and make a recommendation to the full Senate on which candidate should be seated for the full term. (The committee is made up of four majority and three minority members.) The Senate will then make the final determination of which candidate to seat, typically no later than January.”

Soon it was learned that at the center of the dispute were not ballots from Westbrook, but rather almost 2 dozen new GOP ballots from Long Island. Immediately calls for a full investigation into potential voter fraud began:

    Unanswered questions remain about 21 ballots from the town of Long Island that can’t seem to be attributed to any voter. The ballots were discovered on Nov. 18, the night of the recount, and all of them contained a vote for Republican Cathleen Manchester of Gray, who had requested the recount.

    During an election, wardens at each polling place keep track of which registered voters have cast ballots. This ensures that no one gets to vote twice. The incoming voter list, or “voter manifest,” in Long Island indicated that 171 residents cast ballots either in person or absentee in this year’s election.

    Attorneys Katherine Knox (D) and Bill Logan (R) examine a disputed ballot.

    Attorneys Katherine Knox (D) and Bill Logan (R) examine a disputed ballot.

    That’s the same number of votes presented by warden and Town Clerk Brenda Singo in unofficial results relayed on election night to the Bangor Daily News and the Associated Press. Long Island, a town of about 230 residents, has only one polling place, and Singo was the only warden.

    However, when the locked box of ballots was opened during the recount, 192 ballots were found. Put simply, there are 21 more ballots from Long Island than there are documented voters.

Incoming Senate President elect Mike Thibodeau, who himself had been subject to a recount, had this to say:

    “I think the committee could convene and go over the results on swearing-in day. We’ve got to figure out if Cathy Manchester has the most votes. It’s unfortunate to throw around terms like that without some sort of substantial evidence. The fact of the matter is that we have had a recount and the results of that recount left Cathy Manchester as the apparent winner. Because some folks are not happy with that outcome, they’re throwing around some pretty wild accusations.”

Rep. Janice Cooper (D-Yarmouth) represents House District 47, which consists of Yarmouth, Long Island and Chebeague Island, has called for Attorney General Janet Mills to look into the matter.

    “One of two things has to happen to put this matter to rest: the state attorney general or the U.S. Attorney should immediately conduct a thorough, independent criminal investigation of the circumstances of this discrepancy, one that involves questioning all relevant witnesses under oath and forensic experts.

    Senate Asst Majority Leader Andre Cushing, President Mike Thibodeau and Majority Leader Garret Mason

    Senate Asst Majority Leader Andre Cushing, President Mike Thibodeau and Majority Leader Garret Mason

    Our state Constitution provides that it’s up to the Senate to decide the qualifications of its members. However, that does not absolve state or federal prosecutors from doing their job. The Senate president-elect says he will appoint a special committee to look into the matter. However, whether or how independently that investigation is conducted is up to them. Because a majority of the committee will be members of the same party as the recount winner, the outcome is bound to be suspect as politically biased unless the investigation is truly impartial and thorough.

    It’s entirely appropriate for a political body to make political decisions, as we do on proposed legislation or nominations. Sometimes, however, the Legislature must act in a quasi-judicial role, which is not easy.

    Years ago, I was counsel to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in an impeachment case concerning removal of a federal judge for alleged conspiracy to commit bribery. The case came to the House with a massive record from a criminal trial, grand jury and independent counsel’s investigation. Nevertheless, the House also conducted its own investigation, subpoenaing and deposing witnesses under oath, conducting forensic investigations, etc. We then presented our case first to the House of Representatives and then to the U.S. Senate. For the most part, the proceedings followed judicial rules of evidence. The judge was impeached, convicted and removed from office.

    This is what a quasi-judicial legislative inquiry should look like. Whether the Maine Senate is prepared to go to this length remains to be seen. Frankly, they don’t have the resources or the expertise, even if they had the will.

    That’s why we should leave it to professional prosecutors to conduct the inquiry. The Senate can seat whom it wants, but whether that decision stands or is set aside by the courts would very likely hinge on the outcome of a professional inquiry. Nothing less will do.

*Apologies to Stephen Sondheim et al

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Weekly Democratic Address by House Speaker Mark Eves (N Berwick): “With Election Day behind us, now is the time to govern”

Posted on November 7, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

House Speaker Eves: “With Election Day behind us, now is the time to govern”

The political ads on TV and radio are done. With Election Day behind us, now is the time to govern.

Speaker of the House Mark EvesGood morning, I’m Speaker of the House Rep. Mark Eves of North Berwick.

We are honored that the people of our state have put their faith in Democrats to run the Maine House of Representatives.

We are the People’s House and you can count on us stand strong for you while also coming to the table with Governor LePage and Republican legislative leaders.

Maine families deserve leaders who will set aside politics and ideology, and seek common sense solutions to grow opportunity for everyone.

-Our seniors deserve to have a more secure retirement right here in Maine.

-Our children deserve to have more opportunity to live and grow in our great state.

-Our working men and women deserve a raise! An honest day’s work deserves an honest day’s pay.

If you work full time you should not live in poverty. Too many women and men in our state are working harder and harder for less and less. It is time to raise the minimum wage.

We are committed to holding the line for the middle class in our state. And we have an opportunity to work together to do so.

Democrats and Republicans can see eye to eye on property tax relief on lowering energy costs and helping seniors and veterans. We must focus on areas of common ground not issues that divide us.

As a former family therapist, I know first hand how to listen and bring people together. And as a father of three young children, I care deeply about ensuring a strong future for our state.

Too much is at stake for leaders to put their party ideology ahead of common sense solutions.

As Speaker of the House, I promise today to always seek progress and not get caught up in the pettiness of politics. I commit that the House of Representatives will always seek what is best for our economy and our people.

In the words of President John F. Kennedy, “Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”

Let’s determine our future together.

Thank you I’m Speaker of the House Mark Eves of North Berwick.

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Hillary Clinton Comes to Maine, Stumps for Mike Michaud for Governor at Scarborough Rally (Videos)

Posted on October 27, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

PHOTO ALBUM HERE.

Rally of over 1400 supporters held 10/24/14 at Scarborough High School. Order of speakers:

1. State Senator Jim Boyle of Gorham

2. US Senate candidate Shenna Bellows

3. ME-02 2CD candidate State Senator Emily Cain

4. Congressman Chellie Pingree, 1CD

5. Former Obama admin/ SBA head Karen Mills of Brunswick

6. Gubernatorial candidate Congressman Mike Michaud

7. Former First Lady/ Secretary of State/ Potential 2016 Presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton

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Videos And Photos from Clinton-Michaud Rally at Portland Expo

Posted on September 3, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

Photo gallery here.

Shenna Bellows At Clinton-Michaud Portland Rally

Emily Cain at Clinton-Michaud Portland Rally

Rep. Chellie Pingree at Clinton-Michaud Portland Rally

Mike Michaud is Introduced at Clinton-Michaud Portland Rally

Mike Michaud Speaks at Clinton-Michaud Portland Rally

President Bill Clinton Speaks at Clinton-Michaud Portland Rally

Conclusion of Clinton-Michaud Portland Rally

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Incumbent State Senator John Tuttle Declared Winner of Senate District 33 (York Co) Democratic Primary in Recount, 843-822

Posted on June 19, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

In the second of two election recounts requested post- June 10th primary (Ralph Tucker was announced as the winner of House District 50 yesterday), incumbent State Senator John L. Tuttle led challenger Representative Andrea M. Boland by a margin of 841 votes to 821 votes in the Senate District 33 Democratic primary. SD 33 formerly SD 3, was redistricted and now contains the towns of Cornish, Parsonfield, Limerick, Newfield, Waterboro, Shapleigh and Sanford. Sanford, which previously included seven wards, is now divided up into three precincts.

DSC_0006After re-examination of the ballots, Tuttle picked up 2 votes to Boland’s 1 additional vote and was declared the winner, 843-822. He will go on to face political newcomer Republican Adam McGee of Sanford in the November general election.

Each released statements immediately after the tallies were certified:

    “I want to thank Representative Boland for running a great campaign and making me a better candidate,” said Senator Tuttle. “This election will be about who will be the best voice for working families in York County. I look forward to continuing to meet with and listen to voters in every community in this district.”

    Representative Andrea Boland (D-Sanford), who was the second-place finisher, thanked her supporters.

    “I congratulate Senator Tuttle for winning the primary,” Representative Boland said.

Some background information regarding recounts in Maine provided by Secretary of State Matt Dunlap’s office recently reads:

    “Maine law requires that a recount must be requested before any ballot boxes can be retrieved or other procedures for a recount are initiated. There is no threshold for an automatic recount in Maine law.

    Following the request for a recount, the Secretary of State works with the Maine State Police to retrieve the sealed ballot boxes and other election material from the municipal election officials of the affected precincts, and they are secured at the Maine State Police headquarters in Augusta. Candidates provide counting teams who are supervised by the Secretary of State, and candidates can have legal representation to help resolve issues around disputed ballots. Once the recount is complete, the candidates can agree to the result or, if the result remains in dispute, they would then appeal to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court for a resolution. In the general election, legislative disputes would be resolved by the Legislature.

    Under Maine law, candidates who appear to have lost an election can request a recount in writing within five business days of the election. If the margin of defeat is less than 2%, then the candidate can request the recount free of charge. If the margin of defeat is greater than 2%, the law requires the candidate to pay a deposit that is refunded if the apparent result from Election Day is overturned. If the margin of defeat is greater than 2% but less than 4%, the deposit required is $500. If the margin is greater than 4% but less than 6%, the deposit is $1,000; the maximum deposit for a recount is $10,000 for margins of defeat to be recounted of 10% or greater.”

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Ralph L. Tucker of Brunswick Holds 10 Vote Lead in Recount, Declared Winner of HD 50 Democratic Primary

Posted on June 18, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

The first of two Democratic primary recounts, that of House District 50 (parts of Brunswick), was conducted at the Department of Public Safety headquarters in Augusta today. When all votes were tallied by volunteer members of the public and overseen by the Secretary of State’s office, Ralph L. Tucker won over Jacqueline A. (Jackie) Sartoris, 432-442, the same result totals as calculated after the June 10th primary election.

Ralph L. Tucker of Brunswick

Ralph L. Tucker of Brunswick

Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap praised both candidates for their commitment to the process, and thanked Brunswick town clerk Fran Smith and her staff for an expertly-run election. “Both candidates were gratified by the process and the expertise of state elections officials, and given the clear due diligence shown by Brunswick town election officials, the recount was very smooth with no surprises,” said Dunlap.

Tucker, a retired Maine District Court judge, will now go up against Republican Mark Holbrook in November. House District 50, which includes portions of Brunswick, is an open seat as Rep. Charlie Priest is termed out.

Link here to his Tucker for House website and campaign Facebook page.

Tomorrow at 10 am comes the recount for Senate District 33 between incumbent State Senator John Tuttle and challenger Rep. Andrea M. Boland. Tuttle holds a 20 vote lead currently in that race.

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Troy Jackson for Congress Addresses 2014 Maine Democratic Convention (Video, Transcript)

Posted on June 2, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

Troy Jackson for Congress Addresses 2014 Maine Democratic Convention (as prepared)

      Troy Jackson’s Speech

    Hello fellow Democrats! My name is Troy Jackson and I’m running for Congress because I believe the middle class needs a voice. I’m running for Congress because I don’t hear enough people in Washington saying things that need to be said.

    DSC_0101Like so many, I grew up in a place in Maine where people work unimaginably hard their entire lives only to scrape by and have little to show for it. Too many times, I watched families pack up and leave despite their best efforts. The vast wealth that was made off of Maine’s natural resources was hoarded by industrial landowners from far away who saw us as a tool and the forests of our home as a commodity.

    I really started questioning this when I had a family of my own. Most of you don’t need me to tell you this, but when you have children you stop thinking about yourself and start to see the world around you in an entirely different way. You start to realize you have to do better because your family’s future depends on it.

    In order to do the best I could for my family, I was willing to take any logging job to keep a roof over our heads. Within a few years’ time that meant leaving Allagash every week for jobsites far away from home while Canadian companies cut wood all around our little town. As most of us that live paycheck to paycheck do, I tried to accept it as just the way things are.

    But I knew something wasn’t right, especially on Sunday nights. You see, Sunday nights I would pack my lunchbox and some clothes for the week, preparing for my long drive early in the morning to places on the Golden Road. And Sunday nights, my son, who was three or four by then, would ask me not go. He would tell me that he was going stay awake, holding my hand all night so when morning came I would still be there.

    I used to watch him fight to stay awake with his little hand wrapped around my thumb, as if, by strength of will alone, he could keep me home. As if all the strength he had in his little hand could counter generations of corporate greed that was keeping other young children in the St. John Valley from their parents. It was during those long Sunday nights that would turn into early Monday mornings that I stopped accepting things for the way they were and started thinking about the way they should be.

    DSC_0090Those days took me back to being 12 years old, standing behind my father and his fellow loggers when all they were asking for were decent wages for their hard work. I remember my fear as the rich landowners told them to take what they were being offered or they’d get nothing at all. The fear I felt then was probably nothing compared to the desperation my father must have felt as he stood with his son in front of the man that held his livelihood in his hands. I knew then, just as I knew as a young man with a growing family, and just as I know now, that there was no compromise to be had with people that use their power to keep others down. Instead, you have to make a stand, whether it’s blocking the Canadian border and forcing their hand, or standing up to a tea party Governor when too few are willing to do it. I’ve known people like those land owners and people like Paul LePage all my life. They may think its okay to abuse us and tell us we’re stupid and should go back to the woods. Let me tell you something; when they say I have a black heart, I wear their insult as a badge of honor, because it means that I’m standing up for men and women that have been forgotten and left behind for far too long.

    You’re gonna hear a lot about compromise in this campaign. That’s not why I’m running. I am running for Congress for every family who has laid their heads down at night with the ache of being powerless to change their situation. I am running for every child that watched their parent pack up and go to work away from home for the week, and for every parent who had to let go of their child’s hand to do it. I am running for every person whose story ever went untold while the lobbyists with offices around capitol buildings made damn sure the corporate story was told by passing off things like trickledown economics and free trade as the only option for our future.

    100_4843I stand before you today because I put more faith in the proud loggers of Allagash than in the foreign companies who play them like chess pieces. I put more faith in the lobstermen in Jonesport that literally fly the flag of their union and their right to organize than in the Koch brothers that fly the flag of corporate greed. I put more faith in the folks reviving Lewiston’s downtown than in big box stores like Wal-Mart that are killing downtowns across America. I put more faith in Rumford’s millworkers than in the corporations that want to outsource every single good paying job we have. I put more faith in the nurses in Bangor than in the insurance companies who watered down healthcare reform and prevented us from having a single-payer, universal healthcare system. And I put more faith in our state employees whose pensions were taken out from under them in a “compromise” than I do in the rich who got a 400 million dollar tax cut in exchange.

    My mother is one of the strongest people I have ever known. When I was growing up, she taught me that once you’ve worked hard for your family the best thing you can do is help others.

    She dropped out of school at 15 when she became pregnant with me. She didn’t go back to finish her high school diploma until I was five. When I got a little bit older she found a way to go to college to become a teacher. She was able to take care of me, go to her classes, and get her schoolwork done, all while keeping our home together. When she started teaching, she was making $14,000 a year.

    For a little more than half of that first year we lived in small home on the St. John River. I remember playing with Matchbox cars down by the river and thinking it was a fun place to live.

    But for my mother, it was nothing more than a shack without heat or running water. To her, it was the embodiment of failure.

    When the summer waned and fall came to Maine I remember the cold. And this is why I don’t like to tell this story: Because Mum would remind me how lucky we were, because we weren’t the only family living just like this, and right around us and all over the world people had it much worse. They were colder and more scared than we were, maybe right up the road.

    I think back to those cold nights when I would hear my mother cry. I didn’t know teachers are some of the most poorly paid professionals in this country. And while I knew we were poor, I didn’t know what the term “income inequality” meant.
    I’m not running for Congress because I’ve wanted to for a long time or because I can use it as springboard to bigger and better things.

    I’m running because of income inequality, poverty, unfairness, corporate greed and political cowardice. I have known these things my entire life and I have watched them wreck communities and tear people’s lives and families apart. And during those cold nights in that small shack along the river I never would have thought I would one day have the opportunity to do something about it. If you’re going to run for Congress, you have to know in your heart – in your soul – why you’re running. I run for all those cold nights all across America and all those crying mothers and all those aching families of the middle class I damn sure intend to!

    DSC_0118So I won’t back down when bullies like Paul LePage want to blame struggling parents for the world’s problems. If he doesn’t scare me, John Boehner and Paul Ryan sure as hell won’t.

    I won’t back down when Wall Street wants yet another bank and CEO bailout and hedge fund managers don’t want to be regulated. I won’t back down when some, even in our own party, want to hold hands with the Tea Party to extend tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. I won’t back down when the GOP tries to go after social security and Medicare. I won’t back down when corporate politicians on both sides of the aisle try to pass more free trade agreements. And when the privileged elite tries to keep me quiet with their checkbooks and their political machine, whether it’s at the Canadian border in 1998 or on the campaign trail today, I sure as hell won’t back down.

    We have been told to sit down and shut up for too long, and all it’s got us is less and less while it’s given the wealthy and the privileged more and more, and it’s time we stood up and changed the conversation.

    When the Tea Party goes after the powerless, I will be their power. When Congress forgets the words of the middle class, I will be their voice. When Republicans target the downtrodden, I will be their shield. And when they try to pull the ladder of success up behind them, I will grab it and be there holding it in place, because that ladder is supposed to be there for everyone. Because, damn it, we built that ladder. It’s ours. And no one gets left behind. That is what being a Democrat is about, and that’s what you’ll get from me. I ask you to rise up and stand shoulder to shoulder with me – with your support and with your vote. I won’t let you down. Thank you, Democrats.

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Diane Russell, John Patrick Speak in Support of Troy Jackson for Congress at 2014 ME Dem Convention

Posted on June 2, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

(Both speeches below are shared as released.)

Rep. Diane Russell of Portland Introduces Senator John Patrick, Speaks in Support of Troy Jackson for Congress

      Diane Russell Convention Speech

    Hello Democrats! My name is Diane Russell and I am here to speak in support of a voice for those who’ve not had one, in support of a champion for those who need one, and in support of my friend, Troy Jackson. You may be wondering: what do Troy Jackson, a logger from Allagash, and I, a progressive representing Munjoy Hill have in common? More than you might think:

    In 1968, Troy was born to a young couple in Allagash. It was extraordinarily unlikely the generational poverty his family had known would be anything but a challenge for their son. Instead, Troy has turned those trials into an opportunity to stand up for people like us and lead him here, poised to be our voice in Washington.

    Troy grew up under the specter of the landowners who held the lives of northern Maine’s logging families in their hands. At twelve years old he watched them dehumanize his father and dozens of other loggers and truckers by threatening to replace them all with Canadians if they didn’t work for the low wages they insisted upon. Troy hid behind his father as two of the striking woodcutter’s dared challenge them. To their protests the landowners replied, “Grass will grow in the roads of Allagash before we’ll pay another cent.” The memory of the wrongness of using working people as chess pieces to make more profits was powerful and would never leave Troy.

    Years later as a young woodsman with his own family, Troy found himself trapped in the same abusive system his entire community had suffered for decades. He believed if he worked as hard as he possibly could and did his very best for his family he could keep the bills paid and build a better life for his kids. But as millions of Americans, thousands of Mainers, and very few members of Congress know, a person’s “best” has not been enough to make it in this country for a long time now.

    DSC_0027This is Troy’s story, but it’s also ours. This is the story of everyone who has ever wanted to “make it” in America but were paralyzed by the reality of corporate greed, of politicians’ distance from working people, and by the greatest problem of our age: income inequality.

    My Dad is a truck driver from Bryant Pond. For years, I’ve watched him get up at 2:00 am, fill his thermos with coffee, and head off to work. His entire life has been spent working as hard as he possibly could for my brother and I. When I hear Troy Jackson speak, I hear my Dad.

    When I hear Troy Jackson speak I don’t just hear the pain of struggling to take care of his family, I hear the voice of a struggling middle class that feels abandoned and ignored. When Troy Jackson speaks I don’t just hear the fears of a man who is concerned for his children’s future, I hear the fears of millions of Americans who every single day wonder if the best days of the middle class are behind us. When Troy Jackson speaks I hear the story of America and the story of Maine and I am here today because it’s time our working class had a voice again. I support Troy Jackson because we deserve – we demand – a voice in the process and a place at the table.

    And now please welcome the Senator from Oxford County, my friend and fellow rabble rouser, John Patrick.

Sen. John Patrick of Rumford speaking in support of Troy Jackson for Congress

      John Patrick Convention Speech

    Hello brothers and sisters! My name is John Patrick, and I’m a maintenance worker at the mill in Rumford, a proud member of the United Steelworkers Local 900, and a proud Labor Democrat. – {pause} – I’ve worked at the mill my entire adult life, just like my father and my brothers and sisters.

    I had served in the legislature for two years before Troy Dale Jackson got there. Like many people, my first estimation of Troy Jackson was that he was a quiet, unpolished young man who spoke with a thick accent. Boy, wasn’t I wrong. Well, not about the accent.

    It didn’t take me long to understand who Troy Jackson really is. – {pause} – He is far and away the strongest voice, the fiercest advocate, and the most determined fighter for working people that I have ever seen.

    Time and time again, I’ve seen Troy stand up to the Republicans, the big companies, and even Wall Street corporate Democrats who need to be reminded that we are supposed to represent the people of Maine who don’t have lobbyists to do their bidding.

    I was never more proud than in 2011 when Troy Jackson lead a small group of Democrats in the Senate to try to block Paul LePage’s 400 million dollar tax cut for the wealthy, a tax cut that was balanced on the backs of working people and the middle class. Troy understood that standing up for working people is important, and unfortunately, too many Democrats then and now need to be reminded of that.

    Brothers and sisters – {pause} – this election offers us a clear choice: we can send someone to congress who makes the middle class one of their talking points, or we can send Troy Jackson to Washington and have a representative that will make the middle class a focal point. – {pause} – In the 430-some congressional districts all over this country there are hundreds of candidates telling people that they’re going to personally go to Washington and bring everyone together and somehow magically make bipartisanship happen.

    Folks, let’s be honest: – {pause} – the people who tell us those things do it because it polls well and it helps them win elections. Every two years we hear about it and yet Congress is more polarized than ever. – {pause} – So I’m going to tell it like it is: whoever we elect to Congress from this district isn’t going to go to DC and bring Democrats and Republicans together. They aren’t going to get Democratic and Republican leadership to hold hands and pass some super-budget that saves the world. But here’s what they can do, – {pause} – and this is why we need Troy Jackson.

    DSC_0032Our next member of Congress can take on the tea party in their radical assault on social security and medicare – just like Troy did when he stood up to LePage to fight for pensions. Our next member of Congress can push fellow Democrats to speak out against the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and remind Americans what supply-side economics really is – {pause} – a bunch of nonsense. And our next member of Congress can fight like the dickens to make sure our next health care reform results in a universal, single-payer system – {pause} – Ask Troy Jackson about healthcare – {pause} – he’s on pacemaker #3 that he wouldn’t afford without state sponsored healthcare. Troy is giving up that healthcare to run for this seat so he can fight to give that healthcare to all of us.

    Ladies and gentleman, Troy Jackson is the only politician I’ve ever truly believed in. This is the person we need on the floor of Congress – {pause} – giving them hell every single day. – {pause} – This is the person we need to choose as our nominee on June 10th. Fellow Democrats – ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the next congressperson from Maine, my friend, and a friend of every working man and woman, Troy Dale Jackson.

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U.S. Senate Democratic Candidate Shenna Bellows Addresses 2014 ME Dem Convention (Video, Transcript)

Posted on June 2, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

(U.S. Senate Democratic candidate Shenna Bellows was introduced by Androscoggin County Democratic Chair Tom Reynolds of Lewiston. Here is a partial video of his address.)

Androscoggin Chair Tom Reynolds Introduces Shenna Bellows for Senate at Convention

(The Bellows for Senate campaign released Shenna’s speech as seen below.)

U.S. Senate Democratic Candidate Shenna Bellows Addresses Convention


    Good afternoon. I’m Shenna Bellows, and I would like to be your next United States Senator.

    Thank you. Thank you, Bangor, for hosting. Thank you, Mr. King for endorsing me — Stephen King, that is. Thank you, Mainers – thousands of Mainers from more than 365 Maine towns, from Kittery to Fort Kent, who have helped us raise more than $1 million.

    Where I come from, a million dollars is a lot of money.

    I grew up just outside of Ellsworth in the town of Hancock. My father is a carpenter. And we struggled when I was a kid. One Thanksgiving, my parents realized they had about $25 left in the checking account and no work coming into my father’s business. To bridge the gap between Thanksgiving and Christmas, my mother went to work at the wreath factory in Ellsworth. After Christmas, she went to work as a greenhouse worker at Surry Gardens. And that is when we could afford electricity and running water.

    So I worked through high school and college. I waited tables, I worked retail, I was even a Subway sandwich artist. I understand what it means to be working class.

    And I am running for United States Senate because I believe working people deserve a voice in Washington.

    As I travel across the state, from Eastport to Fryeburg, what Mainers tell me is that a lot of people are struggling right now. They’re working two or three jobs just to make ends meet. They’re being crushed by enormous student loan debt. They’re working full time and just not making it. They are feeling left out and left behind.

    I will fight for all working Mainers. I will fight to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. It’s a matter of basic fairness. People need work to support their families, and people who work hard should earn enough to put food on the table, pay their bills and have a better life.

    Too many Republicans in Washington seem to have forgotten what it means to struggle.

    Republicans in Washington – including my opponent, Susan Collins – voted against equal pay for equal work. They voted against investments in small business. They even voted against raising the minimum wage.

    It makes you wonder how someone like my opponent, Republican Susan Collins, who is paid $174,000 a year, can think that $21,000 a year is too much for working Americans. The daughter of a carpenter, I will never forget my working class roots. I will never forget where I came from.

    When I was a kid growing up in Hancock, my friends and I would ride our bikes down to Hancock Point where you can see the mountains of Acadia National Park across the bay. I think every Maine kid grows up with an appreciation for Maine’s environment – the mountains, the ocean, the woods. But a growing environmental crisis threatens our future.

    Republicans in Washington deny climate change even exists, and my opponent, Susan Collins, has accepted funding for her reelection from Exxon Mobil. Despite what you may have heard about her environmental record in comparison to her Republican colleagues, make no mistake – her lifetime League of Conservation Voters score is a D. When it comes to the environment, we cannot afford half measures. We cannot afford lackluster leadership in Washington. We need bold, visionary action to confront climate change before it’s too late.

    In every threat lies an opportunity. Maine, with our tremendous natural resources, can be a world leader in conservation and renewable energy. We can create jobs that leave a cleaner world for our children and a stronger economic foundation for generations to come.

    Turning these challenges into opportunities for the future won’t be easy. Indeed, pundits and career politicians may say it’s impossible. But we here in this hall and across Maine have won many battles that outsiders thought were impossible before.

    Remember the Mainers United for Marriage campaign?

    I remember when it came time to make a decision about whether or not to move forward to the ballot. We had lost in 2009, and many people were urging me and the other members of the Executive Committee to wait.

    “The voters aren’t ready,” they said. “It’s too soon. You will never win.”

    But they were wrong. And we knew they were wrong because of one solemn truth – a truth that kept us going in this fight, in this struggle, in this challenge: It is never too soon for equality under the law. It is never too soon to stand up for freedom and fairness.

    Remember when Paul LePage and the Republicans took control of the legislature and the Blaine House in 2010? We’ve seen what happens when Republicans take control. They attack. And one of the first things they did was take away our voting rights. I criss-crossed the state debating the Republicans – including Susan Collins’ spokesman, who was leading the fight against our voting rights. And we won in every legislative district in the state.

    I like a tough challenge. I always have. At the ACLU, I brought together a coalition of gun owners and librarians to fight against the Patriot Act. I have led groundbreaking campaigns on privacy and human rights. You will never have to lobby me to vote against torture.

    The New York Times called me “the Elizabeth Warren of civil liberties.” Like Elizabeth Warren, I will always stand up. I will always be a voice for the voiceless. I will fight to restore our constitutional freedoms – to protect individual liberties and restore trust in our government again.

    We can win this race, but I need your help to do so.

    First, I need your whole-hearted support. I want your vote.

    I’m going to tell you something – the secret to our campaign strategy. How we win.

    If every Mainer who voted for Barack Obama votes for me, I will be your next United States Senator.

    This election is a choice about the future of our state and our country. The road to victory will not be easy. But nothing worth fighting for ever is. Our history in this country is one of great struggle and great triumph. Time and time again in our history the people have risen up to demand change – for workers, for women, for people who have been left out or left behind.

    At heart, I am an organizer. Are there any organizers in the room?

    Good, because organizing is how we are going to win. Our campaign will reach all 504 Maine towns. Already, we are traveling all across the state – from Lubec to Eliot, from Dover-Foxcroft to Waldoboro. We are going to the towns that have been left out and left behind. In some ways, Maine is like one large, small town where grassroots organizing matters. We believe in the power of grassroots democracy. We believe that the system may be threatened – by dark money and corporate greed – but it is not broken. Because we believe that corporations are not people.

    We believe that we, the people, can move the country toward a more perfect union. We believe, that together, we can make change. Together, we can win. Thank you.

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Attorney General Janet Mills Addresses 2014 ME Dem Convention (Video, Transcript)

Posted on June 2, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

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

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        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.

        Thank you.

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