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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2014 Maine Democratic Party Convention Videos: Day 2, 5/31/14 (Saturday)

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

(With this next batch, I will be setting videos with released prepared speeches individually as well. Please note that a request was made to the Cain campaign and as of this morning, there has been no response yet- if the text of her speech is forwarded, hers also will be set as a stand-alone post.)

1. Secretary of State Matt Dunlap Addresses 2014 ME Dem Convention

2. Attorney General Janet Mills Addresses 2014 Maine Democratic Convention

3. Androscoggin Chair Tom Reynolds Introduces Shenna Bellows for Senate at Convention

4. U.S. Senate Democratic Candidate Shenna Bellows Addresses Convention

5. Rep. Peggy Rotundo of Lewiston Introduces Emily Cain for Congress

6. Emily Cain for Congress Addresses Convention

7.Troy Jackson: Core Values” at 2014 Maine Democratic Convention

8. Rep. Diane Russell of Portland speaking in support of Troy Jackson for Congress

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

10. Troy Jackson for Congress Addresses 2014 Maine Democratic Convention

11. Mike Michaud for Governor at 2014 Maine Democratic Party Convention

12. Mike Michaud for Governor addresses convention

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Maine Senate Takes Up EBT- TANF- GA Bills LDs 1829, 1822, 1820, 1842, 1815 and 1844 (VIDEOS)

Posted on April 8, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

(NOTE: All of these will be separated and written up over the rest of the week. In the meanwhile, for the sake of sharing quickly, here are all 44 video clips taken during the Monday afternoon/ evening second session in order of debate.)

1. LD 1829, “An Act To Require the Department of Health and Human Services To Report Annually on Investigations and Prosecutions of False Claims Made under the MaineCare, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Food Supplement Programs”.
ROLL CALL: 21 Yeas – 14 Nays

HHS Chair Sen. Margaret Craven Introduces LD 1829 to Senate

Sen. James Hamper (R-Oxford) Opposing LD 1829

Sen. Colleen Lachowicz (D-Kennebec) Supporting LD 1829

Asst Minority Leader Sen. Roger Katz Opposing LD 1829

Sen. Geoff Gratwick (D-Penobscot) Supporting LD 1829

2. LD 1822, “An Act To Increase Integrity in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program through Restriction of Expenditures”.
ROLL CALL: 18 Yeas – 17 Nays

HHS Chair Sen. Margaret Craven Introduces LD 1822 (OTP as amended by H-787) to Senate

Sen. James Hamper (R-Oxford) Opposing LD 1822 as amended by H-787

Sen. Colleen Lachowicz (D-Kennebec) Supporting H-787 amended LD 1822

Asst Minority Leader Roger Katz (R-Kennebec) Opposing LD 1822 as amended by H-787

Sen. John Patrick (D-Oxford) Offers SAS 505 to amend LD 1822

Sen. James Hamper (R-Oxford) opposing LD 1822 SAS-505

HHS Chair Sen. Margaret Craven (D-Androscoggin) Supporting LD 1822 as amended by SAS-505

Sen. Chris Johnson (D-Lincoln) Supporting LD 1822 as amended by SAS-505 (PT 1)

Asst Minority Leader Roger Katz (R-Kennebec) Opposing LD 1822 CAH 787, SAS 505

Sen. Andre Cushing (R-Penobscot) Opposing LD 1822 as amended by SAS-505

Sen. John Patrick (D-Oxford) Supporting LD 1822 as amended by SAS-505

Senate Minority Leader Mike Thibodeau (R-Waldo) opposing LD 1822 as amended by SAS-505

Sen. Colleen Lachowicz (D-Kennebec) Supporting LD 1822 as amended by SAS-505

Sen. David Burns (R-Washington) opposing LD 1822 as amended by SAS-505

Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson (D-Aroostook) Supporting LD 1822 as amended by SAS-505 (PT 1)

Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson (D-Aroostook) concludes supporting remarks on LD 1822, SAS-505

Sen. Chris Johnson (D-Lincoln) Supporting LD 1822 as amended by SAS-505 (PT 2)

3. LD 1820, “An Act To Reduce Abuse of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program through Restriction of Electronic Benefits Transfers”.
ROLL CALL: Yeas 20 – Nays 15

HHS Chair Sen. Margaret Craven Introduces LD 1820 as amended to Senate

Sen. James Hamper (R-Oxford) opposing LD 1820

Sen. Chris Johnson (D-Lincoln) supporting LD 1820

4. LD 1842, “An Act To Amend the Laws Governing the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program”.
ROLL CALL: Yeas 20 – Nays 15

HHS Chair Sen. Margaret Craven Introduces LD 1842 to Senate w/ ONTP committee recommendation

Sen. James Hamper (R-Oxford) Opposing ONTP on LD 1842

Sen. Eloise Vitelli (D-Sagadahoc) Supporting “ONTP” on LD 1842

Asst Minority Leader Roger Katz (R-Kennebec) Opposing “ONTP” on LD 1842

Sen. Colleen Lachowicz (D-Kennebec) Supporting “ONTP” on LD 1842

Sen. Rebecca Millett (D-Cumberland) supporting ONTP on LD 1842

Sen. Margaret Craven (D-Androscoggin) supporting “ONTP” on LD 1842

Sen. Chris Johnson (D-Lincoln) Supporting “ONTP” on LD 1842

5. LD 1815, “An Act To Require a Work Search for Job-ready Applicants for Benefits under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program”.
ROLL CALL: 20 Yeas – 15 Nays

HHS Chair Sen. Margaret Craven Introduces LD 1815 (“ONTP”) to Senate

Sen. James Hamper (R-Oxford) Opposing ONTP on LD 1815

Sen. Ron Collins (R-York) Opposing ONTP on LD 1815

Asst Minority Leader Roger Katz (R-Kennebec) opposing ONTP on LD 1815

Asst Majority Leader Anne Haskell (D-Cumberland) supporting ONTP on LD 1815

Sen. Margaret Craven (D-Androscoggin) supporting ONTP on LD 1815

6. LD 1844, “An Act To Increase Local Responsibility for General Assistance”.
ROLL CALL: 22 Yeas – 12 Nays

HHS Chair Sen. Margaret Craven Introduces LD 1844 (ONTP) to Senate

Sen. Geoff Gratwick (D-Penobscot) supporting LD 1844 ONTP recommendation

Sen. John Cleveland (D-Androscoggin) supporting LD 1844 ONTP recommendation

Sen. Doug Thomas (R-Somerset) opposing LD 1844 ONTP recommendation

Sen. Chris Johnson (D-Lincoln) supporting LD 1844 ONTP recommendation

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Tweets from ME Workers’ Comp Board ED Sighnolfi LCRED Legislative Committee Hearing (PT 1)

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

The LCRED committee today questioned Workers’ Comp Board ED Paul Sighnolfi on his removal of an impartial hearing officer from cases involving the New Page mill after management at the New Page mill complained to Sighnolfi. This was an unprecedented move, unilaterally decided and made without the notice or input from the WC Board, nor was the hearing officer allowed to speak with Sighnolfi before the decision was made.
———-

Maine’s workers comp board chief before the Labor Committee now for questioning regarding this story:  

 

Workers comp board chief: Testimony today will be identical to March 11 board meeting except one thing. ‘I made a mistake.’

 

Comp chief, Sighinolfi, says he was ‘blindsided’ at March 11 board meeting. 

 

Sighinolfi: No glaring problem with removed hearing officer’s decisions. 

 

Sighinolfi apologizes to dismissed hearing officers. ‘He’s taken a beating recently.’ 

 

Workers comp chief Paul Sighinolfi says there are no rules or statutes that dictate cases hearings officers are assigned. 

 

Sighinolfi said only comms with LePage admin was to notify senior staff that NewPage comp claims issue had been ‘resolved’ 

 

Sighinolfi trying to cast aspersions on Patrick, saying he’s withheld names of anonymous complaints re: NewPage cases. 

 

GOP lawmakers criticizing Sen. Patrick for not giving info ahead of time and for already having said Sighinolfi should resign. 

 

Rep. Lockman says Patrick already called for director’s resignation. 

 

Background on the workers comp flap being discussed now in Maine Legislature labor committee:  

 

Sighinolfi: Inordinate number of dismissals involving NewPage, says the claims don’t have merit. 

 

Sighinolfi blames not  for making same determination that many complaints from NewPage employees don’t have merit 

Sighiolfi says number of cases against NewPage are because of attornies filing claims that have “no legs,” not problems at mill 

 

Sighiolfi says number of cases against NewPage are because of attornies filing claims that have “no legs,” not problems at mill 

 

Sighinolfi blames not  for making same determination that many complaints from NewPage employees don’t have merit 

 Gotta love the shoutout. 

 

Correx: Sighinolfi blames  for not determining inordinate # NewPage employee injury complaints don’t have merit 

 

Sighinolfi shows lawyer chops: “I don’t understand the question” … “What do you mean by ‘significantly?'” Patrick frustrated. 

 

Herbig: I don’t understand why you made these changes if there were no problems with the decisions on NewPage cases. 

 

RT : Workers comp chief Paul Sighinolfi says there are no rules or statutes that dictate cases hearings officers are assigned

 

Sighinolfi says he’d be “reticent now,” but he’d probably make the same decision if another company made a similar complaint. 

 

Patrick is getting frustrated. Not allowing Rep. Volk to ask follow-up questions. “The meeting is run through the chair.” 

 

Shorter Sighinolfi: No problem w/hearing officer decisions, who actually dismissed a lot of meritless complaints 

 

 is livetweeting from the labor committee’s hearing about the comp board’s chief.  

 

  Successful FOAA yet of Sighinolfi, Butera, Winglass, Gervais, Pelletier mentioned email? Link? 

 

Sighinolfi: I’m responsible for day-to-day decisions. This was a day-to-day decision. Board need not be involved. 

 

Patrick is pressing the point, saying the statute does not allow executive director to make unilateral assignment decisions. 

 

Sighinolfi takes a jab at Sen. Patrick: “The lawyer who prepared your questions did a good job.” 

 

 LePage admin acknowledged those participants. It’s in the first story.

 

Cushing to Patrick: “if you want to go fishing, should make sure there are fish in the pond” 

 

Larry Lockman just left the meeting. “This is a politically motivated witchhunt, and I’ll have nothing more to do with it.” 

Lockman to Patrick: This is a politically motivated witch hunt. Not going to have a part of it. He walks out. 

 

Lochman walks out. not curious about secret decision making by Workers Comp Director 

 

Other GOP lawmakers criticizing Patrick for not letting them ask questions, deferring to Democrats. This thing is getting messy 

 

Some good  theater going on in legislative committee re: worker’s comp director. Follow  for the play by play.

WALK OUT: Lockman: “this is a political witch hunt and I’m not going to take part. Have a nice day” 

 

Patrick and Dems are clearly running a kangaroo court in LCRED. 

 

Sighinolfi only put the questioned hearings officer back on NewPage cases after the change went public. Says “he forgot.” 

 

  And listen here  

 

Duprey to Patrick: “You want [sighinolfi] to be truthful but you’re not reciprocating” 

Sighinolfi says he won’t end rotation of NewPage cases because “it’s working.” But only NewPage gets the rotation.  

 

 Indeed. Apparently  should be workers comp claims adjudicators, which is to say, lawyers.

 

 We shall all endeavor to do better, I’m sure.

 

Sighinolfi: I removed the hearing officer for no reason and then forgot to put him back in rotation. 

 

Sighinolfi says NewPage has gotten special rotation because it’s the only one that complained. If others complained, he’d do the same.

 

Sighnolfi made unilateral decision to tamper with impartial system of justice. Pick your own judge 

 

Sighinolfi Blames press for shining light on secret decisions he made. 

 

Sighinolfi says press attention is more damaging to system than his decision to remove hearings officer at company’s behest. 

 

Sighinolfi says  cov of h.o. removal damaged rep of hearing officer. Doesn’t mention his suggestion to contact him 

 

Follow   . Great coverage of Workers Comp Director trying to justify actions in favor of one corporation

 

if an injured worker felt unfairly treated would Sighinolfi care as much about perception? Pick your own judge 

 

 mics are picking up phone buzzes Are members receiving text messages during hearing? 

 

“Perception” only matters when others know about it. Secret decisions ok accdg to Sighinolfi. 

 

Sighinolfi says he knows what he did wasn’t wrong because no one complained. But no one knew about the change so how could they? 

 

Sighinolfi: “Hid in plain sight” is a self-proclaimed “private mtg” with mill admin and LePage officials. 

 

Sighinolfi’s seat has gotten a lot hotter since people other than Patrick started asking Qs. Maybe he’s just too close to this. 

 

Patrick to Sighinolfi: If this issue came to comp board, you had ability to get what you wanted (Sig is swing vote) & in public 

 

Patrick: Injured worker not a consideration in this decision. If they’re getting better for NP, who are they getting worse for? 

 

Patrick: injured workers didn’t have a seat @ the table. Only management. (And LePage officials)

Patrick notes NewPage says situation with workers comp is better now. “If they’re better for NewPage, who are they worse for?”

Mastraccio: you say there’s no prob yet you (Sighinolfi) made a (unilateral, secret) change.

 

Dems Ensuring a fair, impartial justice system is “political theater” accdg to some GOPers. Wonder what injured workers think.

Transparency is easy but remembering secret events from 2 years ago is hard.

 

 

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Weekly Democratic Address of Sen. John Patrick (Oxford): No One Should Fear Medical Emergency Leading to Bankruptcy

Posted on January 4, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

DEMOCRATIC RADIO ADDRESS
Patrick says: No one should have to fear that a medical emergency may lead to bankruptcy. It is time for Maine to step up and do something to help Mainers who lack basic health care.

(Audio here)
john patrickWe are just a few days in to 2014. For many of us, ringing in a new year is the marker of new beginnings. Often, we make new year’s resolutions that include a pledge to be healthier. For many, we are fortunate: accessing health care and getting our medical needs tended-to is not met with obstacles and challenges.

But, for the tens of thousands of Mainers who don’t have health insurance and can’t afford the out-of-pocket expense of going to the doctor, getting basic health care is often saved just for emergencies.

When folks can’t get the care they need, more serious health problems often arise and the quality, and sometimes even the length of their life, is diminished.

Good morning. This is State Senator John Patrick of Rumford.

For 3,000 veterans and tens of thousands of other Mainers, New Year’s Day was not likely a day for celebration. It was the day they lost their existing MaineCare health insurance.

What is going to happen to those folks who are in the middle of treatment for cancer or diabetes? What about those who have a heart condition? What choices do they now have?

Next week, the Legislature returns to work and we will, once again, have the opportunity to do something to help Mainers who lack basic health care.

At no cost to Maine taxpayers, we can accept the federal government’s offer to expand MaineCare health insurance to 70,000 of our neighbors. The federal government will pick up 100 percent of the costs for the first three years, and then, will gradually ratchet down to no less than 90 percent of the costs.

Additionally, if after the first three years, Mainers decide the program isn’t working, we can opt out–with no penalties. Imagine how many lives we can save and improve, and make healthier, by just giving this deal a chance.

While the Affordable Care Act is a good first step in ensuring more Americans have access to the health care they need, states need to step up to the plate and do their part to ensure the people in their states, who may have fallen through the cracks, have a chance at basic health care.

Fortunately, the federal government has made it easy: Maine could do as 25 other states and the District of Columbia have already done: accept the federal government’s offer to expand MaineCare health insurance.

Even other conservative governors have accepted this deal to help the folks in their states–and so too should Governor LePage. It is time for him to put aside politics and instead do what’s morally and economically right for the people of Maine.

Accepting this deal will save Maine $690 million over the next ten years, create more than 3,000 health care jobs, and inject $250 million into our economy.

The truth is, this deal is not about whether or not you like the Affordable Care Act. However, it is about ensuring 70,000 of our neighbors have access to the care they need, creating health care jobs, and saving money.

Every family should have a family doctor, and no one should have to fear that a medical emergency may lead to bankruptcy. Accepting this deal brings us one step closer to making that goal a reality.

Thank you for listening. This is State Senator John Patrick of Rumford. And I wish you and your family a very safe, healthy, and happy new year.

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Weekly Democratic Radio Address by Sen. John Patrick (Oxford): Slashing programs that help families in need will not take away, fix circumstances

Posted on September 29, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

john patrickAudio link here.

    DEMOCRATIC RADIO ADDRESS

    Patrick says: Slashing programs that help families in need will not take away or fix the circumstances that have led folks to this point.

In Maine, more than one in five children lives in poverty. That’s the highest poverty rate in all of New England.

What does it mean to be a poor kid in Maine? It probably means that at some point every day you are hungry and can’t get enough food to fill your belly.

You may go to bed, and wake up every morning, cold because your parents can’t afford to heat your house. In fact, you may not have a bed, or a bed of your own, or even a room to call your own.

You don’t know what it means to go “school shopping” because the clothes you wear are handed down. And you probably carry the very-adult burden of knowing that there’s not enough gas in your parent’s car to get you to your friend’s house across town or, to your weekend baseball game.

Sadly, that’s the every day reality for too many Maine kids.

Good Morning. This is State Senator John Patrick of Rumford.

Most of us agree that kids do not choose to be born in to poverty. Most of us would also agree that we all have a stake in making sure kids are well-fed, healthy, and safe. And the people who want that more than anyone for these kids are their parents.

Who among us doesn’t want to make sure our kids are provided every opportunity to succeed? Most of the parents of poor kids, are doing the best that they can –often working more than one job—they’re doing all that they can to try and make ends meet and do right by their family.

The reality is more Maine people are struggling.

Yet, at nearly every turn, Governor LePage pulls the rug out from under struggling families instead of offering a hand up.

For example, the LePage administration removed very low income families with children from the program known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or TANF. Now, seventy percent of those families have had to rely on food banks. One in three families have had their utilities turned off—and one in five, have been evicted from their homes. Yet Governor LePage demands, “get up off the couch and get a job!”

Governor LePage continues to turn up the rhetoric against struggling families trying to get on their feet again. At every opportunity, he uses language vilifying the people who don’t have it as good as him now.

More people have lost their homes than have found jobs, thanks to Governor LePage.

Slashing programs that help families in need will not take away or fix the circumstances that have led folks to this point.

Most people don’t choose to be poor. For the Mainers who aren’t poor—many of us are a paycheck or two away from missing a rent or mortgage payment. Many of us are fighting to stay in the middle class, let alone climb in to it.

As lawmakers, we need to be making investments in people. The best pathway out of poverty is the opportunity that comes with a strong economy. That means investing in our people, places and things, our schools, health care, and increasing opportunity so that people can secure good paying jobs.

So, let’s make a change for those one in five children so that they too can climb the ladder of opportunity for a better a life.

Thank you for listening. This is State Senator John Patrick of Rumford. Have a great weekend.

###

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Maine Senate Passes LD 443, Strengthening Workers Comp for Seriously Injured Workers, 18-16 (VIDEO; TEXT)

Posted on June 12, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

troy sleevesLast night, the Senate voted 18-16 to strengthen workers’ compensation insurance benefits for workers who were injured on the job through no fault of their own. The GOP-led 125th Legislature had amended the 1992 Maine’s Workers’ Compensation Act, altering the process and requirements by which injured workers receive benefits beyond the established 10-year threshold among other changes. LD 443, “An Act To Amend the Maine Workers’ Compensation Act of 1992 To Provide Benefits to Seriously Injured Workers”, sponsored by Assistant Majority Leader Troy Jackson of Allagash, repeals some of the more onerous provisions.

While the new law allows injured workers with 18 percent impairment to continue receiving benefits beyond the 10-year cap, an independent medical examiner must verify that the employee’s actual earnings are in line with their earning potential. This however remains difficult to ascertain. There are many instances where injuries may be considered only 5 percent or 10 percent impairment, but still have the practical impact of significantly hindering a worker’s ability to do the job.

Sen. Andre Cushing (R-Penobscot) speaks in opposition of LD 443, amending ME Worker Comp Act (Pt 1)

Sen. John Patrick (D-Oxford) speaks in support of LD 443, amending ME Worker Comp Act (Pt 1)

    “To some, injured workers are disposable commodities. They’re just a statistic,” said Senator John Patrick (D-Rumford), who is a co-sponsor of the bill and the Senate chair of the Labor Committee. “These are some of the most vulnerable people in the state and they were completely thrown under the bus. We can do better. This is Maine. We don’t turn our backs on our workers.”

Sen. Doug Thomas (R-Somerset) speaks in opposition of LD 443, amending ME Worker Comp Act

Sen. Jim Boyle (D-Cumberland) speaks in support of LD 443, amending ME Worker Comp Act

“I have seven employees who work for me, and I strongly support improved workers comp for my employees,” said Senator Jim Boyle, D-Gorham, a small business owner. “Most of the other decisions about my business are mine: I decided who is hired, who is fired, whether we have health insurance. Workers’ comp is not up to me. It is a protection for the men and women who work for my business. People need this protection. It is fair, and uniform, and I strongly support it.”

Sen. Troy Jackson (D-Aroostook) speaks in support of LD 443, amending ME Worker Comp Act (Pt 1)

    “Injured workers have already been dealt a bad hand,” said Senator Jackson. “They need to be able to focus on their health and not worry about when they’re going to lose the only benefits they have left.”

Senator Andre Cushing speaks in opposition of LD 443, amending ME Worker Comp Act (Pt 2)

Sen. Stan Gerzofsky (D-Cumberland) speaks in support of LD 443, amending ME Worker Comp Act

Sen. David Burns (R-Washington) speaks in opposition of LD 443, amending ME Worker Comp Act

Sen. John Patrick (D-Oxford) speaks in support of LD 443, amending ME Worker Comp Act (Pt 2)

Sen. Troy Jackson (D-Aroostook) speaks in support of LD 443, amending ME Worker Comp Act (Pt 2)

The bill faces more votes in both chambers before it goes before Governor LePage.

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