Portland Elected Officials Throw Support Behind Ethan Strimling’s Mayoral Run

Posted on August 19, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

More than half of Portland’s school board officials joined half of the city council this morning in throwing their support to mayoral candidate former State Senator Ethan Strimling. A press conference was held on the front steps of Portland City Hall with multiple statements read by those in attendance and on behalf of supportive members absent.

Via press release issued by former Portland Mayor and current city councilman Nick Mavodones on behalf of the group:

    Eleven Portland elected officials back Ethan Strimling for Mayor

    In an impressive display of support and a call for new leadership in Portland, eleven of seventeen Portland elected officials announcedtheir endorsement of Ethan Strimling for Mayor on the steps of City Hall. They are City Councilors Jill Duson, Kevin Donoghue, Ed Suslovic and Nick Mavodones, and Board of Education members Pious Ali, John Eder, Stephanie Hatzenbuehler, Marnie Morrione, Sarah Thompson, Holly Seeliger and Anna Trevorrow.

    Former Portland Mayor and current city council member Nick Mavodones speaks at press conference.

    Former Portland Mayor and current city council member Nick Mavodones speaks at press conference.

    Councilor Nicholas Mavodones kicked off the conference, describing his frustration with the current situation at City Hall. “Unfortunately, over the past few years I have seen first hand asa city councilor the impact of failed leadership under Mike Brennan. Our council is divided, ourschool board is divided, our community is divided. Many key city staff members have left. The frustration I’ve felt has been profound.”

    Mavodones cites a lack of collaboration and leadershipskills as the fundamental problem that has resulted in the cities difficulties in moving forward.He continued, “I believe we must support a candidate for mayor that has the proven leadership skills necessary to bring our community together and realize our collective goals.Ethan Strimling has displayed these leadership skills time and time again.”

    Councilor Mavodones then read a statement for City Councilor Ed Suslovic, who was unable to attend.

    Suslovic wrote, “I didn’t take this decision lightly. I’m friends with Michael Brennan. I’ve supported Michael and I’ve voted for him. But the last few years on the Portland City Councilhave been difficult and, frankly, not productive ones for our city. The time has come to make achange in our leadership. We need a leader who can bring people together. We need a leaderwho will listen to others. That leader is Ethan Strimling.”

    Former mayoral candidate and current Portland City Council member Jill Duson reads a statement supporting Ethan Strimling for mayor.

    Former mayoral candidate and current Portland City Council member Jill Duson reads a statement supporting Ethan Strimling for mayor.

    Mavodones was followed by Councilor Jill Duson, who also shared her frustrations with current leadership, “This past year, we have faced serious challenges to our continued vitality as a community and we can expect to face similar challenges going forward. To meet these challenges we need leadership that listens; leadership that respects; leadership that inspires the engagement of diverse stakeholders; leadership that values collaboration; and leadership that interrelates with integrity in Augusta and D.C.”

    She concluded her statement by saying, “I have urged Ethan to run for Mayor, and I urge Portland voters to choose Ethan to lead the city for the next four years.”

    Councilor Duson followed with remarks from fellow Councilor Kevin Donoghue, who was also not able to attened. “(Ethan) understands that our mayor needs to directly engage hiscolleagues in policy work that makes a difference, lead discussions on important issues likeaffordable housing and education, and renew our relations with Augusta. I am voting for Ethan Strimling for Mayor and the opportunity leadership can avail.”

    Marnie Morrione, Board of Education member then took the podium to speak about her perspective as an advocate for public education. “Ethan has been a tireless advocate for our students, particularly those who have fallen through the cracks and have not had the same opportunities as others. He cares about the future of kids and he’s devoted his life to makingtheir futures brighter, one by one. I hope you will join me in supporting Ethan Strimling for Mayor.”

    Strimling responded on Facebook: “I am deeply grateful and want to thank each and every one of the eleven elected officials for their support and for placing their trust in me. I am looking forward to going out with them into their communities throughout the city and having the opportunity to listen to their friends and neighbors about their vision for Portland.”

    ———-

    *RELATED:

    1. Former State Senator Ethan Strimling Announces Campaign For Portland Mayor

    2. Portland Mayor Mike Brennan Kicks Off Re-Election Bid; Formally Submits Nominating Petitions

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Portland Mayor Mike Brennan Kicks Off Re-Election Bid; Formally Submits Nominating Petitions

Posted on August 18, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

From the Brennan for Mayor campaign:

    Mayor Brennan Formally Submits Nominating Petitions

    PORTLAND Mayor Michael Brennan formally submitted over 350 signatures today to secure his place on the ballot in this November’s mayoral election. Brennan is the first candidate to officially submit his nomination petitions and serves as the city’s first popularly elected mayor in nearly nine decades.

    Portland Mayor Mike Brennan submits 350 signatures for re-election.

    Portland Mayor Mike Brennan submits 350 signatures for re-election.

    “Portland needs and deserves a mayor that truly cares about this city. That’s why I ran 4 years ago and that’s exactly why I’m seeking re-election. Collecting these signatures has been a great opportunity to talk directly to Portlanders about the issues that face our city,” said Brennan.

    As the city’s top elected official, Mayor Brennan has implemented several initiatives designed to encourage economic development and job creation as well as support and strengthen the city’s diverse neighborhoods. He represents the city’s interests in Augusta and Washington D.C. where he advocates for the city, its residents and businesses.

    brennan petition 2“We must continue to grow as a city and community if we want to have a future for our children and grandchildren. Our growth can be measured in low unemployment, business creation and commercial development. At the same time, our growth must be measured by increased compassion, commitment to diversity and finding common ground to resolve disagreements,” said Brennan. “I’m running for another term to ensure that Portland is a prosperous, inclusive community that maintains its place as Maine’s economic and cultural center.”

Before becoming Portland’s mayor, Brennan served many previous terms in the Maine State Legislature (House of Representatives from 1992 to 2000 and in the Senate from 2002 to 2006). He chaired the Education Committee, the Health and Human Services Committee and the Joint Select Committee on Health Care Reform, as well as served as Senate Majority Leader.

Brennan lives in Portland with his wife, Joan Martay. They have two grown children, Travis and Ryan.

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Former State Senator Ethan Strimling Announces Campaign for Portland Mayor

Posted on August 18, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

His campaign press release:

    Ethan Strimling announces run for Mayor of Portland

    Today, Ethan Strimling stood with his wife, friends and supporters in front of Learning Works in the West End, where he’s worked for the past 18 years to announce his plans to run for mayor of Portland.

    Ethan Strimling announcing his candidacy as Mayor of Portland during a press conference.

    Ethan Strimling announcing his candidacy as Mayor of Portland during a press conference.

    In his remarks, Strimling noted that he has been spending time listening to what Portland residents from all walks of life are saying about their hopes for the city and their vision for its future.

    “People want to be able to say: ‘I’m raising my kids in Portland because we have the best schools in the state. I work in Portland because it is where I found a great job that pays a livable wage. And I live in Portland because it’s affordable, safe and has a great quality of life.

    Strimling closed his remarks by saying, “As Mayor, my job will be to bring all of us together to build a vision for our city that we can achieve. We know we are stronger together, because only when we are united can we achieve our greatest potential.”

Ethan Strimling, who served in the 122-4th Maine State Legislature, had previously lost the Portland mayoral race to incumbent Michael Brennan in 2011. That race had a field of 19 candidates seeking the office. More about him from his campaign:

Ethan Strimling speaking with WCSH colleague reporter Pat Callahan, prior to 2016 presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders' town hall in Portland.

Ethan Strimling speaking with WCSH colleague reporter Pat Callaghan, prior to 2016 presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders’ town hall in Portland.

    Ethan is the director of LearningWorks, a non-profit that provides learning opportunities for at-risk youth, the immigrant community, and low-income families in Portland, Maine and regionally. Ethan has led LearningWorks for almost two decades, spearheading its transformation from a small Portland neighborhood advocacy group to a life-changing multi-million dollar organization that provides the best learning opportunities in Maine to the communities it serves.

    Ethan is a Senior Political Analyst for WCSH/WLBZ TV and The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram where he co-authors the weekly opinion column, Agree to Disagree. From 2002 – 2008, Ethan served in the Maine State Senate as Chair of the Labor Committee, Criminal Justice Committee, and the Homeland Security Task Force, while also serving on Taxation for six years. Prior to, he ran a national Political Action Committee focused on electing young leaders and provided policy analysis to Maine US Congressman Tom Andrews.

    Ethan lives in Portland with his wife, Mary.

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LePage, Portland, Homeless Advocates Battle Over General Assistance

Posted on March 8, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Sen. Justin Alfond, Sen. Anne Haskell, Rep. Mark Dion, Rep. Diane Russell, Rep. Drew Gattine , Rep. Peter Stuckey, Rep. Erik Jorgensen, Portland Mayor Michael Brennan, Portland City Council Ed Suslovik, Preble St ED Mark Swann, and many others at 2/27/15 Oxford St Homeless Shelter press conference.

Sen. Justin Alfond, Sen. Anne Haskell, Rep. Mark Dion, Rep. Diane Russell, Rep. Drew Gattine , Rep. Peter Stuckey, Rep. Erik Jorgensen, Portland Mayor Michael Brennan, Portland City Council Ed Suslovik, Preble St ED Mark Swann, and many others at 2/27/15 Oxford St Homeless Shelter press conference.

At the end of the coldest February on record in Maine, political leaders and homelessness advocates held a press conference in Portland to discuss the needs of some of the region’s most needy and address the attacks by the LePage administration regarding the city’s spending of General Assistance monies.

A reminder: this is part of an ongoing legal battle between Portland/ Westbrook and the state over GA funds.

    Alfond, Portland Mayor Michael Brennan and others on hand at the shelter Friday said they can explain why Portland seems to have an outsized share of the state’s General Assistance allocation, but that they can’t get a prompt audience with LePage or DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew to discuss it.

    “We want the coordinated attacks on Portland to end, and the work to make our social services better to begin,”
    Alfond said, pointing out that Portland is not only an “outlier” in its distribution of General Assistance funds but also in that it represents an outsized share of the state’s economy.

    Alfond acknowledged Friday the audit was “troubling” and that Portland’s city officials and state representatives were eager to meet with the administration to discuss ways the city could better administer General Assistance. Brennan said he called the governor’s office on Monday to set up an appointment to discuss the audit.

    “I thought it was urgent, but the first date they gave me [for a meeting] was the end of March,” Brennan said Friday. “Obviously, it’s not as urgent to them as it is to us.”

Governor LePage immediately fired back and issued the following statements via a press release:

    “My quarrel is not with the people who stayed at the shelter,” said Governor LePage. “Mental illness often plays a role there. It’s a matter of who pays. The City of Portland knew these people had this money in the bank, but they decided to bill the taxpayers anyway for years’ worth of welfare reimbursement. Municipalities complain about losing revenue sharing, but then I see abuse like this. When municipalities set priorities that unfairly burden Maine property taxpayers, it’s hard to have sympathy for them. Tax relief should go directly to the property taxpayer, not to fund more government. That’s why my tax reform plan gives money directly to the Maine people by tripling property tax fairness credits, doubling the homestead exemption for those over 65 and significantly lowering income tax rates. The most recent news out of Portland shouldn’t surprise anyone, but it serves as an example of why Maine needs real tax reform.”

This weekend, State Senator Anne Haskell (D-Portland) responded to the governor and administration via the Democratic radio address:

    At 8 p.m. last night it was 12 degrees. And it’s March–not January. Together we’ve experienced one of the longest, most frigid, and snowiest winters in history.

    Good Morning. This is State Senator Anne Haskell of Portland. And, I don’t really want to talk about the weather. But I do want each of us to stop for a second and think about a time this winter: Think about the ten minutes it took you to walk from your office to your car on a blustery cold day. Your cheeks froze. Your fingers and toes hurt and you couldn’t wait to seek shelter from the wind.

    What if you didn’t have a home. If you didn’t have a place where you could crank the heat, pull up the blankets, and settle in with a cup of tea.

    What if, at sun down, you had stand in line for hours with the hopes–not the guarantee–that you could get a mat to sleep on at a shelter. A mat, by the way, that is only three inches thick. A mat that is placed in an open room–flanked on each side by strangers–only five inches from you. Clutching all that belongs to you, in a bag or a backpack.

    Mark Swann, executive director of Preble Street Homeless Shelter: We are just trying to keep people alive

    Mark Swann, executive director of Preble Street Homeless Shelter: We are just trying to keep people alive

    Mark Swann, the executive director at Preble Street in Portland, said, one day this winter, there were 282 people who showed up for one of the 142 mats. The math on this one is easy: 140 people were left to find shelter elsewhere that night. Some slept on the floor of the soup kitchen down the street. Others, had to sit up in chairs all night at city offices. And, a few others waited at the shelter–hoping a mat would open up. One person waited 11 hours; only to lay his head for two hours before the morning came, and the shelter closed for the day.

    Who chooses this?

    The answer is, nobody.

    Nobody chooses to be homeless. Nobody chooses to be mentally ill. Not one of the 282 people who lined up at the Oxford Street Shelter that night was trying to get away with something. Nobody working at the shelter or the city who is trying to provide life-saving shelter is trying to get away with something.

    At its core, this service of providing EMERGENCY shelter is serving the most basic and fundamental and crucial needs of humanity.

    Yet, in recent weeks, it’s become a political football. The LePage administration has attempted to garner salacious headlines by vilifying the people who utilize the shelter, and also those who provide the service.

    It’s not an easy story to tell. Why? Because we are talking about mental illness. We are talking about diseases like Schizophrenia.

    Recently the City of Portland studied 30 of the so-called “long stayers” at the shelters. What did they find? All of them, 100% had serious and persistent mental health issues–often untreated. Some had money in the bank. Some even had thousands of dollars in the bank.

    What does this mean?

    It could mean many things.

    For some, it means that perhaps a special account was set up by family members to put money aside for them. Perhaps intended to pay for things like dental and medical care.

    For some, it could be the remnant of another time in their life–before they got sick.

    For all, it is money that–because of their psychosis, they are unable or unwilling to use.

    DSC_0132They are not staying at homeless shelters to save a buck. They are staying there because they believe staying at a shelter is the best option available to them.

    And…most importantly, they are not numbers on someone’s spreadsheet. They are our brothers and sisters, our parents, our aunts and uncles. They are our fellow human beings–living much more difficult lives than we can imagine.

    Mental illness is not easy to understand. But it is something that we all need to take a closer look at. We can’t be afraid of it. And most of all, we can’t play the blame-game–that serves no purpose other than to distract and delay from a meaningful solutions-based dialogue.

    Long before this administration, the mental health system in Maine has been broken. The overflowing shelters in our state is one symptom of that–as are our jails–that are also overflowing with people who would benefit more from mental health intervention and treatment.

    As a member of the Health and Human Services Committee and a former member of the state’s Criminal Justice Committee, I can tell you that there are dozens of lawmakers who are interested in solving this problem and helping our fellow Mainers who are suffering. But the first step toward a solution has to be one that is honest.

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Democratic Radio Address by Rep. Matt Moonen (Portland): LePage’s lagging job creation hits younger Mainers hard

Posted on April 5, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Audio link here.

    Rep. Moonen: LePage’s lagging job creation hits younger Mainers hard
    Governor styles self as “turnaround specialist” but fails to deliver

Maine has so many good things going for it, particularly for young people establishing families. Quality of life, engaged communities, vibrant schools and amazing outdoor opportunities – just to name a few. But it’s getting harder for young people to live, work and play in Maine – especially the work part under the administration of Governor Paul LePage.

matt moonenGood morning, I’m Representative Matt Moonen of Portland.

I’m a member of the Legislature’s Youth Caucus. We’re a bipartisan group of lawmakers focused on policies that affect younger Mainers and their futures in our state.

It’s been clear for a while that our economy is not where it should be.

It’s ironic because the governor touts his background as a businessman – a “turnaround specialist.” In his State of the State address, he told the people of Maine, “Having spent my career in business, I know what grows an economy.”

A new report confirms that as Maine’s CEO, the governor has not delivered on job creation. The report provides another troubling insight: Mainers in their prime working years are really hurting under the governor’s watch.

You’ve probably already heard about how Maine is far behind in job creation. We’ve been scraping along the bottom with each new set of employment data that comes out. The latest numbers say we’re currently ranked 49th in the nation. Forth-ninth!

But did you know that younger Mainers are having such a hard time? For this group, employment levels have not improved since the end of the recession.

This job creation problem has a large ripple effect. These are Mainers who are trying to establish themselves and build solid foundations for their families. Without job opportunities how likely is it that they can buy their first homes or invest in their children’s futures? Forget about extra pocket money to boost local economies.
Without opportunity, how can we expect young people to stay in the state or return home? This is an important question, especially as we address the challenges of an increasingly aging population. Top economist Charlie Colgan has warned that this demographic trend would be disastrous for the state’s workforce, competitiveness and economy.

Working-age Mainers – and the entire state – need the governor to step up and deliver on job creation.

Maine has recovered less than half of the jobs lost in the recession. We’re doing the worst in New England, which has recovered 96 percent. The nation, meanwhile, is back up to 93 percent.

If you were a shareholder in a firm led by the governor, what would you think about this performance?

Democrats have put forward solutions to address our workforce and economic needs. Solutions like early childhood education, college affordability and incentives to encourage young Mainers stay in-state after college.

And a jobs bond package from the bipartisan workforce committee would spur job creation by small businesses and invest in areas like the marine economy where Maine has a competitive advantage.

What has our CEO been up to?

He’s given a $1 million no-bid contract to a political ally for shoddy work; lost $20 million for the state’s psychiatric hospital by ignoring federal law; given a failing transportation contractor an extra $1.2 million without a reason; and prompted a federal investigation by interfering in unemployment hearings.

He’s failed on a major part of his job description: working with the Legislature on a supplemental budget. Instead of making a proposal as Maine governors are supposed to, he essentially punted.

This is no way to lead. Young Mainers, their families and their communities deserve more from their CEO.

Thank you for tuning in. This is Representative Matt Moonen of Portland. Have a wonderful weekend.

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Portland Mayor Nick Mavodones Responds to Olsen Allegations; Requests Meeting With Gov LePage

Posted on July 21, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Heh. Now this is getting interesting. Portland Press Herald published the following letter from Mayor Nick Malvadones to Governor Paul LePage, moments ago:

 

The Honorable Paul LePage
Governor of Maine
1 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
Dear Governor LePage,

I write you today to request a meeting to discuss statements released by the former Commissioner of the Department of Marine Resources Norman Olsen to the public yesterday, as well as, the future of the city and state’s combined efforts to develop and enact policies to help restore the state’s groundfishing fleet.

As I am sure you are aware, Mr. Olsen claims that during a meeting with you, you instructed the then-Commissioner that there was to be no further collaboration with the City of Portland to develop measures to return groundfishing boats to Maine. Mr. Olsen also asserts that you made the following statements in this meeting. “Portland was against him, he said, and we will not work with that city. Rather than work with Portland, he said, we’ll build a new port somewhere.” I trust you understand that regardless of the veracity of these statements, the public and the City of Portland need to be reassured that economic development in all Maine communities, both large and small, are a priority for the Governor’s office. More germane to Mr. Olsen’s claim, is a need to clearly understand your commitment to the state’s marine industries of which groundfishing has and continues to be an integral part.

The City of Portland and the State of Maine have worked in partnership under the leadership of every Governor to expand economic opportunity and spur growth for all industries including marine-based businesses. Whether through the lease arrangement with the Maine Port Authority for the International Marine Terminal to allow for the expansion of cargo shipping or through the recent passage of legislation that created a tax exemption for the purchase of fuel for local ground fishing boats, there has been a mutual understanding that economic growth in the Port of Portland isn’t just good for Portland, it’s good for Maine. Statements implying that the Governor’s office “will not work” with Portland, true or not, are harmful to the business climate both locally and statewide.

I hope that you will clear this matter up publicly by reassuring local business owners and employees that the economic engine of Portland is, and will continue to be, an important priority for your administration, and by meeting with city officials and members of the ground fishing industry to discuss ways we can work together to help bring our ground fishing fleet and the jobs and economic opportunity that comes with them back to Maine.

Thank you for your prompt response to this request and I look forward to the opportunity to discuss this issue in greater detail in the near future.

Sincerely,

Nicholas M. Mavodones

Nicole Clegg
Director of Communications
City of Portland
389 Congress Street, Room 208
Portland, ME 04101
office: 207-756-8173
cell: 207-272-4477

Related:
*Former Marine Resources Head Olsen’s Statement Slams LePage, Reveals Closed Door Meetings

*UPDATED: Marine Resources Commissioner Norm Olsen Resigns; Maine Dems Respond

*ASSISTANT DEMOCRATIC LEADER RELEASES STATEMENT ON OLSON RESIGNATION

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ASSISTANT DEMOCRATIC LEADER RELEASES STATEMENT ON OLSON RESIGNATION

Posted on July 21, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

Maine Legislature
Senate Democratic OfficeFor Immediate Release

July 21, 2011

Contact: Ericka Wainberg [Alfond], 232-5892 (m)

ASSISTANT DEMOCRATIC LEADER RELEASES STATEMENT ON OLSON RESIGNATION

AUGUSTA-State Senator Justin Alfond (D-Portland) released the following statement upon learning of Marine Resources Commissioner Norman Olson’s resignation:

“I applaud Commissioner Olson’s courage and integrity. His open letter confirms my worst fears for the state. Commissioner Olson has shined a light on the LePage administration- illuminating the cronyism, bullying, and fear tactics.

I worry that this is not an isolated case, as the Governor has consistently put special interests and favoritism ahead of Maine people. We now know that his tactics of bullying and threats of retribution are not only used with legislators, but also with his own cabinet. Everyone in the state of Maine should be asking the same question — is Governor LePage fit to lead our state?

###

Related:
*Former Marine Resources Head Olsen’s Statement Slams LePage, Reveals Closed Door Meetings

*UPDATED: Marine Resources Commissioner Norm Olsen Resigns; Maine Dems Respond

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