(UPDATED, 1/22/17) MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Show aired the following as a quick review of the weekend’s events in Washington DC and nationally:
On Friday, as Donald J. Trump was sworn into office as the country’s 45th President, Mainers gathered in the State House’s Hall of Flags to read the U.S. Constitution. Here is full video of the event, hosted by ACLU of Maine:
Saturday saw the largest number of protesters ever gathered outside the State House complex as part of the over 600 international location rally/ #WomensMarch event, protesting President Trump. Numbers for participation are still being totaled, but event organizers are claiming over 10,000 participants at the Augusta site.
A quick video from within the crowd. State Senator Shenna Bellows (D-Kennebec) can be heard speaking in the background.
Here are photos that better illustrate the strength of numbers (link to more photos here).
Via Maine Attorney General Janet T. Mills’ offices in the Cross Building:
A Facebook photo shared by Maine Senate Democratic press secretary Mario Moretto from the State House shows Senator Bellows looking down at the crowds:
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President Barack Obama came to the Portland Expo to campaign with Democratic nominee for governor U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud on Oct. 30 to kick-off the Maine Democratic Party’s get out the vote efforts just days before Election Day.
He was joined by Senator George J. Mitchell.
Other speakers included Rep. Chellie Pingree, US Senate candidate Shenna Bellows, Maine Democratic Party chair Ben Grant and Portland Mayor Michael Brennan.
Here are videos of the entire rally in order of speakers.
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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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Governor LePage, er, “Lewiston Mayor Bob MacDonald” on “Elusive Central American Children” Goes Off On Both Dems & The RailsOccasionally it is always nice to read some of the smaller and more locally focused publications around the state, such as the Auburn based Twin City Times, to see what folks are supposedly saying.
“Twin City Times” just happens to be edited and published by Maine Governor Paul LePage’s communications director Peter Steele. Make note of that fact, because it’s kinda important.
One can get a real feel for the sentiments locally of what is happening in Augusta by checking these papers out, especially if that region’s elected officials take to their keyboards and submit opinion pieces of note for their constituents’ consideration.But when the governor’s own head press guy is editing, then publishing the articles himself, there is the nagging feeling that possibly Paul LePage said it himself.
This rings especially true in light of recent revelations that according to Mike Tipping’s “As Maine Went”, LePage in January 2010 created the pseudonym “ForThePeople” as to be able to post anonymously and write a series of posts to sway voters and help himself in that year’s Republican primary.
So there is a very VERY strong perception here that “Lewiston Mayor Bob Macdonald” is in reality a really badly hidden sockpuppet version of Maine Governor Paul LePage. While it makes sense, it is also a rather strange twist, considering in the past it was LePage who was reported to be the “puppet”.
Want some proof?
We present to you a reminder in the form of “Exhibit A”: “Is LePage’s “Outrage” A Politicized Continuation Of Ongoing General Assistance/ Immigrant Battle?”
And now “Exhibit B”: Quite something now, isn’t it?
The GOP in Maine must be just thrilled that Paul LePage, who has a history of meeting with dangerous fringe elements within his own party, er, “holds regular meetings with ALL of his constituents (wink wink)“, has somehow managed not to even be in the same room as THIS guy.
So let’s wipe the copious spittle off “MacDonald’s” lil screed and work our way down through all of this.
Oh where, oh where to begin? Oh where, oh where to begin?
- Those “elusive Central American children” are NOT at the Blaine House, nor does Paul LePage know where they are.
(He knows. He looked.)
- President Obama may headline a Shenna Bellows for Senate fundraiser in Bar Harbor, which is currently overrun by filthy rich drunken Chinese tourists!
- Those “elusive Central American children” could be “gussying up” golf courses for Obama!
- Those “elusive Central American children” could be learning English at those golf courses!
- Those “elusive Central American children” could be hiding in tents on Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud’s Northern Maine property!
- Those “elusive Central American children” could be hiding in an abandoned house in Millinocket!
- Those “elusive Central American children” could be housed in a federal facility!
- Those “elusive Central American children” could be in Macdonald’s own city of Lewiston!
- Those “elusive Central American children” could be at the VA’s Community Based Outpatient Clinic on Challenger Drive!
(Okay, going after gubernatorial opponent Mike Michaud- this we could have seen coming a mile away.)
But sheesh- do we know where the little tykes AREN’T?
- Those “elusive Central American children” ARE MOST DEFINITELY NOT in Cape Elizabeth.
Back to those “elusive Central American children”. Where were we?
Oh yes… the next stop on the “Macdonald-LePage” crazy train is a short, but to “Macdonald” and “Macdonald” alone, logical run from Cape Elizabeth to Portland.
- Those “elusive Central American children” could be at Senate President Justin Alfond’s cosmopolitan house in Portland, stealing the silver spoons!
(Hmm, Maine is a big place, though. Better widen the scope.)
- Those “elusive Central American children” could be hiding with Paul Bunyan!
(Getting warmer- wait for it…)
- Those “elusive Central American children” could be hiding with the “Paul Bunyan of Northern Maine”, Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson!
- Those “elusive Central American children” could be in Allagash, an “uncharted land [that] would make a perfect clandestine place to set up a refugee/ asylum-seeker camp.”
(DING DING DING! We have a winnah!)
How do you figure THIS one, Governor LePage, er, “Mayor Macdonald”? Inquiring minds have got to know what the voices inside your head are saying. Could you elaborate a bit?
- “Jackson’s roots are planted firmly in the Allagash.”
(Yes, yes they are.)
More specifically, we know of the long standing feud you, er, “Governor LePage” have had with Senator Jackson.
Oh, sorry- not “Governor LePage”, but “Lewiston Mayor Bob Macdonald”.
Man, this IS confusing.
Do please continue, sir.
- Those “elusive Central American children” now “thousands of Spanish-speaking illegals”, will be “indoctrinated into the tenets of Progressive Democratic philosophies”.
But wait, there is more about “Camp Commandant Jackson” and his nefarious plans.
- “Once camp commandant Jackson is satisfied that these new Democrats possess the qualities needed to be good progressives, they will be released into all Maine counties to bilingually spread the gospel of the common man, a.k.a. progressive political propaganda.”
Okay, enough already. Seriously, just stop.
The article goes on to look at suspects Emily Cain and Mark Eves, but you get the gist. Although to have whoever authored this article talk about psychological needs is remarkable.
And just wait until “Lewiston Mayor Bob MacDonald” catches wind of – cue the ominous music-
Waiting for the “LePage/Macdonald/whoever” press release with a joint statement that Stephen King’s Bangor home is the hiding spot for those “elusive Central American children” in three… two… one…Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
U.S. Senate Democratic Candidate Shenna Bellows Addresses 2014 ME Dem Convention (Video, Transcript)
(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.
(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
Speaker of the House/ 2014 Maine Democratic Convention Chair Mark Eves (D-N Berwick) Speech to Delegates
- FULL TEXT OF SPEECH AS PREPARED
Welcome to the Maine Democratic Party convention.
I’m Speaker of the Maine House Mark Eves.
For the past two years, Senate President Justin Alfond and I joined forces to lead the Democratically-controlled Legislature.
We were on the frontlines standing up to Governor LePage on behalf of the people of Maine.
I want to thank Senator Alfond, our leadership teams, and all of the members of the Maine House and Senate here tonight for their hard work for our citizens.
I also want to thank Ben Grant, party chairman, and the amazing team he has assembled, led by Mary Erin Casale and Chuck Quintero.
We are poised for victory. We are poised to reclaim Our Maine.
We are the Party that stands for economic opportunity for everyone — not just those at the very top.
Democrats can be proud of the candidates up and down our ticket.
We are the party made up of everyday Mainers — firefighters, police officers, mill workers, moms, teachers, doctors, nurses, farmers, and small businesses owners.
We are Maine. And we are proud.
My mother was a school teacher and my father was a chaplain in the United States Military. I’m the youngest of seven children. Growing up, my family, struggled, like so many Maine families today. My parents taught my brothers, sister and I that when you pull together and work together, we all do better. They taught us the values of public service and giving back to the community.
These are the values that hold Maine communities together across our state.
My wife and I have been so proud to raise our three children here.
He has stood in the way of measures that would put more money in the pockets of Maine families, from expanding health care to increasing the minimum wage.
He’s squandered a $1 million of taxpayer funds on a controversial and plagiarized study to bolster his campaign talking points.
The Governor has mismanaged our state — even refused to do his job.
His unprecedented veto spree is nothing more than failed leadership.
When you govern by veto pen, Maine families lose.
As a family therapist helping people struggling with mental illness, I’ve seen first hand how lack of access to a health care can tear families apart. How mounting medical bills can lead to bankruptcy or even homelessness.
That’s why as Speaker of the House, I made it my top priority to expand health care to 70,000 Maine people, including nearly 3,000 veterans.
Five times — in five different bills — we worked to pass a measure that would allow us to take the federal government up on its offer to fund health care for our citizens.
We even worked across the aisle with reasonable Republicans
But Governor LePage and his Tea Party Republican allies said no:
They said no to life saving health care for our citizens.
They said no to a $1 million per day in economic investment
They said no to the 4,000 jobs it would have created.
They said no. And they had NO good reason!
For Maine people who are struggling to pay for their medicine for diabetes or face life threatening diseases, it’s hard to understand why politics stood between them and a doctor.
For Laura Tasheiko of Northport that became a terrifying reality.
When she found out she had seriously aggressive cancer she was fortunate to get the treatment she needed because she qualified for life-saving health care through Medicaid.
In January, she was among the 24,000 Mainers who lost coverage because we didn’t expand Medicaid.
Imagine being left without health care coverage while recovering from the ongoing and debilitating effects of cancer, surgery, and chemotherapy.
It’s heartbreaking; It is shameful and it is inhumane.
Governor LePage is the only Governor in the country to have vetoed Medicaid expansion five times.
He even considers it one of his highest accomplishments.
Well, I have a message for the Governor and his Republican allies in the Legislature from the tens of thousands of Mainers like Laura Tasheiko:
It’s no badge of honor to deny life saving health care to our citizens.
That message will be delivered in the voting booths across our state in November. The people of Maine will remember!
We are counting on all of you to help get Mike Michaud elected along with Democrats up and down the ticket — So that on day one of Governor Michaud’s administration, Maine can stop saying no … So that Maine can say YES to life-saving health care and the jobs and economic investment that comes with it.
During the past two years, I’m proud to say that Maine Democrats were able to improve the lives of our citizens despite the Governor.
We bolstered job training and workforce development. We invested in education for our students at all levels and health care for our seniors and people with disabilities.
We did it all working with Republicans and Independents, while the Governor sat on the sidelines waving his veto pen.
We also put a stop to some of the governor’s most harmful policies to gut protections for clean water and clean air in our state.
We prevented massive property tax spikes for middle class families and seniors.
We held back his effort to undercut worker’s rights to collectively bargain for wages and benefits.
I’m so proud of the work we did. I’m proud to have stood with Senate President Justin Alfond against Governor LePage.
But what we did is not enough.
Maine needs champions that bring us together. Maine needs leaders that build opportunity for everyone. That’s why we need to elect Mike Michaud and a Democratic Majority in the Maine House and Senate. It’s why we need to keep Maine 2nd Congressional District blue, its why we need progressive leaders like Chellie Pingree in Congress, and its why we need to elect Shenna Bellows to the U.S. Senate.
So are you with me? Are you ready to take back our state? Are you ready to reclaim Our Maine?
It won’t be easy. Our opponents never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
They manufacture crisis after crisis, they disregard the truth.
But we can’t let that stop us. We can’t and we won’t back down.
We must restore the pride the people of Maine have in our state. The Maine where we unite to help one another and lift each other up, where we celebrate our accomplishments not denigrate our people, our schools, or our workers.
This is Our Maine.
So I’ll ask again: Are you with me? Are you ready to elect Mike Michaud our new Governor and Democrats up and down the ticket?
Join me in this fight to the finish.
(UPDATED) Bellows Scores Huge Progressive Change Campaign Committee Endorsement In Senate Upset Race
UPDATED: Nationally acclaimed Washington DC based newspaper The Hill has picked up on this endorsement and run a story on it. Locally, mid-coast Maine’s The TimesRecord ran an editorial, Collins Vs. Bellows. It’s A Race.
The Bellows campaign issued this statement upon hearing about the endorsement:
- “I will be a champion of civil liberties, and I am honored to receive the endorsement of a group that helped propel Elizabeth Warren to victory. Today’s endorsement builds on the grassroots momentum that we are seeing on the ground here in Maine,” said Shenna Bellows, Democratic candidate for the United States Senate. “Like the PCCC, our campaign is supported by thousands of real Mainers who think it’s time for change in Washington. We are building a movement for positive change to restore constitutional freedoms, advance economic fairness, and protect the environment.”
- Progressive Change Campaign Committee Endorses Shenna Bellows In Key Senate Upset Race
Shenna Bellows Outraises Susan Collins In Latest Fundraising Quarter.
PCCC Calls Bellows “The Elizabeth Warren Of Civil Liberties.”
Vows To “Expand the Map.”
Today, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) is endorsing Shenna Bellows for the U.S. Senate in a key Senate upset race against Republican incumbent Susan Collins. In the latest fundraising quarter, Shenna Bellows outraised Susan Collins. Collins reported $314,921 for the quarter while Bellows raised $331,454. Over 80% of Bellows’ contributions were $100 or less.
“We call Shenna Bellows the ‘Elizabeth Warren of civil liberties’ because she’s campaigning boldly on constitutional freedom and economic populism,” said PCCC co-founder Stephanie Taylor. “Like Elizabeth Warren’s challenge to former Sen. Scott Brown, many insiders thought Susan Collins was unbeatable. Until now.”
Today’s national endorsement and fundraising email to PCCC members is copied below. The PCCC is fundraising for Shenna Bellows’ campaign from it’s membership base of over 5,700 members in Maine and nearly 1 million members across the country.
During the 2012 election cycle, the PCCC members raised over 2.7 million dollars for candidates through 250,000 small-dollar donations including hundreds of thousands of dollars for multiple House campaigns. PCCC members made over 2 million calls to voters for progressive candidates. Over 30 PCCC-endorsed campaigns won, including Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) for U.S. Senate and Alan Grayson (D-FL), Mark Takano (D-CA), and Keith Ellison (D-MN) for Congress. See the full record of PCCC victories here.
Here is the email fundraiser being circulated by PCCC:
HUFFINGTON POST REPORTS: Democrat Shenna Bellows Raised More Money Than Republican Sen. Susan Collins Last Quarter!
Collins helped block the public option, strong Wall Street reform, and protections for seniors and veterans.
Control of the U.S. Senate is at stake in 2014, and this insurgent progressive could defeat Maine’s Republican senator!
Shenna is former Executive Director of the Maine ACLU.
We call Shenna Bellows the “Elizabeth Warren of civil liberties” because she’s campaigning boldly on constitutional freedom and economic populism.
Shenna believes in repealing the Patriot Act, expanding Social Security, and holding Wall Street accountable.
She raised a whopping $331,454, and over 80% of contributions were $100 or less!
Shenna is running a grassroots campaign, fueled by lots of people. “One of the biggest threats to our democracy is big money in politics, so it is refreshing to see that grassroots giving from real people can triumph over corporate interests,” Bellows told the Huffington Post.
Thanks for being a bold progressive.
— Stephanie Taylor, PCCC co-founderRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
#MESEN Democratic Candidate Shenna Bellows: “Something Deeply Wrong in Washington When Senators Congratulate Themselves for Doing Their Jobs”
(Updated 10/25/13- What I did not yet know yesterday when posting this diary is that the campaign has an Act Blue donation page– please feel free to donate and share the link. Many thanks!)kicked off the start of her official campaign yesterday with events in Ellsworth, Portland, Lewiston and finally Eliot.
Today she is in Presque Isle and Bangor; her week concludes with events in Topsham, Rockland and Skowhegan, as Bellows plans to speak in every Maine county this first week of campaigning with a target goal of stops in all of Maine’s cities and towns over the next year. The photos below were taken at the Portland event, held at Rising Tide Brewing Company- a local Maine business hit by the recent federal government shutdown.
The 38 year old Manchester resident and native of Hancock was introduced by friend and former ACLU of Maine coworker Jill Barkley, with supporters of all 16 Maine counties speaking briefly on why they support Shenna’s run for Senate and then addressed the large crowd assembled:
(Speech as prepared)
- Good morning. My name is Shenna Bellows and I am running for United States Senate because I believe we need more courage and honesty in Washington.
- To make things better.
- To put government back to work for everyone and not just the few.
- To get our country back on the right track.
And that work starts here and it starts today.It’s been a whirlwind few weeks.
As some of you may know, I was married on September 21.
My husband, Brandon Baldwin – a Skowhegan native – is here with me today, and I am so grateful for his love and support. And I promise, he knew what he was getting into when he said “I do.”
Brandon and I made the decision to spend our lives together in 2010.
But we had made a vow that we wouldn’t get married until every loving committed couple could do the same, including our gay and lesbian friends and family members could be legally married.
Last November, Maine made history when our state became the first to pass the freedom to marry at the ballot box.
It was an amazing day made even better when the first couples started to wed last winter.
But it wasn’t until June, when the Supreme Court overturned the outrageously named Defense of Marriage Act, which discriminated against gay and lesbian couples.
I don’t think they knew it at the time, but when the Supreme Court justices said DOMA was unconstitutional, they were also opening the door for Brandon and I to tie the knot.
We were engaged on a trip to the Potato Blossom Festival in Aroostook County. We were married at our home in Manchester. We honeymooned in Rockland.
And though we’re still traveling around Maine, I think the honeymoon is over.
Being part of the leadership team of Mainers United for Marriage for seven years was to date one of the greatest honors of my life.
We stood up for equality and freedom, and we created positive change one conversation and one person at a time. And we did it together.
I share this story because it is fundamental to who I am, why I am running and what I would like to see change in Washington.
First, who I am. I am a principled leader who has a proven track record of standing up for people’s rights.
I was the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine, a non-profit organization.
Our mission was to defend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
I am proud of the work I did there – defending the right to vote, protecting privacy and fighting for freedom of speech and equality.
Through that work, I had the opportunity to be involved on several statewide campaigns where I gained valuable experience that I plan to put to work over the next year.
I grew up in Hancock.
My mom, Janice Colson, is here this morning.
She just got off the night shift at the hospital.
She is the bravest person I know.
When I was a kid, we grew our own food, organically. I don’t think we were trendsetters. Truth is, I don’t think we could afford pesticides and fertilizers.
One day, mom was pounding fence posts in the backyard.
She smashed her thumb. It was terrifying to us kids seeing mom hurt.
We didn’t have a telephone so there was only one thing to do.My dad, Dexter Bellows, is here this morning too.
Calm as could be, she just put the three of us in the car and drove herself to the emergency room.
He’s a carpenter, and he and his wife Bethany Reynolds worked hard to make this day happen today.
I get my courage and my work ethic from my parents.
Thirty-three years ago, my dad started his own carpentry business, Bellows Woodworks.
My mom stayed home with me, my brother and my sister.
When I was in the fifth grade, she went back to work at the local greenhouse, Surry Gardens, and we were able to afford electricity.
It takes a lot of courage to start your own business, especially when you’re trying to take care of a young family.
My father took a risk.
His story is the story of countless other entrepreneurs.
And it’s the story of our country and what gives America the reputation of being the land of opportunity.
My mom worked in the greenhouse for over 20 years. At age 49, she too took a risk by going back to school, first with adult education courses at Ellsworth, and then at the University of Maine where she obtained a degree in nursing.
My parents’ courage and work ethic have inspired me my entire life to work hard and to try to make the world a better place.
I have worked throughout my career to do my part to change the world.
From my time as a volunteer in the Peace Corps in Panama, to service as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer in Nashville to standing up for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights at the ACLU.
I understand what it’s like to work for a living.
I’ve waited tables, worked retail, worked at the local lobster pound and was even a Subway sandwich artist. When I was in college, my job was in the recycling program, which meant essentially that I collected the trash each week.
My community and education gave me other opportunities along the way too – the opportunity to go to Middlebury College, to work as a research assistant at the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory and then as an assistant to an economics professor who writes leading economics textbooks.
These experiences shaped who I am today. I am unafraid of hard work, and I am inspired to make the world a better place.
I’m running for United States Senate because I believe we need more courage and honesty in Washington.
A dear friend tried to dissuade me from running when he heard the news. “Politics in Washington are too corrupt and too partisan,” he argued, “for an honest and independent person like you to be happy there.”
The sequester, the shutdown and the default debacle made his argument for him.
When senators congratulate themselves for doing their jobs – for doing what decent people do all the time and talk through challenges – something is deeply wrong in Washington.
It took three weeks and cost our country billions of dollars because grown men and women couldn’t put aside their ideology and do the peoples’ business.
When Congress acts merely to kick the can down the road three months, so that we will continue to lurch from one economic crisis to another, something is deeply wrong in Washington.
The sequester and the shutdown are unforgiveable.
When Head Start and Meals on Wheels programs are cut back while members of Congress pay themselves hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary and benefits, something is deeply wrong in Washington.
When workers’ pensions are underfunded or frozen but government pensions for members of Congress are not, something is deeply wrong in Washington.
Our democracy is too important for good people to stay on the sidelines.
Our democracy demands a full and fair debate in this race about our priorities.
The future of our democracy requires that good people with good ideas participate and that at all levels we debate in a civil and respectful way the solutions that will move our country forward.
Look, I understand that the road ahead in this campaign will be hard.
Daughters of carpenters don’t usually run for the United States Senate.
Races like this can cost millions of dollars, which is why we have a Congress of millionaires instead of a Congress of working people.
I understand the power of the incumbency, but I am undaunted and promise to run a strong campaign that will challenge the status quo and give voters a real choice next November.
And if elected to the United States Senate, I can assure you: I will work hard to advance meaningful campaign finance reform so that more sons and daughters of carpenters and working people can represent us in Washington.
In addition to courage and honesty, we need more people in Washington who will listen respectfully to people with different points of view and work together toward meaningful solutions.
No two people can ever agree 100% of the time. Even my husband and I don’t agree on everything.
While we may not agree, you will always understand where I stand, and I promise that I will come to any policy debate with an open mind and treat everyone with respect.
Earlier this year, I organized a broad coalition that included Democrats, Republicans, Independents and Greens to pass a groundbreaking law that protects cell phone privacy.
While we might disagree on other issues, we all came together to fight against the dangers posed by government intrusion into our personal lives.
Our opposition was intense, bipartisan and included some of my close friends, but we were able to disagree respectfully.
After months of hard work, Maine was one of two states in the country to pass cell phone privacy protections in the wake of the NSA spying abuses, and we were one of just five successful veto override votes when the Governor vetoed the legislation.
I am proud of my work in Augusta to build broad coalitions across party lines to pass legislation that has made Maine a leader and a model for the rest of the country when it comes to civil liberties.
This brings me to what I would like to see change in Washington and what I would do if elected to be Maine’s next Senator.
In the last two decades, we have experienced a constitutional crisis, an economic crisis and an environmental crisis that threaten our country’s future.
What unites us as a country are our shared values set forth in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
Politicians in Washington have trampled on the Constitution over the last decade.
Washington has created a constitutional crisis.
My first job at the ACLU was as a “Safe and Free” organizer working back in 2003 to educate the public and organize opposition to the Patriot Act.
I think it’s terrible that only one Senator, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, voted no to the Patriot Act.
It’s concerning that only Rand Paul is taking to the floor to filibuster on drones. Abuses of power like the Patriot Act, REAL ID, NSA spying, and domestic drone surveillance threaten our democracy.
- We need to repeal the Patriot Act and REAL ID.
- We need to stop the NSA and the FBI from wasting their time and taxpayer dollars spying on ordinary Americans through our cell phones and email.
- We need to place limits on drones.
A reporter asked me last week why should we care if we have nothing to hide. The question suggests that we need to sacrifice our freedoms for security.
But it’s a false choice. As Benjamin Franklin famously said, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
We do not have to sacrifice our fundamental freedoms to be safe.
When the government spies on its own people, we, the people, lose trust in our government.
We can restore trust and a sense of community by restoring our constitutional freedoms.
In addition to a constitutional crisis, we have an economic crisis, manufactured by politicians in Washington who seek short-term solutions rather than visionary change.
When I graduated from college with a degree in international politics and economics, I had more than $30,000 in student loans.
It took me 10 years to pay off my loans, but I was lucky: I was able to get a good job after graduation.
I met a woman a couple of weeks ago who told me with anger and sadness that her college-educated son and his wife are living with her at home because they can only find part-time work.
Another friend laughingly told me that perhaps his college-educated daughter would work for my campaign for free: he is supporting her financially right now because the only work she can find in her field of study is an unpaid internship.
She’s not the only one.
Young people in this state are graduating with record levels of student loan debt, and they can’t find jobs.
Not only has unemployment in Maine doubled since 2000 from 3.5% to 7.7% in 2012, but unemployment for young people ages 20 to 24 is in the double digits at 12.3%, up from 6.7% in 2000.
We need to invest in our young people and in the next economy.
We need to stop spending billions of dollars on a surveillance industrial complex we can’t afford and start investing in entrepreneurs. We can’t afford to be the world’s policeman anymore.
We need to stop propping up big businesses that are too big to fail and start investing in local economies.
We need to eliminate the sweet-heart deals that protect large corporations and stop writing new rules that block entry for small entrepreneurs and farmers.
When I think about Maine’s economy, it’s those small entrepreneurs and farmers who are critical to our success.
Young people are staying in or returning to Maine to farm in record numbers. The local food and economy movement – built in our communities, not in Washington, is thriving.
We can learn from this model and bring rural innovations to the rest of the country.
Politicians in Washington have failed to be forward thinking in their approach to the economy, so our communities here have picked up the pieces and thrived where Washington has failed.
We need to bring this fresh energy and entrepreneurial approach to our federal economic policy debates.
The local approach is not only economically sustainable but environmentally sustainable as well.
In the last two decades, politicians in Washington have wrought an environmental crisis that threatens Maine’s economic future.
Anyone who gardens, farms or fishes can tell you that Maine’s climate is warming.
Politicians in Washington occasionally talk a good game, but they have done nothing substantive to address the looming environmental crisis.
And as we all know, in Maine our economy and our natural environment are fundamentally connected.
We have brilliant minds working in the environmental movement here in Maine to protect land for future and also promote and grow local economies.
If elected, I will advocate and organize support for a power shift in our approach to energy and environmental policy.
We need to have a debate about the best ways forward to fix environmental crisis. The politicians might say that solving climate change is impossible, but it’s too important not to try, and we cannot wait.
Today is the beginning of my campaign for the United States Senate. And for the next year, I will work every day to convince voters that we don’t have to be content with the status quo.
I know what’s coming and that this won’t be easy.
But I’ve seen what good people, working together, can do.
As Helen Keller, who triumphed over blindness and deafness to be an extraordinary leader and successful advocate, said, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”
Together, we can make a difference. Together, we can change the world. The future starts now.
Unfortunately, both are in short supply.
But we have an opportunity for change.
Link to video of her address to supporters in Lewiston.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Shenna Bellows, former executive director for ACLU of Maine and recently announced U.S. Senate candidate, is officially kicking off her campaign with multiple stops around the state today. Her day started with a radio interview with The Pulse AM 620’s Don Cookson; she is holding a national call-in media press conference later today as well.
- 7:45-8:45 am
Riverside Café, 151 Main Street, Ellsworth
(scheduled to speak at 8am)
Rising Tide Brewing Company, 103 Fox Street, Portland
- 3 pm
Forage Market, 180 Lisbon Street, Lewiston
- 6 pm
Optimus Room at the Regatta Banquet & Conference Center, Eliot Commons on Rte 236.
From there, Shenna has visits all across Maine scheduled for the rest of the week:
- October 24, 7:30 am
The Whole Potato Café and Commons, 428 Main Street, Downtown Presque Isle
- October 25, 11 am
The Main Lodge, The Highlands at 30 Governor’s Way in Topsham ME
(To RSVP, contact Bellows for Senate at 629-8131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org)
- October 26, 11 am
Hike on the Breakwater in Rockland
(From the campaign: No RSVP required. Join us for the hike at 11!)
- October 26, 7 pm
Home of Carole Baldwin, Shenna Bellows’ mother-in-law (House Party in Skowhegan)
RSVP required here.
There will be videos and photos updating this post later on.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
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