Governor LePage, er, “Lewiston Mayor Bob MacDonald” on “Elusive Central American Children” Goes Off On Both Dems & The Rails

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

Image via 2/7/11 Portland Phoenix article "LePage's secret puppeteers" by Colin Woodard.

Image via 2/7/11 Portland Phoenix article “LePage’s secret puppeteers” by Colin Woodard.

Occasionally 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.

Governor Paul LePage sits at Governor James G. Blaine's Congressional desk (10/12/13).

Governor Paul LePage sits at Governor James G. Blaine’s Congressional desk (10/12/13).

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?

bob macdonald

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.

Oh wait.

AWKWARD!!!

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!

Governor Paul LePage at 3/24/14 press conference rolling out 4 EBT/ TANF reform bills. Also seen: Lewiston Mayor Bob Macdonald and House Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport)

Governor Paul LePage at 3/24/14 press conference rolling out 4 EBT/ TANF reform bills. Also seen: Lewiston Mayor Bob Macdonald and House Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport)

(We all know how Paul LePage feels about President Obama.)

  • 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?

moggg

  • Those “elusive Central American children” ARE MOST DEFINITELY NOT in Cape Elizabeth.

As the polls keep showing, NOBODY is in Cape Elizabeth and in fact, things are especially quiet there, as mogul Eliot Cutler’s numbers are doing a downhill mogul run of their own.

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?

(Yes, yes they are.)

And we all know how you feel about folks from the County, Governor.

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”.

crazy(Oh heck, time to close down shop, kids; we’ve been found out!! Everyone head for Canada!)

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-

“Duh-duh-duuuuuuuuuuh….”

THIS!!

king fox

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…

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

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

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

Androscoggin Chair Tom Reynolds Introduces Shenna Bellows for Senate at Convention

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

U.S. Senate Democratic Candidate Shenna Bellows Addresses Convention


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Remember the Mainers United for Marriage campaign?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DSC_0075

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(UPDATED) Bellows Scores Huge Progressive Change Campaign Committee Endorsement In Senate Upset Race

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

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.”

Shenna Bellows and senior staff members at new Augusta campaign office.

Shenna Bellows and senior staff members at new Augusta campaign office.

Big news this morning of an important national endorsement for Maine Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Shenna Bellows– via press release:

    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:

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!

donate 3We’re proud to endorse Shenna Bellows for Senate. Help “expand the map” and win this key race — donate $3 to Shenna today!

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!

bellowslogotransShenna 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.

Can you donate $3 to elect Shenna Bellows to the U.S. Senate? Click here.

Thanks for being a bold progressive.

— Stephanie Taylor, PCCC co-founder

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#MESEN Democratic Candidate Shenna Bellows: “Something Deeply Wrong in Washington When Senators Congratulate Themselves for Doing Their Jobs”

Posted on October 24, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

(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!)

Link to Shenna Bellows for Senate website.

Bellows speaks to full house at Portland's Rising Tide Brewing Company

Bellows speaks to full house at Portland’s Rising Tide Brewing Company

Maine Democrat U.S. Senate candidate Shenna Bellows 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.

    Unfortunately, both are in short supply.

    But we have an opportunity for change.

  • 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.

    Maine U.S. Senate Democratic candidate Shenna Bellows addresses supporters and media at Portland's Rising Tide Brewing Company, as her husband Brandon Baldwin looks on.

    Maine U.S. Senate Democratic candidate Shenna Bellows addresses supporters and media at Portland’s Rising Tide Brewing Company, as her husband Brandon Baldwin looks on.

    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.
    Calm as could be, she just put the three of us in the car and drove herself to the emergency room.

    Shenna with her father Dexter Bellows and grandfather Bill Bellows at Forage Market in Lewiston.

    Shenna with her father Dexter Bellows and grandfather Bill Bellows at Forage Market in Lewiston.

    My dad, Dexter Bellows, is here this morning too.

    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.

Link to video of her address to supporters in Lewiston.

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Shenna Bellows Kicks Off U.S. Senate Campaign With Busy Statewide Schedule

Posted on October 23, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

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.

Link to Shenna Bellows for Senate website.

The scheduled stops for the Hancock native today include the following:port shenna

  • 7:45-8:45 am
    Riverside Café, 151 Main Street, Ellsworth
    (scheduled to speak at 8am)

  • Noon
    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 hq@bellowsforsenate.com)

  • 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.

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It’s Official! Shenna Bellows Running for U.S. Senate

Posted on October 8, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

Earlier today, former ACLU of Maine Executive Director Shenna Bellows ended speculation that she would be challenging incumbent Senator Susan Collins by confirming on Twitter that she had sent her initial paperwork to the Federal Elections Commission.

Bellows, a Hancock native, has yet to hold public office but considered briefly a run for Congress last year.

From her “About Shenna” page:

Shenna Bellows1

    Prior to her work at the ACLU of Maine, Shenna was the national field organizer at the ACLU in Washington, DC, organizing nationwide civil liberties campaigns including opposition to the Patriot Act, where she built broad coalitions that included librarians and gun owners alike.

    Shenna’s early career was devoted to economics. She worked as a research associate at Economists Incorporated from 1997 to 1999 before serving in the Peace Corps in Panama as a small-business development volunteer. In Panama, she launched a micro-lending program for artisans, started a Junior Achievement entrepreneurship program at a local high school, and was President of Women In Development/Gender and Development, dedicated to advancing economic and educational opportunity for women and girls. She continued her work in economic development as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer in Nashville, Tennessee. There she assisted a startup non-profit in developing an asset building program to promote educational and economic empowerment for young people in Nashville’s largest public housing project.

    Shenna is passionate about the environment and science. She worked as a research assistant for several summers during high school and college at the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory. She worked for the campus recycling program at Middlebury College, and today she serves on the Manchester Conservation Commission.

    Shenna is a leader in women’s rights and reproductive freedom. She has been recognized for her work to advance women’s health and reproductive choice by awards from the University of Maine Women’s Studies Department, Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center, the American Association of University Women, the Frances Perkins Center and the Maine Democratic Party.

Bellows recently announced her resignation from ACLU of Maine after a eight year tenure, via Facebook , saying in part:

bellowslogotrans

    “I feel a deep sense of gratitude for the opportunities I have had at the ACLU for over a decade, both in my two years at the Washington Legislative Office and especially in my last eight years home in Maine with all of you.

    Together, we were the first state in the country to reject REAL ID. Together, we stood up against warrantless surveillance of our telephone and email communications in 2007, before most people were even thinking about it. This year, we were one of only two states in the country to pass warrant requirements for surveillance of our cellphone communications. Our work to reduce solitary confinement in Maine’s prisons served as a model for other states, and we submitted testimony to Congress and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights about it. We co-chaired the successful statewide campaign to restore same-day voter registration. We stopped literally hundreds of bad ideas from ever becoming law. And of course, we won marriage for all loving, committed couples in Maine.

    We have accomplished great things together. We have advanced constitutional freedoms in Maine, and we have served as a model for action for other states time and time again. I have learned so much from my colleagues on staff, from our dedicated board of directors, and from all of you. Thank you.”

Shenna recently married longtime beau Brandon Baldwin, Director of the Maine Attorney General’s Civil Rights Team Project. They reside in Manchester.

Her campaign website is already up and running, with links to Facebook and Twitter .

She plans to launch her campaign officially on Oct. 23 at events in Ellsworth and Portland.

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Governor LePage’s Mulligan

Posted on July 2, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

paul jebOriginally posted Jun 27 and now bumped back to top, as news has come out tonight that Maine’s self-proclaimed “blue collar” Governor Paul LePage, who last week denounced the state’s “country club Legislature” and said that he would be discussing options with his family regarding whether or not to run for re-election, announced before a hundred supporters at the posh Jeb Bush hosted, up to $3k per couple Nonantum Resort, Kennebunkport fundraiser that he is indeed running for re-election in 2014.

(Video link here, as MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow a few weeks’ ago had something to say regarding Jeb Bush’s decision to hold this fundraiser. She also took the matter up again on this evening’s show.)

It should be noted that the task of informing the world of this decision came not by press release nor traditional local Maine media, but rather fell to State Senator Andre Cushing (R-Penobscot) to deliver the news second-hand to the world, as Maine’s most transparent Governor instructed his senior political advisor Brent Littlefield to issue the following reminding email to Maine media late this afternoon:

    “Just a quick email reminder that tonight’s LePage event in Kennebunkport is closed press.

    There are no press avails before or after the event.

    Brent Littlefield, Senior Political Adviser to Governor LePage”

augusta cc

    mul·li·gan
    /ˈməligən/
    Noun

    1. A stew made from odds and ends of food.

    2. (in informal golf) An extra stroke allowed after a poor shot, not counted on the scorecard.

—–

UPDATED with earlier portion of the press conference that I missed; many thanks to PPH’s Steve Mistler.

UPDATE x2: Friday’s Portland Press Herald is chock-full of scathing missives today in Letters to the Editor: Governor disrespects people he serves.

—–

Yesterday after the House (114-34) and Senate (26-9) delivered crushing blows to Governor LePage’s veto of LD 1509, the FY 14-15 fiscal budget bill and in doing so avoided the first statewide government shutdown in over twenty years, the governor held a press conference in which he was a far, far more subdued man than just last week:

Via Steve Mistler, this earlier portion of the press conference:

    “I’m very disappointed on this budget. Until we start understanding what makes an economy drive and why the southeast and the southwest and the Atlantic states have such good economies, until we emulate some of their behaviors we are not going to be anywheres but 50th place in the country for doing business.”

    “It’s a real sad day for the state of Maine. We took, I thought, with the 125th Legislature, that we took two steps forward for the state. Today, I think we took three steps back. I really feel bad for today.”

While admittedly not a complete version of the Governor’s press conference (full audio here), the above was almost 15 minutes’ worth of it and many of Maine’s various media were in attendance, including reporters from formerly access denied Portland Press Herald:

    In an impromptu news conference right after Wednesday’s final override vote in the Senate, LePage reacted calmly, but strongly. He criticized Republicans and Democrats alike for a plan that “solidified our place as the 50th worst place to do business for the foreseeable future.”

    He said the Legislature is a “country club” where lawmakers are more interested in getting along with each other than with him.

Paul LePageAs Lewiston Sun Journal reported, LePage said he was considering his options:

    LePage said he would be consulting more with his family before deciding whether he would seek a second term as governor.

    I am going to be meeting with my family at some point and we are going to be talking it over,”
    LePage said. “Quite frankly, I don’t know how you recover from this. I really don’t know how you recover from a tax increase. This is a giant obstacle. It’s like having a giant hole in the bottom of your ship and you are trying to get across the pond.”

During the press conference, the Governor repeatedly called his originally submitted budget “a good budget” (so good that the silence from his caucus’ after the State of the State address was deafening) and repeatedly backtracked on his 2009 stance regarding revenue sharing.

To review the clip of 2009 Waterville Mayor Paul LePage denouncing revenue sharing cuts to his then-city:

LePage was critical of the Democrats in leadership who would not talk to him about the budget, again called out the Appropriations Committee for not allowing him to speak on mic, in particular the Republicans on the committee and then called out House Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport) as “having not been around” to talk with or had been “unwilling to talk to me”, that the Republican Party is not a strong one currently in Maine, and was unaware that the energy omnibus bill that he had vetoed had been overturned in the House and heading for the Senate.

It needs to be noted that while many communities denounced the Governor’s budget, not a single one even attempted to pass a resolution supporting LePage, a point raised by Senate President Justin Alfond (D-Cumberland) during this week’s Democratic leadership media availability event.

But apparently the coverage was not sufficient for the Governor, as he decided to declare yesterday’s disaster a “mulligan” and try again to explain himself to the Maine people, today going before the camera once more, with his office releasing the following footage this afternoon.

Roll the clip:

From the accompanying press release:

    Governor Paul R. LePage speaks out about why he could not support the Legislature’s budget, which included tax increases, in a new video released by the Office of the Governor.

    In the five-minute video, the Governor shares his thoughts about how higher taxes will affect Mainers and condemns decreased funding to programs like Jobs for Maine Graduates.

    In the video, he notes that tax increases will have a devastating effect on the elderly and Mainers who live within their own budgets. Sales, meals and lodging taxes will be increased to fund the state budget.

      “Retired mill workers living on fixed incomes; elderly widows collecting Social Security; and our veterans, who receive nothing more than their military pension—each of them care about this tax increase,” Governor LePage said.

      “We are already one of the highest taxed states in the nation. We have some of the lowest per capita income in the country. Now is not the time to ask Mainers to give more to fund government… For some legislators, it was more important to count votes and reject my proposals than do what is right for our citizens.”

      “Maine people deserve a considered, reasoned debate, and they will hold legislators responsible for their decisions… It is time to look past the next election and look forward to the next generation.”

    This sort of passive-aggressive communication by Maine’s Chief Executive brings back memories of the inexplicable and strange video released in last January, as former CBS reporter now LePage staffer Adrienne Bennett displayed a remarkable lack of journalistic integrity by “interviewing” the governor:

    Harder thrown pitches than these can be seen at a playground Whiffle ball game… Now, I love a good train wreck sort of news story as much as the next person, but this is just getting sad.

    In his opening statement, The Governor claims “not to be a politician and be a blue collar governor”. Gotta call a 1 stroke penalty for this one!

      Ann LePage:“He was what my dad always called a ‘white collar. My dad said, ‘Ann, for god’s sake, he’s a white collar. He doesn’t know how to work.’”

    LePage garners another stroke regarding the claims that the sales tax on meals and lodging will affect Maine businesses. Watch this from Rep. Jethro Pease (R-Morrill) from yesterday:

    Rep. Kim Monaghan-Derrig (D-Cape Elizabeth) agreed:

    And it goes downhill from there, enough so that Bangor Daily News shared Governor LePage’s “Mulligan” as part of a larger piece, asking “Does Governor LePage Still Matter?”

    Ouch.

    Then there is this: “Gov. LePage’s recent actions cry out for an intervention”.

    And this in the PPH. Maine Voices: Assistant GOP leader: Governor’s behavior sets unfortunate tone in Augusta
    .

    That one by Senate Assistant Minority Leader Roger Katz (R-Kennebec) even made it into the Washington Post: Top Maine Republican legislator: ‘I am embarrassed’ by LePage.

    Heh. Wonder how Minority Leader Mike Thibodeau (R-Waldo) feels about that (“Top Republican”) interesting mistype?

    An argument could possibly be made that the Governor sees himself as having a “Tin Cup” moment, but the reality here is indeed something entirely different.

    Time to sign your card and call it a day, Governor…

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Mainers Reach Out to Senators Collins and Snowe on Tax Fairness, Fiscal Cliff, Proposed Cuts to Safety Net Programs

Posted on December 3, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

obama snoweWhile President Obama and Congressional leaders negotiate possible solutions to averting the fiscal cliff scernario, Maine citizens are taking matters into their own hands by contacting Senator Susan Collins, out-bound Senator Olympia Snowe and Senator-elect Angus King. Neither Snowe nor Collins has yet signaled a willingness to end Bush tax cuts for individuals making over $250,000 a year, a step that would raise over a trillion a year. Those cuts are due to expire at the end of this year.

According to a new report released by the AFL-CIO, 299,875 Mainers could be negatively impacted if Congress attempts cuts to Social Security, including 55,525 people with disabilities and 24,150 children. Of the 358,004 Mainers who get their health care coverage from Medicaid, 130,862 children and 60,768 seniors could be affected if the lame duck Congress makes cuts to Medicaid benefits. If the Bush tax cuts are renewed, the richest 2% in Maine would receive an average of $27,230 in tax cuts, while workers would receive an average of $1,200. The 2012 House Republican budget plan would cut federal support to Maine’s Medicaid program by at least $6.2 billion over 10 years, further throwing the numbers reported last week to the state’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee into chaos.

(Sidenote: As of today, it is being reported that the budget may not have a $100 million shortfall, but rather be twice as large a deficit.)

Last week volunteers with the Maine People’s Alliance, as part of the organization’s “Fair Share” initiative efforts, visited the senators’ Augusta offices to urge them to support President Obama’s plan to end the Bush-era tax breaks for individuals who make over $250,000 a year. Staffers were presented with copies of more than 50 letters and editorials recently published in Maine newspapers. The letters “serve as a reminder that a strong majority of Mainers support ending tax breaks that disproportionately benefit the wealthy as a way to avert the budget showdown in Washington”, per MPA.

sukeRachel Sukeforth of Litchfield, one of those making the deliveries, saw this consensus first hand as she campaigned for the State House of Representatives over the past year. Last week, a recount showed she had come up only four votes short against a Republican incumbent in a conservative district (HD 80).

“I want Senators Snowe and Collins to know that I just don’t see why, when so many working Mainers like myself and my family are struggling to make ends meet, that our tax rates are being held hostage to protect the incomes of a tiny sliver of very wealthy people,” said Sukeforth.

IMG_0724A recent poll conducted by the Maine People’s Resource Center found that not only did Mainers support tax fairness, but 55.3% of voters believed that increasing taxes on the wealthy would help the economy. Only 29.2% percent thought it would hurt the economy.

“We want to make sure that Senators Snowe and Collins realize that their constituents are watching the budget negotiations in Washington very closely and have been speaking out on this issue for months,” said MPA organizer Jonathan Hillier. “A strong majority of Americans and Mainers have made it very clear that they would rather see tax rates for the wealthy return to Clinton-era levels than see deep cuts to important programs like Medicare and Social Security.”

The Maine People’s Alliance is also launching an online postcard campaign to continue the drumbeat of support for tax fairness.

collins obamaResponding to her constituents’ strong desire to speak to her, Senator Collins has authorized her staff to hold statewide local constituent service hours in all of Maine’s 16 counties tomorrow, in addition to her regularly maintained six state offices (in Caribou, Bangor, Augusta, Lewiston, Portland, and Biddeford). A staff member will be available to provide assistance with federal issues and agencies, such as the Social Security Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the Internal Revenue Service. No appointment is necessary and all conversations are strictly confidential.

“It can be incredibly frustrating for people to try and navigate the often muddy waters of federal regulations, and each year thousands of Mainers turn to the talented staff in my state offices for help,” said Senator Collins. “Constituent service is incredibly important to me, and I’m proud of my state office staff, which acts as an important liaison between federal agencies and the people of our state. They understand the cares and concerns of the local areas in which they work because that is also where they live, and they have the expertise to investigate and resolve problems.”

The locations and hours:

    Androscoggin County
    Turner Town Office
    11 Turner Center Road, Turner
    10:00-11:30 AM

    Aroostook County
    Ashland Town Office
    17 Bridgham Street, Ashland
    9:30 – 10:30 AM

    Cumberland County (four locations)
    Falmouth Town Office
    271 Falmouth Road, Falmouth
    10:00-11:00 AM

    Cumberland Town Office
    290 Tuttle Road, Cumberland
    11:30 AM-12:30 PM

    South Portland City Hall
    25 Cottage Road, South Portland
    1:30 PM-3:00 PM

    Cape Elizabeth Town Hall
    320 Ocean House Road, Cape Elizabeth
    3:30 PM-4:30 PM

    Franklin County
    Wilton Town Office
    158 Weld Road, Wilton
    12:30-2:00pm

    Hancock County
    Lamoine Town Office
    686 Douglas Highway, Lamoine
    9:30-11:00 AM

    Kennebec County
    Winthrop Town Office
    17 Highland Avenue, Winthrop
    10:30-11:30 AM

    Knox County
    Camden Town Office
    29 Elm Street, Conference Room
    Camden
    1:00 – 3:00 PM

    Lincoln County
    Newcastle Town Office
    4 Pump Street, Newcastle
    3:30-4:30 PM

    Oxford County
    Norway Town Office
    19 Danforth Street, Norway
    3:00-4:30 PM

    Penobscot County
    Millinocket Town Office
    197 Penobscot Avenue, Millinocket
    10:00-11:30 AM

    Piscataquis County
    Greenville Town Office
    7 Minden Street, Greenville
    10:00-11:30 AM

    Sagadahoc County
    Topsham Town Office
    100 Main Street, 2nd Floor Conference Room
    Topsham
    1:30-2:30 PM

    Somerset County
    Norridgewock Town Office
    16 Perkins Street, Norridgewock
    8:30-9:30 AM

    Waldo County
    Belfast City Hall
    131 Church Street, Belfast
    1:30 – 3:00 PM

    Washington County

    Danforth Town Office
    18 Central Street, Danforth
    9:30 – 10:30 AM

    York County (2 Locations)
    Arundel Fire Department
    468 Limerick Road, Arundel
    12:00 PM – 1:30 PM

    Berwick Town Hall
    11 Square Street, Berwick
    12:00 PM – 1:30 PM

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Senators Snowe, Collins Issue Statements Regarding End of Iraq War

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


Sen. Olympia Snowe

“After eight and a half years, the time has come for Iraqis to take over.  As a senior member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, I will continue to monitor the situation and press Administration officials to provide greater detail on the President’s plans to maintain what is an indispensable working partnership with the Iraqi government in this key strategic region.  But, protecting our men and women in uniform must be priority number one – and we simply cannot put troops in harm’s way without a rock-solid security agreement that includes immunity for our service members.”Like all Americans, I am inexpressibly proud of the monumental and heroic work our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines have accomplished each and every day over the past eight and a half years.  At this moment we also solemnly reflect, with heavy hearts and unbounded gratitude, upon the unimaginable sacrifice of those brave Mainers and Americans who have lost their lives during this conflict, as well as all those who have been wounded and whose lives have been forever altered as they selflessly placed their nation’s call to duty above the tremendous risks they faced day in and day out.  All of our men and women in uniform, our fallen service members, and their families will forever remain in our hearts.”

Sen. Susan Collins:

 

“Given the failure of the Iraqi government to agree on a new status of forces agreement that would provide essential legal protections to U.S. troops, I believe the President has made the right decision in withdrawing our troops.”I have never supported an open-ended and unconditional commitment of U.S. troops in Iraq. However, I do remain concerned that many U.S. military officials have repeatedly said that they believe a residual force of U.S. troops might have to remain in order to continue training Iraqi troops to help ensure that the significant gains we have made there, at great cost to American blood and treasure, are not lost.”

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