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"I want to replace the culture of no with a culture of yes. My focus is on celebrating and enhancing all of the incredible things about Maine, not accepting limitations. It’s a law of nature that what we focus on is what we get more of, so let’s focus on what is good! The economy should work for people, not the other way around.”

~ Betsy

Opioids

Treat opioid addiction as a health issue not a criminal issue, and treat it accordingly.

Move addicts from prison to community-based treatment. Over 65% of prison inmates have addiction and behavioral health problems, and only 11% receive treatment in jail. It costs over $50,000/year to house a prisoner in Maine; let's spend that money on treatment services that benefit both the recovering addicts, their families and communities.  

Expand Medicaid to cover 80,000 new people. This is the single biggest, fastest, and most effective step we can take to expand substance abuse treatment in Maine. 

Incentivize treatment for the whole person, not just the addiction. We need to look at the life circumstances and the emotional pain that feeds the addiction at its core and  provide the services necessary to address those issues.

Gun Safety

Listen to what our young people are saying. They don't want to grow up in a world of fear and danger.  

They don't have to. No other civilized nation allows citizens to walk off the street and into the store to buy automatic weapons. No other civilized country has gun-related deaths anything like ours. This does not have to be.

I support a ban on the sale of assault weapons, bump stocks, and high-capacity ammunition clip. I support background checks for all gun sales in Maine.  I will work with people in all parts of Maine to find a way to make it safe for our school children and police officers and general public, but in ways that respect the rural traditions of hunting and safe gun use.

I am a Clean Elections candidate. I will not accept one penny from the NRA (or any other special interest group). We need to get gun money out of politics to even have a rational discussion and to make changes to the issues we care about, including the safety and well-being of our children. I am here to represent you, our children, and our communities, not the gun lobby or big donors. I am not afraid of the NRA; will do what needs to be done. 

Immigrants

Lead By Example. We must be a welcoming state. As Governor, I will put out the welcome mat, celebrate our diversity, different cultures and make sure we are inclusive in both policies and attitude. 

We will develop a system that recognizes and accredits degrees and experience from other countries. We already have engineers and physicians and skilled workers of all kinds unable to use those skills because we do not do this. 

Let's welcome immigrants.  One way is to offer state funding for communities to pay for transition costs of new Mainers—housing, English as a second language, social services—for a fixed period of time (5 years) until new residents have the ability to support themselves with new businesses and jobs.  

Tribal Sovereignty

The tribes will be included in the governing of this state as equals and honored as partners

We have much to correct and improve in our relationship with the Wabanaki Federation  (Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, Maliseet and MicMac tribes). We have much to learn from our tribes in terms of honoring the earth, sustainability, and revering every living thing.

We must treat the tribes as sovereign nations, not as municipalities. We must recognize the right of the Penobscot Nation to the Penobscot River in their lands—it does not belong to the state— by re-opening the Indian Land Claims Act which does not adequately respect the sovereignty of tribes or their right to their own land, their own economic development plans, or their governance.

We must ensure that services (health, judicial, economic) are provided and treated as such.

Food and Farmers

We need to support our growing number of small and sustainable farms. These farmers are reinvigorating our agricultural communities, attracting young people to the state, and providing us all with the opportunity to eat healthy, locally grown and made food. Specifically, we must encourage municipalities to pass food sovereignty ordinances, allowing neighbors to sell to neighbors as we have done for centuries without the interference of big government. 

We need to use state economic development dollars to help with small-batch processing equipment and facilities, marketing, research and development which helps farmers grow healthy crops, incorporate organic pest control, and offer incentives for our schools, hospitals and institutions to use and serve locally sourced food. 

I look forward to featuring locally sourced, farm-to-table food at the Blaine House with information about each farmer and producer as part of the menu. 

 

My Top Priorities for Maine:

Health Care

Health Care is a Right. I Support universal coverage—Medicare for all or a New England compact for single payer as we move toward federal coverage. This is my #1 priority; here are some doable solutions:

Fund the Expansion of Medicaid Immediately.

Support Universal In-Home Care which will dramatically increase the quality of life of those in need of care, and of the (mostly women) caregivers. 

Cut costs by promoting healthy living: sleep, exercise, nutritious food, three free prescriptions!

Increase support to community based mental health system to provide the most effective treatment and avoid ineffective and expensive hospital and incarceration costs. Also let's support alternative therapies for stress reduction, pain management and addiction such as acupuncture, massage, Reiki.

The Economy

Buy local, Buy Maine. State government must favor Maine small businesses in purchasing and promoting our business products to the state, country and world. Then state and university cafeterias will serve Maine food. We will support our local farmers with capital investment, joint processing facilities and coordinated marketing in and out of state.

Grow our Economy from the Bottom Up. Create Regional Development Authorities that will develop plans and do the financing on a regional level. State government will decentralize decision-making and resources for entrepreneur help, business assistance, tourism, Main Street development, and innovative business ideas.  

Expand high-speed broadband. State government must use its financial resources and its regulatory authority to bring that high-speed broadband to every household in Maine.

Legalize and promote industrial hemp, an industrial business with potential for retooling vacant mills to be productive again. 

Go green. Build green. Reduce, re-use, recycle. Make Maine a leader in green economics, increase tourism based on our policies.

Incentivize Corporate/Business policies consistent with Maine values. Use business tax structure as a way to incentivize behaviors, investments and worker treatment that is consistent with Maine values. 

Budget Priorities

I have worked on every state budget that has been proposed for the last 35 years. It is time to really step back and look at our priorities through the lens of our check book—the state budget. We must restore revenue sharing, fund 55% of our school costs, and ensure that services are provided for vulnerable Mainers and our elderly.

We must look at the money we “spend” on tax exemptions to see what we are getting for these investments and shift those that no longer serve us to use for health care, research and development. We must restore the programs and services for the safety net that has been devastated over the last 8 years.  

Working People

Support a $15 Minimum Wage. No full-time worker in Maine should not be able to provide for their family.  

Support the unions’ right to thrive. Unions are an important safeguard for workers. As Governor, I will re-open the negotiations between workers and state government and not make employees have to choose between a strong union and a well-deserved raise.  I also support responsible contracting for all state funds.  

Fair taxation, share the burden. In the last 8 years, the incomes of well-off Mainers grew at a rate 3 times that of low-income Mainers, and yet, low-income Mainers pay a higher proportion of their earnings for state and local taxes than does the top 20%.  We will level the playing field.

Civil Rights/Women’s Rights

Protect access to reproductive health care. As a pioneer for women’s rights in Maine for the last three decades, I have worked on every pro-choice piece of legislation that has been considered (and fought those who would restrict that right).

LGBTQ rights.  We must insure and enhance equal protection under the law, including our health care system, rights for transgender people, and assuring the safety of our youth in schools and on our streets. I will work to ban conversion therapy. Again, I have been a stalwart activist to bring about these rights for 35 years.

Support Paid Family Medical Leave and Earned Sick Leave. Support Equal Pay for Equal Work for women and minorities. Establish a Commission on Racial Justice and Equality to lead state government in analyzing policies, practices and procedures that result in income, health care, aspirational disparities. then institute the changes necessary for correction.  

Support the Civil Rights Team Project in our schools by providing students with the skills and leadership to take on the issues of fairness, respect, bullying and harassment in their day-to-day lives.  

Environment, Energy, Climate Change

Sign on to the United States Climate Alliance. I will add Maine to the 15 other states who have signed onto an alliance to achieve Paris Agreement climate goals by 2025.

No state money or approvals for more fossil fuel use.  No more pipelines, refineries, LNG facilities. Invest in solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, and tidal sources so that Maine is energy independent by 2030.

Create a statewide trails network. Maine is sprouting up local trails across the state. I will direct the Maine Department of Transportation to support local trails and develop connections between trails so that people can hike, run, and bike safely from Kittery to Madawaska.

Support mass transit.  Maine pays $4 per capita for mass transit; the national average is $45. Support systems of public transportation.

Bolster the Land for Maine’s Future Program. A political football under LePage, it’s time to let them do what they do well.

Promote electric cars by ensuring charging stations available throughout state; convert state government fleet over time to electric cars; consider rebates for electric car purchases.

Make state government a model green organization using renewable energy, green cars, walkable state campuses, and best sustainable practices.

Education

Give kids a chance at affordable higher education. Provide two years of free tuition to young Mainers in exchange for a year of public service. This will teach young people the virtues of giving back, community engagement, and help them address the escalating costs of education.  

Bring Back programs for technical and skills-based education.

Pay teachers better. We are losing skilled teachers to retirement and few are entering the field because of low pay and unfair retirement benefits. I will set a minimum of $40,000 for starting salary for teachers.

Cut back on standardized tests. Educate for collaboration, innovation, group work and civic responsibility. Our education system was born in the 1920’s  and has become about numbers and standardized tests. Instead, let's emphasize teaching strategies that enhance today’s communities and economy.

Make pre-k available to every 3 and 4-year old in Maine, where the most difference can be made in education, as well as affordable day care and developmental services. Let’s invest our money where we know it will work.