September 7, 2013

Another View: Democrat won with hard work, not just campaign spending

Volunteers made the difference in the Maine Senate District 19 special election.

By SANDRA JAEGER

In your Aug. 31 editorial ("Our View: There is much behind the political numbers"), you indicated that "most" of the dollars "shelled out" to elect Eloise Vitelli to Senate District 19 were "spent linking the Republican candidate, Paula Benoit, to Gov. Paul LePage."

The reality is much more nuanced. Hundreds of volunteers knocked on doors, made phone calls and wrote letters because we believed that Eloise's experience was just what was needed for Maine.

During her career she created New Ventures, a training program that has reached more than 3,000 aspiring new businesspeople. She helped pass legislation that created the Maine Enterprise Option so that unemployed Mainers could get a leg up. She's been a member of the Maine Economic Council for 16 years, and her role in empowering women in the marketplace is unparalleled.

But of course there was another factor as well.

During the course of the LePage governorship, several Republican legislators have joined with their Democratic colleagues to pass important legislation that was then vetoed by the governor. Time and again, the governor bullied and pressured, and the Republican legislators shamefully backed down from their vote and failed to override.

Because of this, there are now almost 70,000 Mainers who won't have health insurance -- insurance that was to be paid entirely by the federal government. Because of this, hardworking Mainers won't have an increase in the minimum wage. And so much more. So, why would we want to elect another legislator who would probably cave to LePage on important issues that affect Mainers' lives?

Gov. LePage has forgotten that all of us are struggling and sometimes need a hand. We certainly need to be treated with respect and dignity. So, of course LePage mattered, but so did Eloise and her career. She earned our respect and our vote.

Sandra Jaeger is a resident of Georgetown.

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