Fewer than fifty years ago, 10,000 people punched time clocks in Old Town, where I live with my wife and daughter.

I am running to be Maine’s next United States Senator in large part because today most of the mills and factories that employed those Mainers are gone.

Many of us know on a personal level that Old Town’s story is not unique.

These are losses that communities all over our state have suffered.

As a father, I want to do everything I can to ensure that my 10-year-old daughter has the opportunities she will need to complete her education, have a career and make a life in the state she loves.

And as a Mainer, I know we need to do everything we can to provide these opportunities to all our young people.

That is why I first ran to represent Old Town in the Maine House of Representatives and why I was honored to serve all Mainers as secretary of state for three terms.

And as I campaign to serve as Maine’s next United States Senator, our action seems even more urgently needed than ever before.

We have the potential to provide these opportunities to our families and neighbors by standing up for our traditional industries, as well as by pursuing new possibilities in technology, alternative energy and the dozens of other entrepreneurial ideas that can lead our state to prosperity.

But to realize these opportunities, we need change in Congress.

We need a government that shares the values and interests of working families.

The change we need starts with electing people who know in their bones what it is like to work hard to make ends meet.

Too many of our elected officials in Washington have lost touch with the working people they represent.

Mainers deserve a senator who will not only consistently show up to vote on their behalf, but who will also cast those votes in the interest of making life better for people who work hard and play by the rules.

It is possible that one of the first votes our next U.S. Senator will make in 2013 will be on whether or not to permanently extend former President George W. Bush’s economic policies.

We cannot reduce our investments in the future of our state and this nation to fund tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

Yet one millionaire independent in this race said just this past week that he does not support ending these unfair policies, a position that the Republican nominee is sure to take as well.

This is just one vote which will shape our economic future.

As U.S. Senator, I will vote to put Maine people first and to rebuild our middle class.

I know firsthand that we cannot afford to ship good American jobs to countries with cheap labor and no benefits an then call it “free trade.”

We cannot leave it to the people who crashed our economy to get us back on the right track.

We cannot send to Washington another senator who is out of touch with working Mainers.

I was born and raised in a working family in rural Maine.

I know what it is like to work two jobs.

I have started work at five in the morning and punched out from the same shift 20 hours later.

And I have listened to hundreds of Mainers speak about their struggles to heat their homes, care for their family members both young and old and pay for their health care costs.

This election cycle, we have the chance to start making the changes necessary to create a future with opportunities for all Mainers.

I launched this campaign last year because I believe working Mainers deserve a voice in the Senate.

The race has changed since then.

But my candidacy — and the urgency of electing a champion for the middle class, someone who stands on the right side of the bread and butter economic issues that matter to your family and my own — has not.

With your support and your vote on June 12th, I know we can send a working Mainer to the United States Senate.

Matt Dunlap of Old Town is a former Maine secretary of state and a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate.