One of life’s truer sayings is, “Past is prelude.” It reminds us that our history can be our future, that our past mistakes can be repeated – unless we make deliberate, thoughtful efforts to change course, to chart a new direction, to seek fair winds and following seas.

You need a strong champion at the helm these days. Not someone who is more interested in their financial portfolio or political pedigree than in the daily concerns of you and your family.

I am running as the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate from Maine and I have learned so much in this election season. I would not trade this wonderful experience for anything; it is humbling to talk to Maine people about their troubles and hopes, their worries and dreams for the future.

I have learned that the people I meet and see on the campaign trail are worth fighting for – that your families, children, and shared hopes for tomorrow are the core threads that make our community fabric possible.

I have also learned that some forces will stop at nothing and do whatever it takes to grab a U.S. Senate seat. Even if it means buying it with out-of-state money, with the strings of special interest groups visibly attached.

I have learned anew what it means to be the underdog, who takes on the big kids, who stands up to the bullies, who follows principle over personal gain.

If we don’t learn from our collective past, then we will be doomed to repeat it. The past is not Gov. Paul LePage, who won a crowded race by riding a red tide. The past is not fear and loathing. The past is not something from which to cower.

The past is the status quo. And we can change the status quo and reclaim our future, together.

Today, extreme wealth and extreme politics run Congress, and both of my top opponents in this race reflect what’s wrong with Washington. The extremists in the GOP want the government to control people’s personal lives and believe that corporations have the same legal standing as an individual.

Charlie Summers, an extreme Republican, is a tea party candidate who denies the existence of climate change and is a devotee of anti-government operative Grover Norquist.

Angus King is yet another millionaire who wants to be U.S. senator because it will fill out his professional resume so nicely. Personally, he is out of touch with Maine working families. He likes to say the two-party system is broken and that only he can fix it. Which is really convenient, but preposterous on its face.

What’s broken in America is the stranglehold that the wealthy and the extreme Republicans have on our democracy, which is starting to more resemble a plutocracy, beholden only to the interests of the super-wealthy and super-connected.

But not beholden to you, the average Maine voter.

We can change the future by changing the status quo. We can shake off the shackles of financial special interests and Wall Street giants by focusing on the needs of voters over the needs of corporations. We can end the reign of the 1 percent of the super wealthy controlling the 99 percent of the rest of us.

But I need your help to get it done. Your vote has the power to make substantive change, to increase the number of women in the U.S. Senate, to elect someone who will fight for your interests.

I am your champion. I will push for real change and I will break from the past formula of failure that has besieged our Congress. It’s not about having two political parties; it’s about having our Congress controlled by the pompous, the privileged, the pandering.

It is time to remake the Senate, retake the Congress and keep moving America forward, not backward to policies of exclusion and expediency.

I will fight for working Americans. I vow to protect Social Security and Medicare, to push for the full implementation of Obamacare and to protect America’s middle-class by securing more jobs, improving education and creating equal opportunities.

I represent a new generation of leadership. With your help, I can win this thing.

State Sen. Cynthia Dill of Cape Elizabeth is the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Maine.

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State Sen. Cynthia Dill