NORTH YARMOUTH – Fighting for children and their families is a noble cause that we all must commit to. Amanda Rowe dedicated her life to standing up and caring for kids — it was her life’s work.

As a school nurse, a nurse practitioner and a tireless advocate for children and their families, Amanda never gave up. It is incumbent on those of us who are left behind to continue her work with passion and dedication just as Amanda did.

Amanda’s was a gentle fight, one where she made sure children and their families were treated with dignity and respect, where children deserved health care and a quality education. One where no child and their family should struggle to put food on their table or a roof over their head.

If a child stumbled, she would be the first to pick them up. I dare say she did the same with her colleagues, friends and family as well.

Amanda’s roots were in the military, where she pledged to serve God and her country. She met her husband, Steven Rowe, while providing care to his children at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

They married and moved to Portland with Steven’s three children, Robert, Chris and Angela, and they eventually had their own daughter, Lindsay Rowe.

Amanda’s passion for the health and well-being of children and their families was contagious. Her passion for her home state of Maine was equally as strong.

Amanda and Steve came home to raise their children and care for Maine’s children and their families. Steve Rowe caught that passion and carried it through his work as a legislator, speaker of the House and attorney general.

He continues to work tirelessly for early care, education and the health and well-being of children. I believe every step he takes, he takes with that passion that Amanda shared with him.

I had the honor and privilege to briefly work with Amanda. Amanda was a true leader who never shied away from her fight for kids. She would be the first to say that all children and their families deserve health care. It is a human right.

She would honor individual families’ traditions and dignity. She would stand up for full and complete access to health care at a school-based clinic, public health clinic, hospital or private practice.

She would say that it is a travesty that 70,000 Mainers don’t have health care because of the failure of the Legislature to pass Medicaid expansion. She would want us to continue the fight to make sure our veterans, our elderly and people with disabilities can receive the care they deserve.

We will celebrate Amanda’s life. Her daughter Lindsay said that her mom would not want sadness but rather a celebration. How fitting it was that we celebrated Amanda’s life Wednesday not only in a church but also in a school cafeteria.

Amanda, an avid hiker, leaves behind wonderful friends. A few have gone hiking without her in recent days. Amanda strongly urged her friends to go even if she couldn’t. I believe that with each step her friends take on the trail, Amanda will be in their minds and their hearts.

What do we do now? Amanda would tell us to continue the good fight. Never give up. Stand up, speak out and fight for our children and families. I, along my House and Senate colleagues, will continue to do just that.

We will move forward to ensure that all Mainers have access to affordable, accessible, quality health care. We will fight for high-quality public education.

We will fight for a clean and healthy environment. We will fight to ensure that all people are treated equally with fairness and dignity. We will fight to offer a hand up, not a hand out.

Amanda’s strength and compassion will guide our work. Thank you, Amanda, for leading the way. We are committed to the good fight in your name.

State Rep. Anne P. Graham is a Democrat from North Yarmouth.


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