As the Senate Democratic leaders, we come from different corners of the state, representing folks in rural Maine, along the coast and in our cities. Yet we hear the same things from our constituents: Mainers are tired of false promises from politicians who fail to deliver over and over again; they want a government that shares their priorities and gets results. And, quite frankly, so do we.

Mainers deserve to be heard. They deserve lawmakers who follow through, and they deserve a bold agenda that reflects the concerns of working Maine families, seniors and small businesses. That’s why we’re proud to introduce the Fighting for Maine Agenda.

Our agenda follows a simple premise: Mainers deserve a government that works for them. The Fighting for Maine Agenda focuses on six core objectives based on what we’ve heard from people in our communities: fixing our broken health system, standing up for Maine workers and businesses, fighting for property tax relief, protecting Maine families, continuing our proud traditions and working toward energy independence.

Our health care system is broken. Between abusive billing practices, the outrageous cost of care and the complicated web of insurance, Mainers are struggling to get and afford the care they need. The lack of access to quality, affordable health care undermines Mainers’ freedom and goes against everything we stand for as a state. The Fighting for Maine Agenda tackles this problem head-on.

Too often Maine businesses and workers are pitted against each other. We don’t subscribe to this worldview. We believe policies that support workers support businesses, and we know that both are critical to our economy. The Fighting for Maine Agenda offers practical solutions that support businesses while ensuring Maine workers get a fair shake.

The rising property tax burden has made it difficult for seniors and families to make ends meet. The lack of revenue sharing from the state has put local officials in a bind, forcing property tax increases to fund essential services, like police and schools. We heard these concerns and responded with $130 million in direct property tax relief. The Fighting for Maine Agenda represents a promise from Senate Democrats to double down on property tax relief.

Mainers are anxious as our young families are forced to move out of state to pursue new opportunities. Meanwhile, we face workforce shortages and demographic challenges in our own backyard, with a generation of workers on the brink of retiring. If we want young families to stay in Maine, we need to recommit to career and technical education, lower the cost of child care and lead the nation in student debt reform. With this agenda, we can build a state that works for baby boomers and the next generation of Maine workers.

As we look to the future, we can’t forget about what we do best. Maine is known for our proud traditions of logging, farming and fishing. Our economy depends on embracing emerging industries while strengthening the industries that have powered our communities for generations. From farming and logging to lobstering and fishing, our heritage industries put Maine on the map. There are steps we can take to grow them and preserve our way of life.

Finally, the Fighting for Maine Agenda tackles the high cost of energy, which stretches Mainers’ wallets during the tough winter months and damages our natural resources. This session, we passed laws to lower energy costs and create new jobs by investing in clean, renewable energy. This is a good first step.

Over the next few weeks, Senate Democrats will be holding town halls throughout Maine to share this agenda with Mainers, answer questions and get feedback. The first town hall meeting will be hosted by Sen. Ned Claxton, D-Auburn, at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Auburn City Hall. See the full list of town halls at FightingForMaine.com.

This is an ambitious agenda. But we weren’t sent to Augusta to adopt piecemeal solutions that barely scratch the surface of the problems we face. We were sent here to take on the most daunting challenges, and get results. With the Fighting for Maine Agenda, that is exactly what we’re prepared to do.


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