I ran for office so that I could to make a difference for my community and state, plain and simple. This year, we made some meaningful strides toward progress, and I’ve written about many of them here already:

There’s the $130 million of new and expanded property tax relief for families, seniors and hardworking Mainers; increased school funding; and sustainable funding for MaineCare Expansion that was included in the budget, all of which was done without raising sales or income taxes. There’s the new prescription drug pricing and transparency laws, which we had to fight tooth and nail to pass over the objections of pharmaceutical companies and their lobbyists. There’s the new earned paid leave law, which allows employees at any company in Maine with 10 or more employees to earn time off for medical or family emergencies, or for any other reason. There’s the new law we passed that promotes equal pay for equal work and fair, market-rate wages that reflect the requirements of the job and the qualifications of a new hire, instead of their previous salary. And there’s the suite of laws we passed that protect a woman’s right to safe, affordable reproductive health care. These are real, meaningful changes that will help everyday Maine people.

The next legislative session begins in January, and we’ll be looking to build on some of our successes from the past session. Earlier this year, Senate Democrats released the Fighting for Maine agenda, which outlines our broad goals for the coming year.

Fixing our broken health care system has and will continue to be our top priority. Health care is a human right. It’s about the freedom to lead healthy, happy and productive lives. But for too many Maine families and seniors, high quality, affordable health care remains out of reach. In this coming session, we will work to strengthen consumer protections, continue to lower the cost of prescription drugs and promote best practices and innovation in our health care system to make sure Maine people have access to the best quality care possible.

Another area where we will look to make progress is in promoting Maine-made, clean and renewable energy. We all know how much it can cost to heat our homes during the winter. And Maine has set some ambitious goals to reduce our carbon footprint. We can lower energy costs, work to preserve our environment for future generations, increase energy independence and reliability, and create new jobs by investing in clean, renewable energy.

Finally, we will take action to invest in Maine’s economic future by prioritizing property tax relief; student debt relief for teachers, law enforcement, emergency responders, and health care workers; standing up for workers; investing in new industries; and protecting our heritage industries, including fishing, farming, logging, shipbuilding and more. The Fighting for Maine Agenda offers commonsense solutions that support businesses while making sure Maine workers get a fair shake. Both are essential to the future of our economy.

I’m looking forward to getting to work in the new year! As always, if you have any questions, comments or concerns, please feel free to contact my office at (207) 287-1515 or send me an email at Linda.Sanborn@legislature.maine.gov. It’s an honor to serve as state senator for Scarborough.

State Sen. Linda Sanborn represents District 30, which includes Gorham, part of Buxton, and part of Scarborough. She previously served in the Maine House of Representatives, and prior to serving in the Legislature, was a family physician in Gorham for 25 years.

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