Throughout the time my family has lived in Maine, I’ve had the privilege and honor to serve our community in several ways. I was so privileged to have practiced family medicine in a small town, in an era when I could take the time to really connect with my patients, to look them in the eye and listen to their stories, to educate them and then to share in the decision-making process of how to address their health care needs.

Over the years, the practice of medicine went through huge changes. By the time I retired in 2007, it was just too challenging to maintain a private practice. It is no surprise to me that most physicians are now employed by large health systems, with their schedules ruled by “productivity.” I retired, in part, due to our broken health care system.

At that time, I had no idea how I’d be able to use my life experience to help advocate for a better way forward. I had no way to know that serving in state government was going to give me the opportunity to keep advocating for Maine patients.

It has truly been the greatest honor of my life serving four terms in the Maine House, and then being elected to the Senate. I have learned so much about the importance of good governance and all the ways that government influences our lives.

I learned why the importance of having lawmakers with a medical background, who can offer informed, critical input on not only health care policy but also on the need for environmental protection, criminal justice reform, and the importance of quality early childhood education.

However, it has at times been an emotional rollercoaster. Sometimes I left Augusta with such a heavy heart, knowing that I could not prevent serious cuts to programs that keep our low-income seniors from having to make impossible choices of whether to pay for their medication or heat.


I’ve fought against the false choice between funding primary care or public health, or pitting caring for the elderly against those with disabilities. And after fighting for Medicaid expansion for seven years, I felt such joy as seeing it finally implemented by Gov. Janet Mills.

More recently, I worked to bring evidence-informed practices for substance use prevention and treatment to the forefront.

I have a new appreciation for the prevention and treatment of adverse childhood experiences, the root cause of so many lost opportunities for our children to grow up to be healthy, productive adults.

I have fought to expand access to safe, legal abortion and to protect our natural resources and beautiful environment.

This has all been such rewarding work, and I do not regret a moment of serving these years in Augusta. I deeply cherish the friendships I have made. I have had the chance to make a difference in people’s lives through legislative service, a true gift, just as I had in medicine.

So, it’s with a bittersweet feeling that I’ve decided not to run for re-election this coming November.

Like so many of you, I find myself in that “sandwich generation,” needing to help take care of both an elderly parent and a grandchild. I know that my family needs me to be available. For me, family has always come first, and I am excited to spend more quality time with my granddaughter. More selfishly, I want to be able to travel while I can still truly enjoy the experience and continue my personal growth.

We’ve accomplished so much in our first year of this legislative session, and we have so much more good work to do. During the rest of my term, I personally will work to rebuild our decimated public health system; to lower the costs of health care; to provide much needed dental coverage for low-income adults and children; to expand access to affordable, quality childcare; to continue to address income inequality and social justice; and to build a well- educated, trained workforce to grow our economy.

And in November, you will have the opportunity to elect a new, dedicated person to serve you in the Senate. I look forward to seeing all the work that person will accomplish for you, too.

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