Whether we’re from here or from away, most of us believe in taking care of our friends, our family and others in our community.

Housing and food insecurity are among the many challenges that the Maine People’s Alliance has addressed, working to enact free school meals, eviction moratoriums and broad rental assistance. Above, advocates mark World Homelessness Day last October in Portland. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

The last two years have been difficult for nearly everyone. But during this time, we’ve taken adversity and turned it into positive change. By working together, we’ve made things that once seemed impossible, possible: eviction moratoriums and broad rental assistance, expanded earned income and child tax credits, free school meals, free community college, better unemployment benefits and so much more. And, thanks in part to the workplace handling of COVID-19, the labor movement has gained strength that most would not have imagined possible a few years ago.

We’ve proved change is possible and built a stronger foundation for a Maine where everyone has what they need to thrive and no one is left behind.

What does that mean? It means more safe, affordable housing and laws that protect people from housing discrimination. It means ensuring people have enough to eat, resources to meet their other basic needs and access to quality child care and education, and that they have health care when they and their families need it, and without making terrible sacrifices. And it means moving forward together not separated by artificial barriers like where we come from, where we live now or what we do for a living.

This November, we have a chance to make sure we keep building on that momentum.

Dividing us is just what some people want to do this election season, so they can stop that momentum and claw back the progress that ordinary people have worked hard to make. In Maine, that includes former Gov. Paul LePage and ousted former U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, who are both running again on campaigns to undo the gains we’ve made. There are also other less high-profile candidates who serve the same masters – the super-wealthy, rich corporations and ideological hardliners who want to restrict our freedom to thrive, in particular the rights of people of color, women and LGBTQ people, and make it nearly impossible for anyone who wasn’t born rich to earn a living and get ahead in this state. Much of what these people will be pushing for is in direct opposition to the wishes of a majority of Mainers.

At the Maine People’s Alliance, we and our 32,000 members work hard to help candidates who would move us toward a better Maine – even when we don’t agree with them on everything. During the last election cycle, we made more than 350,000 calls to voters about the U.S. Senate race and the Maine Legislature. In 2018, we knocked on 85,987 doors and had 41,590 conversations with voters about the race for governor.

This summer and fall, we’ll be working hard again, knocking on doors across the state and talking with thousands of people about the importance of voting for candidates who will bring us into the future, not pull us back into the past.

We are once again facing a close election, one where the outcomes could literally mean life or death, expanded personal freedom or dramatic limitations on personal rights, and will have tangible impacts on each of us every day. We’re excited by the opportunities to continue to make progress. And we’re excited about working together with people across Maine to make our future truly the Way Life Should Be.

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