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Senator Patrick says that under Republicans' watch promises were made, broken and the middle-class forgtten
Good Morning. This is State Senator John Patrick of Rumford.
It caught my ear when I heard that Maine Republicans held a
press conference this week. I wondered, “what more could they be saying about
the failed policies of the last couple of years—under their watch?”
Certainly, since they've been running Augusta, we've heard them make a lot of
Like the time when Republicans promised that all Mainers would
pay less for health insurance because of their “overhaul” bill. Well, that
turned in to a promise broken.
Not only does their new law impose a $22 million tax on every
person who has health insurance, it raises rates so that Mainers are paying
more for less. If you're a family of four, you will pay an extra $400 to $600.
Because of their law, insurance rates skyrocketed for all Mainers over the age of 60. And their law lets insurance companies charge middle age Mainers five-hundred times more than younger Mainers.
Small businesses didn't fare any better either—especially small
businesses with older workers in rural areas. They were hit the hardest. In
fact, nine out of ten businesses saw an increase.
It seems that the Republican “overhaul” law should change its
name to the Republican Rate Hike Law.
There were also promises of putting Maine's students first. But
that too was a promise broken.
The Republican-led legislature cut millions of dollars for HeadStart and other pre-K programs—critical programs that help
children and parents.
They spearheaded policies that siphon tax payer dollars away from
our community public schools to fund private, religious, virtual and even for
profit schools. That's not going to make our students better—in fact, it will
result in lost opportunities for our students and erode our community public
But perhaps the biggest promise they made to Mainers was the
promise of jobs. There was a lot of fanfare around this promise. In fact, they
even put signs up saying Maine was “open for business”. I was hopeful. Frankly
I didn't care—and I still don't care—which party, Democrat or Republican, gets
Maine people back to work—as long as it happens. But that too turned out to be
a promise broken.
While the rest of the country has figured out ways to emerge
from the greatest recession of our lifetime, Maine lags behind—way behind.
There are still more than 50,000 Mainers out of work.
We're dead last in personal income growth and our economy is the
only state in New England whose economy actually shrank.
Are we moving forward or backwards under the leadership of the
And so to find out, I looked at the fancy booklet that the
Republicans passed out at their press conference and this is what I saw: More
of the same. They're not telling the whole story. They're forgetting to tell
the part that impacts Maine families and working people.
For two years Republicans have been running Augusta and now
they’re running from their record.
The fact is that they have made it harder to live, work, and
invest in Maine.
Because of their priorities and policies, health care is more
expensive, costs have shifted and more people are working harder for less.
A fancy booklet or press conference won't change the fact that too many Mainers are still out of work and that Republicans have failed to get our economy moving again. They have left the
middle class behind.
And so when the Republicans held their press conference and made
no mention—during their thirty minutes behind the microphone—not one mention of
jobs, not one mention of putting Mainers back to work, I have to wonder where
are their priorities? Who are they working for?
I can tell you as a maintenance mechanic at a paper mill—for the
last 32 years, I know what it means to earn a fair day's pay for a fair day's
work. I know what it's like to want a better and brighter future for my
children. I know what it's like to worry about how to pay your medical bills
and also pay your mortgage. And I know that we can do better to get Maine back
on track. We need to stop the rhetoric, put away the glossy booklet, knuckle
down and roll up our sleeves to get results.
Thank you for listening. This is State Senator John Patrick of
Rumford. Have a great weekend!
October 12, 2012
Contact: Ericka Dodge [Patrick], 232-5892 (m)