The greatest challenge currently facing Maine and America is the coronavirus pandemic. Medical research is essential to meeting this public health crisis. Since 2016, Congress has increased funding for the National Institutes of Health by $9 billion. In 2018, 13 medical research institutions in Maine received 160 NIH grants totaling nearly $100 million to expand the frontiers of science.
In direct response to the coronavirus, Congress passed an $8.3 billion emergency funding package focused on vaccine development and the immediate needs of public health agencies. Another $105 billion package provided free testing, increased unemployment and food assistance, expanded paid sick leave, and assisted states as they respond to the public health crisis. And, the CARES Act provided a $2 trillion bipartisan agreement that has helped to protect the health of our people and strengthen our economy.
A top priority is restoring the spirit of cooperation and compromise that is the foundation of our system of government. The partisan bickering that is rampant today prevents progress on issues that matter to our citizens.
We must continue to respond to the coronavirus pandemic that threatens both public health and our economy. I am confident that we will defeat this pandemic and am determined to continue the sense of unity and purpose we have demonstrated during the pandemic to address other issues before us.
In addition, I will continue to work for good-paying jobs and a healthy economy, to promote transparency and improve the affordability and quality of health care, and I will continue to advocate for robust investment in biomedical research. This has the promise to improve people’s health and quality of life, including better therapies and an eventual cure for people living with devastating diseases such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
Good citizenship is defined by being of service to others, and our system of government at all levels depends upon it. My parents led by example. Both of them served as mayor of Caribou. My father served five terms in the State Legislature. My mother has served on countless boards and commissions.
I began my public service as a volunteer on Bill Cohen’s very first campaign for Congress, and I interned and worked for him for nearly 12 years in the House and Senate. That experience reinforced my commitment to maintain a robust internship program in my state and D.C. offices. I have always paid my interns so that this opportunity is available for anyone regardless of their family’s financial position.
Also, during my time in the Senate, I have made it a point to visit as many schools as possible, including more than 200 K-12 schools and our state’s colleges, universities and community colleges. I think that direct engagement with a Senator increases the students’ civic awareness.
Maine is a small business state. Nearly 300,000 of our people/60 percent of our workforce, are employed by small businesses. The coronavirus shutdown has been difficult for everyone and particularly a challenge for small businesses and employees here in Maine. Through two infusions of funding, the Paycheck Protection Program I co-authored has provided more than 28,000 Maine small businesses and self-employed individuals with nearly $2.3 billion in forgivable loans, supporting more than 255,000 jobs – jobs that sustain families and communities. As challenges to specific economic sectors emerged, such as the fishing and lobstering industries, agriculture, education, and public transportation, I have worked effectively to address problems. Small-business owners and employees are generous supporters of civic groups, local charities, youth sports, and virtually every other form of community activity. Thanks to the PPP, our small businesses are ready to lead our State to a a robust recovery.
Sara is proud of the way Mainers have stepped up to the plate to address the challenges posed by the coronavirus, but there is no question that this crisis has presented Maine with a number of serious challenges.
Maine children have been learning remotely for months at the end of this school year, hospitals are stretched thin to the breaking point from responding to the coronavirus, local businesses are suffering from months-long closures, and workers and families are struggling to stay safe, pay their bills, and make ends meet.
And throughout this crisis, two things have been clear: that Maine people are resilient and caring, and that it’s time for new leadership in Washington. Mainers look out for one another, and it’s past time someone was looking out for them in Washington.
Special interests have too much say in Washington; that’s why Sara Gideon released a reform agenda to crack down on influence over elected officials. In the Senate, Sara will fight for meaningful campaign finance reform.
Sara will prioritize healthcare in the Senate just as she has in the State House, fighting to ensure people with pre-existing conditions, seniors, women and children have access to affordable healthcare and addressing the rising cost of prescription drugs. Sara will be a powerful pro-choice voice, especially in this time of threats to Roe v. Wade.
Sara led on climate change issues in the State House, passing some of the most aggressive goals in the nation to reduce carbon emissions and increase renewable energy production. In the Senate, she will lead the fight on climate change, knowing that this is an economic opportunity for Maine.
In the U.S. Senate, Sara will always prioritize Mainers over the special interests that have too much power in Washington.
Last year, Sara Gideon passed a landmark automatic voter registration law in Maine. This law will improve participation in Maine’s elections and make it easier to register to vote in Maine. She has also supported making Election Day a state holiday to encourage voter participation. At the federal level, Sara will support similar proposals to encourage greater civic engagement among her constituents and Americans across the country.
Additionally, Sara believes that remaining in close contact with her constituents is essential in representing their interests as an elected official. Communication, sharing of ideas, in-person opportunities and conversations will remain a priority for her as a Senator.
As coronavirus spread, Sara and the state legislature took swift bipartisan action to approve millions of dollars to combat the epidemic, expand testing and access to unemployment benefits, and support caregivers, schools, and small businesses.
Sara will continue fighting for Maine’s workers, families, and children as we emerge from this crisis and work to ensure they have the benefits they need to move forward. She has advocated for increased funding from the federal government for Maine’s local governments as they’ve been forced to cut essential services.
Sara called on the federal government to expand COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, use the Defense Production Act to produce PPE for states and hospitals, and bolster rural health care systems. She believes the federal government should prioritize small businesses over big corporations in the Paycheck Protection Program, pass hazard pay for frontline workers, help states expand vote by mail, and ensure the USPS is funded.
The greatest challenges that the families in our State are facing right now are the economic crisis from the COVID pandemic and environmental crisis from those who wish to force the CMP Corridor on our rural families. In both cases the blue collar and rural families of Maine have been ignored by those in the political class.
1) Solve the Immigration Crisis with a Five Year Moratorium on All Immigration.
2) Saving the Environment from Corporate Greed.
3) Making sure Maine families and small businesses receive proper pandemic direct cash relief.
As an Independent I will not be tied to the leadership of the establishment political parties and as such I can make sure the working and rural families in Maine are properly represented in the U.S. Senate. I will be available for conversations and dialogue to all Maine's families as I will never have to put the demands a political party before them.
My pandemic economic relief plan includes $5000 for every Maine family and $500 billion in forgivable loans for small businesses (those with 100 employees and under), forgive 1.6 trillion in student loan debts for all American citizens, make healthcare and health insurance more affordable by introducing a public / private hybrid option so that no American goes without basic health insurance coverage, protect Social Security from those who wish to raid it and bring federal infrastructure money to our rural hospitals so that they can continue serving our towns and communities.
Nearly 1 in 4 workers in Maine lost their job when the pandemic hit, and many lost their health insurance at that time, too. We need to make sure these people have the resources they need to get through this crisis including an emergency universal basic income and a suspension of rent, mortgage payments, evictions, foreclosures, and utility shutoffs.
We need to make sure that Mainers have access to quality healthcare by implementing Medicare-for-All. In addition to the pandemic, Maine is experiencing the worst year on record for overdose deaths. People need access to affordable treatment and mental health services.
We need to address the climate crisis. Global heating threatens the survival of life on Earth. The Gulf of Maine is warming faster than any other body of water in the world’s oceans, and this has adversely affected our fisheries. We need a Green New Deal to tackle the climate crisis and move our money from the war machine into creating millions of good, green, union jobs.
Medicare-for-All: The U.S. is the only major country that doesn’t guarantee healthcare as a right. We have prioritized profits over people. I am making this a priority because it will make a huge impact in people's lives, boost our economy, and because healthcare is a human right.
Demilitarized Green New Deal: The climate crisis is a threat to life on Earth. Responding to this crisis is a moral imperative. The human costs of failing to meet this challenge will be massive. The Demilitarized Green New Deal addresses these challenges while creating millions of good union jobs.
Ending Endless Wars: The military budget drains 60% of our hard-earned tax dollars into the wasteful Pentagon budget. I will work to redirect this spending to meet the needs of everyday people for a Green New Deal, Medicare for All, education, care for our military veterans, and more. A budget is a moral document and we need to address the needs in our country instead of sending our people to die in endless wars.
To see greater civic engagement among constituents, we need to reestablish trust between voters and their elected officials. We need more working class people elected to public office. As the only non-millionaire in this race, I’m running to give people a voice in the U.S. Senate. We need to implement a series of electoral reforms that allow working class people like myself to run for office and win. I am supporting the following reforms:
-Overturn Citizens United and abolish corporate personhood.
-Enact tougher ethics laws for Congress.
-Enact ranked-choice voting for all elections.
-Support the Fair Representation Act.
-Enact proportional representation for all legislative bodies.
-Protect voters’ rights.
-Enact public campaign financing for all elections.
-Provide free public airtime and open debates for all ballot-qualified candidates.
-Enact universal automatic voter registration.
-Make early voting universally accessible.
-Make Election Day a holiday.
In Response to the COVID 19 Pandemic, we need to:
-Institute an emergency universal basic income.
-Suspend rent, mortgage payments, evictions, foreclosures, and utility shutoffs.
-Help small businesses by offering no-interest loans, covering payroll costs, and other measures as needed.
-Use the Federal Reserve to give state and local governments the financial ability to get through the crisis.
-Bring military forces home to serve as humanitarian forces to control the pandemic.
-Provide support to farmers and farm workers.
-Make essential workers eligible for free childcare.
-Lift restrictions on food stamps and expand benefits.
-House people experiencing homelessness in hotels and begin construction of long-term supportive housing.
In addition to these emergency measures, we also need to focus on the following issues for economic recovery:
-Medicare for All
-Green New Deal
-Federal minimum wage increase
-Solve the student debt crisis
-Address income inequality