State House District
Thank you, again, to the League of Women Voters of Maine!
1. Climate change is the fundamental issue for our state, nation, and world. Without a livable planet, no other political questions will matter. Maine can create more green jobs and infrastructure, and the next decade is crucial.
2. Coronavirus. The pandemic has painfully demonstrated the connection between health and nearly everything else. Ushering a just, rapid, and sustainable public health and economic recovery from COVID-19 is essential--even as we work on other issues.
3. Demographics and Economy. The long-term reality is that Maine must attract and keep more young people, and we must diversify and grow our economy.
4. Racism and other biases. In addition to it being the right thing to do, Maine’s future depends increasingly on fully valuing all people. Nation-wide, Black Lives Matter holds White people accountable for leaving racist systems intact. I must accept my own responsibility if I’m to grow.
1. Sustainability. Climate change and environmental sustainability is a matter of survival and social justice.
2. Fairness & Justice. We have to ensure that our systems of health, education, employment, housing, and criminal justice are fair--such as universal high-quality healthcare with equitable reproductive care access; strong public health measures; equal pay across genders; equity and other goals as outlined in Portland Schools Promise; fair housing options; and addressing wildly unjust incarceration rates in Maine across races.
3. Vitality. During and beyond the pandemic, in order to have money for progressive priorities and make the tax burden lower for working Mainers, we need a strong economy. That requires robust investment in public schools, universities, community colleges, adult education, and libraries. We also must capitalize on advances in broadband, green infrastructure, and other technologies. Promoting fair and safe workplaces also strengthens us.
Whether it was standing up to expand healthcare access, promote educational opportunities for traditionally marginalized youth, or strengthen public health infrastructure, I’ve fostered civic engagement many ways over the years: door-knocking, publishing Op-Eds; and testifying many times in Augusta (and once in Congress) are examples. I’ve also taught many others how to do the same. A long "paper trail" of leadership in these activities is at samzager.org and standupme.org.
As a clean election candidate, I was promoting civic engagement by knocking on doors for 10 weeks prior to COVID. (Even when it was 10 degrees outside!)
As a legislator, I will continue to foster civic engagement through similar work, and also through group forums.
As a veteran, it’s a matter of principle to help ensure that people exercise voting rights that generations of Americans have fought for in battle, in courtrooms, in the halls of government, and in protests. This work continues.
1. Continuing to facilitate fair distribution of COVID-related government loans and grants.
2. Increasing offshore corporate taxes, and re-instituting the estate tax on large estates (currently estates up to $5.8M are tax-free).
3. Ensuring that our infrastructure supports sustainable commerce, education, and community cohesion--such as equitable broadband access, and green transportation.
4. Addressing workplace climate and safety, including systemic bias against workers of color. See MECEP’s “State of Working in Maine 2019”
5. Investing in other sectors that will attract and keep people and capital. The Univ. of Maine’s work on green over-the-horizon offshore wind power, and the opening of the Roux Institute in Portland are both good examples. Positioning Portland and Maine for the future can help us not only recover from COVID, but promote a thriving Portland long-term.
I will continue to humbly listen, as we navigate our way through this together.