MPA on the Ballot

A banner year for MPA leaders running for office

Bettyann Sheats
Bettyann is a veteran and small business owner who lives in Auburn and is running for the House of Representatives in District 64, which includes Minot and part of Auburn. This is Bettyann’s second time running for office.
Bettyann has always been a leader. She graduated from West Point with an engineering degree in only the fifth class that allowed female cadets and served as a helicopter test pilot and maintenance crew chief.
Bettyann began her political involvement when she found that the charm bracelets that she was making with her daughter contained lead and other dangerous chemicals. She vowed to do something about this contamination and began to speak out and organize in support of federal and state toxic chemical reform. Her advocacy helped ensure the passage of the Kid-Safe Products Act, which protects Maine children from exposure to toxic chemicals like BPA and phthalates in everyday products.
In the nine years that Bettyann has been involved with MPA, she has been a strong advocate on toxics issues as well as health care and small business issues.

Bettyann was instrumental in spearheading MPA’s early citizen lobbying efforts in Augusta, and has served as an MPA board member and a steering committee member for the Maine Small Business Coalition.
Gina Melaragno
Gina lives in Auburn and is running for the House of Representatives in District 62. This is Gina’s first time running for office.
Gina has stepped into a leadership role with MPA in the most recent legislative session during the fight to accept the federal health care funds to provide health care to 70,000 Mainers. After spending four years living in England (under their universal health care system), Gina returned to Maine and found a job that didn’t provide health insurance, including critical prescription medication coverage. She discovered she was one of the 70,000 Mainers who are being denied access to health care by Governor LePage’s refusal to accept federal health care funds. She became a fearless advocate in Augusta, regularly attending rallies at the state house and lobbying legislators by telling them her personal story of being without health care.

Gina Also participated in efforts to stop Governor LePage’s cuts to revenue sharing, which would have devastated towns across Maine, forcing cuts to local schools and to services like police and fire fighters.

As a skilled wage worker without health insurance, Gina understands and cares very deeply about the concerns of hardworking Mainers and is committed to fighting for fair wages and workplace fairness. With the failure of the legislature to override Governor LePage’s health care vetoes this session but another opportunity next year, Gina’s knowledge and passion will be critically important in the House.

Heidi Brooks
Heidi has only been an active member with MPA for four years and in that time she has proven herself as one of the state’s strongest leaders for progressive values. She’s a resident of Lewiston and is running for the House of Representatives in District 61.
Heidi first became involved with MPA during the 2010 Governor’s race, which was one of her first experiences in politics. Over the years she has taken on more responsibly and leadership including serving as co-chair of the MPA Board and chair of the Androscoggin chapter. Heidi has attended every MPA retreat and conference and has also been an active participant with national progressive organizations.
Having worked as a physician, Heidi knows the vital importance of access to health care. She believes health care is a human right and has been one of Maine’s most vocal advocates for increased access to affordable care and in favor of accepting federal health care funding.
As a board member of Androscoggin Head Start, Heidi has seen first-hand the importance of education, especially early learning to put Maine kids on the right path for life.

When Governor LePage attempted to eliminate revenue sharing to Lewiston and other Maine towns to help pay for tax cuts for the wealthy, Heidi helped pass resolutions in towns across Maine opposing the cuts.
Heidi is running for office because she believes strongly that government should be accountable to its citizens and should consider the impact of the laws they pass on everyday Mainers like herself.

Rachel Sukeforth
Rachel is a project leader at a research laboratory and lives in Litchfield. She is running for the House of Representatives in District 80. This is her second time running for office.
At the time that Rachel got involved with MPA, she had just graduated from college, with a degree in environmental science, in the middle of an economic recession and was facing the prospect of a limited job market and no health care. She found that she had to put many of her life plans on hold.

One of the first issues she became involved in was fighting back against LD 1, the Governor’s broad attempt to eliminate vital environmental protections. She participated in MPA lobby days, helping to advocate against health care deregulation and union busting bills in the 2010 legislative session and was a leader in the “Yes on 1” people’s veto that protected same-day voter registration in Maine.
Rachel has also been a strong citizen lobbyist in Augusta, speaking out for health care and women’s rights at critical points and helping to influence legislative decision-making. She has also been a forceful advocate for affordable higher education, investing in local farms, and making sure that jobs in Maine pay a living wage.

Incumbent Legislators
Adam Goode & Ryan Tipping-Spitz

Prior to running for office, Adam and Ryan both worked for MPA, first as members of the MPA field canvass and then as organizers in the Bangor area. Adam is running for his third term, representing District 127 which covers part of Bangor while Ryan is running for his second term to represent Orono in District 123, both in the Maine House of Representatives.
As chair of the Taxation Committee during the last session, Adam has been a champion for progressive tax reform and making sure big corporations pay their fair share. He introduced a bill that would have stopped big corporations who make profits in Maine from hiding it in offshore tax havens. It was, unfortunately, vetoed by Governor LePage.

Ryan, formerly an environmental organizer at MPA, served on both the Taxation Committee and the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee during his first term in the House. He has been a vocal advocate for health care and for the Kid-Safe Products Act and successfully passed legislation to protect Mainers against oil spills from transportation by rail (months before the Lac-Megantic disaster in Quebec), closing a loophole that had allowed railroads and oil companies to avoid paying their fair share of cleanup costs.