Alliance

 

JIM BOYLE

Jim Boyle, a small business owner, forester, and environmental scientist is running for office for the first time as a Democrat in Senate District six, which includes all of Gorham and large parts of Westbrook and Scarborough. Boyle is running to fill a seat left vacant by fellow Democrat Phil Bartlett, who has been termed out. Jim’s experience as a small business owner, and his knowledge about land use and environmental issues help him understand some of the most important issues facing Maine people. 

If you’re like a lot of MPA members, you have been following the debate about the repeal of the Bush tax cuts, wondering about the timeline for a decision on this issue and considering what the extension of tax cuts for America’s wealthiest individuals could mean for everyday Mainers. The answer is that the decisions will be made soon and the effects hould be huge.

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In early September, parents, physicians, scientists, and health advocates gathered in Augusta to testify in support of a citizen-initiated rule to phase-out the use of the toxic chemical BPA (bisphenol-A) in baby and toddler food packaging.

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Maine has the largest proportion of senior citizens by population of any state in the country. For our state, the threat of national cuts or privatization currently being discussed in Washington looms especially large.

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The Maine Small Business Coalition has been busy throughout 2012. Small business owners often serve as the perfect messengers to help elected officials and community members understand the impact of public policy on Main Street and the local economy, and this year MSBC members weighed in on issues at the national and the state level, and effectively countered many extreme and out-of-touch conservative ideas with clear and straightforward stories about the sort of policies that work best for their businesses.

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As Election Day approaches, more and more Mainers will be talking about marriage for same-sex couples. One of the most common questions that our volunteers and canvassers hear when they talk to voters about this issue is “Why aren’t civil unions enough?”

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Sometimes being right is a bad thing. In the spring of 2011 we lobbied, testified, and protested against the passage of what is now known as the health care rate hike bill (LD 1333). MPA, along with several other advocacy groups, believed that this law, now on the books as Public Law 90, would be harmful to many Mainers, including small business owners, older people, people living in rural Maine and people who work in dangerous jobs like fisherman, loggers, and farmers. The law passed even though many of the Republican legislators who voted for it had never read the bill.

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MPA’s sister organization, the Maine People’s Resource Center, released a public poll this September. It measured the various candidates and the referendum on the ballot and also asked some questions about how Maine people view two issues that are important both nationally and in Maine: Social Security and the fairness of the tax system.

In the Congressional races, MPRC found both Democratic incumbents, Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud, ahead of their Republican challengers by wide margins.

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This year, every state legislator in Maine is up for re-election. For the past two years, Governor LePage and the Republican-controlled legislature have passed some of the most damaging legislation in Maine history: health care rate hikes for small businesses in rural areas, tax cuts for the wealthy, broken promises to the state worker retirement system, and tens of thousands of low-income Mainers denied the health care they need. Not to mention the fact that they’ve attempted to gut environmental regulations, go backwards on issues important to women and strip away voting rights.

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The recent legislative session has made one thing abundantly clear: elections matter. When Governor Paul LePage won the Maine governorship with a plurality of the votes on Election Day in November, 2010 and Republicans won a small majority in the House and a larger one in the Senate, the political landscape in Maine shifted abruptly.

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