Following a week of historic Democratic legislation that delivers for Mainers, Maine Democratic Party Chair Drew Gattine released the following statement:
“This was a great week for Mainers and Americans. Democrats in D.C. delivered $1.9 trillion in relief to the American people, Democrats in Maine passed game-changing legislation to combat racism, protect Mainers from COVID and support those who are struggling in our state, and voters in Senate District 14 elected Craig Hickman, the second Black member of the Maine Senate. For people across this state and this nation, the message is clear: Help is here.
“The American Rescue Plan is a historic piece of legislation that meets immediate needs here in Maine. Among other provisions, the bill provides stimulus checks to over 925,500 adults and 284,500 children in our state, and it will lift 10,000 Maine children out of poverty though the Child Tax Credit. It includes $424 million for our K-12 schools, and nearly $2 billion for our state and local governments to meet critical needs.
“In the Maine Legislature, Democrats fought deep into the night to pass a bipartisan supplemental budget that has the needs of Maine people at the heart of it. The budget gives relief to 160,000 Mainers who got unemployment benefits during the pandemic by ensuring they won’t be subject to state income taxes on those benefits and relief to 28,000 small businesses that got Paycheck Protection Program funding by ensuring they won’t be subject to state income taxes on those funds. In addition, the budget provides $30 million to nonprofits providing direct care to seniors and individuals with disabilities, as well as funding for a homeless veterans coordinator.
“Democrats at the Statehouse also passed Senate President Troy Jackson and House Speaker Ryan Fecteau’s COVID-19 Patient Bill of Rights, which would require state-regulated health insurance companies to cover COVID-19 screening, testing and immunization at no cost to the patient. As the Biden Administration ramps up vaccine supply, this bill helps to ensure that nothing stands in the way of Mainers getting the care they need.
“In addition, the Maine Legislature made history with the passage of House Assistant Majority Leader Rachel Talbot Ross’ bill, LD 2. This legislation creates a process for racial impact statements to be part of legislative bill development. For too long, we have allowed our health care, education, and economic systems to work better for white Mainers than for Black, Indigenous and Mainers of color. This bill takes a significant step forward in changing that.
“And the voters of Maine Senate District 14 overwhelmingly elected Craig Hickman to represent them in Augusta. During his four terms in the Maine House of Representatives, he was a relentless champion of small businesses, rural development, farmers, civil rights, voting rights and civil liberties, always focusing on people over partisanship. Senator Hickman has already made history as the first openly gay Black member of the Maine House, he now becomes only the second Black member of the Maine Senate.
“This week, Democrats delivered for the people of Maine and America. For all those who are struggling, for all those who feel forgotten or alone, help is here.”