6 Reasons Union Member Mike Michaud is a Candidate Who Cares About Working Families

6 Reasons Union Member Mike Michaud is a Candidate Who Cares About Working Families

It’s an election year, and we are quickly approaching the time when working families will have the opportunity to go to the polls and vote for candidates who support policies that protect or expand our rights, raise wages and work for an economy that benefits everyone, not just the wealthy few. We’re going to focus our spotlight on some of the key candidates who care about working families, and one of those candidates is Mike Michaud, who is running for governor in Maine. Here are six reasons why Michaud would be good for working people:

1. Michaud has never forgotten what it means to be a worker having to put in long shifts and struggling to pay the bills. Born and raised in Maine, he started working in high school, pumping gas at night and washing dishes at a truck stop off Interstate 95. After high school, Michaud went right to work at the Great Northern Paper Co., the same mill where his father and grandfather worked, and joined the United Steelworkers (USW). He kept working at the mill even while serving in the Legislature and remains a card-carrying member of USW today. [Congressional website, accessed 5/16/14; Portland Press Herald, 7/6/14]

2. As a state legislator and a member of Congress, Michaud has a lifetime AFL‐CIO voting record of 96% and has a long history of supporting American workers. He opposed the radical Ryan budget that would end Medicare as we know it, and he led the fight against unfair trade agreements that would outsource good American jobs. [AFLCIO Scorecard]

3. In Congress, Michaud sponsored “Buy American” legislation promoting the use of American goods in federal projects. He also led the charge to require the U.S. military to purchase American-made shoes, including those made by Maine-based New Balance. [Bangor Daily News, 6/27/13; 4/25/14]

4. He wants to rebuild the state’s infrastructure and restore Maine’s manufacturing advantage. One way he plans to do this is by creating a comprehensive workforce training and retraining program.

5. Michaud favors a fairer tax system that helps middle-class families get ahead and requires corporations and the wealthy to pay their fair share.

6. He wants to invest in pre-kindergarten and vocational education, and make college affordable for any Maine child who wants to attend.

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Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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7 Reasons Why Paul LePage Is One of the Worst Candidates for Working Families in the 2014 Elections

It’s an election year and we are quickly approaching the time when working families will have the opportunity to go to the polls and vote against a whole host of extreme candidates who support policies that limit rights, make it even harder to afford a middle-class life and pad the pockets of their corporate buddies. One of the “Worst Candidates for Working Families in the 2014 Elections” is Maine Gov. Paul LePage.

1. In 2013, Maine was ranked the second worst state for job growth by Business Journal. [Morning Sentinel, 1/6/11; Business Journal, 6/27/13]

2. Rather than working on the business of the people of Maine, LePage has instead focused on petty things like removing a pro-labor mural from the Department of Labor office and ordering the names of conference rooms changed because they weren’t “pro-business enough.” He’s been so extreme that Politico called him “America’s Craziest Governor” and the Daily Beast called him a “Madman Governor.” [Politico, 1/8/14; The Daily Beast, 4/16/11; The Washington Post, 4/14/11]

3. LePage is so out of touch with working families that he claimed 47% of able-bodied Mainers don’t work and said they should “get off the couch and get yourself a job.” [Kennebec Journal, 10/23/13; Bangor Daily News, 5/6/12]

4. While working families are seeing their incomes fall behind the cost of living, LePage vetoed a bill that would’ve raised the state’s minimum wage to $9 per hour. [Bangor Daily News, 7/8/13]

5. LePage also vetoed a bill that would have required Maine to purchase American-made goods and services whenever possible. [Bangor Daily News, 7/8/13]

6. While most Mainers believe that all children deserve access to good education, LePage disagrees. He said: “If you want a good education, go to private schools. If you can’t afford it, tough luck. You can go to the public school.” [Bangor Daily News, 3/30/13]

7. During tough economic times, working families have found access to affordable health care harder to come by and LePage vetoed legislation to help them get access to health care and he also vetoed a bill to expand Medicaid coverage to 70,000 low-income Mainers. [Bangor Daily News, 4/9/14]

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Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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New Hampshire Ends Cruel Denial of Medicaid Expansion, Maine May Follow

New Hampshire officially expanded its Medicaid program this week, enabling about 50,000 more people in the Granite State to afford health coverage.

Democratic Governor Maggie Hassan signed the bill into law on Thursday, enacting a bipartisan compromise plan that would use federal Medicaid funds to buy private coverage for adults making less than 138 percent of the federal poverty limit, rather than providing state-funded health insurance.

When the Supreme Court declared the Affordable Care Act constitutional in July 2012, they left the option open for states to reject the federal funds that would be used to expand their Medicaid programs. As of now, 25 states and the District of Columbia have accepted the expansion in full. 21 states, all with Republican governors or Republican-controlled legislatures, have formally rejected Medicaid expansion.

New Hampshire was one of six states where the final call had not yet been made on Medicaid expansion.

On the same day, legislators in Maine granted final passage to a bill that would expand Medicaid to about 70,000 low-income Mainers. The bill now goes to Republican Governor Paul LePage for his signature or veto.

LePage has expressed opposition to Medicaid in the past, calling it “sinful” just a few weeks ago. But many of his fellow Republicans don’t share this view:

Despite the references to different numbers and analyses, many lawmakers have conceded that support or opposition of the bill is as ideological as it is pragmatic.

The bill approved by the Legislature was crafted by moderate Republican Sens. Roger Katz of Augusta and Tom Saviello of Wilton as a compromise, designed to bring more Republicans on board.

Assistant State Majority Leader Anne Haskell (D-Portland) also pointed out that 10 other Republican governors, including Govs. John Kasich (R-OH) and Jan Brewer (R-AZ) have accepted expansion.

The last time a Medicaid expansion bill hit Gov. LePage’s desk in July 2013, he vetoed. Now, with more Republicans on board, we hope he makes a different choice.

Send a message: Tell Gov. LePage to accept federal Medicaid funds.

Photo by Governor Maggie Hassan on Facebook

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Don’t Look Now, But Seems Like 5 Million Americans Are Getting Mad At The Politicians Blocking Their Health Care.

Our country is split down the middle when it comes to Medicaid. Literally.

25 states and the District of Columbia have elected to expand Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act. That includes states with both Democrats and Republicans in control.

Unfortunately, politicians in 25 states have actively refused to expand Medicaid, even though the federal government would pay for 100 percent of costs through 2016, and never less than 90 percent after that.

The stubbornness of these politicians is leaving 5 million Americans without access to affordable health insurance.

Luckily, the White House and wide variety of activist groups are pursuing the issue in 2014. In Florida, Virginia, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Maine, there are signs that next year’s legislative sessions could offer a path to expanding the program in those states.

In addition, enough voters are waking up to the needless cruelty of blocking Medicaid expansion to make it a viable campaign issue. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, was elected governor  in purple Virginia in part by promising to make expansion a priority. 200,000 Virginians would be helped by such an action.

Rep. Mike Michaud, the leading Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Maine, has made an issue out of Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s outright refusal to expand Medicaid. “It’s not just good economics; it’s the morally right thing to do,” Michaud writes on his campaign website.

However, the big win would be in Texas, which has the most uninsured of any state in the country. Nearly 2 million Texans would benefit from expansion, but Gov. Rick Perry refuses to take any action on the issue.

More than 16,000 Texans have signed our petition to Gov. Perry to expand Medicaid. Join them.

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Maine Labor History Mural Finally Sees Light of Day

Reposted from the AFL-CIO NOW Blog

Not quite two years ago, Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) ordered the removalof an 11-panel, 36-foot mural depicting the state’s labor history from the Department of Labor. LePage, who supports “right to work” for less laws and has pushed to weaken child labor laws, claimed the mural was anti-business and akin to North Korean propaganda.

The mural had been held in a secret location while the controversy gained nationwide attention. But it is back on public display after the state Department of Labor and Maine State Museum reached an agreement to display the mural for three years at the Augusta Museum. It was unveiled at its new location today.

Matt Schlobohm, executive director of the Maine AFL-CIO, told the Augusta Morning Sentinel:

At last the labor mural will see the light of day. The governor’s actions disrespected generations of hard-working Maine people. It’s unfortunate the mural was put in hiding for two years. Where was it hidden?…That’s the million-dollar question.

The mural, by artist Judy Taylor, was commissioned by former Gov. John Baldacci (D). The scenes it depicts include a 1986 paper mill strike, “Rosie the Riveter” at the Bath Iron Works, the enactment of child labor laws, the first Labor Day and Frances Perkins, the first female secretary of labor and promoter of New Deal policies that improved workers’ rights on the job.

In the fall of 2011, a reproduction of the mural was displayed at AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, D.C. The reproduction was exhibited at several sites as the fight over the mural, which made its way through the federal courts, continued.

Visit the Judy Taylor Studio & Gallery website for a closer look at the 11-panel mural.

Photo from Maine AFL-CIO on Facebook

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