Maine’s Better Future Must Include Its Children

Maine’s Better Future Must Include Its Children

I expect spin from some politicians, but dizzying may be a better description for Mary Mayhew’s words printed in the pages of this paper last week. Mayhew likes to talk about “historic” welfare reforms and “sound” fiscal management. But what she doesn’t talk about is that, under her watch, more children across Maine are hungry than before the recession.  She doesn’t talk about how she misspent federal funds at DHHS, as a state audit revealed in 2016, or how mental health institute problems were mismanaged, endangering patients, staff, and millions in federal funds.

We can all agree on sound fiscal management. That’s just not how most of us would describe spending money illegally, or losing federal funding. Like most Mainers, when a person’s words say one thing while their actions are the opposite, I judge a person based on their actions.Targeting Maine children, leaving more hungry as Mary Mayhew has done – that’s not responsible. Increasing infant mortality rates as we saw on Mary’s watch, while every other state improved – these are unnecessary tragedies for Maine families, not moving Maine forward.

I am a Democrat. And I am proud to be called a progressive because I know we can do better for Maine children, for Maine families, for workers and small businesses than Mary’s record.  For this Mary tries to put words in the mouths of progressive Democrats and label us “defeatist”.

Is it defeatist to believe no child should go hungry?

Is it defeatist to believe the head of DHHS should follow the law in spending Federal dollars?

Is it defeatist to believe DHHS public health programs should prevent increases in infant death rates?

I believe we can, and should, do better by Maine people. And that, for me, is what progressive means. All the Democrats I know, and frankly many good hearted independents and Republicans I know as well, would agree.

Chris Johnson
Chair, Lincoln County Democrats
Somerville, Maine

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