BANGOR — Maine Democrats gathered Saturday at the Cross Insurance Center for the second and final day of their statewide convention.

Democratic candidates seeking state and national office, including U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, who is running for governor, are scheduled to speak this evening, as well as the vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

The highlight of the relatively low-key morning session, which consisted of rule-making and platform amendments, was a speech by Attorney General Janet Mills, who equated Gov. Paul LePage’s first term to a long, cold winter.

“Our long wintry nightmare is almost over,” Mills said.

Michaud is scheduled to deliver the keynote address shortly after 6 p.m. His lead-in is DNC Vice Chairman R.T. Rubak, a former mayor of Minneapolis.

“Tonight’s speech is focused on how we can rise above the divisiveness and negativity of the last three years and work together as leaders to chart a new path for Maine,” said Michaud’s communications director, Lizzy Reinholt.

Although the spotlight will be on Michaud and his quest for the Blaine House, Democrats also hope to feature congressional candidates.

Shenna Bellows, who is trying to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, will speak at 3 p.m. State Sens. Emily Cain and Troy Jackson will address the convention shortly after 3:30 p.m. Cain and Jackson are seeking the 2nd Congressional District seat being vacated by Michaud.

The Democratic convention comes amid a growing national scandal involving the Department of Veterans Affairs. Officials at the VA hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, and other VA hospitals in the U.S. are accused of manipulating waiting lists for care. That allegedly has led to as many as 40 deaths in Arizona.

Although no problems have been reported in Maine, Michaud, a six-term congressman and ranking member of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, has come under increasing fire from his rivals – independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler and incumbent Gov. Paul LePage.

Democrats, however, are largely looking to stay positive during the convention, rather than focus on LePage’s 31/2 years in office.

The party is also expected to premiere a series of videos featuring average Mainers telling their stories and vision for the state. They include a first responder, a small-business owner, a mother and a college student.

 

This story will be updated.

Randy Billings can be contacted at 791-6346 or at:rbillings@pressherald.comTwitter: @randybillings