From the moment Gov. Janet Mills was elected governor conservatives have been forecasting doom and gloom for Maine. They claim that very soon everyone who wants to work will leave the state and everyone who doesn’t will move here. That was seven months ago and it hasn’t happened yet — nor is it going to.

On the contrary, Gov. Mills is Making Maine Great Again after the state was fiscally and socially assaulted by the LePage administration for eight years. Some claim Gov. Paul LePage left the Maine economy in great shape, but at what price? Multiple children in the child protection system died under his watch, and thousands of low-income people were denied basic health care when LePage refused to implement the voter-approved Medicaid expansion law — with 90 percent of the expense paid for by the federal government.

To quote Eleanor Roosevelt, “Simply accumulating money is not, basically, a sign that one is a successful human being. A miser can do that, but as a man he is a failure.”

Gov. Mills has worked tirelessly to ensure that everyone in Maine has the right of self-determination by getting big government off their backs. Contrary to Ronald Reagan’s claim that the most terrifying words in the English language are: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help,” good government is a prime source for making the lives of individual people better.

Thanks to Gov. Mills, women now have greater access to abortions,as the state provides funding for low-income women and allows nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants to provide the medical procedure. Also signed into law was the right of terminally ill people to decide when they have endured enough pain; they can now choose to end their life on their own terms.

Gov. Mills has also begun to provide businesses with the workforce they need by ensuring that immigrants seeking asylum get the help they need, a move consistent with 2015 federal guidelines. As Gov. Mills wrote, “Let’s put an end to the complaints, put aside the politics, and do the logical thing — welcome a workforce that is right on our doorstep and put them on the path to employment to build and strengthen our economy.”

Four years ago, former Republican state Sen. Amy Volk of Scarborough understood the federal guidelines and recognized the logic of helping asylum seekers enter Maine’s workforce. She proposed, and the Republican-controlled Senate passed, a law that provided state assistance to asylum seekers “to feed, house, and clothe their families before they are allowed to become employed under federal law.” Unfortunately LePage required asylum seekers to be granted asylum, a process that takes several months, before they could get assistance from the state.

Gov. Mills has also worked to help protect the environment by banning Styrofoam containers, single-use plastic bags, and balloon releases. To help increase individual and public safety, Mills banned vaping in schools, prevented minors from using tanning salons, and banned everyone from using handheld cellphones while driving.

Some conservatives think Mills is expanding the “tax-and-spend liberal nanny state,” but the opposite is true. Mills is granting individual freedom, personal liberty and the right of self-determination to everyone, rights that were denied them by the LePage administration.

Unfortunately we still have enough conservative members in the Legislature who think they know best how everyone should live their lives. The arrogance displayed by those who oppose laws that respect the right of self-determination is astounding.

The 2020 election is on the horizon, the year Maine Democrats may gain more seats in the Senate and House. The 2020 election may also be the year Democrats take the presidency, the U.S. Senate, keep the House —and truly Make America Great Again.

 

Tom Waddell is president of the Maine Chapter of the Freedom from Religion Foundation. He can be reached at: [email protected]


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