Currently showing posts tagged Congresswoman Pingree

  • Mainers for Responsible Gun Ownership Supporters Join Congresswoman Giffords

    By Ramona du Houx

    Portland Maine Police Chief Michael Sauschuck, along with citizen co-sponsor of Question 3 ballot initiative, Judi Richardson, joined former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ 14-state, 42-day national “Vocal Majority Tour” in support of the Mainers for Responsible Gun Ownership campaign on October 12,2016.

    The trio called on Mainers to vote to reduce gun violence in this election by voting Yes on Question 3.

    “Stopping gun violence takes courage - the courage to do what's right, and the courage of new ideas. I’ve seen great courage when my life was on the line,” said Congresswoman Giffords“Now is the time to come together - to be responsible! Democrats, Republicans - everyone.”

    On January 8, 2011, at a “Congress On Your Corner” event in Tucson with her constituents, Congresswoman Giffords was shot in the head from near point-blank range. In stepping down from Congress in January 2012, Congresswoman Giffords said, “I will return, and we will work together for Arizona and this great country.” She is doing so with her husband, Navy combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, with the organization that they founded- Americans for Responsible Solutions- as a way to encourage elected officials to stand up for safer communities. 

    Police Chief Sauschuck, (photo left with Giffords) who along with the Maine Chiefs of Police Association recently endorsed the Yes on 3 campaign, called on the Vocal Majority of Americans and Maine residents who support responsible change to our gun laws to stand up and speak out. 

    “Question 3 on this year’s ballot will close an enormous loophole in the law that means criminals, domestic abuse perpetrators and the severely mentally ill can more easily access firearms in our state. While no law will stop all crime, we know that background checks are the single most effective way to reduce gun violence, said Sauschuck.

    “I’m here today with Judi Richardson and Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, because we are all standing up and speaking out for what we know to be true: background checks are the best way of keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people who would use them to do harm to themselves or others.”

    Question 3 will require background checks for all gun sales in Maine, with reasonable exceptions for passing guns on to family members, and for loaning of guns between friends and neighbors while hunting.

    In states that require background checks on all handgun sales, FBI and CDC statistics have shown that there are 48 percent fewer police officers killed by handguns, 48 percent fewer suicides by firearms and 48 percent less gun trafficking.

    This measure is particularly important for Maine, where nearly half of all murders are due to domestic violence. FBI statistics indicate that in states that have similar laws to Question 3, 46 percent fewer women are shot and killed by their intimate partners.

     “There is more the people of Maine can be doing to help make our state safer. By voting to support Question 3 on election day, Mainers are using their voices to close the loophole in our law that means criminals can get a gun on the unlicensed market with no questions asked and face no responsibility for their actions when they use that gun in a crime. Question 3 is just a common sense solution to prevent prohibited persons from having easy access to firearms,” said Richardson, citizen co-sponsor of the Question 3 ballot initiative.

    The Vocal Majority Tour event in Portland was the 17th stop in the 42-day Tour, which Congresswoman Giffords and Captain Kelly kicked off on September 27th in Orlando, Florida, the site of the deadliest mass shooting in our country’s history, the tragedy at the Pulse nightclub that left 49 people dead.

    Following the event today in Portland, the Vocal Majority Tour will travel to Portsmouth, New Hampshire for events with the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama.

    According to recent research, a strong majority of Mainers support this common-sense initiative that will help to keep guns out of the wrong hands, including closing the loopholes in our laws that let felons, domestic abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill buy guns without a background check.

    While some Sheriff's in Maine opose the measure the majority of police officers in the state's largest cities support the common sense plan. It's important to note that sheriffs are elected officials and many are up for re-election.

  • Houses passes Congresswoman Pingree’s Ruth Moore Act of 2015

    Bill pushes Department of Veterans to make it easier for survivors of military sexual assault to receive disability benefits

    Congresswoman Chellie Pingree applauded tonight’s unanimous House passage of H.R. 1607—the Ruth Moore Act of 2015—a bill she introduced earlier this year to make it easier for veterans who were sexually assaulted during their service to receive disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. 

    “Since starting to work on this issue, not a day goes by that I don’t hear from another veteran who has struggled to get the benefits they need and deserve.  These veterans face multiple injustices—the first in the sexual assaults they suffered during their service and the second in the many roadblocks they face in receiving benefits,” said Pingree.  “Tonight’s vote is a crucial step in holding the VA accountable and pushing them to make needed changes to help these veterans.”  

    Pingree first introduced the Ruth Moore Act in 2013.  The bill was passed in the House, but was not voted on in theSenate.  

    The bill is named after Ruth Moore, a veteran from Maine who was raped twice after enlisting in the Navy at age 18.  Moore reported the attacks, but the attacker was never charged or disciplined.  Moore was labeled as suffering from mental illness and discharged from the Navy.  She then fought for over twenty years before she was finally awarded the veterans benefits she deserved.  Last year, the VA acknowledged making a "clear and unmistakable error" in denying her veterans benefits in 1993 and agreed to pay her back benefits owed to her.

    “Ruth’s story is horrific, and there are many more out there just like hers.  Despite the Department of Defense stepping up prevention efforts, 19,000 men and women were sexually assaulted in the military last year. Only a quarter of cases were reported and a recent survey found that over 60 percent of those who did report sexual assault or harassment faced retaliation,” said Pingree. “The VA needs to acknowledge this reality by lowering the evidentiary roadblocks MST survivors face in applying for benefits.  Passage of this bill pushes them in that direction and I will continue fighting until the agency makes those changes.” 

    As amended by the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, the legislation the House passed tonight would require the VA to report annually on a number of aspects concerning MST claims, including how many it received, how many were denied, the most common reasons for denial, and how long they took to process.  It also includes a Sense of Congress that the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should update and improve the regulations of the Department of Veterans Affairs with respect to military sexual trauma.”