DEM CORPS Spring/Summer Update

By Al Sicard, DEM CORPS Ex. Director

Oil Program Again a Huge Success

We have certainly had a busy season, and while everyone was getting ready for the beach ... we were working hard on heating oil. May and June were the busy months in securing discounted heating oil for our members. We are astonished by the rise in all petroleum products, but take pride in the work we have done saving members hundreds of thousands of dollars in heating costs these last few winters.

The market has continued to be volatile, and there are still Dem Corps discounted oil programs available though the summer. Go to www.demcorps.org for the most current information.

The exposure the oil program brings has generated interest across the state and has been covered by WCSH-TV, Portland Press Herald Op-Ed, Sun Journal, and various weeklies. This helps generate interest to the statewide Dem Corps Movement.

We have had interest from residents of all 11 other Maine counties, and we are working to establish Dem Corps chapters across the state, and it will happen in areas where we have members willing to help recruit other members. That is the only place it works: where you can generate enough critical mass to get an oil dealer willing to bid on your business. Once 25 to 30 families are in a new town/county Dem Corps chapter, we can help make things happen ... including negotiating discounted energy (oil, propane, K1, and biofuel) on their behalf.

Convention and Fall Election Cycle

We were pleased to see many old friends and meet many new ones in Augusta at the State Convention. Our table in the lobby provided a great chance to chat with many of you from across Maine. We hope that many new activists remain active, even after the November election. That’s, in part, why Dem Corps was formed three years ago, and we extend an open invitation to join now.

We have been working closely with the Coordinated Campaign to ensure citizens are engaged and volunteering time and money in support of our democratic candidates. Dem Corps purposefully limits non-political activities in an election year, so members can focus on the tasks at hand. We are happy to report Peter Chandler and his staff are way ahead of schedule and working hard to ensure victories across the ballot in November! Email: al@demcorps.org for the coordinated office in your area.

Issues: Nestlé Water Extraction

We recently dodged a bullet on this one!

Maine needs state leadership on the issue of water extraction. Nestlé, parent of Poland Spring Water, has been going town to town, trying to extract water to export nationally and internationally. Dem Corps members helped local citizens convince Kennebunk-Kennebunkport-Wells Water District Trustees to "table indefinitely" a request to extract 250,000 gallons daily for thirty years.

The impact of the local aquifer, traffic of hundreds of tanker trucks per day on country roads, and the whole question of plastic bottles sitting in landfills across America made the trustees think twice on this one. Despite the promise of $750,000 annually, the trustees did the right thing now, but Poland Springs Water is not done ... water is the next oil!

Richard Burns, a Democratic state Senate candidate in District 2, has submitted legislation that will protect groundwater as it does surface water ... as has been done in Vermont. The bigger question however remains: "Does Maine want to be a water exporting state?" If so, let’s ask the questions: how, where, and by whom? The million-dollar question is, "Will the state tax extraction by large commercial users like Nestlé?" Rick would love to hear from you at 698-1526 or email rickburnssenate2@hotmail.com.

We are all "downstream" and generations will be affected by the decisions we make today concerning our drinking water.

2008 High School Scholarships Awarded

Dem Corps has awarded close to $3,000 in scholarships during the last two years. This year’s winners are:

Victoria Negus, Bonney Eagle

Tara Cookson, Thornton Academy

Bridget Rhinehart and Hanna Mitchell, York High School These two were nominated by Glen MacWilliams, chair of the York Planning Board, who wrote that these young ladies have already impacted municipal government: "Hanna and Bridget requested the York Planning Board to consider a change to the Town of York Zoning Ordinance that would allow the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification process to be used for municipal buildings. Their personal energy, enthusiasm, and balanced civic interest and concern for public process were the right combination of qualities that enabled both the successful presentation to, and the eventual adoption of this new ordinance by, the citizens of York."

These fine leaders of tomorrow join previous winners from Portland High, Edward Little, Biddeford High, and Kennebunk High Schools.

Full bios will be found on the web. We thank members for their support and encourage others to donate to the Dem Corps Scholarship Fund, PO Box 711, Saco, Me 04072

Board Development

Dem Corps is pleased to welcome Chris Quint of Biddeford to our board of directors.

Chris is the director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England in Maine. In this role Chris oversees all lobbying, grassroots organizing, and electoral functions in Maine for a three-state affiliate.

Dem Corps is always looking for qualified people who are willing to serve. Please email us if you are willing to serve. Our email is: al@ demcorp.org

Fundraising

We are a nonprofit, totally dependent on members and donor gifts. If you believe the work described above is worthwhile and would like to see it continue and expand throughout this great state, you can join and donate to Dem Corps, PO Box 711, Saco, Me 04072. Your generosity is appreciated!

Dem Corps is a three-year-old nonprofit serving over 800 families in a five-county area of York, Cumberland, Androscoggin, Sagadahoc, and Kennebec counties.

By working like a co-op they have been able to provide discounted oil rates to Democrats throughout the state.

Dem Corps operates as a 501C4 and is not affiliated with the state Democratic Party, although it has its blessing.