“Put the Middle Class First” bus campaign tour in Bangor, Maine

October 9th, 2014 · 1 Comment · Community Maine

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The “Put the Middle Class First” bus campaign tour held a press conference in front of the Paul Bunyan statue on Main Street in Bangor October 7th.

Speakers like Ohio’s former Governor Ted Strickland said Republicans are only looking out for themselves. One reason he cited was the fact that middle class wages are stagnant – staying the same as they were in the 1970′s as cost of living goes up. He said public servants like Mike Michaud for governor, and Shenna Bellows for U.S. Senate will help change this by increasing the minimum wage. President Barack Obama has called on Congress to raise the minimum wage to $10.10.

“I wanted to come to this city because I know Mike Michaud. I served with him when I was in the House of Representatives. I sat beside him in the Veteran’s Affairs Committee… I know his values. I know his commitment to public service and I know he’ll be a great governor for the state of Maine,” said Strickland, who is now President of CAP Action Fund.

Bangor Council member Joe Baldacci was there.

“The bus tour is focusing on how the current policies in Augusta and in Congress are hurting middle class families. And that we need to invest in people, in our fellow citizens- higher minimum wage, more affordable college opportunities and protecting Medicare and Social Security,” said Councilor Baldacci.

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Maine’s Workforce Committee receives the President’s Award from MDF for Innovative Workforce Development Initiatives

October 7th, 2014 · No Comments · Business & Innovation

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Today the Joint Select Committee on Maine’s Workforce and Economic Future received the President’s Award from the Maine Development Foundation for their comprehensive and innovative approach to workforce development in Maine.

At the start of the 126th Legislature, Senate President Justin Alfond and House Speaker Mark Eves pledged to make economic growth and job creation a top priority of Democrats. With the creation of the Joint Select Committee on Maine’s Workforce and Economic Future, they delivered on this promise. Today’s recognition by the Maine Development Foundation demonstrates the continued success and full realization of this vision.

“It is an honor that MDF would validate the legislature’s priority on Maine’s workforce needs,” said Alfond. “The investment in Maine people and our workforce needs is a way for our state to sustain and attract businesses. The results are a testament to the collaboration the legislature built with the private sector, unions, nonprofits and higher education leaders.”

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Fall Harvest Event Returns to the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Company & Museum

October 7th, 2014 · No Comments · Uncategorized

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The Fall Harvest event returns to the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad for two consecutive weekends, October 11th-12th and October 18-19th. Visitors can enjoy the beauty of autumn with a scenic train ride along Casco Bay. Inside the museum, children can participate in holiday crafts and paint a miniature pumpkin to bring home as a souvenir of the day. All visitors are treated to complimentary hot cider and cookies as they travel aboard the train. The Fall Harvest event marks the final two weekends the museum will be open for the regular season.

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Pingree announces federal grants to rescue stranded seals and whales in Maine

September 18th, 2014 · No Comments · Environment, News from Washington

A humpback whale off the coast of Acadia National Park. A humpback whale off the coast of Acadia National Park. photo by Ramona du Houx

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree announced today that two Maine organizations working to rescue stranded seals and whales would receive federal Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grants through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Though funding for the program has faced possible elimination in the President’s proposed budget in recent years, Pingree has worked tirelessly with other lawmakers to make these grants possible through the Congressional appropriations process.

“It’s important to protect the health of our marine mammal populations because they’re iconic species for our state and a critical part of the ecosystem. When whales and seals end up stranded on beaches or trapped in shallow water, we depend on having well-trained people who can respond quickly and appropriately,” said Pingree. “Two Maine organizations are doing fantastic work in coordinating responses for hundreds of animals a year. They’ve done a great job recruiting volunteers and raising private funds, but the federal government has an obligation to provide support. I’m so glad the organizations will receive these grants to help continue their very important work.”

Marine Mammal Rescue of Maine will receive a grant for $83,878 to support its work responding to marine mammal strandings from Kittery to Rockland. The organization has been under increased pressure since the closing of a marine mammal rehabilitation center at UNE last spring.

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Michaud discuses plan for Maine’s Energy Future at E2Tech Forum- LePage missing

September 12th, 2014 · No Comments · Economy, Energy Issues, Environment

Mike Michaud helped secure funds for UMaine's first in the Americas floating wind turbine project, VoltunUS. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Mike Michaud helped secure funds for UMaine’s first in the Americas floating wind turbine project, VoltunUS. Photo by Ramona du Houx

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, discussed his plan for creating jobs, reducing energy costs and protecting Maine’s environment by making Maine a leader in alternative energy development today at the E2Tech gubernatorial forum.

Gov. LePage refused to attend the event.

“Maine can and must do more to cut heating costs and energy bills in Maine. My administration will make energy efficiency and clean energy development a top priority,” Michaud said. “I’ve set a goal of cutting the use of home heating oil in half by 2030. It’s an aggressive goal, but I think we can do it by promoting renewable energy in Maine, including wind power, solar, ocean energy and investing in efficiency and weatherization.”

In his MAINE MADE business and investment plan, Michaud proposed several detailed initiatives to make Maine a leader in renewable energy development, including a Maine solar power initiative, the creation of the Maine Ocean Energy Center of Excellence that would partner with the private sector to cement Maine’s place as a leader in off-shore renewable energy production and a commitment to support energy efficiency.

At the event, Michaud praised the work that businesses, organizations and groups like E2Tech are doing in Maine to promote renewable energy and said Gov. LePage has stood in the way of progress for nearly four years.

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Mike Michaud honored with ‘Working Class Hero’ award from Labor Council

September 1st, 2014 · No Comments · Labor issues

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud was recognized by the Southern Maine Labor Council (SMLC) with their Working Class Hero Award today. Fellow Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree and SMLC President Douglas Born presented Michaud with the award at the organization’s annual Labor Day Breakfast in Portland.

“I’m incredibly honored to receive this award from the Southern Maine Labor Council. Maine’s workforce represents the heart of our communities and the true engine of our economy,” said Michaud. “I’ve never forgotten my roots, and I’ve never forgotten the importance of using my position in Congress to work for the betterment of all Maine families. I know that by continuing to stand side-by-side, we can keep making meaningful advancements on the issues most important to Maine families.”

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Congressman Mike Michaud: His passion to help people and his economic policies

July 25th, 2014 · No Comments · Community Maine, Creative Economy, Economy, Exclusive Interviews, Issue 41

Mike Michaud helped secure funds for UMaine's first in the Americas floating wind turbine project, VoltunUS. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Mike Michaud helped secure funds for UMaine’s first in the Americas floating wind turbine project, VoltunUS. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Back in 2005 the Federal Government’s Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission announced that there would be closures of military bases across the country. Maine was targeted at three major facilities: Kittery-Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Brunswick Naval Air Station (BNAS) and Defense Finance and Accounting Services Center (DFAS) in Limestone.

The State’s Congressional Delegation swung into action along with Gov. John Baldacci, and the communities effected. Press conferences and meetings were held at each threatened facility, sometimes one a day at each location, and Congressman Mike Michaud was at the majority of them, from promoting the attributes of workers in Limestone to rallying shipyard employees in Portsmouth. He fought for the workers and their communities in Portsmouth and BNAS in Maine and D.C., even though those bases were not in his congressional district.

After ten years of reporting on the Congressman’s activities, I’ve learned that there is nothing more important to him that making sure the people of Maine are treated fairly and have good paying jobs with healthcare benefits.

Congressman Mike Michaud gives a shipyard union leader a congratulatory hug for helping to Save the Shipyard from BRAC closure in 2003. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Congressman Mike Michaud gives a shipyard union leader a congratulatory hug for helping to Save the Shipyard from BRAC closure in 2003. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Recently we talked about his economic development plans for Maine.

Q: What is your highest priority?

A:

My biggest priority is building a Maine economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthiest among us. That starts with job creation, but it also means an intense focus on education, starting with early childhood, and continuing through college; it means a higher minimum wage and expanded access to health care for nearly 70,000 Mainers, and 3,000 veterans; and it means empowering business to grow and expand.

Under Gov. LePage and his failed policies, Maine has lagged behind the rest of New England in private-sector job growth. His “open for business” policy is nothing but rhetoric. He’s actually driven hundreds of millions of dollars of private-sector investment out of the state.

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Mr. Oliver knows climate change is real as the vast majority of scientists concur

May 13th, 2014 · No Comments · Science

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President issues executive order prohibiting retaliation against employees of federal contractors who discuss salary

April 8th, 2014 · No Comments · Economy, Issue 40, News from Washington

“When women succeed, America succeeds,” said President Obama at a executive order singing event for equal pay at the White House. Women compose nearly half of the American workforce – yet, according to the latest U.S. Census statistics, on average, full-time working women still earn 77 cents to every dollar earned by men.

On Equal Pay Day, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree welcomed the executive order by President Obama that bans retaliation against employees of federal contractors who discuss their salaries. Pingree and female colleagues in the House had written to Obama in January urging him to issue such an order.

One of the first bills that Pingree voted for in Congress—and the first that President Obama signed—was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The law makes it easier for women to recover lost wages to discrimination. At the executive order bill singing Ledbetter said many women still don’t know that discrimination is happening. Ledbetter only found out about the discrepancy in her pay when co-worker sent her a note saying she was getting paid less. After that Ledbetter went to court and it was disclosed that a man in her same job had earned over 200,000 more than she did during the same time period. But the court also said she was too late filing the lawsuit against her employer. That provision is gone due to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

“Despite the strides we’ve made in recent years, women continue to earn 21 percent less than their male counterparts for doing the same work in Maine,” said Congressman Mike Michaud. “I was proud to pass legislation in Maine more than a decade ago instituting Equal Pay Day. We’re reminded today that more still needs to be done to ensure women are receiving equal pay as men. It’s unbelievable that women who do the same jobs as men stand to make substantially less money – just because of their gender. Both women and men serve as breadwinners for families, and both women and men face the same financial obligations and challenges. It’s time for us to take action that corrects this inequity once and for all.”

Michaud is running for Maine Governor against Gov. Paul LePage and Independent Elliot Cutlar.

“Wage discrimination is still a problem in the workplace but many women may not even know they are making less than their male counterparts. Nearly half of all workers in the country are either prohibited or strongly discouraged from discussing their pay,” said Pingree. “If you don’t know you are being discriminated against, it’s impossible to do something about it.”

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Maine US Sen. Candidate Bellows stands with local brewers & farmers against proposed FDA rules

March 31st, 2014 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, News from Washington

US Capitol. photo by Ramona du Houx

US Capitol. photo by Ramona du Houx

Shenna Bellows, Maine’s Democratic candidate for United States Senate, declared her solidarity with farmers and brewers alike in the face of the FDA’s new proposed rule pertaining to the regulation of spent grains. Spent grains, which are brewers’ byproduct of a brewing process called mashing, are commonly used as a valuable source of food for livestock at local farms.

“This is an example of government regulation at its worst – harming Maine’s emerging craft brewing industry and many small farmers to benefit a few large agricultural corporations,” said Bellows. “It is wasteful and counterproductive to mandate that spent grains be sent to a landfill rather than local farmers. To protect our local economies and the environment, I urge the FDA to exempt craft brewers from this onerous regulation.”

THe new rule would mostly affect small- and medium-sized farms and create conditions where only big companies would be able to survive. Craft brewers, farmers, and other opponents of the regulations would like to see spent grains granted an exemption from the FDA’s regulations, which would increase regulations surrounding livestock feed.

The regulations are pursuant to the controversial Food Safety Modernization Act voted for by Republican incumbent Senator Susan Collins.

Candidate Bellows submitted her comments to the FDA today expressing her opposition to the draft regulations.

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