April/May 2006

A group of Democratic activists announced the formation of Donkey Card, LLC, an organization created to help Democratic households control skyrocketing heating bills through collective buying power.

Last year 130 households participated in a pilot program in York and Cumberland Counties, and the group was able to save an average of 33 cents a gallon, which resulted in a yearly savings as high as $500 for some families.

“With oil approaching $72 dollars a barrel, we all need to find ways to save on heating bills this winter,” said Jed Rathband, the spokesman for the group. This year, the group is expanding the program into Kennebec, Sagadahoc, and Androscoggin Counties. With members extending from Kittery to Waterville, Donkey Card, LLC hopes to cover more families at a better price by increasing their buying power. Donkey Card expects to expand their services later this summer with various product discounts, but for now they are concentrating on getting their members the best price on oil.

The service is administered by a $35 annual enrollment fee, part of which will go to fund Dem Corps, a nonprofit organization. Dem Corps will support local Democrats in various ways in their efforts to gather food for food pantries, volunteer in their towns, and winterize homes for those in need. It will also provide scholarships for community-service-minded young people and offer education on civic participation.

“Dem Corps is about Democrats building caring communities that we can all feel proud to live in,” explained Greg Dumas, the president of its board of directors. Donkey Card, LLC is currently in negotiations with several oil distributors and will soon decide on a contract. The group says they are searching for the best rates and service. They expect to have the rate locked by mid-June, the time when large oil dealers prefer to lock rates.

“Right now we’re concentrating on enrollment,” explained Jed Rathband, spokesman for the group. “We need to get those numbers high in order to get the best price.”

The rate is comparable to what a commercial or industrial user would get, “only it’s better because it’s for you, the individual.” Rathband said. “It’s going to be a long, cold winter if this administration continues to make a mess in the Middle East,” Rathband explained. “We need to pull together as a community this year, and Donkey Card can provide critical assistance that will help Maine families through tough times.”

The official announcement of the program was made at the York County Democratic Committee’s monthly meeting.

For more information you can go to http://www.DonkeyCard.com, or call Donkey Card at 207-650-9873.