By Ramona du Houx

May 24, 2010

Bob Shaw, a Democratic delegate from Lewiston, is ready to help Democrats win across the state.Photo by Ramona du Houx

The Democratic National Committee chairman, former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, told delegates at the state convention that volunteerism to motivate voters was key to not losing seats.

“We need to re-energize those who helped us to victory in 2008,” he said after his speech. “Student’s were key then, they will be key again. We can tell them that the President has increased Pell Grants and extended health insurance coverage for young adults to 26 to continue to be on their parents plan. Everyone can make a difference here, and all across the country. If we are going to continue to build a clean energy economy which will continue to take us out of the recession, by creating jobs and curbing climate change we need Democrats in office everywhere. Maine needs to build upon the great accomplishments of Governor John Baldacci.”

6057c5ccb5b87361-gov-205x300Governor John Baldacci listens to DNC Chairman Kaine at the Maine Democratic Party state convention. Photo by Ramona du Houx

The previous evening Gov. John Baldacci rallied convention attendees, “You’ll do the work to get Democrats elected.” That night there was a tribute to the Governor for his service to the state. His successes were highlighted; improving health care, green energy development; saving paper companies and industries with Pine Tree Zone tax status and defending unions, always standing up for what he believes in, and being the first Governor to sign on to a equal rights law for gays.

Congressman Mike Michaud and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree spoke on Friday night bringing home the successes of President Barack Obama’s administration with the enactment of Health Care Reform, The Recovery Act, which has put 1,300 people to work in Maine, and currently the work on financial regulations.

The energy was high and those attending said they were ready to get out the vote to ensure the Blaine House, and local races, remain Democratic.

76cb509ca46bb623-kaine1-300x253DNC Chairman and former Governor TIm Kaine rallies state democrats at the party convention in Lewiston, Maine. Photograph by Ramona du Houx

Kaine continued to rally the Democratic troops in his speech. He celebrated the recent Democratic win in a special Congressional race in Pennsylvania, saying that it was energizing because Republican Sen. John McCain won the district in the 2008 presidential election.

He praised Maine’s health care plan, Dirigo Health, as an inspiration for federal reform, which is reform the Democratic Party should be as proud of as, Medicare and Medicaid, Social Security, and the Civil Rights Act.

Kaine reminded the delegates that it has been Democrats that have been fiscally responsible. President Clinton left office with a surplus. He also said that the national health care reform legislation passed with no Republican support in the U.S. Congress.

“I want the Maine Republicans and Republicans everywhere to print up bumper stickers that say, ‘Bring back pre-existing conditions!’” he said to applause and laughter.

According to Kaine, Michaud and Pingree, and other speakers, Republicans are already hurting their party’s chances to gain seats in the November elections because the Republican Party is becoming more extreme. He predicted that the new platform the Maine Republican Party adopted two weeks ago would help Democrats in to win elections in the state. He noted that it was so extreme, it called for the elimination of the Department of Education and stated that global warming a hoax.

He praised Governor Baldacci and the fact that the state has majority of Democrats holding office in the legislature, “And too great people in Congress. Maine will keep elected Democrats in office. Democrats fight harder, Democrats fight smarter, and Democrats win,” he said.