President Barack Obama accepting the Democratic nomination at the 2008 Convention in Denver, Colorado. Photo copy-write by Ramona du Houx
Article by Ramona du Houx
This year, seven Maine legislators—the most in recent history—attended the Democratic National Convention (DNC). Perhaps because they and Maine’s delegates all agreed, history would be made as Barack Obama accepts the Democratic nomination.
“I’ve only met Barack Obama once, but I was impressed. He wasn’t a regular politician; he was listening to me. I had a feeling that he listens to everyone, regardless of who they are or where they come from; those are attributes that I appreciate. Even though I didn’t support him in the primary, I feel he is the right leader at this time. He’s capable of making America the beacon of hope around the world again,” said Governor Baldacci.
Former Governor Brennan had this to say, “This is the most critical election of modern times. America needs to regain its standing in the world, starting with the economy. President Carter once said, ‘I want a government that is as good and honest and decent and truthful and fair and competent and idealistic and compassionate and as filled with love as are the American people.’ That’s the hope Obama brings.”
Photo: Former Governor Brennan and his wife talk with Delegate Joe Baldacci at the DNC convention
The convention didn’t lack events for Maine’s delegation to attend. During the days before the nightly speeches and revelry, there were caucuses, meetings, lectures, and panel discussions. The National Women’s Political Caucus (NWPC) was overflowing into the hallway of the convention center, such was the enthusiasm to get organized and get out the vote.
“The women’s vote should never be underestimated,” said Rep. Valentino, who was a Hillary delegate and now supports Obama.
Women are considered the “sleeper voters” who can make or break a candidate. Their vote brought Bill Clinton to the White House. And though the majority voted more in favor of Gore and Kerry, their numbers weren’t enough to make the difference in those elections. Key issues for women are the economy, the war, and health care.
“We’ve been working a lot in Maine as part of the comprehensive healthcare bill we passed last year to help young people have access to health care. We have a specific pilot program for youth to lower the health costs for that group. We’ve worked hard to get the governor’s Dirigo Health program going,” said Pingree. “But no matter what, it’s still expensive; small states like Maine have tried to make progress. I firmly believe that we have to act on what some states have done and build a national healthcare program. Insurance regulations are too difficult for any state to be able to make a huge difference on their own. We need federal leadership. I’m hopeful that we will elect Obama, my mom, and others who will make health care a priority in DC. It’s so overdue. It’s time for change, for progress, and something big and bold.”
Maine was one of four states honored to have candidates for the U.S. Senate speak to the convention. “Change in Washington isn’t an option; it’s a necessity,” said Congressman Tom Allen.
Senator Charles Schumer of New York, head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, introduced Allen. “We can and we must elect a stronger Democratic majority to the Senate to overcome the obstructionism that threatens Barack Obama’s agenda,” he said.
Democrats are hoping to attain a 60-vote majority in the U.S. Senate, to prevent filibusters by the Republicans. In the past two years, since the Democrats have been in control of Congress, the Republicans have filibustered 92 times—the most within this time frame in the history of this country.
Below is a transcript of Allen’s speech at the DNC, as prepared for delivery:
“I’m Tom Allen. Every day, the first rays of sunlight in America shine on Maine. This year, Maine can help lead our nation to a brighter path.
“Diana and I welcomed our first grandchild, Charlie, six months ago. If he lives to be 92, Charlie will see the dawn of the 22nd century. What kind of country are we building for him, and for your children and grandchildren? To meet our moral responsibility to them, we need bold leadership for change in Washington.
Photo: Congressman Tom Allen gives his speech at the DNC convention.
“Great challenges lie ahead. Skyrocketing healthcare costs are crippling small businesses and bankrupting families. Mainers are struggling to pay their home heating oil bills this winter.
“The Bush economic policies have undermined the promise of America, that here everyone has a reasonable chance to get ahead in life.
“Barack Obama and these Senate candidates will make the right choices to deliver the change we need for our generation and for Charlie’s. We’ll solve our energy crisis. Provide affordable, quality health care to all Americans. And bring our troops home from Iraq, so we can address problems here at home
“Decades from now, I want Charlie and his generation to know that, together, we delivered the change that America needs.”