The following e-newsletter is a joint communication from the Maine Women’s Policy Center and our sister organization, the Maine Women’s Lobby.
“We reject the demonization of our Muslim brothers and sisters. We demand an end to the systemic murder and incarceration of our Black brothers and sisters. We will not give up our right to safe and legal abortions. We will not ask our LGBTQ families to go backwards. We will not go from being a nation of immigrants to a nation of ignorance.”
―America Ferrera, Women’s March on Washington
DANGEROUS NOMINATIONS: ACT NOW
President Trump’s nominees for his Cabinet are extremely concerning to the Maine Women’s Lobby—especially his nominees for Attorney General and Secretary of Labor. It’s vital that our US Senators know how dangerous these nominees would be as members of the Cabinet. Because Republicans control the Senate, it is particularly important to urge Senator Susan Collins to vote “No” on these nominations. Here’s more information about why they are dangerous for our country:
Andrew Puzder, nominee for Secretary of Labor, has opposed increasing the minimum wage and allowing workers to earn sick days and has used sexually exploitative advertising to sell hamburgers. Read our op-ed to learn more about why Puzder is a flawed nominee and is not fit to serve as US Secretary of Labor.
Senator Jeff Session, nominee for Attorney General, has repeatedly used his power to persecute communities of color, undermine progress on civil rights, and oppose important environmental protections. Sessions’ time as US Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama was marked by allegations of prosecutorial misconduct and abuse of power. He pursued baseless fraud charges against civil rights activists helping African American voters file absentee ballots, yet protecting voting rights in communities of color are primary responsibilities of the Attorney General. In the Senate, he has voted to defund Planned Parenthood and has opposed an amendment that recognized the legitimacy of climate change.
To contact our Senators, view and print our DC Delegation contact sheet complete with phone numbers and office locations for Senator Collins and Senator King. When you speak to someone from their office or if you are leaving a message, be sure to say your name, your town or zip code, and a brief statement about why you are calling. Some examples include:
“My name is XXXXXX and I live in XXXXXXX. I am calling to let Senator Collins know that I want her to vote NO on the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General. His positions on civil rights are not in line with Maine values.”
“My name is XXXX and I live in XXXXXX. I am calling to ask Senator Collins to vote NO on the nomination of Andrew Pudzer for Secretary of Labor. He has a history of opposing policies that help workers and he also has a track record of supporting sexism as part of his business. He’s the wrong choice for Mainers and the wrong choice for our country.”
THE SUPREME COURT AT RISK
Tonight, at 8 PM, an official nomination for the vacant Supreme Court Justice seat will be released. Based on the previous Cabinet appointments, we can expect the nominee to be very conservative, and harsh on issues that are important to women and girls.
Our colleagues at the Alliance for Justice will provide swift analysis of the nominee. You can find it here.
THE MAINE LEGISLATURE
This month the legislature kicked off the 128th Legislative Session. This year is known as the long session. It continues through late spring or early summer. In the long session, any legislator can submit any bill so there are usually many bills submitted. This year, there were over 2,000 bills submitted by legislators.
Danna Hayes, our Director of Public Policy, is reviewing bills as their language is released and will be in the halls of the State House to make sure our legislators know how bills will affect the lives of Maine women. We will let you know when there are opportunities to take action by sharing your story at a public hearing, writing a letter to the editor, or contacting your legislators before key votes.
This year we are eager to support a bill to expand access to paid family and medical leave for all workers. You can help by sharing your story athttp://bit.ly/paidleavestory. We are also working to ensure that the legislature doesn’t undermine any part of the new minimum wage law that was overwhelmingly supported by Maine voters in November.
We will also be opposing bills that seek to undermine our rights, including several aimed at limiting access to abortion.
Most recently, the governor released his proposed two year budget, and more frequent public hearings will begin shortly. We will keep a sharp eye on the process and work to oppose budget cuts and policies that unfairly single out women and children. We also continue to oppose cuts and policies meant to target immigrants.
The budget process is a long and complicated one, stretching over many months. We’ll continue to update you about it as it unfolds. Read this overview of the governor’s proposal by our colleagues at the Maine Center for Economic Policy.
MEET SARAH NICHOLS
Sarah Nichols, Bangor-native and former Graphic Design and Events Coordinator at St. Joseph Healthcare in Bangor is the newest addition to theMaine Women’s Lobby team. In addition to her role as our Administrative Assistant, Sarah serves in many leadership positions in the Bangor community. Sarah is a Bangor City Councilor, sits on the board of EmergeMaine and works as a consultant for the Mabel Wadsworth Center. Concurrently, Sarah is continuing her education to prepare for a career in teaching. “I felt that this would be a good fit because the mission of the Lobby and Policy Center fit with my values, and working for an organization that you love makes it exciting to come to work each day. I am truly happy to be here.” Welcome, Sarah!
SAVE THESE DATES
Action Options Resource Fair
February 12 from 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
First Congregational-Christian Church in New Gloucester
Join the Maine Women’s Policy Center, the Natural Resources Council ofMaine, UCC Equality and Social Justice, the New Gloucester Food Pantry and many more for a discussion about how you can get involved in activism in your community! This event is free and will provide you with many resources to be a changemaker in your network and neighborhood. Find your passion!
21st Annual Girls’ Day at the State House
March 24 from 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Girls’ Day at the State House is just around the corner! Volunteer and sponsorship opportunities are available for this unique educational event for eighth grade girls. Contact Victoria at email@example.com for more information.
Women’s Day at the State House
May 10, more details to be announced soon
Save the date for this opportunity to connect with organizations that work on issues affecting the lives of Maine women and to talk with your legislators about the policies that matter to you. We’ll share more details in future newsletters.
YOUR STORY MATTERS
One of the most powerful actions you can take is to share your story. That’s why we’re collecting stories for two key policy areas this year. Parents of young children in Maine face many barriers when they look for early childhood education programs and quality, affordable childcare. This is serious not only because the first five years of a child’s life are critical in shaping the architecture of the brain, but also because lack of access to quality, affordable care impacts families’ economic security. Go towww.surveymonkey.com/r/mechildsurvey to share your experiences with accessing early childhood education programs and childcare.
Time and again we hear from women who are struggling because they don’t have access to paid leave. Women who are pregnant, have recently given birth, or are adopting a child struggle financially if they take the time they need to care for a new child without a paycheck. Women who are trying to care for an aging spouse or parent face similar financial challenges. But the majority of workers don’t have access to paid leave through their workplaces. As we wrote earlier, we’ll be looking to support legislation to address this problem in 2017. Go to bit.ly/paidleavestory to share your story about the need for all workers to be able to access paid family and medical leave.
We’ll also be facing attacks on our reproductive rights, access to health care, people living in poverty, immigrants, and our new minimum wage law. If you would like to share your experiences with any of those issues, we would love to hear from you, too. Please contact Victoria firstname.lastname@example.org or 207.622.0851 x5.
SUPPORT OUR EFFORTS
There is so much at stake for women and our families right now. That makes it vital for the Maine Women’s Lobby to remain a strong voice when policy decisions and nominees are being decided. We’re able to do this important work thanks to all of you who take action when needed. And also thanks to the financial support of our members across the state. To make a donation to support our mission, go to bit.ly/MWLdonate. Another way to support our work is to become a Loyal Lobbyist with a monthly gift that sustains our work all year long. To become a Loyal Lobbyist, go tobit.ly/MWLloyallobbyist.
If you prefer to make your gift through the mail, send your check to MaineWomen’s Lobby, 124 Sewall Street, Augusta, ME 04330. If you have any questions, contact Sarah at 207-622-0851 x2.
News travels fast on our social media sites. Be sure to like our Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Visit our new bi-monthly Activist Update blog to learn about how to stay engaged in activism in your community.
Visit our events calendar to stay updated on happenings in your area!
Thank you for your continued support!
Eliza, Danna, Kathy, Victoria and Sarah