“Voters have a chance to make the Maine health care system fairer and to strengthen the state’s economy. We should all be working together to build a system that will provide insurance for the maximum number of Maine people as possible. Expanding Medicaid makes sense and would be a good decision for Maine. A ‘Yes’ vote on Question 2 will help thousands of Maine people have a healthier, more secure life.” –Former US Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell
JOIN US ON OCTOBER 11!
We’re really looking forward to our third Maine Women’s Summit on Economic Security on Oct. 11 at the Augusta Civic Center. Two incredible women will be our featured speakers: Alicia Garza and Loretta Ross.
Maine Women’s Summit on Economic Security
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Registration & Breakfast 8:00 AM
Summit 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Augusta Civic Center
Tickets: $35; Students & Seniors: $20
Alicia Garza is one of the co-creators of #BlackLivesMatter—a movement working for the validity of Black life and to end state-sanctioned violence against Black people. She is also the special projects director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the nation’s leading voice for dignity and fairness for the millions of domestic workers in the United States.
Loretta Ross, was one of the creators of the term “Reproductive Justice” and was a co-founder of the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective. Her 40 years of human and women’s rights activism has focused on the intersectionality of social justice issues and how this affects social change and service delivery in all movements. She is an expert on women’s issues, hate groups, racism and intolerance, human rights, and violence against women.
There will also be many breakout sessions focused on a variety of topics including: paid leave, racism in our schools, access to health care, financial security for victims/survivors of violence, trans feminism, challenges for immigrant women in Maine, and philanthropy for social change. Go to bit.ly/mwpcsummit17 to see the full list of breakout sessions.
COMINGS AND GOINGS
In September, we said goodbye to Danna Hayes, our Director of Public Policy for the past four years. Danna will be greatly missed, but we’re glad she’ll still be working to advance progressive policies as the Maine State Director for the State Innovation Exchange.
As she left, Danna reflected, “I’m tremendously proud of the work we’ve accomplished together. We’ve made progress for women in Maine even in challenging political times.”
Good luck, Danna! We wish you all the best.
Last week we welcomed Jennifer Sorkin as our new Community Organizer and Program Assistant. She’ll be listening to the experiences of women around the state and helping them to engage with lawmakers on the policies that matter to their lives.
“I’m so excited to be a part of MWL/MWPC as the new Community Organizer! I look forward to building relationships throughout the state, and uplifting the voices of women most marginalized as we work together towards collective liberation for all Mainers.”
We’re excited to be working with you, Jennifer. Welcome!
INVESTING IN OUR FUTURE
On September 21st at the YWCA in Lewiston, the Maine Women’s Policy Center released a new report with the Maine Children’s Alliance.Investing in our Future: How Maine Can Prepare our Children to BecomeTomorrow’s Leadershighlights the experiences of Maine parents who are trying to access early childhood programs or find quality, affordable child care while they work or go to school. It outlines a number of strategies, that when implemented together, have the potential to transform Maine’s early childhood system and lead us into a more prosperous future.
During the press conference, our executive director Eliza Townsend said, “Research tells us that quality early childhood programs make a real difference for children, for our schools, and for our economy. Maine’s children are our future. Our current system isn’t working so it’s urgent that we fix it. The path forward is clear and that’s why we’re excited to share these policy solutions. We have identified clear steps Maine leaders can take now that will give Maine kids what they need for success, help parents–especially moms–participate in the workforce, and ensure we have workers for the businesses of tomorrow.”
9/22/17 Interview on 620 AM with Eliza Townsend and Claire Berkowitz (scroll down to the podcast section to stream it)
DHHS TAKES BIG STEP BACKWARD FOR THE WELL-BEING OF MAINE CHILDREN
On September 20th, Maine DHHS adopted major substantive changes to Maine’s family child care rules, which they rushed through before the legislature’s Health and Human Services (HHS) committee could review them. This summer, the Maine Women’s Lobby joined with the Maine Children’s Alliance, the Family Child Care Association of Maine, and the Maine Association for the Education of the Young Child to opposed the new rules because they will weaken health and safety protections for Maine children. 130 parents, providers, and advocates also urged the HHS committee to review these rules when they filed a petition with the legislature in July.
We will continue to urge legislators to address the rules that can negatively affect children’s well-being.
PORTLAND CITY COUNCIL TO CONSIDER EARNED PAID SICK DAYS ORDINANCE
Mayor Strimling introduced a proposed ordinance to ensure that all workers in Portland have the ability to earn paid sick days. The Council referred the ordinance to the Health and Human Services committee for consideration. That decision seems especially appropriate as we enter flu season in Maine and health professionals recommend that those who are ill stay home from work or school so that they can get well and reduce the spread of illness.
If you live or work in Portland and want to share your story about the need for paid sick days, firstname.lastname@example.org.
ZERO WEEKS DEBUTS IN MAINE
The only countries in the world that fail to provide paid leave for their people are Papua New Guinea and the United States. This is unacceptable. A new film by Ky Dickens explores the ways American families are often forced to choose between tending to a spouse or parent with an unexpected medical emergency, or keeping their job and health insurance. Zero Weeks: America’s Family Leave Crisis and the Cost of Doing Nothing made its world premiere at the Camden International Film Festival.
There will soon be screenings of Zero Weeks around the state and we’ll be sharing details about them as they’re scheduled. You can watch the trailer at zeroweeks.com.
If you have a story about the need for paid leave or want to get involved, email@example.com.
UPDATES FROM THE FEDERAL COURTS
We’ve written many times about the importance of the federal courts in all our lives. As we look ahead at a new Supreme Court term and continue to see troubling nominees from President Trump to fill vacancies in the federal court system, we wanted to share some recent news stories about the federal courts.
VOTE YES ON 2 ON NOVEMBER 7
On Election Day, Mainers will have an opportunity to expand access to health care for 70,000 of our neighbors by voting YES on Question 2. The ballot question asks if voters want to expand Medicaid—a federal-state partnership which provides quality health care to low-income families. Numerous organizations, health care providers, the Maine Hospital Association, and former US Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell have all come out in support of Question 2.
A recent commercial featuring Kathleen Phelps from Winslow highlights one of the thousands of stories of Mainers who are suffering because we haven’t expanded Medicaid (MaineCare in Maine) as many other states have. Even though Kathleen has COPD and needs oxygen, she’s stuck in the coverage gap so she has to choose between oxygen and paying her bills. That’s a choice no one should have to make.
Watch Kathleen’s story at mainersforhealthcare.org/
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SUPPORT OUR WORK
We’re able to advocate for the issues you care about because of the support of our members. A monthly donation of $10 or more makes a continuing impact throughout the year. A gift of any size makes a difference. Please consider making a donation online atbit.ly/MWLdonate. Or mail your contribution to Maine Women’s Lobby, 124 Sewall Street, Augusta, ME 04330.
Thank you for all your do to make a better future for Maine women and girls!