As we celebrate Memorial Day in Lewiston with a parade down Lisbon Street and to Auburn, it is so important to remember all those men and women who gave their lives in order that we enjoy the freedoms we have. Perhaps Mayor McDonald said it best - "Is one hour too much to give to remember those who died so we can enjoy hamburgers on Memorial Day?"
We do need to bring our children to these
events in order to teach them the civic pride and responsibility in which
we must all participate. As I marched in Saturday's parade, I was
proud of the city Lewiston is becoming. And I was grateful to all
those who have defended our way of life.
Events Calendars -> Events
use the calendar to the left)
This week in the House -
On Tuesday, the House heard and voted on the "Death with Dignity" bill. As might be expected, this was a deeply discussed topic. Speakers on either side of the aisle spoke well and spoke passionately about this bill which would allow terminally ill patients to request medicine which would end their lives.
The bill was ell written and fully considered. There were safeguards in place. There were checks in the system that would prevent abuse of the system - for example there can be no coercion in this decision making.
When all was said and done. I voted against the Death with Dignity bill.
It's a good bill. It's carefully written.
But, the state of Maine is just not ready for the provisions of this bill. Sometimes a bill needs to be discussed more by the public and gain more public support. While I received emails on the topic, the emails did not point conclusively in the direction of adoption. This is a serious concern for all of us, and we need to have community discussions and move toward consensus.
This week in the Education Committee -
The issue of a statewide teacher's contract came up in work session this week. We considered two similar bills, and chose "Ought Not to Pass" very quickly on one, saving the second for further discussion. When the second bills was discussed, a Republican motion to vote "Ought to Pass" as amended was quickly presented.
As might be expected, the vote was strictly along party lines, with the 5 Republicans voting "Ought to Pass" and the 6 Democrats voting "Ought Not to Pass." We had discussed the bill in a previous work session and leadership had really decided that no votes would be changed by further discussion, so why not just move the bill.
I have lots and lots to say about a state wide teacher contract.
I'm fundamentally opposed to the current proposal for a compelling host of reasons.
First, a state wide teacher contract treats everyone the same. It homogenized the teacher. Teachers, just like students, are not an homogenous commodity.
Second, a state wide teacher contract will not equalize real estate values and will not equalize payments to teachers. There's just plain a huge difference between Falmouth and Lewiston, and Lewiston and Presque Isle. The assumption that all contracts should be treated equally is false - partly because those communities who can afford or decide to increase teacher salaries can simply agree to raise the funds locally.
Third, the DOE is "at capacity." With the proposed changes being suggested in other programs, it seems that the DOE just can not handle a state wide Teachers contract. Over and over again, I have heard this year about "capacity" issues in the DOE - to ask them to do more is to extend that capacity to the breaking point.
Fourth, and perhaps most importantly for me, the state of Maine has yet to demonstrate "good faith" and "trust" in any dealings with teachers. On two occasions, the state has "borrowed" funds from the teacher retirement system - those funds have yet to be paid back. At one time the state agreed to fund the health care costs for retired teachers. That agreement was ignored for ten years. And finally on two different occasions, the state has been ordered by referendum to fund education costs at 55%. That hasn't happened.
For me, education is job one. It
creates jobs, successful people, and a prosperous Maine. I can
enthusiastically support any measure that makes our future more
secure. I can support no measure that robs that future from our
As always, feel free to write to me and let me know your thoughts.