- April 26, 2017
Post submitted by Lindsey Clark, HRC Senior Regional Field Organizer
To help fight a wave of hate and misinformation at the state and federal level, HRC spent last week on the ground in Maine for the Congressional recess. I spent the week attending marches, town halls and meetings with our coalition partners on a host of issues that intimately affect the LGBTQ community.
I witnessed a remarkable grassroots resistance spanning the state that is working to combat the messages of hate and misinformation that have plagued the current administration at both the state and federal level.
In Augusta, Mainers from across the state came together to rally in the hours leading up to a committee hearing on several bills taking aim at the immigrant community in the state. In Portland, about a thousand people came together to march in support of scientific research in policy making.
At town halls and forums across the state, Mainers were forced to ask their questions of empty chairs as several key congressmen refused to attend a single public forum during their in-state recess. At a town hall in Thomaston hosted by Midcoast Maine Indivisible, one-by-one the 165 attendees stepped up to the microphone to speak to a range of issues facing Maine including environmental conservation, health care, transgender equality, and immigration. In Bangor, a forum on health care hosted by the Together for Medicaid coalition was again marked by a conspicuously empty lawmaker's chair as attendees lamented what they saw as high stakes gambling on health care with seniors in Maine caught in the crossfire.
In response to one such absent lawmaker, the Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund hosted a social media campaign with #wheresbruce and folks from around the state chimed in with all the places statewide that Representative Bruce Poloquin was nowhere to be seen. In Oakland, Suit Up Maine also hosted a march to highlight Poloquin's absence.
The makeup of Maine's population and landscape have left the state uniquely at the mercy of a wave of conservative policies at all levels. Everywhere I went the response seemed to be the same: "We're all in this together, with or without our lawmakers."