"And we all had a real good time!"
Once again many Knox County Democrats are enjoying the afterglow of another just-right John Syrett Lobster Bake. Three tents of guests enjoyed a midcoast shore dinner and a peaceful balmy afternoon of fellowship and reunion on the lovely grounds of our gracious hosts Ken and Barbara Wexler in Owls Head.
The crowd included many of the more than 100 event sponsors whose support makes this the Knox County Democratic Committee’s biggest fundraiser each year. Additional cash contributions add to the success of the Bake and are still being recorded.
Two featured speakers this year had the total attention of their enthusiastic audience. First to speak was Congressman Mike Michaud, Democratic candidate for governor, who was introduced by his colleague Congresswoman Chellie Pingree. Pingree took the opportunity to say how much she longs to return to a new Congress in which the House is not dominated by people whose principal objective is obstruction. She asked people to do whatever they can to elect Emily Cain to succeed Mike Michaud in Congress to represent Maine’s Second District. Pingree said Mike Michaud has been one of the hardest working members of Congress.
Michaud opened by saying he is glad he made the decision a year ago to run because he has found so much opportunity and excitement about change. He will develop our strength in small business and farming, renewable energy and structure retrofitting, which will provide jobs and reduce heating oil usage. He will expand Medicaid to 70,000 Mainers, which will save the state $600,000 because of the enhanced reimbursement rate that the Affordable Care Act allows. Insurance rates for all of us should decrease when that happens.
He spoke with pride of his solid history of working across the aisle. Under his leadership in the Maine Senate, a two-tiered increase in the minimum wage was passed unanimously. As ranking member of the U.S. House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, he noted that this has been a committee that functions as it should in a conspicuously unproductive Congress. We have heard this before. We know Michaud can communicate and build trust and get stuff done. “People power has been our strength,” he observed.
Shenna Bellows was fresh off her 350-mile walk and looking none the worse for wear. Along the way, she heard from people struggling to make ends meet, many of them seniors who would be helped by increased Social Security benefits, which Bellows supports. She favors removing the cap on wages subject to Social Security Tax, which would bring more money into the system to make it financially secure, fund increased benefits and result in a fairer share paid by upper income wage earners. Jobs and the economy will also grow as recipients spend their added benefits.
Bellows stated that her target voters are those who voted for Obama and her opponent Susan Collins in 2008. Do those voters know Collins voted against increasing veterans’ benefits in February and more recently against the Paycheck Fairness Act and against raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour?
“Winning this seat will be just as hard as walking 350 miles,” said Bellows “but just like the walk, it can be done with hard work and determination, and it is absolutely worth it to be the voice of working families.” That kind of hard work has so far brought in over $1 million in contributions to her campaign. In contrast to Susan Collins, Bellows is not raising money from large corporations. She cites as evidence of the remarkable breadth of her support that her median campaign contribution is $6. “Politics is about real people and not big money” is the message she conveys.
Many other Democratic office holders and candidates were present to talk with guests and were introduced. They included Senator Dawn Hill, running for re-election in S.D. 35 to represent southern York County; Senator Chris Johnson, running for re-election in S.D. 13 to represent most of Lincoln County plus Washington in Knox County and Representative Anne Graham, running for election in H.D. 46 to represent Durham, N. Yarmouth and west Pownal.
David Sinclair of Bath was present. He is the Democratic candidate for District Attorney in Prosecutorial District 6, which serves Knox, Waldo, Lincoln and Sagadahoc Counties.
Local county officers present included County Commissioner Roger Moody, who represents District 3; County Commissioner Carol Maines, running for re-election to represent District 1, which serves Rockland, Owls Head, Thomaston and S. Thomaston, and Donna Dennison, running for re-election as Knox County Sheriff.
Two incumbent Representatives in the Maine House, both running for re-election were present: Lizzie Dickerson running in H.D. 93 to represent Rockland and Owls Head and Chuck Kruger running in H.D. 92 to represent Thomaston, S. Thomaston, St. George, Cushing, Criehaven and Matinicus.
Representative Joan Welsh is running for re-election in H.D. 94 to serve Camden, Rockport and Islesboro (in Waldo County). She was unable to attend because she is participating in a legislative exchange visit to Turkey.
Dave Miramant was present. He is the Democratic candidate in S.D. 12, which represents all of Knox County except the Town of Washington. He will replace Senator Ed Mazurek, also present, who is retiring. Guests stood and cheered in appreciation for Ed’s many years of service on the Rockland City Council and in the Maine House and Senate.
The Lobster Bake Committee sends hearty thanks to the many volunteers who helped put on this excellent event and to the sponsors and donors and guests who supported it.
If you want to volunteer to help elect Democrats this fall, please come in or phone our Knox County Democratic Headquarters at 594-3901. We are in the Harbor Plaza, 235 Camden Street (Route 1) in Rockland. Come in and get signs, buttons, candidate literature and other material.
Authorized and paid for by the Knox County Democratic Committee, Stu Thro,
P.O. Box 452 Rockland, ME 04841