“We feel it is important to talk about the elephant in the room, and to talk about military spending,” said Lisa Savage of Code Pink in Maine.

Dozens of peaceful citizens attended the Jan. 14 launch of the three-month Maine Campaign to Bring Our War Dollars Home at the Statehouse Hall of Flags.

Speakers stood in front of the staircase, which was lined with sign-carrying campaigners, demanding Maine’s elected officials end wasteful war spending.

Savage conveyed a message of peace and asked that military funding be given instead to education, social service programs, and health care. Savage, a school teacher, said she took a personal day off from her classroom duties to be at the event.

“We are going in the wrong direction, not the right direction, when it comes to funding for schools,” said former state Sen. Michael Brennan.

Brennan said America used to be the No. 1 country in producing high school graduates. Now, he said, the country is not in the top 10. “My hope is for this country to be known for building schools, not arms,” he said.

Perhaps the most energetic and animated speaker of the day was Mary Beth Sullivan, a social worker. “We need a long-term solution. It is time to get our tax dollars back,” she said.

Signs lining the backdrop behind the speakers bore slogans such as, “Pentagon? Unlimited. Education? Budget cuts.”

“Maine could be a leader in this fiscal crisis and show everyone a way out of these problems,” Savage said.

For more information, visit bringourwardollarshome.org.