November 2, 2005

  1. Rosa Parks
  2. Jean's campaign to host two Public Forums
  3. Trip to Washington last week
  4. Iraq War update
  5. Campaign finance update

1. Rosa Parks

By honoring Rosa Parks with a memorial service in the Capital Rotunda last weekend, Congress has not only paid its respects to a wonderful woman, but has recognized that one doesn't have to be a head of state or a warrior to make a difference in this country. The woman who has come to be known as the mother of the civil rights movements was not a politician, nor a high-placed leader in the movement. She was a seamstress, and served as secretary of her local NAACP chapter. She was a volunteer. A worker-bee. A grass root.

But on Dec. 1, 1955, that grass root blossomed into a beautiful flower of freedom, when Rosa Parks simply and politely refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus to a White man. That pure act of civil disobedience remains today at the heart of the civil rights and anti-war movements. Rosa Parks so clearly demonstrated that even simple individual acts of conscience - seemingly small acts - can make a big difference. Rest in peace, Rosa.
2. Two public forums

My campaign will be hosting two public forums in the coming weeks. I want to give Maine voters an opportunity to hear where I stand on the issues and to talk with me about their concerns. The events are free and open to the public, but contribution envelopes will be available for those who want to show their support that way. Light refreshments will be served. All are welcome.
November 5, 2005, 2 to 4 p.m. - Sheepscot Lake Fish and Game clubhouse, Route 3, Palermo, about midway between Belfast and Augusta. Host for this event is Ellie Budzko of Palermo. For more information call 993-2490. This is the link to the announcement that ran in the Kennebec Journal Nov. 2, 2005.

November 19, 2005, 3 to 5 p.m. - Blue Hill Farm Inn, Route 15, Blue Hill. Hosts for this event are Rep. Jim Schatz and Marcia Schatz. For more information, call the inn at 374-5126.

3. Interesting trip to Washington

Last week I was in Washington, DC, a U.S. Senate candidate making the rounds to Democratic, environmental, peace, and women's groups as part of my campaign to unseat Republican Senator Olympia Snowe in 2006. While I was there, a lot was happening on the political scene.
  • Cindy Sheehan, protesting the Iraq war that Olympia Snowe and others had voted to authorize, got arrested in front of the White House. We missed the arrest, but with time between two appointments, we joined the demonstration, standing with Gail Murphy of Code Pink. (Snowe also voted for the Patriot Act and supported its reauthorization this past summer.)

  • The Senate once again refused to restore funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Snowe last month went along with a temporary funding bill to keep the government open into the new fiscal year, even though that bill contained a drastic cut in the LIHEAP funds for Maine. Despite her assurances that the funds would be restored, four votes since then have failed in the Senate. Olympia, the oil trucks are at the door.

  • The Nuclear Bunker Buster program, the one that Snowe supported last summer, was killed in a House/Senate conference committee. This was good news.

  • In separate bills, the Senate rejected increases in funding for Head Start programs, for AIDS drug assistance program, for part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and for Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. Bills to help the poor, the sick and the disabled, all rejected. And that was just on Wednesday.

  • On Thursday, Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination as a Supreme Court Justice. About the same time, we were learning that Snowe's vote in September to confirm John Roberts as Chief Justice troubled many women's organizations who saw in him a threat to reproductive rights.

  • An agriculture conference committee moved to weaken the organic label to allow synthetic ingredients, despite strong opposition from organic farmers and consumers. This organic farmer is not pleased.
Every week in Washington is like last week - decisions are made that have far-reaching consequences, for Maine, the American people, and the world community. With your help, I am looking forward to being part of that decision-making process in the years to come.
4. Iraq War update

The indictment of I. Lewis Libby in the Valerie Plame/CIA exposure is cutting to the heart of the Bush administration's credibility about the Iraq War. The entire case for war has crumbled, in the very week that the 2,000th military death in Iraq was marked. But why have people been so reluctant to recognize the dynamic that has been so obvious for so long?

I think part of the problem is that some people have a hard time admitting that the President of the United States, the ultimate patriarch figure, could really be so destructive, so mean, so ignorant, so manuplative, and so wrong on so many things. It is hard for people to admit they made a mistake by trusting him. It's not what we were brought up to believe. We were taught to trust our public officials, from the cop on the beat to the President, because it was their job to protect us and they must know more about important things than we could ever imagine, so we shouldn't question them.

But that has got to change if we are to rescue our America from the Republicans and a White House that are running the country into the ground. We not only need to know the truth, but in a democracy we must insist that the wrong-doers be appropriately punished. Compromising a CIA operative is a very serious offense, possibly even treasonous. This is not an issue that should be swept under the rug, no matter how much George Bush and the Republicans in Congress want to put it there.
5. From the Treasurer: Financing the campaign

Olympia Snowe already has more than a million-dollar head start in this election cycle, with contributions from the likes of Halliburton, General Dynamics, many insurance and pharmaceutical companies, and lots of folks from MBNA. We are finding that Jean's supporters by and large have deep concerns over where this country is headed, but they do not have deep pockets. So we need lots more of them, lots more of you, to give what you can to catch us up.

Contributions this fourth quarter have been coming in a little faster than in the previous two quarters, thanks to all of you who have added this campaign to your "to do" list. With a few notable exceptions, contributions are still primarily on the small side ($20 to $100), but they are adding up. We've already had more come in this quarter than during the entire third quarter (July through September). Thanks so much, and keep them coming.

If you like what you see in Jean's campaign, and if you want her to launch an effective campaign against Maine's entrenched Republican Senator, please do what you can to help out with the bottom line. Print out the contribution form on the web and mail your check or credit card information to:

JeanHayBright.US Senate 2006
4262 Kennebec Road
Dixmont ME 04932

And thanks.
David Bright, treasurer