July 20, 2006

  1. Jean calls for Cease-Fire in Middle East
  2. Barbara Boxer's PAC for Change
  3. Pro-Union and Pro-Labor
  4. Stem Cells
  5. Flag Pledge & the U.S. Supreme Court
  6. Democrats are Fiscally Responsible
  7. We need your help, now more than ever
  8. Calendar of upcoming events

1. U.S. Senate Candidate Endorses Call for Cease-Fire in Middle East
Jean Hay Bright, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Maine, has endorsed the Joint Congressional Resolution (H.Con. Res. 450) submitted by Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) this week, calling for an immediate cease fire of violence in the Middle East and a commitment by the United States to diplomatic, multi-party negotiations with no preconditions.

That resolution, with a growing number of co-sponsors in Congress, calls on the President to "appeal to all sides in the current crisis in the Middle East for an immediate cessation of violence and to commit United States diplomats to multi-party negotiations with no preconditions." Furthermore, the Resolution would have the President "send a high-level diplomatic mission to the region to facilitate such multi-party negotiations," and "urges such multi-party negotiations to begin as soon as possible, including delegations from the governments of Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Lebanon, Iran, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt." Finally, the Resolution "supports an international peacekeeping mission to southern Lebanon to prevent cross-border skirmishes during such multi-party negotiations. "

2. Sen. Barbara Boxer's PAC for a Change contest

Thanks to all of you who have responded to our Action Alert about Sen. Barbara Boxer's (D-CA) Political Action Committee (PAC for Change) contest to "choose which promising Democratic challenger for the Senate that we're going to support next." A similar poll was done for House candidates. Boxer's web page continues: "Like before, the winner of our online vote will be featured in a fundraising email to our PAC for Change community. So your vote, and the votes of your friends and family, are critically important."

We're up against 15 other Democratic Senate challengers, from some big and heavily populated states. So even if every one of my supporters signed on and cast their votes, the chance of us getting the big enchilada is small.

HOWEVER, we see this as one way to get this campaign in Maine on the national radar screen.
3. Pro-Union and Pro-Labor

In remarks to the Franklin County Democratic Committee meeting last Sunday, I pointed out to the crowd in the North Dining Hall on the UMF campus in Farmington that not only am I a pro-union candidate, I am a pro-labor candidate.

By that I mean that I fully support, and will fight to protect, the rights of workers to form unions and to have meaningful and productive negotiations leading to good union contracts.

But I also will fight at the Congressional level for worker rights and protections that unions have been trying to address for years, as much as they are able under the constraints of union organizing. Things like health care costs, and a living wage.

And I will fight for rights and protections for workers that can only be done on the Congressional level -
  • like national health care,
  • like a minimum wage that is a living wage,
  • like tightening OSHA standards and making sure they are enforced,
  • like getting out of NAFTA, CAFTA, the World Trade Organization, and other international treaties and agreements that have devastated our nation's working communities.
All workers should have those baseline provisions and protections.

When all workers, unionized or not, have such protections, then union contracts should be easier to negotiate. When health care premiums are not an issue, when a living wage is not an issue, when outsourcing of jobs is not an issue, unions can better and more effectively focus in on those worker concerns that are particular and unique to that corporation or segment of the workforce.

With me in Washington, labor will have a friend.
4. Stem Cell Research

I was disappointed to see that Congress was unable to override President Bush's veto of the Stem Cell Research bill that had passed on both houses. We need to move forward into this promising area of scientific research, and the best way to do it is through federal funding and government grants.

I find it ironic that President Bush has more concern for left-over microscopic embryos destined for destruction than he does for living human beings -- be they people suffering from ailments that stem cell research might help, or our good military men and women sent into an unnecessary and illegal war in Iraq.
5. Flag Pledge and the Supreme Court

In case you missed it, the Congressional House of Representatives on Wednesday voted 260-167 to forbid U.S. courts from hearing challenges to the "under God" provision in the Pledge of Allegiance.

The phrase "under God" was added to the Pledge by an act of Congress in 1954. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." A federal appeals court ruled in 2002 that the act of Congress in 1954 amounted to an endorsement of religion, in violation of the U.S. Constitution. Wednesday's House action was designed to circumvent any further challenges to that phrase.

I can't imagine the U. S. Supreme Court acquiescing to this usurpation of its powers to determine whether or not an act of Congress is unconstitutional.

This bill has not been voted on in the U.S. Senate, and is not on the schedule for a vote in the foreseeable future. Stay tuned.
6. Democrats are Fiscally Responsible

We've been tossing around some themes lately, to come up with ones that are applicable on both the state and federal levels. Try this one on for size:

Democrats are fiscally responsible, Republicans are not.
It's not hard to demonstrate. At the federal level, a Republican President and a Republican majority in both houses of Congress have managed to take a budget surplus built up by Democratic President Bill Clinton and within five years have turned it into the worst federal deficit in our nation's history.

Democrats are fiscally responsible, Republicans are not.
On the state level, our Democratic Governor John Baldacci and our Democratic majority in both houses of the Legislature have managed to take a huge state deficit inherited from Independent Governor Angus King and, by making some tough decisions, turned that around.

Democrats are fiscally responsible, Republicans are not.
Unfortunately, that turn-around in Maine is under the threat by the fiscally irresponsible -- and patently undemocratic -- Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR), which will be on the ballot in Maine this November.

Democrats see government as a force for good, Republicans do not.
The Republican mantra at the state and federal level, and the mantra used in the promotion of TABOR, is "less taxes, less spending, less government." Passage of TABOR would also mean "bad roads, poor schools, fewer cops, less fire protection," a government sought by Republican commentator Grover Norquist that is "drowned in a bathtub."

Clearly, people with this mindset have no respect for our government, do not value what government does, do not want to pay their fair share for living and working in this great country.

But TABOR supporters also do not have respect for our democratic process, our representative form of government.

Democrats believe in majority rule, TABOR supporters do not.
The way it's supposed to work, we elect representatives to Congress, to our state Legislature, to our municipal offices, to our school boards, whose job it is to understand the workings of government, to balance the needs and the resources, and to vote on the allocation of our tax dollars based on priorities and the responsibilities of government toward its citizens.

TABOR supporters, unable to elect enough politicians who share their disdain for government, want to circumvent that elective process by tying the hands of our elected officials. The punitive restrictions, the draconian limits, the strange formula linking tax increases to irrelevant numbers, show TABOR to be unrealistic, and irresponsible.

Beyond tying the hands of state legislators, town officials and school boards, TABOR language also is undemocratic in how spending and taxation limits can be overridden. Instead of a democratic majority rule, where a majority of voters can vote to raise their own taxes, under TABOR a mere one-third vote in opposition will defeat any override of the draconian limits. This gives astonishing power to a small segment of the voting population. Majority rule is out the window.

A vote for TABOR is a vote against democracy, representative government, responsible government, majority rule -- and common sense.
7. We need your help, now more than ever

If you want a progressive Democrat to fill one of Maine's two U.S. Senate seats in the 110th Congress, you need to step up to the plate NOW.

Contrary to what you might presume (since I am, after all, the duly-elected Democratic nominee to the U.S. Senate from the great state of Maine), we are getting NO HELP from two DC groups which should by all rights be helping us.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC)
is set up to help Democrats get elected to the U.S. Senate.

EMILY's List is designed to help pro-choice Democratic women get elected to both houses of Congress.

You have probably gotten email solicitations from both groups (we have), with big names like Ellen Malcolm or John Kerry asking you to send money to EMILY's List or the DSCC to help Democratic U.S. Senate candidates get elected. And we have heard that the DSCC is doing a phone solicitation in the state, not automated robo-calls, but real people asking for money to support the DSCC. One of our supporters, getting such a call, asked if the DSCC was supporting Maine's U.S. Senate candidate. The response was "Of course we're supporting HIM."

If you have contributed to either of these groups assuming that your contribution to them will be helping this campaign, I am sorry to tell you that this campaign will not see a dime of your money.

This lack of support from the DC groups which should, by their own charters, be actively involved in our efforts, is discouraging. And it is not a misunderstanding on our part, or a lack of communication. After hemming and hawing for months, both organizations finally told us point-blank last week that we will not be getting any money from them. Why? Because we haven't raised enough money from the likes of YOU to impress them. And we haven't commissioned any polls that would show we'll walk away with a win in November.

In contrast, Maine Democrats, at all levels, have been terrific. I have a great working relationship with Gov. John Baldacci, Congressmen Mike Michaud and Tom Allen, and their staffs, as we have campaigned together around the state. The top Democrats in the Legislature (Beth Edmonds, John Richardson, Glenn Cummings) are on my campaign team. State Party Chair Ben Dudley and Vice-Chair Marianne Stevens have been very helpful. The slate of Democratic candidates and incumbents running for the Legislature and county offices is top notch, and we're working together to get our respective messages out. The Democratic county committees are energized like I have never seen before, working diligently on those pesky voter lists, opening county campaign offices, and organizing, organizing, organizing.

But from the confines of the Washington beltway, that means nothing.

Now, you and I know the political climate in Maine is ripe for an upset in this race. Maine is a Blue State (Kerry won in 2004), our governor is a Democrat, Democrats hold majorities in the state Legislature. Mainers, like the rest of the country, are quite upset with the Bush administration, the Iraq War, and what the Republican majority in Congress is doing to this country, financially, legally, Constitutionally, and morally.

You and I know that Olympia Snowe, because of her complicity with the Bush administration and the Republicans in Congress, is contributing to the trashing of the American you and I love.

You and I know that her voting record since George W. Bush came into office flies in the face of her long-standing "moderate" label.

You know that Olympia Snowe did not vote the way you wanted her to vote -- on the Iraq War, for the Patriot Act, for the Bankruptcy Bill, against granting habeas corpus rights to Guantanamo Bay detainees, against increasing the federal minimum wage.

You know she voted for Judge Samuel Alito, even though he had enough votes to be confirmed. You know that Snowe could have cast a symbolic vote against Judge Alito and it would have kept all the women's groups in her camp -- but she chose not to.

You know Snowe is co-author of the DeWine/Snowe bill which, if passed, would retroactively pardon Bush for his warrantless wiretapping of American citizens, and it would set up a paper tiger "oversight" committee with no subpoena powers and a built-in gag order on its members.

You know that, by one calculation, in Bush's first term, Snowe voted with the Republican agenda 82 percent of the time.

You know all that, and you know that for things to change in Washington, six sitting Republican senators must be replaced by Democratic senators, so the Democrats can take back the majority. It's the only way the agenda in Washington will change.

And you know that voting Olympia Snowe out of office is the only chance Maine voters have this year to change what is happening in the U.S. Senate -- to change the balance of power in the Senate, to change the majority -- to change history.

It's that important.

I am in this race because I am angry over the illegal and immoral war in Iraq, and the trashing of our wonderful country by the Bush administration and the Republicans in Congress.

I know, and you know, that I would do a better job in Washington than my opponent.

You know that I am not afraid to stand up for what I believe in -- and what you believe in.

I am confident we can win this seat
PROVIDED we get the word out about Olympia Snowe's voting record,
AND get the word out about my positions, and the hopeful vision for America that you and I share.
And the only place we've been getting that has been from you --
People in Maine (and a few outside the state)
who understand what we're up against
and who are willing to put their money where their values are.

Thanks so much for what you've done so far.

But we need more of you and from you -- more donors, more donations, more repeat donations, and larger ones if that's possible.

We need all that to get me where I would be the most effective for the next six years -- as your U.S. Senator from Maine.

As you know, ours is a fiscally responsible campaign. No paid staff, all volunteers, no frills. But volunteered time doesn't buy bumper stickers, lawn signs, copy paper, postage stamps, or pay the phone bill. WE NEED $10,000 BY THE END OF THE MONTH to pay for new bumper stickers and lawn signs. If the big boys want a poll, we can order one -- but that too takes money. We want to send out some mailings to people who we know will support this campaign once they hear from us, but -- guess what -- that also takes some funds.

Now is the time, this is the year, and I am the candidate in this particular race.
Please support our efforts. We're relying on you folks.
Please click here to see how to contribute on-line or by mail.
Or mail your check or credit card information to:

Jean Hay Bright U.S. Senate, 4262 Kennebec Rd., Dixmont, ME 04932

And it wouldn't hurt my feelings if you let the folks at EMILY's List and the DSCC know how you feel.


P.S. We're still getting questions about whether ours is a Clean Election campaign. IT'S NOT, BECAUSE IT CAN'T BE. Maine's Clean Election Fund is not available to Federal candidates (U.S. House and Senate).
8. Calendar - Partial list of campaign events.
(If you know of an event Jean should attend, please email us).

July 22, 2006 (Saturday) -
* Pittsfield Egg Festival Parade, Pittsfield. 9 a.m.
* WERU Full Circle Fair, Blue Hill Fairgrounds, 12-1:30 p.m.
* Muskie Lobster Festival, home of Stephen and Sherry Masters, 241 Fiddler's Reach Road, Phippsburg, 4 p.m.

July 23, 2006 (Sunday) - WERU Full Circle Fair, Blue Hill Fairgrounds. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

July 29, 2006 (Saturday) -
* Casco Days, 1-3 p.m.
* Greater Portland Festival of Nations, Deering Oaks Park, Portland, 4-8:30 p.m.

July 30, 2006 (Sunday) - Bangor City Democratic Committee Family Day BBQ, Cascade Park in Bangor, noon to 4 p.m.