Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner
Marriott at Sable Oaks, South Portland
September 16, 2006
My name is Jean Hay Bright, and I'm having a great time tonight. Almost as good a time as I'll have 51 days from now when - with your help - I become the next U.S. Senator from the great state of Maine.
Before I continue, I want to make a few introductions.
First, someone many of us got to know during the primary last spring - Eric Mehnert.
Second I want to introduce one of the couples who are my guests here tonight, because I think they represent what our party is all about.
Lynn and Dan Ellis live in Wilton.
Dan is a Vietnam-era veteran and an active member of Veterans for Peace.
Many of us here will agree that Vietnam was not the United States' finest hour. But unpopular as the war was, Dan, and hundreds of thousands of military men and women like him, answered the call to fight in that war, and did so with honor. All those who have served or who are serving in Iraq deserve our thanks and respect. Let's tell all our veterans "Thank You."
Our returning veterans deserve better than they are getting from the current administration. They - like ALL of us - deserve decent health care - national health care.
They - like all of us - deserve decent jobs so we can support our families and ourselves.
And they - like all of us - deserve a government that follows the Geneva conventions, a government that does not detain its prisoners of war without charges or legal counsel, a government that does not use torture to extract information, a government that honors and upholds the United States Constitution.
That is not the government we have today with George Bush and Dick Cheney running things, and with people like Olympia Snowe standing at their sides. But working together, we are going to change that. Aren't we?
Lynn Ellis is dedicated to seeing that change happen. She is one of two Maine coordinators for an ambitious plan to see a cabinet-level Department of Peace established in Washington. It would not replace the Department of Defense - that's Defense, not Offense - but instead would work in conjunction with the departments of Defense, State, Health, and Education - indeed with all the other cabinet-level departments - to see that whenever possible we resolve our differences at home and around the world without violence.
It's a laudable goal, and - as a pro-peace candidate - one I will strongly support when I get to Washington.
I thank Lynn, and all of you working for the cause of peace, for your faith and your efforts.
Maine voters have many choices to make this year. One of them is to decide that it's time for Olympia Snowe to go.
Some of you in this room have voted for Snowe in the past. But she was a different person then than she is now.
Let me spell it out as simply as I can. Join in if you want.
Snowe used to be a moderate.
But to the right she went.
Now she votes with George Bush
Kind of catchy, don't you think?
It's far different from the Olympia Snowe ad you've been seeing over and over and over on TV as she spends the three million dollars her campaign has been given by the defense industry, the drug companies, the credit card companies, the HMOs, and the right-wing anti-government think tanks.
Snowe's ad claims she holds positions that her voting records shows she does not hold.
Snowe's ad portrays her as "standing up for the rights for women," when in fact Olympia Snowe voted to confirm to the U.S. Supreme Court Judge Samuel Alito, who, while he was working in the Reagan administration, drew up an action plan to dismantle Roe v. Wade.
The ad says she fought for prescription drug coverage for seniors, but it doesn't tell you that Olympia Snowe voted for Medicare Part D, knowing all the while that the bill did not allow negotiation of drug prices, and knowing that the 'donut hole' would be devastating to low-income seniors.
Nor does the ad even tell listeners that Olympia Snowe is a Republican. Instead a soothing voice-over says she is "an independent voice."
Let's be clear about this.
Olympia Snowe is a REPUBLICAN.
In her ad and public statements Snowe is running away from her party.
But in reality - as Congressional Quarterly has documented - she supported the Bush agenda 82 percent of the time during his first term in office.
Yes, she was a moderate when she voted with Democratic President Bill Clinton about half the time. But that was then and this in now. Now she's a Bush-enabler, plain and simple.
Her ad's message to Maine is one of omission, the worst of which is that she says:
Snowe's campaign told the Bangor Daily News this week her ad was a way to "re-introduce" her to the voters, and that issue ads, such as one dealing the war were "likely forthcoming,"
- nothing about her vote for the Iraq War Resolution in 2002,
- nothing about her continued support for the war in Iraq,
- nothing about her votes for the USAPATRIOT act,
- nothing about her support of the illegal wiretapping and other constitutional violations by this administration.
And her spokesman told the BDN Snowe was "proud to be a Republican."
I don't believe it.
Her ad uses old footage to 're-introduce' us to a politician who no longer exists. Olympia Snowe is not the moderate she used to be. She is not bipartisan. The real Olympia Snowe is not the one portrayed in this ad.
As for Snowe's "likely" Iraq War ad, I can't wait to see it. Will she admit that we had no business going into Iraq? Will she explain:
Will Olympia Snowe mention in her ad that her Republican Party does not support full medical care for returning troops?
- why her President lied to us about
- why we invaded a foreign country that had nothing to do with 9/11,
- a country that not attacked us,
- had not threatened to attack us,
- and a country that he knew did not have the means to attack us?
Or that she helped passed a bankruptcy bill with no protection for the families of troops serving overseas?"
And if Olympia Snowe is so proud of being a Republican, why doesn't she say so?
Every piece of campaign material I've ever produced says 'Democrat' on it.
I'm here to tell you tonight that I AM proud to be a Democrat,
And I'll be even prouder to support the core working-class values of the Democratic Party when I replace Olympia Snowe in the United States Senate.
As I've been saying all along. This isn't about a vote for me. It's about a vote for the America we all want to live in.
So let's have a great time tonight, and then let's get up tomorrow and get back to work. Let's work for John Baldacci, and Tom Allen, and Mike Michaud.
And let's work extra hard for all our county, state house and senate candidates who are on the front lines, bringing the Democratic message to every door in Maine.
We are together, we are united, and when the polls close Nov. 7 we WILL have our America back.