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Maine Democrats tout accomplishments in second day of state convention

Some of Maine's most prominent Democrats made a point to note accomplishments their party made in healthcare, education, and job recovery.

BANGOR, Maine — Governor Janet Mills headlined day two of the Maine Democratic Convention Saturday at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. Her ultimate message: "We won't go back."

Mills said Democrats won't go back to former governor Paul LePage and a Republican majority in the Maine House of Representatives and Senate.

Among the number of issues addressed by democrats throughout the day, Roe v. Wade, the education system, healthcare, and Medicaid for Maine's older adults.

Mills added LePage was not thinking about Mainers when he was in office referring to "...when he cut programs to help our elderly get the medication they need or when he refused to hire public health nurses mere months before a global pandemic hit our state."

Gov. Mills is referring to LePage's Medicaid cut in 2013, which allowed the state to deny or reduce prescription drug coverage for more than 8,000 older and disabled Mainers.

Maine's 1st District Congresswoman Chellie Pingree also took the stage Saturday afternoon. 

"Please do not make me serve with Bruce Poliquin again. Good guy, not right for the job," Pingree said.

Pingree also encouraged support for Jared Golden, Maine's 2nd District Congressman, in his re-election campaign. She also took time to address abortion, which she said is an important issue to her. She shared her notes from 1993 when she was a freshman state senator, when Republican Governor John McKernan and the Maine Legislature codified a woman's right to chose in Maine.

"It's an agonizing decision, there's no question in my heart it's a terrible choice for anyone to have to make, but government shouldn't interfere and I don't think we should be debating this over and over again, 1993," Pingree said.

Meanwhile Maine Republicans held a press conference in response to the Democratic convention, in front of the Paul Bunyan statue at the Cross Insurance Center. A group of democrats chanted, "don't go back," as the Republicans shared their views.

"This mess didn't happen by accident, Augusta and D.C. Democrats have failed us," Dr. Demi Kouzounas, Maine GOP Chairwoman, said.

Republicans also placed signs in front of the Cross Insurance Center, some blaming President Biden and Gov. Mills for the gas price hike. 

"How did this problem come to happen? It's because of the regulations on drilling and things like that were changed immediately when Biden got in," Dr. Kouzounas said.

According to federal data analyzed by the Center of Biological Diversity, President Biden approved more drilling permits last year than President Trump did in the first year of his presidency.

Troy Jackson, Maine Senate President, also stepped up to the podium to remind voters to vote blue this November.

"We have to go out once again and make sure that Governor Mills is in the Blaine House, and we have to make sure the House Democrats maintain their majority, and we have to make sure the House Democrats maintain it with or without me," Jackson said.

Mainers will have their chance to vote on June 14th. In the 2nd District, there will be a Republican Primary between former Congressman Bruce Poliquin and Liz Caruso, a newcomer. The winner of that race will then take on Congressman Jared Golden in the mid-term election in November.