My Stand on the Issues

We can’t change everything in the Maine Legislature. Washington has a lot to say about what we can do, and many things can only be changed at the Federal level. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do quite a bit. This is where I stand on several issues and I will add to this from time to time.. If I haven’t included your concern, please contact me at colleenforsenate@gmail.com. I’ll be happy to discuss where I stand on matters that are important to you.

Jobs

We’re losing jobs in Maine right now, while other parts of the country are beginning to recover from the recession. Many of these job losses are coming from the public sector. I believe that government should be the employer of last resort — that job growth in the private sector is best. State employees are not to blame for our fiscal problems. They pay taxes and spend money, they contribute to our economy. With unemployment as high as it is now, this is not the time for hasty and ill conceived layoffs of our hard working friends and neighbors. We should assess employment in state government during better economic times. Then if it makes sense to downsize, those employees can find new work. Adding to the unemployment rolls isn’t fiscally responsible, it just shifts our expenses from one balance sheet to another and causes hardship on hard-working people and their families.

In the private sector, there are a couple ways to create jobs. One is the responsibility of every Maine resident, and that is to buy goods at local small businesses rather than big box stores. When you buy something from a small business owner, they keep most of that money in-state through their payroll and through their supply chain. If you buy something at a big box store, much of that money goes out of Maine. I am a strong supporter of the Buy Local movement. The second way to address this issue is through regulation. Many of our state’s regulations are designed to help large corporations at the expense of local businesses. This method of one-size-fits-all regulation works when you have the resources to navigate the fine print, but not when you’re a small business owner. We need to change our regulations to make sense for everyone, big and small.

Economic Fairness

Recently, we have seen Governor LePage unveil a budget fix that would remove the elderly from their care facilities, and purge MaineCare of 65,000 low-income people who need health insurance, among other things. Meanwhile, the Legislature passed a $200 million tax cut directed primarily at the wealthiest Mainers. Ironically, the amount required to save our health care budget is about the same as that tax cut. Our tax code should be designed to work for everyone.

Nearly one in two Americans is in or near poverty, while the richest 1% continues to gain an ever-larger share of the pie. We must stop the redistribution of wealth away from the middle class. Money in the pocket of the middle class buys products and services, and this creates jobs. It puts people back into homes, and this raises our property values and the quality of our neighborhoods.Recently we have seen a talking point that “47% of Americans do not pay any taxes” — but this is simply not true. That 47% pays property tax, sales tax, payroll tax, gas tax, and excise tax. Many of those people are elderly people on Social Security. I’ve met some of them already – people with plumbing that is rusting out, who struggle to fill their oil tank. They have paid into the system all their working lives, I think they have already paid enough. We must not balance our budget on the backs of the people who can least afford it, and must insist that those with the means to pay  contribute their fair share.

Reforming DHHS

If we want to save money, we should reform programs that don’t work. I have no intention of targeting the meager $400 check a single mom gets to help feed, clothe, and house her child. I think there is money to be saved in the Department of Health and Human Services by only paying for programs and treatments that have shown they are effective. We should invest where we know we can improve, such as in Child Protective Services and child abuse prevention. They are understaffed and underfunded, and our children keep slipping through the cracks. If we want to protect our children, we need to have the funding to intervene before tragedy occurs, and to help parents get to where they need to be in order to get their children back. The most responsible investment DHHS can make is in helping parents become better at caring for their children.

The Electoral Process

I am a Clean Elections candidate, as was the vast majority of the current Maine Legislature. Despite its flaws, the system works. Candidates are able to do what I am doing right now, which is spend time reaching out and talking to people instead of dialing for dollars. I once spoke to a member of Congress who said the day after they’re elected, they’re raising money for the next campaign. This is not an acceptable way to run a government on the federal or the state level. Due to a recent Supreme Court decision, our Clean Elections system has lost its matching funds provision. I would support legislation that allowed candidates to collect more checks from more people in order to receive more funding. The system has allowed people like me to run for office, I am grateful for the opportunity, and I will fight to improve it for future elections.

Corporate control of our electoral process is something that goes beyond state government to the federal level, but it is important to mention nonetheless. When moneyed out-of-state special interests have the power to buy entire legislative bodies, there is something wrong with the process. The biggest reason I support Clean Elections is because it allows me to represent you, not the corporations. I am not for sale to the highest bidder and it is thanks to Clean Elections that I can even run at all — because I could not ethically accept money from people who would later demand favors.

Despite the fact I am a proud Democrat, I also agree that the two-party system has failed in a variety of ways. We’ve gotten bogged down and unable to act on many important issues that face us. I would support reforming our elections to give greater capability to third party and independent candidates to run. The City of Portland recently had great success with using Ranked-Choice Voting to elect their mayor, and 15 candidates ran. Now that’s choice!

Renewable Energy

I am a believer in science, and science says quite clearly that climate change is real, it is man-made, and it threatens our planet. Any responsible effort that we can make toward reducing our reliance on fossil fuels is a good one. I support the citizen’s initiative that would require more of our energy to be produced by renewable sources, and oppose attempts to remove Maine from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Maine also has the oldest housing stock in the country, and investment in weatherization is helpful to homeowners and lowers costs for low-income heating assistance. On a federal level, energy security is homeland security. The less dependent we are on other nations for our energy needs, the more we are able to determine our own path in the world.

Health Care

I believe that access to health care is a right and not a privilege. While I do not approve of the method by which the Affordable Care Act gets us there, I also recognize that change of this magnitude is going to take time and it won’t always be easy. We are the only industrialized country in the world that does not provide access to care to all its citizens and I am happy to see this changing. Until the ACA takes effect, what we have is a tiered system that rations coverage based on cost. People with good plans can access care when they need it. Others have health insurance with co-payments and deductibles that are too high to pay, and so people go untreated despite having coverage.

Still others have no health insurance at all, and do not seek care until they have to go to the emergency room, which has to care for them by law. But that coverage is not free, others foot the bill in their health insurance premiums. Universal care balances the risk and makes it shared by all –  sick and healthy alike. We must work within the framework of the Affordable Care Act to develop a health insurance exchange that provides affordable care to everyone. DirigoHealth is a program that has flaws, but is headed in the right direction – let’s start there and move forward.

Often ignored is access to dental care. Over a third of this country has no dental insurance, and many others only have small amounts of coverage per year that are wiped out by any major procedure. This too must change. Along with universal health care should come universal dental care. Until then, MaineCare should be expanded to cover more than just tooth extractions for adults. This is a fairly inexpensive service that provides greater quality of life for people. We made strides with the passage of a referendum question that provided funding to start a dental school and clinic in Maine, but more must be done.

Marriage Equality

I understand that there are people with concerns about the right of equal access to marriage for everyone. That being said, I believe in the right for everyone to be able to marry who they love. The referendum currently proposed would permit everyone to have that right, while also not forcing a church to perform marriages that would go against their religious beliefs. I support that referendum wholeheartedly.

29 Responses to “My Stand on the Issues”

  1. Charles Blaisdell Says:

    Thank you for your clear statement of values. It is refreshing, and I happen to agree with you about the life or death importance of these issues to our nation. I fought in the streets for them in the 60’s and 70’s. You can imagine how disheartening it is to see a life’s work rolled back, not by history, but by wealth and new forms of power.

  2. Is World of Warcraft a Political Liability? Maine Republicans Think So. Says:

    […] campaign site, the Issues page addresses Jobs, Economic Fairness, Renewable Energy and so forth.  It is disappointingly […]

    • Daniel C Pryor Says:

      I don’t think it’s a problem at all. If anything it automatically builds a bridge to people like me who are gamers and feel that people who are gamers are problems solvers and can find solutions to difficult situations. That’s basically what you are doing as a gamer. You see a problem and you solve it based on your surroundings and the resources at your disposal. I believe what the Senate needs are more people like this. And from the common sense, logical stances and view I see posted here, she would get my vote if I could vote for her!

  3. Branden Gemzer Says:

    Keep up the good work Colleen!

    Branden Gemzer
    Michigan Democrat

  4. DLS Says:

    I like you! I wish I lived in Maine, I’d totally vote for you.

  5. Mary in Minnesota Says:

    Good for you! You seem like an average person that wants to get involved to do some good. Just be careful, all the manure you will need to wade through might make you disillusioned with politics. Personally, I want nothing to do with the process any more. For me, there hasn’t been an earnest politician around here since Wellstone.

    As a former WoWer (my account got hacked twice, I had my email address blocked, and they wouldn’t work with me on getting things straightened out), current gamer, and wife of a man who attempted owning a game company and is currently earning his BA in game design, I fully support you. Female gamers need more positive exposure.

    Good luck!!!! May all your kills be honorable or profitable.

  6. Frank Lee Says:

    Ms. Lachowicz,

    While we do not agree on every policy issue, I find it quite absurd that your opponents choose to attack you on the basis of your choice of recreation and interest in online games. If these are the most egregious of your short-comings, then Maine will be well-served indeed should you be elected to office.

    Regards,

    Frank Lee

  7. Raequel Solomon Says:

    You Rock! I read about the horrible smear campaign against you and I do hope that you win the election! We need more people like you in public office, and less petty crap like your opponents have perpetuated! Good Luck!

    Raequel Solomon
    Pennsylvania Green Party Voter

  8. Bob Flavell Says:

    Maine Republicans have so little to complain about that they attack you for World of Warcraft?

    I hope others will join me in contributing to your campaign, which I’m going to do right now!

  9. ‘World of Warcraft’-playing candidate: ‘I’m a real person’ | Latest Gists Blog Says:

    […] this week, the 48-year-old Lachowicz — who is running as a Democrat for the State Senate in Maine — abruptly found herself a the center of a Republican smear campaign because of one of her […]

    • Debra Says:

      I do have to say being a gamer for years and am now 60 years old, I applaud you for being truthful. Quite a few politicians are much less truthful. Gaming is a hobby, much like knitting, golf, water skiing, painting etc, Those who are trying to pull you down have their own hobbies. Should we blast them for being a “golfer”? Only this I do regret is that you don’t play EQ2, (hehehe) IMO a much better game.
      Keep playing, you are L33t in game, become L33t in rl, you are on your way fabulously.

  10. ‘World of Warcraft’-playing candidate: ‘I’m a real person’ | News from around the world Says:

    […] this week, the 48-year-old Lachowicz — who is running as a Democrat for the State Senate in Maine — abruptly found herself a the center of a Republican smear campaign because of one of her […]

  11. Michelle in Alabama Says:

    You’re doing a great job! Keep it up. They are just grasping at straws. I like to know how they saw your chat in the first place! If they only knew half the crap people say the gaming community! I am a fellow gamer I play wow and I have to say that I am a mother I went to college and worked when I played wow, I’m 36 and I still play! I wish there were more politicians like you, you should seriously run for president. you have my vote and much if the gaming community also.
    FOR THE HORDE!!

  12. ‘World of Warcraft’-playing candidate: ‘I’m a real person’ | Mobile News Plus Says:

    […] this week, a 48-year-old Lachowicz — who is using as a Democrat for a State Senate in Maine — abruptly found herself a a core of a Republican allegation debate given of one of her hobbies. […]

  13. Tony Says:

    This 42 year old Libertarian COO of an IT company, and DDO gamer, is THRILLED that there is a candidate running for ANY office that is so squeaky clean that the biggest dirt dug up is a casual online gaming hobby!

  14. World of Warcraft-Playing Candidate: ‘I’m A Real Person’ [World Of Warcraft] | Tux Doc Says:

    […] this week, the 48-year-old Lachowicz — who is running as a Democrat for the State Senate in Maine — abruptly found herself a the center of a Republican smear campaign because of one of her […]

  15. ‘World of Warcraft’-playing candidate: ‘I’m a real person’ | Newspt – News PlatForm Says:

    […] this week, the 48-year-old Lachowicz — who is running as a Democrat for the State Senate in Maine — abruptly found herself at the center of a Republican smear campaign because of one of her […]

  16. Andrew Nelson Says:

    I just wanted to say, as a republican, I’m embarrassed that this is the path the local party choose to exploit. I doubt you and I agree on every issue, but as a fellow gamer I support you. The way things are going politically in this country “reality” is starting to bear a striking resemblance to “fantasy.” At least in the game world you know who your enemies are !!!

  17. Doggtags Says:

    Do you support a woman’s right to choose?

    • Colleen Lachowicz Says:

      As someone who has a family member who would have died if she had become pregnant and attempted to carry a baby to term, I believe that women should have the right to access all health services, including reproductive health services. History has shown that the most effective way to prevent abortion is not to ban it, that only drives it into back alleys. Those who wish to reduce the amount of abortions should work with Democrats to improve access to comprehensive sex education and contraception to prevent unwanted or unplanned pregnancies. This is another example where we should do what the evidence proves is the method that works, rather than argue about it — because it allows both sides a win anyway.

  18. qigongjinn Says:

    As a Texas Republican/Libertarian and a Level 40 Alliance Pandaren Mage, I am reading this post and actually seeing more to agree with than I thought I would find. Sorry I can’t vote for you!

  19. Mihaela Luchian Says:

    A gamer girl from Europe- italy!

    Mrs. Coleen :) i am 31 years old, i have a life and i am a gamer :) So even if i don’t have a voting role in US and it’s not my business, I am with you !

    I hope this attacks turn against the republicans XD Like i’ve said – Gamers of all VideoGames VOTE FOR COLLEEN!!!! It’s nice to know that even politicians can relax sometimes :D

  20. Andrew Roos Says:

    Orcs are so cool… wish I could vote for you! Good luck with the campaign.

  21. William Says:

    As a long time gamer, republican, and Alliance Pally, I am appalled and aghast by the ME Republican smear campaign against Colleen Lachowicz. It is a said comment on our society that the issues are no longer the topic, rather that people would rather take cheap shots. Heaven forbid I run for office- I have been playing Dungeons & Dragons since the 1970’s Ooooo I can hear the cries now… and the fact I run on female Pally on WoW and I am a man Oh my what cannon fodder would that fuel… Truly I am embarrassed by many of today’s politicians who can only focus on mud slinging and defamation of their opponents… I hope this smear campaign backfires in the ME Republicans face… It is wrong and really is pitiful… Good luck Colleen…

  22. Cheers and Jeers: Monday | Hotspyer – Breaking News from around the web Says:

    […] gaming coach, I find this a ridiculous line of attack. After all, one glance at Colleen’s issues page should gin up enough horror on your side to make World of Warcraft look like a day at the […]

  23. Interview: Maine Senate candidate tells why gamer shaming bodes ill for the future - Owned Gamers Says:

    […] And it’s kind of funny: I’ve been knocking on doors for nearly a year now, saying “I want to talk about these real issues.” I’m still frustrated, like many people, that it winds up being about theater instead, right? This silly stuff. So then to have this attack happen was sort of like, “This is what I’ve been saying for a year now.” I want to talk with people and have a real conversation about where they want to go and what things are important. […]

  24. DaPhat.com Online Gaming Community » Interview: Maine Senate candidate tells why gamer shaming bodes ill for the future Says:

    […] And it’s kind of funny: I’ve been knocking on doors for nearly a year now, saying “I want to talk about these real issues.” I’m still frustrated, like many people, that it winds up being about theater instead, right? This silly stuff. So then to have this attack happen was sort of like, “This is what I’ve been saying for a year now.” I want to talk with people and have a real conversation about where they want to go and what things are important. […]

  25. Mon Pet Says:

    ….and today I got yet another flyer from the Maine Republican party, this one was even a full page! Not to worry, I absentee voted and you got my vote! I looked at one of the links they quoted (banking that nobody will!!) and it was totally out of context. Is this the best they can do? And you are right, why aren’t they saying what they are going to do????

  26. Jonathan Says:

    Warmest congratulations and best wishes for future success.
    Strength and honor.


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