Senate Majority Office
September 27, 2013
Contact: Ericka Dodge [Patrick], 232-5892
DEMOCRATIC RADIO ADDRESS
Patrick says: Slashing programs that help families in need will not take away or fix the circumstances that have led folks to this point.
In Maine, more than one in five children lives in poverty. That’s the highest poverty rate in all of New England.
What does it mean to be a poor kid in Maine? It probably means that at some point every day you are hungry and can’t get enough food to fill your belly.
You may go to bed, and wake up every morning, cold because your parents can’t afford to heat your house. In fact, you may not have a bed, or a bed of your own, or even a room to call your own.
You don’t know what it means to go “school shopping” because the clothes you wear are handed down. And you probably carry the very-adult burden of knowing that there’s not enough gas in your parent’s car to get you to your friend’s house across town or, to your weekend baseball game.
Sadly, that’s the every day reality for too many Maine kids.
Good Morning. This is State Senator John Patrick of Rumford.
Most of us agree that kids do not choose to be born in to poverty. Most of us would also agree that we all have a stake in making sure kids are well-fed, healthy, and safe. And the people who want that more than anyone for these kids are their parents.
Who among us doesn’t want to make sure our kids are provided every opportunity to succeed? Most of the parents of poor kids, are doing the best that they can –often working more than one job—they’re doing all that they can to try and make ends meet and do right by their family.
The reality is more Maine people are struggling.
Yet, at nearly every turn, Governor LePage pulls the rug out from under struggling families instead of offering a hand up.
For example, the LePage administration removed very low income families with children from the program known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or TANF. Now, seventy percent of those families have had to rely on food banks. One in three families have had their utilities turned off—and one in five, have been evicted from their homes. Yet Governor LePage demands, “get up off the couch and get a job!”
LePage continues to turn up the rhetoric against struggling families trying to
get on their feet again. At every opportunity, he uses language vilifying the
people who don’t have it as good as him now.
More people have lost their homes than have found jobs, thanks to Governor LePage.
Slashing programs that help families in need will not take away or fix the circumstances that have led folks to this point.
Most people don’t choose to be poor. For the Mainers who aren’t poor—many of us are a paycheck or two away from missing a rent or mortgage payment. Many of us are fighting to stay in the middle class, let alone climb in to it.
As lawmakers, we need to be making investments in people. The best pathway out of poverty is the opportunity that comes with a strong economy. That means investing in our people, places and things, our schools, health care, and increasing opportunity so that people can secure good paying jobs.
So, let’s make a change for those one in five children so that they too can climb the ladder of opportunity for a better a life.
Thank you for listening. This is State Senator John Patrick of Rumford. Have a great weekend.