Our state and city, like the rest of the nation, is struggling to meet the extraordinary demands that have been placed upon us by the collapse of Wall Street, the failure of national banks and the accompanying financial and employment disaster that followed from that cascade of events.
Bangor has mortgages in foreclosure, retirees who have seen their modest retirement accounts plummet after a lifetime of careful saving, folks who are still unemployed after months of job searching, and business owners anxious about the future and how to meet the next payroll. Our schools are struggling to meet their needs with fewer resources. People who are employed are worried about being laid off.
There are no simple quick fixes at the local, state or national level to this financial upheaval, which is the worst in at least a generation. Sound bite solutions that attack and suggest quick and easy answers to the problems are neither viable nor credible.
The first lesson I quickly learned in Augusta is that good, informed and well-meaning people will have very different points of view. That does not make them the enemy nor does it make their views less valid.
I have worked with all segments from a wide range of interests and welcome everyone’s viewpoints and requests. My constituents have been the most important part of learning about the issues that come before the Legislature. It is very rewarding to help a constituent navigate through an issue with state government from an unclaimed property problem to a major business issue that needed state action.
As one of Bangor’s representatives to the Maine Legislature, I have been privileged to serve the residents of Bangor for two years. As the Legislature struggled with, and succeeded in, enacting a balanced state budget, it was critical to consider the needs of towns, public schools, businesses, universities and community colleges, seniors and unemployed and underemployed workers. No one segment would benefit truly unless each segment’s needs were considered. It has been a time of shared sacrifices for all so that none would hopelessly need support.
It will be critical to be open to all points of view and to work with all segments of our city when the Legislature convenes. The ability to compromise and work for the common good will be an essential element for success in achieving that common good. That will not come easily this session.
There will be enormous responsibilities for the Legislature to balance all the competing needs to maintain and preserve what makes our state and towns unique as we work for the well-being of all. I believe I have the experience, the temperament and the background to work toward that consensus. I have been endorsed by a wide range of organizations from the Maine Credit Union League to the Professional Firefighters of Maine to the Sierra Club and Maine League Of Conservation Voters
I respectfully seek your support and vote on Nov. 2 for Maine House District 17 so I can continue an inclusive approach to reasonable decision-making.
Sara Stevens, D-Bangor, represents District 17 in the Maine House. She sits on the Judiciary and Ethics Committees.