Democrats talk strategy at Brewer barbecue

Posted Sept. 11, 2011, at 9:02 p.m.

BREWER, Maine — Area Democrats took advantage of the late-summer season on Saturday and gathered for a menu of barbecue and politics at Indian Trail Park on the Penobscot River in Brewer.

According to House Minority Leader Emily Cain of Orono, the free event hosted by the Brewer Democratic City Committee attracted about 40 guests. These included a number of elected politicians from the area, all of whom will either be up for re-election or, like Cain, term-limited in 2012.

In a phone interview on Sunday, Cain characterized the mood at the event as upbeat and energetic, even though Maine Democrats have been in a distinct political minority since the 2010 elections. Although many Democrats have been discouraged by recent policy challenges in the areas of health care, environmental regulation and child labor, Cain said the party is busy setting its priorities for the coming legislative session and recruiting strong candidates to run for election and regain majority status.

“People ask me how I stay motivated,” Cain said. “I tell them that when I have a bad day in Augusta, I come home and make recruitment calls.” Many strong Democrats feel “energized” by the current political atmosphere and are actively considering runs for a seat in the House or Senate, she said.

Democrats’ legislative priorities are focused on job creation and economic development, Cain said, with an emphasis on improving the transportation infrastructure, attracting research and development, lowering the costs of energy and health care and supporting higher education.

Cain, formerly the House co-chair of the Appropriations Committee, has served in the Maine House since 2004 and will be term limited next year. She plans to run for the Senate seat currently occupied by Sen. Elizabeth Schneider, D-Orono, who also will be term-limited.

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