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Jonathan Hale is a senior counsel in the U.S. Senate currently working remotely from Skowhegan. He is writing in his personal capacity and the views and opinions expressed are solely his own.
I grew up in Skowhegan, graduated from Bates College, and worked for Sen. George Mitchell. Today, I am both a Washington, D.C., and Maine lawyer. I have seen firsthand when our government serves working people and when it fails them.
Margaret Chase Smith was a friend from my childhood. A woman from a small Maine town, Sen. Smith represented the best of Maine. She knew how to stop corrupt men who spread hate and abused their power for personal gain. She had the courage to oppose Joe McCarthy when America was adrift in 1950, and she likely would be disappointed that many in Congress have failed to stand up to President Donald Trump.
Mainers have a long history of sending strong, independent leaders to the nation’s capital like Smith, George Mitchell, Ed Muskie, William Cohen, and Olympia Snowe. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are in that tradition. They are decent, honest, and will bring Democrats and Republicans together to solve problems.
Coronavirus is raging with more infections here than in any other country. More than 300,000 Americans could die by December including several hundred Mainers. Millions have lost jobs — including thousands in tourism. The prolonged closure of the Canadian border has separated families and cost Maine communities.
The president has no federal plan to get it under control, and his incompetence made it worse. Meanwhile, instead of addressing racial injustice, the president has driven divisions to the point of chaos and violence.
But even before this year’s crises, this administration was putting Mainers last. Trump had the audacity to feature a Maine lobsterman at the Republican National Convention, but his trade war has driven up the cost of lobster traps and caused exports to China to drop by 50 percent. While farmers and food processors in other states quickly received federal relief, Maine lobstermen have had to wait. Climate change — which this administration refuses to recognize — is driving lobsters north. It is killing clams and mussels and threatening haddock. Sugar maples are becoming stunted and sick and producing less sap for syrup. Mainers are enduring more and more power outages from extreme weather.
Joe Biden will put the health and safety of the American people first and has a robust coronavirus plan. He will listen to experts and make public health decisions based on science. Biden will unite the country, pushing for inclusive economic recovery and equal protection under the law.
Biden will treat Canada as an ally, not a national security threat and end the trade wars to focus on real challenges, like competition with China and climate change.
What else will President Biden do for Maine? He would triple funding to expand broadband, unlocking opportunity for millions with high-speed internet access, including 85,000 households in Maine.
He would enable Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) like MaineStream Finance to grow financing for small businesses. He would increase microloans for new farmers and help small and mid-sized farmers create regional supply chains.
Biden would invest in land grant universities like the University of Maine, make two years of community college tuition-free, and expand apprenticeships. Mainers could gain important work skills at Eastern Maine Community College and others across our state.
And rather than take away healthcare, Biden would provide more funding for rural hospitals and community health centers and incentives for doctors and nurses to work there. It would be a lifeline for towns like Dover-Foxcroft, Lincoln, Millinocket, and Machias. And he would devote real federal resources to confront the opioid crisis.
If anybody does, Mainers know the way life should be. It is not what we have got. We can do better. With Biden at the helm, we can right the ship. Together, let’s send the current occupant of the White House back to the golf course before he wreaks anymore havoc on American lives.