This morning, U.S. Senate candidate Sara Gideon hosted a roundtable with Westbrook Mayor Mike Foley and Windham Town Council Chair Jarrod Maxfield to discuss the challenges their municipalities face and how federal funding is necessary to support essential services like public safety and education in their communities.
“Now more than ever, Mainers depend on their state and local governments to provide critical services like protecting public safety, keeping our communities clean, maintaining our roads and utilities, and ensuring our children continue to learn and grow,” said U.S. Senate candidate Sara Gideon. “Maine’s state and local governments have stepped up to keep Mainers safe and lead our response to the coronavirus pandemic, but they are facing serious challenges in the months ahead. Congress should have passed additional funding for state and local governments weeks ago, and we cannot allow political posturing and partisanship in Washington to block funding that our states, counties, cities, and towns need to help Maine through this crisis.”
“This has affected our municipal budget in a way we have not seen in a long time, and in many ways we did not see in the 2008 recession,” said Windham Town Council Chair Jarrod Maxfield. “Each municipality, each town is worried about the next year because while this is happening now, it’s going to progress down the road. We really need help from the federal government to deal with the burden of this crisis.”
“This situation is like a small tsunami – right now it’s damaging beaches and feels distant, but soon it will be damaging the homes, financial budgets, and businesses of Mainers,” said Westbrook Mayor Mike Foley. “We’re making difficult decisions we didn’t plan on, but this isn’t the end of this crisis. We need more support from the federal government to continue providing crucial services that everyone expects and deserves here in Maine.”
As local governments in Maine have already been forced to lay off or furlough employees and recent reports warn that crucial services like public safety and education are at serious risk, Senate Republicans have politicized and pushed back against additional funding for state and local governments, characterizing additional funding as “blue state bailouts” and suggesting states should go bankrupt rather than seek aid from the federal government.
Sara led the Maine Legislature to take swift bipartisan action to expand unemployment insurance, make sure schools have the resources they need, and increase funding for testing. She has repeatedly called for the same kind of leadership from the federal government to provide funding for state and local governments, and put the resources in place for a robust testing and contact tracing system so that states can begin to reopen safely.