In his State of the City address earlier this year, Portland Mayor Michael Brennan said that he wanted to explore raising the city’s minimum wage to help address growing inequality. After months of meetings, you have a chance to have your voice heard on the proposed increase this week.

On Thursday, December 11, 2014 at 6:00 PM, the Finance Committee of the Portland City Council will hold a public hearing and the public will be able to speak. The proposed minimum wage increase would raise Portland’s minimum wage from $7.50 to $9.50 in 2015, to $10.10 in 2016, and to $10.68 in 2017. It will also index the minimum wage to inflation going forward from 2017. It would only apply to workers who are 18 years old and over.

We are excited about the possibility of Portland’s lowest wage workers getting a much needed and much deserved raise. However, we are also very concerned about the exemption of workers under the age of 18. We know that there are many at-risk and vulnerable teens who are already struggling with homelessness or working to help support their families. By excluding these workers from a wage increase, we fear more teens will be at risk of homelessness and put in other vulnerable situations.

The Maine Women’s Lobby will be at the hearing to support the plan to raise the minimum wage and tie it to inflation, but we will also call on the Finance Committee to include workers under 18 years old.

Portland Finance Committee
Thursday, December 11, 2014
6:00 PM
Council Chambers of City Hall
389 Congress St., Portland

Do you want to make your voice heard on Thursday evening? If you plan to attend the committee hearing, email Kathy at kkilraindelrio@mainewomen.org and we’ll make sure you have the information you need to speak on this proposal.

 

We hope to see you there!

Over the decades, courts have been key when it comes to our rights – both protecting them and not. Our right to vote, our civil rights, our reproductive rights, the quality of our air & water, our health care, our privacy, and more have all been impacted by the federal courts.

On Wednesday, December 10th, come listen to those on the front lines in the battle to protect our rights and about how courts matter for all of us.

Featured Speakers:

Julie Ebenstein  Staff Attorney for the ACLU Voting Rights Project

Zach Heiden  Legal Director, ACLU Maine

Sammie Moshenberg  Former Director of Washington Operations, NCJW

Eliza Townsend  Executive Director, Maine Women’s Policy Center

 

WHEN:    Wednesday, December 10th
                     6:30 – 8:30 pm

WHERE:  First Parish Church, 425 Congress St. Portland

 

 

Light refreshments will be served.
 

RSVP to Molly Bogart mbogart@mainewomen.org 

This past week we took some time to think about all that we are thankful for. Thank YOU!What stands out the most is that we are thankful for you and for all our volunteers, donors, activists, and supporters. It’s vital that women have a strong voice when policy decisions are being made, and we’re proud to have been that voice for Maine women since 1979. We are able to be there for Maine women because you are there for us. Thank you for all YOU do to help make the future brighter for Maine’s women and girls!

 

Preparing for the 127th Legislative Session

The First Regular Session of the 127th Maine Legislature convenes on December 3rd and the action at the State House will really heat up in January. That’s when we’ll let you know more about the bills we’ll be focused on throughout the session, but we are already beginning to set our priorities now.

There will be many opportunities for you to get involved during the legislative session. One of the first will be attending the Maine Women’s Day at the State House on Tuesday, January 20th. You’ll have a chance to connect with organizations working on the issues that matter to you starting at 9:00 AM at the Maine State House in Augusta. Mark your calendar today and stay tuned for more details.

While we don’t yet know what bills will be submitted by legislators for this session, we do know issues affecting the economic security of Maine women and our families will be a big focus. Earlier this year, we published Building a Prosperous Maine: A Roadmap to Economic Security for Women and Their Families to shine a spotlight on some of the polices that matter most for the economic future of Maine. You can let us know which economic security policies matter most to you by visiting bit.ly/mwlsurvey.

Are you interested in engaging women in your community on the policy decisions the legislature will be making in 2015? Contact Molly at 207-622-0851 x2 or mbogart@mainewomen.org.

 

Toxic Hot Seat Watch Party

There’s an exciting event coming to your computer screen. We are going to be streaming the documentary Toxic Hot Seat, which tells the story about toxic flame retardants and how they’ve gotten into our homes and bodies.

Our friends at Safer Chemicals Healthy Families are streaming the film for free on their website from December 1-7, 2014 and they are letting our network have access to it, too. RSVP now and don’t miss your chance to see this amazing documentary.

Here in Maine, we’re going to have a special virtual watch party on Tuesday, December 2nd at 7:00 PM, when you can join a chatroom to discuss the film while you watch. Visit the chatroom at bit.ly/toxichotseatwatchparty at 7:00 PM on Tuesday to chat with others in Maine who are watching Toxic Hot Seat at the same time as you.

Toxic Hot Seat featuring Hannah Pingree Filmmakers James Redford and Kirby    Walker’s Toxic Hot Seat tells the story of a growing  tide of activists, journalists and citizen groups who  are bringing an end to the era of manipulation and  misinformation about hidden toxic chemicals. It  even features Hannah Pingree, former  Speaker of the Maine House of  Representatives, and our Stroller Brigade on Capitol Hill!

Watch the Trailer: bit.ly/ToxicHotSeatTrailer

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about toxic chemicals, their negative health effects, and what you can do to protect your family.

RSVP here today!

 

Words from Wise Women

On September 27th, we honored five women leaders at the Maine Women’s Lobby Gala: The Voice of Maine Women – Loud and Clear. Mary Herman, Zam Zam Mohamud, Cheryl Miller, Abbie Strout, and Attorney General Janet Mills each shared inspiring words of wisdom that evening. Due to your many requests, we have posted their remarks on our blog at bit.ly/galaremarks. Here are some of our favorite quotes from the evening:

Mary Herman:  “What do we want elected officials to know…. My answer is simple: that all Maine children will face a strong future, have a strong healthy start, health care, day care, public pre-K programs, family literacy programs. And I challenge and support all of you–women and men–to continue to be loud and clear advocates for Maine.”

Zam Zam Mohamud:  “We can all do this.  We can concentrate on the good spirit in each of us and see each other as individuals – not just a white woman or a Somali man, not just a mail man or nurse.  We can see what each person does and get to know what makes them special.  We can show respect and make sure we say out loud that we appreciate when someone does something positive – instead of just complaining about the negative.  We can put ourselves in each others’ shoes. Our community is so small. We can make it what we want if we just show up and ask, ‘How can I help?’”

Cheryl Miller:  “As I close tonight I leave you with this – Try on a new lens, and dream about what you would like Maine to be. I see a Maine with bustling downtowns, a Maine with the best educated and healthiest people in the nation, a Maine with abundant natural resources, preserved and serving our people with economic and recreational opportunities. I see a Maine where our children and grandchildren can live and prosper.”

Abbie Strout: “When I got to college I discovered that there were powerful politicians who wanted to tell me (and all women) what to do – by taking away our right to abortion. I learned that there were women across the world, in the United States and even in my community who could not access their right to choose. I began to understand that their human right to make the most intimate, personal, life changing decision was being denied to them by bad policy and oppressive social norms. I realized that this struggle was not over. That sparked my passion.”

Attorney General Janet Mills: “The Maine Women’s Lobby has improved the lives of thousands of Mainers. At the same time, you have fulfilled and sustained my life as well,…more than you will ever know. It is because of our strong shoulders and strong hearts that we will endure for years to come.

“So, in this season of change, of remembrance, of transition and celebration, as stardust fills my eyes a little earlier each day, I take comfort in the friendship, the steadfastness, the legacy and the drive of the Maine Women’s Lobby and of all who have joined hands with us over the years, those who stir things up, who choose to make a difference, who lead in the march of women’s progress.”

Read more at: bit.ly/galaremarks

 

#GivingTuesday

In recent years, more and more Americans have begun to participate in #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

If you are participating in #GivingTuesday, we hope you’ll consider making a gift to the Maine Women’s Lobby to ensure that we can continue to be the voice of Maine women in Augusta and beyond. And you can help spread the word about your support by letting your friends and family know about your gift on social media with the hashtag #GivingTuesday. To have a little extra fun on Tuesday, take an #UNselfie – take a photo of you with a sign about why you are making your gift and post it with the hashtags #UNselfie and #GivingTuesday.

There are several ways to make gift to the Maine Women’s Lobby:

  • Give online at http://bit.ly/mwldonate;
  • Mail a check to Maine Women’s Lobby, 124 Sewall St., Augusta, ME 04330; or
  • Call Molly at 207-622-0851 x2.

Thank you for your support!

 

Past Editions of News from the Maine Women’s Lobby

Due to a technical issue, we weren’t able to send our October News to your inbox. But you can read that and other past issues of our 2014 e-newsletters on our blog. Are you interested in helping contribute content to our blog in 2015? Email us at info@mainewomen.org org or call Kathy at 207-622-0851 x3.

Read more at www.mainewomen.org/blogs.

 

Connecting with You

Email is only one way to connect with the Maine Women’s Lobby. Be sure to like our page on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and on Pinterest. You can also connect with us in person as a volunteer. For more information on how you can help, contact Kathy at 207-622-0851 x3 or kkilraindelrio@mainewomen.org.

 

Happy Halloween! As we look forward to next week’s election, we can’t help but wonder what tricks and treats will come out of it. No matter who wins at the local, state, and federal levels on Tuesday, we know for sure that some lawmakers will put forward terrifying policies that will attack our ability to make our own reproductive decisions, make it harder for Maine families to move out of poverty, and restrict access to health care and early childhood education. Whether or not we turn out to vote will determine the future of issues that matter most to Maine women and girls so that we can all live lives free from violence and discrimination with access to health care and economic security.

And after the votes are counted, our work isn’t over. We’ll need to stand up and raise our voices to make positive legislative progress in 2015. That’s why we ask you to consider becoming a Loyal Lobbyist by making a monthly membership gift to the Maine Women’s Lobby. Your ongoing support will ensure that we can continue to be the voice of Maine women in the halls of the statehouse and beyond. Your recurring gift of $5, $10, $20 or more will make a real difference in 2015 as we work to turn the ideas we shared in Building a Prosperous Maine into action – and it will also bolster our efforts to defeat attacks on our rights, our health, our financial security, and our futures.

Become a Loyal Lobbyist Today

 

Women’s Voices Matter – Make Yours Heard on Election Day

Tuesday, November 4th – Election Day – is just around the corner. When women turn out to vote, our elected leaders listen more closely to us when policy decisions are being made. Please make a plan to vote on Tuesday. If you have any questions about voting – how to register, finding your polling place, learning what questions and candidates will be on your ballot – visit our voter resource page at http://www.mainewomenspolicycenter.org/election2014.

Make a pledge to vote on Election Day.  Join women across the state who have already added their names to the pledge:  I Pledge to Vote

All month, Molly Bogart, our Administrative Assistant and Grassroots Organizer, worked hard to register voters so that more women’s voices are heard at the ballot box on Tuesday. She’s also been working with a team of volunteers to have conversations with women voters across the state to remind them to vote and help answer any questions they have. We’ll be doing a final phone bank on Monday and you can help from the comfort of your own home – all you need is a phone. If you’d like to volunteer, contact Molly at 207.622.0851 x2 or mbogart@mainewomen.org.

 

Happenings at the Maine Women’s Lobby

Here’s a quick snapshot of some of what we’ve been up to this month.

October 1: Eliza and Kathy led a Social Change Workshop for grantees of the Maine Women’s Fund at the University of Maine at Augusta where we helped partner organizations consider strategies that address the root causes of the problems their organizations deal with on a daily basis.

October 1: Danna was invited to Washington, D.C. by the Pew Charitable Trust to share strategies and experiences from our most recent success in expanding access to dental health care.

October 9: Eliot Cutler and Congressman Mike Michaud participated in the Maine Gubernatorial Forum on Economic Security for Women and Their Families in Hannaford Hall at USM. The forum was presented by the Maine Women’s Policy Center with these sponsoring organizations: AAUW of Maine, Grandmothers for Reproductive Rights, Maine Center for Economic Policy, Maine Children’s Alliance, Maine Family Planning, Maine People’s Resource Center, Maine Women’s Policy Center, National Council of Jewish Women—Maine Chapter, USM Women & Gender Studies Program, and WMPG, as well as these participating organizations: Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center, Maine Centers for Women, Work, and Community, Maine Equal Justice Partners, Maine Women’s Fund. Susan Sharon of MPBN was the moderator. Governor Paul LePage declined to participate.

October 21: SheTALKS is presented several times a year by friends of the Maine Women’s Lobby in the Bangor region. This month, Danna addressed a group of women at the University of Maine in Orono about recent legislative actions as well as the impact the coming election will have on legislation in 2015.

October 23: Eliza and Danna spoke to the Women’s Section of the Maine Bar Association about the importance of the federal courts, the need for increasing access to earned paid sick days & paid family leave, and other policies that improve women’s financial security and allow them to meet their responsibilities both at work and at home.

 

Spotlight on our Board of Directors

This fall, the Maine Women’s Lobby and Maine Women’s Policy Center each welcomed new members to their boards of directors. Deborah Burd of Lewiston and Devin Dukes of South Portland joined the board of the Maine Women’s Lobby, and Kate Dzurec-Dunton of Farmingdale and Andrea Irwin of Portland joined the board of the Maine Women’s Policy Center. We appreciate their generosity and commitment to our mission.

We loved reading A passion for making change featuring MWL board member Paige Holmes in the latest edition of Maine Women. They highlight her work at the Public Theater in Lewiston as well as her activism, including fighting to get toxic chemicals out of our everyday products. In it she says, “I plan to stay involved and active on this issue and any that involve the health and welfare of my family, our environment, or social and political empowerment. If you don’t stand for something, you stand for nothing – making you a victim to the whims of others. I want my boys to see what can be done when you couple caring with action.” Read the whole piece at bit.ly/13ppixz.

Earlier this year, MWL board member Pat Ryan was inducted into the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame. This week she was honored again – this time by the ACLU of Maine, which presented her with the Roger Baldwin Award. As Alison Beyea, Executive Director of the ACLU of Maine, said in a press release about the award: “For over 40 years, Pat Ryan has been at the forefront of the movement for gender equality in Maine, working to ensure that all Maine women and girls are able to lead lives of dignity, free from violence and discrimination. We salute Pat for helping build a Maine where women and girls have equal opportunity under the law.” Read more at http://bit.ly/1nXxFtl.

 

Words from Wise Women

On September 27, we honored five women leaders at the Maine Women’s Lobby Gala: The Voice of Maine Women – Loud and Clear. Mary Herman, Zam Zam Mohamud, Cheryl Miller, Abbie Strout, and Attorney General Janet Mills each shared inspiring words of wisdom that evening. Here are some of our favorite quotes:

Mary Herman:  “What do we want elected officials to know…. My answer is simple: that all Maine children will face a strong future, have a strong healthy start, health care, day care, public pre-K programs, family literacy programs. And I challenge and support all of you–women and men–to continue to be loud and clear advocates for Maine.”

Zam Zam Mohamud:  “We can all do this.  We can concentrate on the good spirit in each of us and see each other as individuals – not just a white woman or a Somali man, not just a mail man or nurse.  We can see what each person does and get to know what makes them special.  We can show respect and make sure we say out loud that we appreciate when someone does something positive – instead of just complaining about the negative.  We can put ourselves in each others’ shoes. Our community is so small. We can make it what we want if we just show up and ask, ‘How can I help?’”

Cheryl Miller:  “As I close tonight I leave you with this – Try on a new lens, and dream about what you would like Maine to be. I see a Maine with bustling downtowns, a Maine with the best educated and healthiest people in the nation, a Maine with abundant natural resources, preserved and serving our people with economic and recreational opportunities. I see a Maine where our children and grandchildren can live and prosper.”

Abbie Strout: “When I got to college I discovered that there were powerful politicians who wanted to tell me (and all women) what to do – by taking away our right to abortion. I learned that there were women across the world, in the United States and even in my community who could not access their right to choose. I began to understand that their human right to make the most intimate, personal, life changing decision was being denied to them by bad policy and oppressive social norms. I realized that this struggle was not over. That sparked my passion.”

Attorney General Janet Mills: “The Maine Women’s Lobby has improved the lives of thousands of Mainers. At the same time, you have fulfilled and sustained my life as well,…more than you will ever know. It is because of our strong shoulders and strong hearts that we will endure for years to come.

“So, in this season of change, of remembrance, of transition and celebration, as stardust fills my eyes a little earlier each day, I take comfort in the friendship, the steadfastness, the legacy and the drive of the Maine Women’s Lobby and of all who have joined hands with us over the years, those who stir things up, who choose to make a difference, who lead in the march of women’s progress.”

Read more at: bit.ly/galaremarks

 

Connecting with You

Email is only one way to connect with the Maine Women’s Lobby. Be sure to like our page on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and follow us on Pinterest. You can also connect with us in person as a volunteer. After Election Day, we’ll be mobilizing women across the state to share their stories, talk with their lawmakers, and take action so that together we can turn ideas into action in 2015. Want to help? Contact Kathy at 207.622.0851 x3 or kkilraindelrio@mainewomen.org.

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The final countdown

See all: election|Voting

28 Oct 2014

Women’s voices matter. Make yours heard on Election Day – November 4th.

If you’re feeling like us, you’re more than ready for the bombardment of lawn signs, advertisements, phone calls, and mailers to end. But you know, too, that Election Day won’t just bring the end of campaign season. It’s the chance for our state-wide community to select who will have the power to make laws on the issues that matter most to our lives – economic security, access to health care, and your ability to make your own reproductive decisions.

The choices we make on Election Day will affect our lives for years to come. Mainers are electing our next governor, a U.S. senator, two U.S. representatives, 35 state senators, and 151 state representatives – as well as deciding numerous local offices and statewide ballot and bond questions. Your vote will help decide the future of our state.

When women turn out at the polls, it strengthens our power when policy decisions are being made.

There are several easy ways to vote now through Election Day.

  • You can vote in person at your town or city hall any time during normal business hours today through October 30th – it just takes a few minutes. Find your town or city hall contact information here to check their business hours.
  • Polls will also be open until 8pm on Election Day, Tuesday, November 4th. Find your polling place here.
  • If you have requested an absentee ballot, remember to mail it in as soon as possible. All ballots must be received by the clerk by 8pm on November 4th.

Do you have questions about registering to vote, the location of your polling place, or what’s on the ballot? Visit the Maine Women’s Policy Center’s online voter resource for this information and more: bit.ly/mevoterhelp.

Would you like to help the Maine Women’s Policy Center get out the vote? Call or email Molly at (207) 622-0851 x2 or info@mainewomen.org.

See you at the polls!

Eliza, Danna, Kathy, and Molly

P.S.  Please remind your friends and family to vote, too. Together we can make sure women’s voices are heard loud and clear.

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