Can’t Win on the Facts? Just Make Stuff Up!

In an astonishingly dishonest turn of events, the Maine Republican Party has targeted Senate President Troy Jackson (D-Allagash) by posting lawn signs falsely linking him to the “Defund the Police” movement.  The lawn signs, which have begun popping up in Aroostook County, mimic the coloring and design of Senator Jackson’s own lawn signs, but with the phrase “Defund the Police” added.  Tiny print at the bottom of the signs discloses the truth – the signs have been paid for by the Maine Republican Party.

In fact, police funding in Maine has increased during Senator Jackson’s time in office, and he voted against the only police defunding bill to come to the floor of the Senate this year.  “This whole tactic is outrageous,” said Corey Alley, a Maine State Corrections Officer and President of AFSCME Local 2968, which represents all State Corrections Officers in Maine. “We know from our own experience just how supportive Senator Jackson is of public safety workers like us.” Alley noted that in the current legislative session alone, Jackson was the lead sponsor of legislation that recognizes the high stress environment he and his fellow officers work in every day by allowing them to claim disability benefits for heart disease and hypertension.  When Governor Mills signed Jackson’s bill into law, Maine became just the 7th state in the nation to provide such benefits to corrections officers. Alley also cited Jackson’s lead sponsorship of legislation also signed into law by Governor Mills, which closed a loophole in a 1998 state retirement law that forced a large percentage of his fellow officers to work until the age of 62 in order to receive a full pension benefit.  Due to the physical demands and high stress associated with the job, officers hired after 1998 are only required to work until the age of 55 to receive full retirement benefits. 

Finally, Alley noted, Jackson was instrumental in passage of a new law that would make it extremely difficult for future governors to privatize state correctional facilities and other state services by requiring that privatization proposals undergo rigorous financial reviews to ensure they actually save taxpayers money and provide equal or better services.  “All three of these initiatives were pushed over the finish line by Senator Jackson and signed into law by Democratic Governor Janet Mills,” Alley said.   “Out of all three bills, we only had two Republican members of the House vote yes and that was just on one of the bills.  Every other Republican member of the House and Senate voted no and we have the roll call votes to prove it.”

“Senator Jackson is in a hard-fought re-election campaign that has the Republican opposition resorting to sleazy and deceitful tactics,” said AFSCME Council 93 Executive Director Mark Bernard.  “They obviously feel like they can’t run against Senator Jackson’s actual record and win, so they’re flat out lying about that record and hoping Maine voters won’t notice.  Our members in Maine know the truth, however – Troy Jackson is a friend to the public safety community.”

AFSCME Council 93 has endorsed Senator Jackson’s re-election campaign.  The Maine general election will be held on November 8th, 2022.