Candidate for Maine Governor Impresses AFSCME Members in Visit to Local Union Meeting 04/23/2014

Scarborough, ME - AFSCME corrections officers in Maine got a preview last night of the type of labor-friendly governor Mike Michaud would make when the candidate stopped by a regular monthly meeting of Local 2968 in Scarborough.
The AFSCME Council 93 endorsed candidate spent more than an hour at the meeting, talking individually with corrections officers and members of other AFSCME locals before adeptly and honestly answering a wide-range of questions from members.  Michaud, who has a lifetime AFSCME voting record of 99% in Congress, remained at the meeting until every single question was asked and answered.  He talked extensively about his union background and his service as a shop steward and officer of USW Local 4 at the Great Northern Paper Company in Millinocket. Michaud noted that his long track record shows he is not afraid to take on anyone “Democrat or Republican” who attacks union rights and benefits.  When asked by Local 2968 member Dave Gott if he would support binding arbitration, Michaud replied without hesitation that he would “absolutely” support the measure.  He also pledged to address prison safety and funding issues and promised to protect public employee pensions.  Michaud has also agreed to take a close look at the Massachusetts “Pacheco Law,” which protects taxpayers and public employees from privatization schemes that eliminate decent jobs and reduce the quality of service without achieving true savings for the taxpayer.

Candidate for governor
  Candidate for Governor Mike Michaud talks with AFSCME Corrections Officer Dave Gott

Michaud, who is currently serving his 6th term in the U.S. House of Representatives, was unanimously endorsed by the Council 93 Executive Board in February. Last night, he picked up the endorsement of Local 2968 in another unanimous vote.  

Michaud represents the state’s best hope to unseat Tea-Party Republican Governor Paul LePage, a man recently named by Politico as "America's Craziest Governor."  LePage made his negative feelings towards blue-collar workers and organized labor abundantly clear in his earliest days in office when he ordered murals depicting labor history removed from the lobby of the state department of labor.  LePage also ordered the renaming of the labor department seven conference rooms, For many years, the rooms were named in honor of former labor leaders including Frances Perkins, who became the nation’s first female labor secretary and lived in and is buried in Maine.  Since then, the LePage Administration has gone after public employee pensions and has essentially ignored a number of safety issues brought forward by AFSCME corrections officers.   

LePage was first elected in 2010 with just 38% of the vote, besting four other candidates including Independent Elliott Cutler who came within 1.7 percentage points of winning.  Democrat Libby Mitchell finished a distant third in 2010 after battling four other candidates in the Democratic primary.
But this race is different.  This time, the Democrat Michaud is running unopposed in the primary.  He is also running with a strong base of support in his 2nd Congressional District, an area of the state that LePage needs in order to pull off another miracle win.  Cutler is back in the race but is polling far under the support he received in 2010.  Nevertheless, the race remains close and AFSCME members need to work extremely hard to prevent a second term for LePage who continues to attack public employees and move to cut funding for the essential public services AFSCME members provide. 

AFSCME members interested in learning more about the Maine Governor’s race are encouraged to email Jim Durkin, Council 93’s Assistant Director of Legislation, Political Action and Communications.