Maine will benefit from the Build Back Better plan. That’s why Jared Golden should be supporting him.
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Patricia Rubert-Nason of Fort Kent is a member of the Maine Sierra Club executive committee and leads a local Sierra Club community action team.
For the past year and a half, families in Maine have been battling the pandemic. Many people in our communities have been laid off from their jobs and have struggled to keep the lights on and stay afloat. Small businesses have closed or been forced to lay off workers – this has left too many downtown storefronts boarded up and struggling to attract shoppers. The closure of schools has left many parents embarrassed, and too many mothers and fathers have been forced to quit their jobs to help homeschool. Although we are never the same after such a seismic event, we now have a unique opportunity to rebuild.
That is why Congress must not continue to delay passage of the Build Back Better Act. The blocking of this most important bill has been excruciating. And it is both surprising and disappointing that Rep. Jared Golden, our own member of the House, was not a strong supporter of a bill that would bring so much relief to Mainers.
The list of investments that the Build Back Better Act will make in our communities is long and their impact would be profound. Extending child tax credit payments would reduce child poverty. Funding free and universal preschool education and affordable child care programs would ease the crushing burden of child care costs, better prepare our children for school, and make child care more accessible in our communities. rural communities. And Medicare coverage for hearing care and lower prescription drug prices would reduce the burden of health care costs for Maine’s many seniors. From the youngest to the oldest, we would all benefit.
It is true that some of these provisions could be better targeted, and it is commendable that lawmakers want to address some of these outstanding issues during the negotiation process. However, we cannot lose sight of the real goal, which is to ensure that the communities of Maine are the beneficiaries of this incredible list of investments.
Of all the historic investments described in Build Back Better, perhaps none are as desperately needed as those that enable us to tackle climate change. Climate change threatens everything the Mainers hold dear. Warming waters threaten the lobster industry. Rising sea levels threaten our iconic coasts. Milder winters threaten our moose and hotter, drier summers threaten our woods and waters. Our fossil fuel emissions are a debt that we leave to our children and that will be paid off in the form of a poorer world. The Build Back Better Act would put us on the right track to avoid the worst consequences of climate change and give hope to future generations.
The Build Back Better Act would benefit Mainers from the time the bill is passed and will continue for generations to come. It may not be perfect, but it would be a historic investment in our present and our future. This is too important an opportunity to pass up. The Golden representative is expected to vote for the Build Back Better Act. Maine’s future is worth it.