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U.S. House

Pingree says policies are needed on health care, climate change

By Stephen Betts | Sep 29, 2020
U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine.

North Haven — Rep. Chellie Pingree said she is hoping Congress will have a new administration to work with over the next four years to undo the damage from the policies of the current president.

"This is the most important election of our lifetime. We've had a really challenging four years with this particular administration. I'm hoping we can work with a new administration. There will be a lot of work to do to repair the damage done, undoing some of the policies of the current administration," the Democratic Congresswoman said.

She said that without a new administration there will be a real challenge dealing with issues such as the pandemic, recovering the economy, dealing with health care and facing climate change.

Pingree is seeking reelection for a seventh consecutive term in the U.S. House. She is being challenged by Republican Jay Allen.

Pingree has lived on North Haven most of her life, coming to Maine as a teenager. She served on the town's school board, represented Knox County in the state Senate for eight years, including serving as majority leader in the 1990s, served as president of the national organization Common Cause for four years, then in 2008 ran for Congress and was elected. She has been reelected five times.

She serves on Congress' Agriculture and Appropriations committees.

Pingree owned and operated a knitting kit business on the island for 10 years and currently, her family owns the inn, Nebo Lodge, and an organic farm on North Haven.

She said health care reform is needed, saying if the pandemic has taught the country anything it is that a person's health insurance should not be tied to their jobs. Many people, who have lost jobs during the pandemic, now have no health insurance.

She also said she has been a supporter of Medicare for All, which could be implemented over time by reducing the age at which a person qualifies for Medicare. She said she would also support a public option. In the end, universal access is needed.

Pingree said President Trump's handling of the pandemic rates barely above zero.

"At every turn he has either made the wrong decision, covered up important information and certainly has not had the health of the people foremost in his mind," she said.

"He's shown a total lack of humanity and understanding for the number of people who have died, families who have been affected," the Congresswoman said.

The Democrat pointed out the House has passed a bill to supporting more funding for schools to reopen, transportation systems and almost $1 trillion to states and municipalities of which Maine would get $5 billion. The money would also go for more testing and tracing.

Pingree said the Senate should not vote to confirm a new Supreme Court vacancy so close to an election. She said it is the height of hypocrisy for the Republican-majority Senate to act on President Trump's nomination, while four years ago refusing to act on President Obama's nomination, which was made months earlier in an election year.

A new administration is needed to deal with climate change, she said, noting that President Trump's administration has denied it for the past four years. She said all references to climate change are being removed from government websites.

The country needs to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, support renewable energy and approve new construction standards that reduce energy use. These actions would create jobs and save people money, because they would be spending less on heating.

Climate change will harm the fishing industry as the Gulf of Maine is warming more than nearly any other part of the ocean in the world. Sea level rise will also impact sewer and water systems.

Pingree said she would support repealing President Trump's tax cuts that benefited the wealthy and large corporations.

The Congresswoman said reform is needed in law enforcement, noting the House has approved a bill to provide more training on racial equality, banning choke holds and ending the practice of giving local police military equipment.

In terms of foreign policy, Pingree said the number one change needed is to undo the President's policies that have offended allies and made friends with enemies including military dictatorships.

Election 2020 - Chellie Pingree - Candidate: U.S. Congress District #1
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Comments (2)
Posted by: Crawford L Robinson | Oct 13, 2020 12:26

Still waiting for that Trump healthcare plan. Probably gonna be rolled out along with the infrastructure plan we were told about 4 years ago. Then again, with a senate majority blocking all the attempted 'tricks' and enabling a reality show host who knows what will happen?

Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Oct 13, 2020 08:40

Just sounds like more Democratic talking points instead of real action.  The truth is despite using every trick in the book to remove Trump from office they have overwhelmingly passed every one of his proposals even his border wall and more spending for the military.  Politicians like to use words like "supports" and "working towards" but when it comes to actually doing something they fail to act mostly because their big donors don't want it.  If you support medicare for all where is it ?  Democrats have failed because they are offering the American public nothing.  If they were we would not have a reality show host for a President.

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