We know that an important factor in making lasting change is voting and connecting our community directly with our elected officials.
In 2017, we organized regular meetings between the community and the staff of Senators King and Collins, and Representative Golden (once he took office in 2019). Each meeting provided the community with the opportunity to discuss topics important to them, and for their personal stories to be conveyed to our Senators and Representative. The group was invited to meet directly with Senator Collins.
The meetings eventually were led by volunteers, and stopped when the pandemic hit; we hope to resume them once it is safe to do so.
In 2020, our membership indicated a desire for us becoming more active in public education around legislation and elections. We initiated an effort to educate our membership on when and how to vote, and candidates' stances on issues affecting the low-income and working communities. Our 501(c)4 also endorsed candidates for the first time in our history.
We are continuing this effort in 2021 with a focus on local races, particularly the Bangor City Council and School Committee.
The annual Legislative Breakfast event is another way that we bring the low-income and working community in direct contact with our elected officials. Co-hosted with the Eastern Maine Labor Council, this event (now virtual since the pandemic) typically brings 8-10 state legislators from our region to discuss a number of topics in the current legislature that affect unions and low-income communities with those directly affected.