UnionMaine

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Straight answers from Ethan Strimling

EDITOR: I won’t vote for a candidate based solely on party affiliation. The readers of UnionMaine asked questions and Ethan Strimling has given his answers. Whether you agree or disagree you need to judge one thing first. This is a candidate for office and you can actually understand the answers. He invited questions and by answering clearly and not in platitudes shows that he respects the voters of Maine. Candidates must tell us where they stand, because we should never vote for someone if we have to hope or guess what they will do. Respect for the Voter, it feels good. Thank You, Ethan Strimling. Hello UnionMaine Readers, Thank you for all of the great questions. I’ve done my best to give you straightforward, and succinct answers. You can always find out more about me and my positions at www.Ethan08.com, or you can email me at ethan@ethan08.com. I always welcome your questions and your input, and I would certainly welcome your support in this campaign. Sincerely, Ethan Strimling Answers Below:
1. Social Security Offset State employees that have contributed to the Social Security system are punished by the Social Security offset. As a member of congress, will you work to repeal this unjust law? What will you do? Yes, I will work to repeal the law. The issue is funding and in Congress I will work to re-prioritize our government spending to free up money to end this injustice.

2. Describe what you would do to improve the Department of Labor and how you would make it friendlier to labor. The most important thing we can do to make the Department of Labor friendlier to labor is to elect a Democratic President who will appoint a Commissioner that honors workers and unions! You can bet that I will work hard over the next year to make sure we elect a President that will make labor a priority. Will you support a card check law on the Federal level? Yes. Support and Enforce prevailing wage across the country? Yes.

3. Unions believe in the right of workers to organize and to bargain collectively. Will you work with Unions to extend and return collective bargaining rights to Federal workers that have been denied bargaining rights? Yes. In fact I worked tirelessly to give state workers the same right here in Maine. As Chair of the Labor Committee, I got this bill through the Committee before it was eventually defeated in the Senate. I will continue this fight in Congress.

4. What are other major issues upon which your campaign is based? My campaign is and will continue to be based on economic issues and the squeeze middle class families are feeling as the gap between the rich and the poor grows wider and wider. I have worked by entire life on issues around economic justice. To that end, rolling back the Bush tax cuts would be one of my first priorities as your US Representative. Tax relief should go to middle class people who need it the most, not the wealthiest Americans who don’t. I am also focused on ending our dependence on costly foreign oil. Our addiction is hurting our country on many levels; economically as the price of gasoline and heating oil climbs above what middle class families can afford. Environmentally, as our planet succumbs to the effects of global warming; and finally, our foreign policy is suffering as America enters foreign quagmires all in the name of oil. In Congress, I will fight to end our addiction to oil, as I have in Maine’s state senate, working for two years to pass our state’s first tax incentive for the creation of wind power. Finally, is my opposition to the war in Iraq. In my first year in the legislature, I introduced and led passage of a resolution that put Maine’s senate on the map as the first statewide legislative body in our country to come out against the war. But I am even more convinced today that this war is senseless, and it is taking our attention away from what should be happening here at home- like focusing on the economy and our health care crisis. Getting our brave troops out of Iraq safely and quickly, and restoring our reputation around the world, will be at the forefront of my campaign’s message.
5.
What is your position on the war in Iraq and how soon it can be ended? I have been opposed to the war since before it began. I believe we should begin bringing our troops home immediately.

6. On the second amendment, do you believe your views are consistent with the majority of Mainers? Yes. Do you believe the second amendment is an individual right or a collective right? I believe it is both. Do you see the need for more gun laws or do you believe we should enforce the laws we have? I believe we should enforce the laws we have now. We should also re- institute the assault weapons ban and strengthen our laws around background checks.

7. Would you vote to allow undocumented workers to collect Social Security? Those people who pay into the Social Security system should receive its benefits.

8. What is your position on Bush tax cuts? I would repeal the tax cuts that went to wealthiest Americans. Then, I would dedicate that money to middle income tax relief and to meeting some of our vital domestic needs, such as the social security offset.

9. What role does the Federal Government have in helping to alleviate the health care crisis in this country? No question- the federal government should institute a single payer health care system so that all people have quality healthcare. In Congress, I would support any health care initiative that expands coverage to more people. Our country already has a system in place, Medicare, which covers all of our senior citizens We must do the same for all people and I would start by covering every single child. It is wrong that in the wealthiest country in the world, we have people sick and dying because they don’t have access to affordable, quality healthcare. We know what to do- we just need leaders with courage to stand up and fight for it.

10. What do Mainers need to know about you that will help us to decide how to vote? For the past three years, I’ve been the Senate Chair of the Labor Committee. During that time I have led efforts to raise the minimum wage, expand unemployment benefits for laid off Mainers, and provide for workers who are injured on the job. I have fought to provide health care for Fire Fighters, enhance retirement for mental health and correctional workers, and stood up to General Dynamics when they wanted to outsource union jobs. I have always made fighting for the pocket books of Maine families my top priority Both of my parents are members of unions and as Chair of the Labor Committee for the past three years, working Maine families have been my primary concern. In Congress I will emulate Congressman Mike Michaud’s record on labor and will be an invaluable ally to working families across Maine. For more info beyond labor issues, go to www.ethan08.com.

11. What does he think about cutting Medicare benefits that cover the cost of home health care for our elders? This is a program that pays for the health services an elder receives in their home. Like having a nurse go into the home to do a routine check up or having a physical therapist go into the home to do some physical therapy to help keep the person mobile. Is it better to put these people in a nursing home where those costs are high, the care is not that great? Not to mention that the elders would rather stay in their own homes and be comfortable. The work I do is not covered under Medicare. Home Care for Maine does not receive any Medicare money. HCM does not employ nurses that go into the home for these types of services. But a lot of the consumers that Home Care for Maine helps do receive these types of services from other agencies like Health Reach.
Thank you so much for your work. I am with you and I am opposed to cutting home health care benefits for the elderly. Two of my grandparents received home health care in many forms before they passed away. It was vital to their being able to enjoy the final years of their lives and live them with dignity. My family was very thankful for it. Is Mr. Strimling aware of PCAs and PSSs and the type of work we do? I can give him a brief outline. Please let me now if you’d like a brief outline of what a PCA/PSS does and I’ll be glad to send it.
My wife is a Registered Nurse, but I would love to see your outline on PCAs and PSSs. Thanks for offering. You can email it to me directly at ethan@ethan08.com.>

UPDATE: This came in five minutes after I posted.
Ethan asked for a job description and here it is.

A Personal Support Specialist usually works with a consumer, right in the consumer’s home. The work entails personal care like assisting with bathing, dressing, toileting, etc.

It might entail feeding a consumer. It maybe helping them take care of a colostomy or help them take care of a catheter.
It also involves doing things like light housekeeping, meal preparation, laundry and taking the consumer to doctors’ appointments, shopping, and on errands.
The best part of it is the interaction with a consumer. For the most part, they enjoy your visits and greatly appreciate the help they are receiving.
This type of work helps consumers remain in their homes, where they are most comfortable.
Most of the consumers at Home Care for Maine are elders, but there are a few who are younger and disabled from disease.
Personally, I enjoy working with elders. They have so much to offer with their life-long experiences. I love hearing their stories of times gone by.

Helen Hanson
President Local 771

Editor: This work is for low pay, no guaranteed hours, and they have not heard about benefits
Local 771 has their own website at 771 news.


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November 18th, 2007 Posted by narsbars | Ethan Strimling, Home Health Care, MSEA ELECTIONS, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, SEIU, SEIU 1984, SEIU 1989, STATE EMPLOYEES, UNIONMAINE | 4 comments

Ethan Strimling Reaching out to Maine


This is my first post on this blog. I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself to you, to share the reasons why I am running in June’s Democratic Primary to represent Maine’s 1st Congressional District, and most importantly, to begin a dialog with you about how we can together change the direction of this country.

I want to do on the internet what I have already been doing in person all around the First District- talking and listening to people. The internet not only affords an opportunity for more two-way communication between politicians and their constituents, but demands it. As a Senator in the Maine legislature, I have always seen myself as the facilitator of a collaborative effort between me and my constituents. On the internet, I can reach out and collaborate with more people than ever before. I hope you’ll join me.

So now let me tell you about why I am running for Congress, and then I hope to hear from you about what you think we need to do, and about how we can do it.

In the months before I announced my candidacy, I traveled to towns all over Maine attending over 70 house parties in 70 different towns, and talked with hundreds of people. I did more than just say “hello” and shake their hands during a photo op. I sat in their living rooms and their kitchens, and one-on-one I heard their stories. The experience changed me.

Before doing that, I already knew what we all know: that most people aren’t being listened to; that the middle class has been neglected and forgotten by Washington; that average wage earners are being hammered while the richest Americans and corporations are given extraordinary tax breaks; that the nation is pouring billions into the Iraq War, raising the income tax burden on the middle class and siphoning precious dollars from better wages, better health care, cheaper alternative energy, and college loan programs.

I knew those things, but talking with hundreds of people, and hearing from people from all walks of life, gave me a deeper understanding. Over and over I heard from Maine people who are struggling just to get by.

In Shapleigh, I talked with a retiree who had to go back to work because everything from taxes to health care are far more expensive than he had carefully planned for. In Saco, I met a man whose kidney cancer is now terminal; it was detected too late because he did not have health insurance in his hourly job and hadn’t been able to afford physicals. I heard from a Portland couple who are struggling to pay a second mortgage on their house because their two boys are both in college.

I am running for Congress because I know it is wrong that the people I met and so many others just like them here in Maine are struggling just to get by. But I also know that it doesn’t have to be this way. These struggles are the direct consequences of bad choices made by the leaders of our elected government who aren’t listening to the same people I’m listening to.

I have always made fighting for the pocket books of Maine families my top priority. For the past three years, I have been the Senate Chair of the Labor Committee. During that time I have led efforts to raise the minimum wage, expand unemployment benefits for laid off Mainers, and provide for workers who are injured on the job. I have fought to provide health care for Fire Fighters, enhance retirement for mental health and correctional workers, and stood up to General Dynamics when they wanted to outsource union jobs.

So with your help, and with you behind me, I will go to Congress and I will fight every day to make taxes fairer, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, bring our troops home, and increase wages and benefits for working families.

I hope I can earn your support and that you will take some time to ask me questions, to learn more about me, and also to tell me your stories and ideas so that I can learn more about you. If you visit my website, you can learn more about my experience in the Maine Legislature, where I have served since 2002, and about my ten-plus years as executive director at Portland West, a nonprofit that helps at-risk and lower income children and families. You can also learn about my positions on other issues. I look forward to your feedback and comments on those as well.

Finally, I am proud and honored to count among my strongest supporters hundreds of workers and organizers from around Maine, including these Union members:

CJ Betit, Southern Maine Labor Council

John Bogart, American Postal Worker’s Union Doug Born, International Alliance for Theatrical Stage Employees, Local 114 Sal Crisci, Maine State Employees Association – Service Employees International Union George Lawson, Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Jim MacAdam, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Thomas MacLean, Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 714 Zack Matthews, Business Agent AFSCME Council 93 Winston McGill, International Association of Fire Fighters, Local 740 David Paul, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 2327 Doris and Wayne Poland, American Postal Workers Union, Local 458 Stephen Quinlan, American Postal Workers Union, Local 458 Leo Todd, Maine Education Association

(Please note: Unions listed for identification purposes only)

Send me your name, occupation, town, and union affiliation, and I will add you to a list of Labor supporters that will be on our web site. Send it to labor@ethan08.com.


Editorial Comment:

The following questions are representative of the questions that have been emailed to this site. Other questions can be found in the comments on the post. Other candidates may choose to post and other candidates have been invited. Mr. Strimling received the first invitation and was ready to take questions and state what he believes in.
No candidate can provide specifics completely until they have gained the office and the information that a member of Congress has access to. But this candidate is willing to tell us what his goals are. What he believes is important to us. How he achieves them will be up to how much of a majority the electorate gives to candidates who support the same ideals.

1. Social Security Offset
State
employees that have contributed to the Social Security system are punished by the Social Security offset. As a member of congress, will you work to repeal this unjust law? What will you do?

2. Describe what you would do to improve the Department of Labor and how you would make it friendlier to labor.

Will you support a card check law on the Federal level?

Support and Enforce prevailing wage across the country?

3. Unions believe in the right of workers to organize and to bargain collectively.

Will you work with Unions to extend and return collective bargaining rights to Federal workers that have been denied bargaining rights?

4. What are other major issues upon which your campaign is based?

5. What is your position on the war in Iraq and how soon it can be ended?

6. On the second amendment, do you believe your views are consistent with the majority of Mainers?

Do you believe the second amendment is an individual right or a collective right?

Do you see the need for more gun laws or do you believe we should enforce the laws we have?

7. Would you vote to allow undocumented workers to collect Social Security?

8. What is your position on Bush tax cuts?

9. What role does the Federal Government have in helping to alleviate the health care crisis in this country?

10. What do Mainers need to know about you that will help us to decide how to vote?

Editorial addition: A friend of mine sent the following question but as I have not yet gotten permission to use a name I have removed personally identifying information.

I have some questions for Mr. Strimling.
What does he think about the health care crisis in this country? It is not only the fact that health insurance is very expensive and for many folks unattainable, but it is also the runaway costs of getting sick! Simple tests like mammograms are now almost $200 when not that long ago the cost was about $75.

What does he think about cutting Medicare benefits that cover the cost of home health care for our elders? This is a program that pays for the health services an elder receives in their home. Like having a nurse go into the home to do a rountine check up or having a physical therapist go into the home to do some physical therapy to help keep the person mobile.
Is it better to put these people in a nursing home where those costs are high, the care is not that great? Not to mention that the elders would rather stay in their own homes and be comfortable. The work I do is not covered under Medicare. Home Care for Maine does not receive any Medicare money. HCM does not employ nurses that go into the home for these types of services. But a lot of the consumers that Home Care for Maine helps do receive these types of services from other agencies like Health Reach.

Is Mr. Strimling aware of PCAs and PSSs and the type of work we do?
I can give him a brief outline.

Please let me now if you’d like a brief outline of what a PCA/PSS does and I’ll be glad to send it.


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November 10th, 2007 Posted by narsbars | Ethan Strimling, Home Health Care, MSEA, MSEA-SEIU, MSEASEIU, Maine Congressional Elections, STATE EMPLOYEES, UNIONMAINE, Universal Health Care | 4 comments