Press Release: Southern Maine DSA Endorses Zak Ringelstein for US Senate

Southern Maine DSA Endorses Zak Ringelstein for US Senate

PORTLAND, ME – The Southern Maine chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (SMDSA) voted on Monday, March 12 to endorse Zak Ringelstein for US Senate. In August, the National DSA endorsed the campaign, making Ringelstein, the only candidate for US Senate to be endorsed by the organization.

Ringelstein, a DSA member, has pledged to take no money from PACs, corporations, or special interest groups in order to be a true public servant who only answers to voters. He intends to introduce and support legislation to reverse Citizens United, end corporate campaign lobbying, and institute a federal voting holiday to make the polls more accessible to working people.

“As socialists, we are fundamentally opposed to the idea that corporate money has any place in politics, or even a fair and equitable society,” said Meg Reily, SMDSA Chair. “We’re happy to endorse someone who would prioritize reversing Citizens United and increasing voting rights, two issues that go hand-in-hand,” Reilly said.

“As a public school teacher and the son of a social worker, I am blown away by the way the DSA truly fights to increase the power of working Americans. It is not just an honor to receive their endorsement; we are now a mightier force for change because of the hundreds of passionate DSA members at our side who are ready to get money out of politics and unrig the system to create a more free, democratic, and humane society for all,” said Ringelstein.

Ringelstein came to politics from a former career as a public school teacher. As a rank-and-file union member, he helped form and lead PowerToPublic, a teacher-led campaign to expose billionaire Betsy DeVos’s attempts to defund our public schools. He wants to enact democratic socialist reform in Washington, including Medicare for All, public ownership of natural resources, including groundwater, increasing protections on public land, holding corporations accountable for their emissions, and divesting from fossil fuels. He supports medicare for all and full, publicly-funded reproductive healthcare for women, including abortion. He condemns the human rights abuses perpetrated by Israel against Palestinians and the US’s part in funding these actions, and he rejects the decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel.

Ringelstein is running unopposed in the Democratic primary and will face off against Independent incumbent Angus King in the Fall. Ringelstein expresses frustration at the lack of accurate media coverage on King’s voting record on gun control, as well as King’s sources of campaign financing. “One of the reasons I’m running is to force those conversations into the open,” Ringelstein said.

The DSA is the largest socialist organization in the United States. Its membership includes 35 elected officials around country. Southern Maine DSA is not a political party. The DSA welcomes members and endorses candidates of any party affiliation who share its mission to decrease the influence of money in politics so that ordinary citizens can participate in the many decisions that affect their lives.

*This press release has been update to reflect Zak’s membership status and the endorsement of National DSA.

Press Release: Southern Maine DSA Endorses Seth Levy in June primary for District Attorney, Cumberland County

For Immediate Release
March 22, 2018
Meg Reilly, Chair
megcreilly@gmail.com

Southern Maine DSA Endorses Seth Levy in June primary for District Attorney, Cumberland County

PORTLAND, ME – The Southern Maine chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (SMDSA) voted overwhelmingly on Monday, March 12 to endorse Seth Levy for Cumberland County District Attorney in the June Democratic Party primary. Levy is the first District Attorney candidate in the group’s history to earn an endorsement.

“I’m grateful to receive the endorsement of SMDSA,” Levy said. “Its members are some of the hardest working activists for progressive change. Having their support means more volunteers on the ground to get the word out about the opportunity to make criminal justice reform a reality.”

Levy’s platform highlights necessary criminal justice reform for Cumberland County. In particular, it focuses on expanding restorative justice as a more effective means of crime reduction. His success in addressing substance abuse disorders within the Veterans Court system, and his plan to try similar approaches in southern Maine, is a sorely needed new approach to dealing with the severe opioid crisis.

Levy also promises not to seek cash bail for low-risk defendants, so that they can remain employed, not separated from their families, and get into treatment when necessary,” according to his campaign website. Cash bail disproportionately impacts poor people, people of color, and drives defendants deeper into poverty, irrespective of the outcome of their case.“The evidence is clear that cash bail has little impact on public safety or making sure that defendants show up to court. Cash bail keeps people who are poor in jail,” Levy said.

“As Democratic Socialists, we know that class, power, and race all intersect in the criminal justice system,” said Meg Reilly, SMDSA Chair. “The current system blatantly treats rich and poor people differently. As District Attorney, Seth Levy would end cash bail, an archaic and classist system. The amount of money in your bank account should never factor into how you experience the criminal justice system. We look forward to Cumberland County leading the way in reforming our justice system to ensure that we’re rehabilitating, not punishing, members of our society,” Reilly said.

Levy is running a campaign funded by small individual donors, free of corporate, PAC, and special interest money. His campaign seeks to address the over-incarceration of people with mental illness, substance use disorders, and people living in poverty.

The DSA is the largest socialist organization in the United States. Its membership includes 35 elected officials around country. Southern Maine DSA is not a political party. The DSA welcomes members and endorses candidates of any party affiliation who share its mission to decrease the influence of money in politics so that ordinary citizens can participate in the many decisions that affect their lives.

For more information about the Southern Maine DSA or its endorsement process, contact:

Meg Reilly, Chair  megcreilly@gmail.com
Mikayla Damon, Vice Chair mikayla.damon@gmail.com
Kate Sykes, Secretary kate_sykes_writer@yahoo.com

http://southernmainedsa.org/
http://www.dsausa.org/

Press Release: Southern Maine DSA Endorses Mike Sylvester for Maine State Representative, District 39

Southern Maine DSA Endorses Mike Sylvester for Maine State Representative, District 39

PORTLAND, ME – The Southern Maine chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (SMDSA) voted unanimously on Monday, March 12 to endorse Mike Sylvester for Maine House of Representatives District 39. In August, the national DSA also endorsed Sylvester, who is running for a second term, is a co-founder of SMDSA and the chapter’s first member to be elected to a state-level office.

“We’ve always been incredibly proud to be home to one of two open democratic socialist state representatives in the country,” said Meg Reilly, SMDSA Chair. “Mike is a longtime union organizer who walks the walk in the state house, and we’re looking forward to another term of him representing democratic socialist ideals in Maine’s capital.”

Sylvester currently sits on the House Labor Committee and serves as Organizing Chair of the Bull Moose Caucus, a body of 37 legislators willing to vote for progressive legislation regardless of Party affiliation.

During his term of office he has submitted many bills founded on socialist principles, including the Local Option Sales Tax bill to spread the financial benefits of tourism statewide and lower property taxes. He supports single payer healthcare and has been active in helping to pass ranked choice voting. He is a proponent of public sector right to strike, worker safety, safe consumption sites for opiods, and living wage legislation.

“I hope to speak and cast my vote for the people who are left out of the political process or who have given up hope that anyone is listening. An endorsement by groups like Southern Maine DSA, groups who are working on the ground and having conversations about how our state can be better, those are the groups whose endorsements mean the most to me,” Sylvester said.

Sylvester is running as a Maine clean elections candidate, and has pledged not to accept campaign money from corporations, lobbyists, or PACs. He is currently working to organize more DSA chapters across the state of Maine, and recruiting and mentoring democratic socialist candidates who wish to run for office.

The DSA is the largest socialist organization in the United States. Its membership includes 35 elected officials around country. Southern Maine DSA is not a political party. The DSA welcomes members and endorses candidates of any party affiliation who share its mission to decrease the influence of money in politics so that ordinary citizens can participate in the many decisions that affect their lives.

*This release has been update to reflect the endorsement of the national DSA.

Press Release: Southern Maine DSA Endorses Bob Maheu in June primary for Maine State Representative, District 65

For Immediate Release
March 22, 2018
Meg Reilly, Chair megcreilly@gmail.com

Southern Maine DSA Endorses Bob Maheu in June primary for Maine State Representative, District 65

PORTLAND, ME – The Southern Maine chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (SMDSA) voted on Monday, March 12 to endorse DSA member Bob Maheu for Maine House of Representatives District 65 in the June Democratic Party primary.

“I am pleased and honored to receive the endorsement of the Southern Maine Democratic Socialists,” Maheu said. “The chapter’s previous endorsements were for candidates running for office in the city of Portland, and now they’re supporting someone from the northernmost part of Cumberland County.”

The chapter endorses democratic socialist and anti-corporate candidates running in York and Cumberland counties who are committed to decreasing the influence of money in politics, making gender and cultural relationships more equitable, increasing the power of working class people over corporate interests and acting as public stewards for environmental resources.

“It’s really exciting to have an endorsed candidate from District 65,” said Meg Reilly, SMDSA Chair. “It goes to show that Democratic Socialism isn’t just for Portlanders. Organizers are currently expanding into the Bangor, Lewiston, and MidCoast areas as well. We’re really proud to endorse Bob for the New Gloucester and Poland area,” Reilly said.

Maheu, a former town Councilor in Fairfield, was inspired to enter state politics after serving as a volunteer on the Bernie Sanders 2016 presidential election campaign, knocking on doors in his district for Senator Sanders.

Maheu speaks passionately about the need for the state to intervene in the opioid epidemic and says drug companies should be held financially accountable for the crisis. Maheu, who completed the AFL-CIO candidate training in January of this year, is a strong supporter of organized labor. He is currently seeking qualifying donation for a Maine Clean Elections campaign and has pledged to take no money from corporations or PACs. “We must all work together to eliminate pay-to-play politics,” Maheu stated in his endorsement interview.

The DSA is the largest socialist organization in the United States. Its membership includes 35 elected officials around country. Southern Maine DSA is not a political party. The DSA welcomes members and endorses candidates of any party affiliation who share its mission to decrease the influence of money in politics so that ordinary citizens can participate in the many decisions that affect their lives.

For more information about the Southern Maine DSA or its endorsement process, contact:

 

Meg Reilly, Chair  megcreilly@gmail.com

Mikayla Damon, Vice Chair mikayla.damon@gmail.com

Kate Sykes, Secretary kate_sykes_writer@yahoo.com

 

http://southernmainedsa.org/

http://www.dsausa.org/

 

 

Press Release: Southern Maine DSA Endorses Jeremy Mele in June primary for Maine State Representative, District 19

Southern Maine DSA Endorses Jeremy Mele for Maine State Representative, District 19

PORTLAND, ME – The Southern Maine chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (SMDSA) voted unanimously on Monday, March 12 to endorse Jeremy Mele for Maine House of Representatives District 19. “We’re incredibly lucky to have a candidate like Jeremy running for office,” said Meg Reilly, Chair. “Jeremy’s compassion and drive shone when he was Vice Chair of our chapter, and we’re excited at the prospect of Representative Mele continuing the fight in Augusta.”

“I’m honored to receive the endorsement of the group,” Mele said, “I like to think it’s because I showed a commitment to the principles of Democratic Socialism and because I am campaigning on issues that are important for the wellbeing of society and the working class.”

Mele’s campaign focuses on a defense of direct democracy via citizen’s referendums, something that he notes representatives in Augusta have been reluctant to respect in recent years. According to his campaign blog, Maine state government “has moved away from respecting democracy and the will of the voters, and it has moved toward a paternalism that indicates a disregard for the wants and needs of Maine voters.”

Mele is an ardent supporter of social policies that empower the working class, including single-payer healthcare, increasing the minimum wage, and reducing the cost of post-secondary education. He supports the current referendum campaign to provide Mainers with universal homecare coverage.

Mele is a Maine clean elections candidate, and will not be accepting any campaign money from corporations, lobbyists or PACs.

The DSA is the largest socialist organization in the United States. Its membership includes 35 elected officials around country. Southern Maine DSA is not a political party. The DSA welcomes members and endorses candidates of any party affiliation who share its mission to decrease the influence of money in politics so that ordinary citizens can participate in the many decisions that affect their lives.

*This release has been update to reflect Jeremy’s status as a Maine clean elections campaign candidate.