Message from Congresswoman Chellie Pingree

Dear Friend,

Our country is simultaneously experiencing two public health emergencies: the novel coronavirus alongside systemic racism and police brutality. I first want to begin by saying Black lives matter, and I stand in solidarity with those who are peacefully protesting across our country for racial justice.

ImageThree months into this pandemic, it is clear COVID-19 has exacerbated disparities that were already deeply woven into the fabric of our country. Black Americans are dying of COVID-19 at three times the rate of white Americans. Here in Maine, Black or African-Americans constitute 1% of the total population, but account for 20% of the total confirmed COVID-19 cases. And the coronavirus has had an outsize economic impact on Black Americans; less than half of Black adults now have a job, due to business closures caused by the pandemic.

The murder of George Floyd was not an isolated incident of police brutality against Black Americans. Since 2013, police officers have shot and killed nearly 1,000 people every year, and Black men are nearly three times more likely to be killed by police than their white peers. After endless reports documenting excessive use of force, it is more important now than ever for Congress to step up to condemn racial profiling and police brutality and work to dismantle unjust systems that harm and kills Black Americans in this country. For George Floyd and too many Black Americans before him who’ve had their lives cut short at the hands of police, I have signed onto several pieces of legislation that would help address the well-documented problem of police brutality toward communities of color. You can read more about the initiatives I'm taking in Congress to solve this injustice in the text of this newsletter.

If any of your family or friends are interested in hearing from my office, please have them sign up for my newsletter here. My website is updated with resources and congressional actions on COVID-19, located at pingree.house.gov/coronavirus. You can also check out my FacebookInstagram, and Twitter for updates.

Best,

Chellie


Update from Maine

This week, our state lost Alain Nahimana, a tireless advocate for Maine's immigrant community. Through the Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center, Alain promoted civic engagement among new Mainers and encouraged them to understand the power and responsibilities of citizenship—crucial work given the injustices that are front and center in our country today. My thoughts are with his family, friends, and colleagues.

Over the last five days, we have seen a remarkable demonstration of Mainers' commitment to racial justice. Mainers in Bangor, Portland, Rockland, Brunswick, Lewiston/Auburn, and across our state have come together to show that Black lives matter, and we want that sentiment to be reflected in our institutions and law enforcement. 

ImageMeanwhile, with our nation in crisis, President Trump visited Guilford, Maine today to tour Puritan Medical Products. The folks at Puritan make medical swabs for COVID-19 tests—critical work during the pandemic, but it's clear that he is not coming to Maine to support Puritan; rather, he's coming to have a political rally in the 2nd Congressional District. With 42 million out of work, nightly protests on police brutality and racism, and more than 110,000 dead, we did not need him to come to our state for a political stunt.

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Today, President Trump visited Maine for the first time in four years. The Portland Press Herald's editorial board called for him to resign, saying his “shortcomings are unleashing historic levels of suffering on the American people.” This is unprecedented.


Congressional Update

Congress must condemn racial profiling and police brutality and work to unravel the fabric of inequality that harms and kills Black Americans. This week, I signed on in support of Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley's resolution that would address the well-documented problem of excessive use of force towards communities of color. This resolution calls on Congress to condemn all acts of brutality and excessive force by law enforcement; supports adoption of sound, unbiased law enforcement policies across the government; calls on the Department of Justice to reinstitute its authority to investigate individual instances of police brutality and racial profiling; and supports local and community-led transparency and oversight efforts.

ImageI also signed on to H.R. 1636, the Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys Act, which would establish a bipartisan commission to examine social disparities that disproportionally affect Black men and boys in the United States. Black men and boys in America experience low rates of high school retention as well as disproportionately high rates of joblessness and incarceration; Black men are nearly three times more likely to be killed by the police than their white peers. The Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys will recommend policies and practices to improve on current government programs in ways that will benefit both Black men in America and the nation as a whole.

I cosponsored the Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act, which would create federal performance based standards for law enforcement, as well as the Ending Qualified Immunity Act. Currently, police are immune from liability unless the person whose rights they violate can prove a history of improper behavior. Ending qualified immunity is an important step for Congress to work toward increased police accountability. 

ImageA Portland mural by Ryan Adams in remembrance of George Floyd & other victims of police brutality.


Frequently Asked Questions

I lost my Economic Impact Payment debit card. How do I replace it? If your Card is discarded or destroyed, it is important that you call Customer Service at 1.800.240.8100 (TTY: 1.800.241.9100) immediately and select the “Lost/Stolen” option. Your Card will be deactivated to prevent anyone from using it and a new replacement Card will be ordered. Your first reissued Card will be free and then a $7.50 fee will be applied for each additional reissued Card. Please refer to the material in your Welcome Packet or see your Cardholder Agreement online at EIPCard.com for more information.


Resources and Community Updates

Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry has kicked off a grassroots effort created to connect Mainers with available jobs in agriculture. More here.

Please fill out your census! The national response rate is 60.6%, but Maine's response rate is much lower at 50.7%. You can fill out your census at census.gov.

Don't forget to request your absentee ballot for the July 14 primary! Request yours here.

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