Message from Congresswoman Chellie Pingree

Dear Friend,

This week, I watched in horror as photos and videos depicted lengthy lines at polling stations in Georgia. There is no way around it: this is rampant voter suppression. 

ImageVoter suppression is an injustice most often inflicted on Black and brown communities and has been long employed to silence their voices. There is a history to this. In 2020, we celebrate a century since the 19th Amendment's ratification, but Black women were not fully enfranchised in every state until 1965, and Native American women in 1962. The Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013. States have passed strict identification rules, purged voters from their rolls, and gerrymandered districts that determine the weight of your vote. 

Right now, our nation is reckoning with the systemic racism that has perpetuated inequalities and violence against people of color in this country. Voter suppression is another inequity that most often harms people of color. Congress must fight for everyone who has difficulty accessing the ballot box. And we must use the privilege we have to recognize disparities and uplift the voices of communities of color across the country.

I've supported several initiatives that would help protect the integrity of our elections, especially during the coronavirus pandemic: H.R. 4, which would restore the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, and The Heroes Act to provide $29 million in election aid for every Maine voter to vote-by-mail. In fact, you can request your absentee ballot for the July 14 primary through the Maine Secretary of State's office now.

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

Congratulations to the Class of 2020! I’m so proud of the Mainers who are graduating from high school, college, graduate school, or an adult education program this year. As with any milestone event or celebration during this time of uncertainty, there's a tinge of sadness to this day. My heart goes out to everyone who was looking forward to celebrating with friends and receiving your diploma surrounded by those you love. Know I applaud all of your hard work, and make sure to take time to celebrate your all your successes.

ImageClick to watch my message to the graduating Class of 2020.

Governor Mills has updated the quarantine rules for visitors coming to Maine. Beginning July 1, out-of-state visitors will not have to complete a 14 day quarantine if they have tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of their arrival. Visitors from Vermont and New Hampshire are also exempt from quarantine beginning today.

I was proud to announce that two students in my district will be attending the United States Air Force Academy. Sara Scrapchansky of Brunswick and Kelly Yoon of Falmouth have accepted offers to attend the Academy in Colorado. Acceptance to a U.S. service academy is extremely competitive and reflects highly on a student’s scholarship, community service, and character. Read more about these outstanding students here


Congressional Update

ImageIn Congress, we are working to promote racial justice and dismantle the systemic racism that has dictated inequities for far too long. This means that we're considering legislation to address police brutality as well as reforming our criminal justice system, expanding access to adequate housing, promoting good jobs, removing symbolic glorification of the Confederacy, and overhauling environmental issues that disproportionately harm communities of color. 

I'm pleased to report that Maine has been approved for an Area Eligibility waiver extension to serve offsite school meals through the summer. School nutrition programs across the country are working tirelessly to meet the tremendous challenge of feeding kids in the midst of this pandemic. Without a waiver, around 60 percent of the Maine students who currently receive school meals would lose access to a critical source of nutrition. This move by USDA will help kids and their families have continued access to meals through the summer.


Frequently Asked Questions

I own a business. Where should I go to find the latest guidance for re-opening? The Maine Department of Economic and Community Development's Restarting Maine's Economy guide has the most recently updated guidance and checklists for businesses that are reopening. In addition, The National Governors Association has created a public health and business re-opening tracker, which may help inform your decisions about re-opening.

My family needs to access school meals this summer. How can I find the most up-to-date information about school meal sites? The Maine Department of Education has developed an interactive map outlining all available school meal sites daily, available here.

My family member is in a nursing home, and their stimulus check was seized by the nursing home. Is this allowable? The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has said that nursing homes and assisted-living facilities are not allowed to confiscate their residents' Economic Stimulus Payments (aka stimulus checks). The practice is prohibited and considered misappropriation of resident property. The offending facilities could be subject to federal enforcement actions, including possible removal from participating in Medicaid and Medicare programs. If this has happened to you or someone you know, file a complaint with your state survey agency and contact your state attorney general. State specific complaint contact information is available here


Resources and Community Updates

Instead of the summer's usual First Friday art walks, CreativePortland is hosting virtual arts events. Check out their calendar of events here.

Don't forget to fill out your census! You can even do it online at census.gov.

Request your absentee ballot for the July 14 primary through the Maine Secretary of State's office. Voting by mail keeps us safe from exposure to the coronavirus and allows us to make our voices heard.

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The Finance Authority of Maine's COVID-19 Consumer Loan guarantee program offers consumers low or no interest loans of up to $5,000. To apply, reach out to your local financial institution. More information is available here.  

If you or someone you know needs health care, food assistance, or financial support during this time, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services has complied information how to access programs such as MaineCare, TANF, Food Supplement, and Child Care Subsidy. More information is available here.

Pride allows our vibrant LGBTQ community to celebrate themselves freely—no matter who they love, how they identify, or where they live. Though we can't commemorate Pride 2020 in person, Pride Across Maine is hosting a Virtual Pride on June 28. More here.

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