Don’t read this. There are more important things to do right now.

Don’t read this. There are more important things to do right now.

Seriously, I love that you have decided to take the time to read my column this week, but as we speak, our Legislature is hurtling toward its first government shutdown since 1991 because Governor LePage and his allies in the House Republican caucus have refused to come to the negotiating table unless the budget includes a repeal of Question 2, the 3% surtax on incomes over $200,000 that would fully fund the state’s commitment to our schools that was mandated by voters last November.

Rather than honor the will of the voters, these members of the House would give a massive tax cut to the richest in the state or shut down the government altogether. Unless House Republicans come back to the table and a budget is adopted by July 1, construction projects will shut down, state agencies responsible for our safety and well-being will grind to a halt, and thousands of hard-working state employees will be furloughed. State parks will close at the peak of the summer tourist season.

It takes the average reader about two minutes to read a 500-word article like the one you are reading right now. Coincidentally, it also only takes about two minutes to place a phone call to your local legislator.

In these two minutes, you could be calling your Republican legislator and demanding that they honor the will of the voters to fund our schools. You could be calling your Democratic legislator and imploring them to not cave in to House Republicans’ cynical fear tactics and to stand strong on the 3% surtax that voters demanded. Your call, and the calls of hundreds of your fellow readers, can serve as a critical reminder to our elected officials that their actions on this budget are being seen and that they will not be forgotten.

This is an absolutely critical juncture for the future of our schools, our towns, and our students. It’s also a critical moment for Maine voters to reaffirm the power of our collective voices in a year where legislators are threatening to undo the direct will of the very voters that put them into office. If we let them get away with it now, we can rest assured that it will be done again.

So, again, the very fact that you are reading this means that you have enough time—right at this very moment— to give your representative and your senator a quick call. It can be short, polite, and from the heart, but they need to hear from you.

So get to it, Beacon will be here when you get off of the phone.

Switchboard for the state house: 1-800-423-2900

Switchboard for the state senate: 1-800-423-6900

Not sure who your elected officials are? Find out here.


Photo via Flickr/Hamza Butt.

About author

Grady Burns
Grady Burns 48 posts

Grady Burns is an activist on issues involving young Mainers. He serves on the Auburn City Council and is president of the Maine Young Democrats.


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