Rep. Gattine: Outsourcing ASPIRE kicks struggling families to the curb
I received a lot of emails and messages from people who are understandably concerned and upset about the LePage administration’s privatization plans.
When the LePage administration announced last January that it was moving forward with this plan to lay off over 70 experienced staff and privatize the ASPIRE program, many Democrats were outraged and spoke out. Last April, we brought forward a bill to stop this. With one exception, Republicans in the Maine legislature opposed our efforts and they allowed the governor and DHHS to move forward.
Since Paul LePage became governor and Mary Mayhew took the reins at DHHS, Maine has experienced the highest growth in the percentage of children who live in extreme poverty of any state in the country. Twenty percent of Maine children live in poverty (35% for children in single parent households). Time and time again we have seen the LePage administration promote policy designed to deprive poor kids of the support they need to be successful. Outsourcing the ASPIRE program is simply another strategy to kick more struggling families to the curb.
What can be done? This November Maine voters will have the opportunity to go to the polls and elect legislators who support Maine families and children. When you look at the legacy of the past six years, and realize that the number of kids receiving help has been slashed while the number of kids in extreme poverty has skyrocketed, the choice is crystal clear. Democrats will stand up to the governor and Commissioner Mayhew and protect Maine children. Republicans will simply follow the administration’s lead and do what they’re told.
Photo via Andi Parkinson
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