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When the Tough Get Going

October 16, 2014

I’ve written about Brian Jones before and I’m writing about him again today because I just read a profoundly moving statement of his that appeared in a local newspaper here in Maine.

Representative Brian Jones

Representative Brian Jones

Brian is a remarkable man in a lot of ways and I count myself fortunate to say he’s my friend. He’s an accomplished  teacher, the Representative from District 99 in our state legislature, a family man and, most importantly, a man who has the courage to do what’s right, even when things go wrong.

Brian lives in Freedom, Maine, and that’s quite poetic because Freedom is a place (not unlike the rest of Maine) where folks of good character often stumble but come up stronger for it.

He’s running for re-election this year and this letter, better than my words, explains why:

“In 2012, the voters of northern and western Waldo County honored me by electing me to represent them in the Maine Legislature. I’m running for re-election because I want to continue fighting for you and our community.

As many of you know, recent personal events have been a source of embarrassment and pain for my family, a catalyst for deep personal self-reflection, and very unfortunately, a cause for concern for many of my constituents. I’ve been forced to take a hard look at my life and my struggle with alcoholism.

I am fully committed to sobriety and have made the first, difficult steps, with the support of my family, friends and community. I am indeed very fortunate to be where I am. I’m grateful for the unexpected and overwhelming support of my constituents. I’m moved by your encouraging words, offers of help, and, most importantly, your belief in me. As a husband, father, and your representative, I understand the gravity of the decisions we make in life. Though introspection and recovery are typically private matters, I think it best to discuss my progress openly and honestly with you.

I hope you consider that I still am the outspoken advocate with a record of legislative success and a vision for prosperity for our community.

There is much to do in Augusta.

Waldo County needs meaningful economic development and opportunity, an economy that works for all of us. Deep poverty is prevalent, and not because of any lack of work ethic. Our neighbors get up in the morning and go to work, but it’s still hard to get by. Many of our sons and daughters must leave their hometowns to find work. To alleviate poverty, we must make sure our workers are paid a living wage. In the world’s wealthiest nation, no one should work full-time and still be unable to support his or her family’s basic needs. We must recognize the dignity of the individual’s labor. We’ve only recovered 63 percent of the jobs lost in the recession, and more than 40,000 Mainers want, but can’t find, full-time work. This is unacceptable and I’ll work to change that.

Small businesses are the backbone of Maine’s economy, and Waldo County leads in the number of micro-businesses. We must support our entrepreneurs, make the most of strengths, like our family farms, and understand that a healthy economy relies on a clean environment.

And we must hold Augusta accountable. The state has not lived up to its promises to our communities. Quality education is key to economic growth, yet the state fails to fund public education at 55 percent as mandated by the people of Maine. The state also fails to provide fair revenue sharing. These failures merely shift the tax burden to property owners. The property tax is the nastiest of all, unfairly affecting those least able to pay it and land-intensive enterprises like farming. It is most unfair to our senior citizens living on fixed incomes. To add insult to injury, the state has cut the Circuit Breaker program, which provided property tax relief to our poorest neighbors.

I’ve broken with my party to stand against state budgets that fail to meet commitments to our schools, our towns and our poorest neighbors. I will continue to demand the state pays its fair share.

I have talked to thousands of you over the past two years and these are the concerns you tell me about. I have been your voice in Augusta, whether it is about broad issues like the economy or helping you navigate the labyrinth of state government. I’ve been a strong advocate for our small businesses, introducing legislation to reduce unfair regulations, and I’ve worked to remove onerous regulatory barriers for our farmers. I’ve consistently advocated policies that would provide health care for all of our neighbors and I’ve been a consistent champion for the middle class and those less fortunate than we are.

I humbly ask for your continued support as I work for your best interests in Augusta. With your support in November, I can continue this work. Thank you for the trust you’ve placed in me; I will work hard to continue to deserve it.”

Thank you, Brian, for being the man you are and the kind of legislator Maine needs.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Hilary permalink
    October 16, 2014 11:15 pm

    I am so glad to see this statement from Brian. He is a diligent and faithful advocate for the working families of Maine. I am proud to be his constituent and to vote for him again this November. My vote has never been so effective in sending the message of hope and economic recovery as it has been in voting for Brian. My family and I are proud to vote for him again. Thank you for doing the job to which you were elected, Mr. Jones. And to all those naysayers, I remind you, I did not vote for Brian so he could be the first elected faithfully married politician. He has been tirelessly non-partisan and exquisitely articulate when addressing the needs of Maine’s families. We are so thankful for his hard work.

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