Here’s the latest message sent to Speaker Gideon’s email list:

Dear Friend,

Even though this past Memorial Day’s commemoration was different, the reason why we remember and take a moment to pause and reflect is the same. While I know we all missed gathering together at the park, the sound of our children’s voices surrounding us, we still found new ways to honor the women and men who are willing to give their all, and lay down their very lives, to preserve and protect this country that we love. 

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, and here in Maine we find ourselves in a complicated middle ground. As parts of our economy remain closed and as Mainers continue to stay home as much as possible, many families are experiencing financial hardship and there is a strain on our state’s fiscal health. Still, if we reopen too quickly, we could find ourselves spreading the virus and seeing a major spike here in Maine.

Our strength and our resolve is forged in moments like the one our nation is currently experiencing. So while we celebrated this unofficial kickoff to summer, for me this past Memorial Day also hit home that we truly rise and fall together. There isn’t anyone I know who doesn’t want to be able to return to some form of a normal life as soon as possible. The key is to do so safely and with the health of all in mind.

I’ll continue to work with business owners and community leaders to develop steps we can suggest that work for our district. I welcome your ideas and will do my best to help find solutions that balance the economy and public health.


FREEPORT SUMMER LUNCH PROGRAM

Access to healthy and nutritious food for our children is one of the most basic needs to be met. For many kids, school meals are the only reliable source they have. During the COVID-19 crisis, our RSU 5 schools and the Maine Department of Education have stepped up to ensure these school lunch programs are running and these critical programs will continue this summer.

Freeport Community Services has partnered with the RSU 5 to get all their school sites certified through the Free Summer Lunch Program. This means that all meals distributed are fully reimbursable and allows the RSU 5 nutrition staff to continue to provide children with nutritious meals. For more information visit the RSU 5 website or reach out to foodhelp@rsu5.org.


STAYING CONNECTED

Even though I can’t be out in our community, I’ve been staying connected with our community! I’ve taken part in great conversations with AARP Maine and their fantastic volunteers. I also participated in a press conference call expressing the critical need for additional federal funding for states and municipalities

It still unclear when the Legislature will reconvene for a full session. However, this week I announced that our Appropriations and Financial Affairs committee would begin regularly meeting. More information available here. Additional committees will be meeting in the upcoming weeks to ensure we have the tools necessary to both secure and support our recovery. Whether from our community or in Augusta, I will continue to push for policies that create economic security for our families and our business and work hard on your behalf.


SUPPORT OUR LOCAL BUSINESSES THIS SUMMER

Freeport businesses have taken swift action to protect their customers and employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. With many of the existing rules set to change as of June 1, check out Visit Freeport for an updated list of how they are operating.

The Town Council has also started to look at street closures and enacted an emergency ordinance temporarily relaxing many land use standards to allow greater flexibility for businesses that wish to move some of their operations outdoors. 

I encourage you to find a way to support our local businesses.  We know this tourist season won’t be what we are used to, but I’m hopeful that the creative and innovative efforts being put forward will pay off in a big way.


Thank you for all you are doing to keep yourself and your neighbors healthy and to support our Maine economy through this time. If there is anything I can do to help you, please reach out. 

Sending you best wishes for your health and safety,