Michaud touts Democratic successes before friendly Lewiston crowd

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LEWISTON – U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, a Democrat representing Maine’s 2nd Congressional District — which includes Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties — told members of Maine’s Democratic party they need to be ready to fight for their principles in the November election.

Michaud is running for a fifth term in the House of Representatives against Republican challenger Jason Levesque, an Auburn businessman.

“We need to re-engage the very people of all walks of life who clamored for change in 2008 and make sure they do not fail to vote this November,” Michaud said to a crowd of about 500 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, host of the 2010 Maine Democratic Party convention.

He roused the crowd by criticizing the actions of Maine Republicans during their convention two weeks ago, when they replaced their traditional party platform with a more radical one.

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“You know, watching Maine’s Republican Convention two weeks ago was like watching the movie ‘Thelma and Louise’: The right wing hijacked their party platform and took it so far down the road they actually drove it off the cliff,” Michaud said to laughter.

He highlighted the achievements made by the Democratic-led Congress over the past two years, including passing a massive health care reform law, stimulus package and funding for veterans.

“While there is still much to do on the economy, we brought it back from the brink of collapse with the recovery act,” he said. “We now have two new local VA clinics on their way in Lewiston and in Bangor to help our veterans get the health care they deserve. We have a new economic development commission that is focused exclusively on our region to help us succeed economically. And we have a major new deep-water offshore wind project under way that will help transform our state economy and create thousands of clean jobs.”

He also cited a recent news report that reflected another way Democrats were helping Mainers.

“My favorite little statistic for our Republican friends is that in 2009, according to an analysis by USA Today, Americans paid the lowest amount of taxes since 1950; that’s a fact,” he said.

Michaud then pointed to issues still before Congress.

“We need to take our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan, improve trade policies and grow jobs here,” he said. “We need Senate Republicans to step aside so we can get a cap-and-trade bill passed, and we need to repeal ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’”

“But perhaps most importantly, the American public and Mainers right here at home are still deeply worried about the economy and we need to listen to them and work just as hard at putting people back to work as we did passing health care reform.”

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