It is sickening to me that the Fund for a Healthy Maine has endured more than $90 million in budget grabs over the years. I can’t believe that the fund is once again being targeted for cuts. If that money had been used as intended – to help get and keep Maine people healthy – that would have gone a long way to getting our health care costs under control and easing the state’s budget woes.

The Fund for a Healthy Maine is working. We see it on a state level with the 60 percent drop in youth smoking, and we see it here in Androscoggin County with programs such as “Quit and Win” and “Get Fit and Win” that help people quit tobacco, and programs to increase physical activity, lose weight and feel better, thanks to the hard work of our local Healthy Maine Partnership, Healthy Androscoggin.

Healthy Androscoggin has been recognized as one of Maine’s most effective partnerships. The Fund for a Healthy Maine is our only source of funds for preventing disease. Legislators would be foolish to undercut this golden opportunity provided by the tobacco settlement to help Maine people live healthier lives.

I urge the Appropriations Committee to reject any proposal that would raid money from the Fund for a Healthy Maine. The Fund for a Healthy Maine should be used for its intended purpose and not as a bailout for totally unrelated state programs.

Jim Handy, Lewiston

Chairperson, Healthy Androscoggin Board of Directors

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