Faith leaders, veterans, teachers and caregivers endorse Question 1

Faith leaders, veterans, teachers and caregivers endorse Question 1

Mainers for Home Care today announced the endorsements of a set of new organizations, joining more than forty groups that launched the Yes on One coalition last month. Representatives of the Maine Council of Churches, Common Defense, the Well Spouse Association and the Maine Education Association spoke at an event at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church in Brewer today to declare their support for Question One.

“I’m working part-time here at St. Patricks, after I actually retired six years ago, and I’m doing that to help pay for care for my 95-year-old mother who is living in my home and my 38-year-old daughter who has Down Syndrome,” said Father Myrick Cross, speaking on behalf of the Maine Council of Churches, which includes seven denominations and hundreds of congregations in Maine. “I’m happy to be able to endorse this and I encourage you to vote yes on Question One.”

Question One, the universal home care referendum, will guarantee that all seniors and Mainers with disabilities can access the care they need to stay at home, funded by narrowing a tax loophole for individuals making more than $128,400 in personal income.

“It was on our third date, twenty-five years ago, that my wife Debbie told me that she had MS. She handed me a book and I read up and got some knowledge on it and thought about whether I could do it, and I said ‘definitely yes.’ I was in by then,” said Rick Alexander of Blue Hill, speaking on behalf of the Well Spouse Association. “While my wife and I are facing these issues now, every one of us is just one accident or one disease away from needing this kind of care.”

“Maine is the oldest state in the country and getting older. The need is increasing every day. Question 1 represents the best chance for Maine families to be able to help keep their loved ones at home, where they belong,” said Corley Ann Byras, a former teacher and current president of Maine Education Association – Retired.

“I cared for both of my parents in a handicapped addition we built onto our home in Bowdoin until they died, my father at 87 and my mother at 97. It was tough, and we couldn’t have done it if my husband hadn’t worked nights at BIW so they could have 24-hour care,” said Byras.

More than half of Mainers have experience with caregiving, either providing care for a relative or having needed home care themselves.

“Maine has one of the largest and oldest veteran populations in the country. When our country called, Mainers served. Now, we’re getting older,” said Dick Bissell a former Army medic, nurse at Eastern Maine Medical Center and member of Common Defense, a national veterans organization. “With Question 1, we can make sure that no Maine veteran is left behind. We can guarantee that everyone who needs basic care to stay in their homes can get it, and we can make the whole system more fair, with the wealthiest 2.6% paying a bit closer to what the rest of us already pay in taxes.”

“It’s time to do right by our veterans and our seniors. It’s time to vote Yes on Question 1.”