Last night in South Portland, the Maine Children’s Alliance (MCA) held the first of three children’s issues forums. The event was co-sponsored by the Opportunity Alliance and the Wheelock College Alumni Group.
Executive Director Ned McCann gave a brief overview of MCA’s vision, mission and agenda for the upcoming legislative session. He said that funding for Head start, child care, and home visiting are high priorities for MCA in the upcoming legislative session. Each of those programs were subjected to devastating cuts in the last state budget. McCann then invited candidates running for office to come forward and share their views.
Rep. Anne Haskell (Portland), Rep. Peter Stuckey (Portland), Rep. Seth Berry (Bowdoinham) and Eric Jorgensen, candidate for the State House of Representatives in Portland, spoke with the audience about such issues as early care and education, juvenile justice, health care, tax fairness and community-level systems integration.
Audience members voiced concerns about tax cuts enacted in the last legislative session, data gaps around early childhood and school readiness, and how to get a child advocacy agenda heard by policy makers on both sides of the aisle.
The next forum will be held on October 16 from 6:30-8:00pm at St. Mary’s Nutrition Center in Lewiston.