On election day this year, Penobscot residents will have the chance to vote on a town referendum on universal health care, one of the first in the state at the municipal level. Below is a news release about the referendum as well as an information session and public hearing for Penobscot voters coming up in October.
Contacts: David Jolly, firstname.lastname@example.org or (919) 451-0908; Liz Solet, email@example.com or (207) 460-7748
Penobscot voters to consider referendum on universal health care on Nov. 7
In addition to the eight state ballot questions this November, residents of Penobscot will have their own referendum to consider: “Shall the citizens of Penobscot call on the Maine Legislature to create a publicly funded healthcare plan that provides every Maine resident with comprehensive medical care?”
David Jolly, a Penobscot resident and board member for Maine AllCare, asked the town’s select board to put the referendum on the November ballot and the three selectboard members agreed to do so. Maine AllCare is a statewide nonprofit that advocates for universal health care in Maine and across the U.S.
“The Penobscot select board understands that there are many in our community who are concerned about the future of our health care system,” said select board member Sara Leighton. ”We feel it’s important for our citizens to make their voices heard. We are very proud that Penobscot is the first town in Maine to have this type of ballot initiative on universal health care, and it is our hope that voters come out in droves to weigh in on this important issue.”
Maine AllCare volunteers have presented similar measures to town select boards and city councils and 12 have passed, including one in Penobscot in 2020. The current effort in Penobscot is the first time the question is being put directly to voters on the November ballot. (Voters in Trenton and Woolwich passed similar resolutions at their annual town meetings in 2021.)
If the Penobscot referendum succeeds, Maine AllCare intends to launch similar initiatives in other towns and cities across the state, with the goal of demonstrating that there is widespread support for a publicly funded universal health care system in Maine.
Maine AllCare will hold an informational session on the referendum on Wednesday, October 4, 6–7 pm, at the Penobscot Community School to provide information about the referendum and the state of health care in Maine and to talk with attendees about their views, experiences and concerns.
The Penobscot select board will conduct a public hearing about the referendum on Tuesday, October 17, 6–7 pm, at the school, giving residents another opportunity to discuss issues related to the referendum.
“Comprehensive health care reform is unlikely at the federal level any time soon,” David Jolly says. “But change is possible at the state level and Maine AllCare wants to put pressure on our legislators to make that happen. That’s why we’re asking the people of Penobscot to vote yes on this referendum.”
For more information, contact David Jolly at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit maineallcare.org.