2019-01-11 / Community News

Advocating for town’s priorities

By Linda Sanborn Special to the Leader

On Wednesday, Jan. 2, the 129th Maine Legislature convened for its first regular session and I began to fulfill my duty to represent the communities of Scarborough, Gorham and Buxton in the Maine Senate.

It is an honor to be chosen for this role and now that the pomp and circumstance is past, it is time to get to work.

I plan to work very hard as your state senator and I am excited for the challenges and opportunities that I will face. I have been appointed to serve on the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee, which is responsible for crafting the biennial state budget.

Having served on this committee before as a state representative, I am well prepared to deal with the long hours and complex issues that are required of its members.

This position will give me a unique opportunity to advocate for the priorities that many of you have shared with me on the campaign trail.

One issue I heard about from many people in Scarborough is school funding.

Twice now, Maine voters have indicated that they want the state to fund 55 percent of education costs. I know this is a priority shared by the Mills administration and I am hopeful that we can fulfill this commitment to the people of Maine.

On a related note, I am encouraged to learn that Gov. Janet Mills has nominated Pender Makin, a Scarborough resident and accomplished educator and school administrator, to be her Commissioner of Education.

Pender’s stated goals of building trust in our public education system and reducing the emphasis on standardized testing are lofty but critical and I am confident she is the right person to take them on.

I’ve also heard from many of you about challenges you’ve faced getting the health care that you need. As a retired family physician, this is an issue very near and dear to me, and I am introducing and sponsoring several bills this session to address some of the shortcomings in our health care system.

These include a bill to provide lung cancer screenings to high-risk individuals on MaineCare, a bill to help Mainers find and enroll in health care coverage, and a bill to reduce red tape for physician’s assistants.

I am also hopeful that we can take steps to address opioid abuse, an issue that affects all of us in one way or another. I am proud to be introducing a bill this session that will require Maine jails and prisons to offer comprehensive opioid treatment options for inmates, which is an absolutely critical part of addressing this public health crisis.

Finally, many of you told me that ensuring that seniors can age in their own homes was a top priority. I hear your concerns and agree.

A bill I am introducing this session will eliminate the waitlist and expand the availability of Meals on Wheels and similar programs to folks over 60 who are experiencing transitions from hospital or in-patient rehabilitation services to home. This small step will help ensure that more seniors are able to live and age in the comfort of their own homes.

I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to advocate for Scarborough’s priorities in my new role. I am here to serve you to the best of my ability. Please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments or concerns at 287-1515.

Linda Sanborn is a retired family physician serving her first term in the Maine Senate, representing Senate District 30, which includes Gorham, part of Buxton and part of Scarborough.

Return to top