Eating cake and making toasts with sparkling cider, activists in Bangor held a tongue-in-cheek "retirement party" for Rep. Bruce Poliquin in Bangor on Tuesday. Partygoers said his unpopular votes on issues including repealing health care and passing tax breaks for the wealthy means the vulnerable Republican may be out of a job after November.
Attendees at the event, which was organized by Indivisible Bangor, Mainers for Accountable Leadership and the Maine People's Alliance, discussed the impact of Poliquin's votes on his district and his refusal to answer questions from constituents and the media. They also made plans to make sure his constituents know about his actions.
"He knows his health care vote was bad, that's why he runs and hides every time someone tries to talk with him about it," said Valerie Walker of Winterport, whose son has Klinefelter syndrome and relies on health coverage through Medicaid. "He can't possibly justify voting to cut hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicaid and then giving hundreds of billions in tax cuts to the wealthy."
According to national forecasters, Poliquin's seat is among the mostly likely in the country to change hands this year.
Linda Cousens, a therapist in Bangor, said she was appalled by Poliquin's health care position, especially as it would weaken treatment to combat the “plague” of Maine’s opioid epidemic.
"Opioid addiction is tearing families apart left and right, and Bruce Poliquin would make it even harder than it already is for people to enter recovery and harder for them to stay there," said Cousens.
According to the AARP, the health care repeal bill Rep. Poliquin supported would mean an annual premium increase of $12,701 for a 64-year-old Mainer making $25,000 a year. It would also have cut $800 billion from Medicaid. A similar bill failed to advance in the Senate when three Republican Senators, including Maine's Susan Collins, voted against it.
Poliquin also supported a controversial bill, which did pass, to increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion to fund new tax breaks that predominately benefit large corporations and the wealthiest Americans. Poliquin's Republican colleagues in the House have already discussed cuts to Medicare and Social Security as a result.
"Whenever there's a chance for a Bruce Poliquin to get a photo-op with a veteran or to praise us in a speech, he is always there," said Skip Worcester, a U.S. Army veteran from Hermon. "But when it came down to making a choice between the health and lives of thousands of veterans and tax cuts for the wealthy, Poliquin left us behind."
2/20/2018 - Activists Hold Fake Retirement Party for Rep. Bruce Poliquin, WABI