A New Year’s Radio Address, 1/1/21

Sen. Trey Stewart has some Senate Republican New Year’s Resolutions

The year 2020 is finally behind us and it is time for a fresh new start.

Hello, I am Senator Trey Stewart of District 2.

First, I want to thank the voters of Aroostook and Penobscot counties for placing their trust in me and allowing me to serve them in the State Senate.

As we begin to mark 2021 as the New Year, it is time to look ahead and make some commitments that will help the coming year to be more successful than the one we are leaving behind. With this in mind, here are a few New Year’s resolutions that Senate Republicans are focused on for the months ahead.

Among the first and most important priorities this legislative session is the need to pass a balanced budget that includes a significant reduction in spending. With revenues to the state falling well short of the budgeted amount, there is simply not enough money to pay for the spending that was planned. This means difficult but unavoidable fiscal choices lie ahead of us, and we must make them responsibly and transparently.

The revenue shortfall requires a resolve to tighten our belts and trim the fat while we avoid higher taxes and unneeded borrowing. The economy is not on a path to recover quickly, so budget gimmicks and short-term solutions will not get the job done.

Nearly everyone in the Legislature agrees there is an urgent need to improve access to broadband Internet service, especially in rural Maine. In doing so, however, we must make a resolution to achieve the most efficient use of our investments so that we benefit as many people as we can. To do this, Maine needs a comprehensive plan that is based on new service maps from the FCC that replace their older, inaccurate maps.

We must also be creative in how we fill the gaps, and not relying on costly methods of the past that don’t result in connectivity in needed areas.

If we resolve to make it so, 2021 can be the year we restore balance to state government in line with Maine’s Constitution. This means that three co-equal branches of government must share in the responsibilities of making government work. For the past year, we have been sorely lacking in collaboration and cooperation in Augusta and we should resolve to be changing that.

We must also resolve to make decisions about COVID-19 that are based solely on scientific reasoning and not on hunches and guesses. The restrictions imposed on Mainers have had a devastating impact on the livelihoods of many small business owners and their employees; and future decisions must be sound, logical, and well-founded in science. If we expect the people of Maine to accept these decisions and follow these guidelines, we must justify them in a way that resonates more with people than simply, “because we told you to.”

Mainers have proven well enough that we are a resilient and understanding people; but we also expect those who represent us to be honest, hardworking people who are willing to work together to find the best solutions.

These are not the qualities that shone the brightest in 2020; but a new year presents us with the opportunity to take a different approach, one that is best for all Mainers.

Here’s hoping we all make the best choices in the year to come.

Again, I am Senator Trey Stewart from District 2, wishing you a safe, happy, and prosperous New Year.

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