Hi, this is House Republican Leader Kathleen Dillingham from my home in Oxford to deliver this week’s Republican Radio Address.
Normally I have the assistance of my very talented staff in Augusta to assist with this, but we are each trying to do what we can to lessen the spread of COVID-19 and so, I am going it alone today.
With the pandemic outbreak of this virus, we are in the midst of unprecedented times. Collectively, our lives have changed, and we all realize we are indeed, in this together.
With the required disruption to our daily routines, we have been given the opportunity to reflect on what is truly important. I for one have had the opportunity to see that it is the people in my life and around me.
The stay-at-home order recently issued by the Governor has created great anxiety and confusion for many. I ask that we all do our best to comply with the stay-at-home order to ensure not only the health of those we live with, but also those around us…our family, friends, and neighbors.
There are many that we know that are considered essential employees. They go to work each day, risking contact with the virus, to ensure our health, safety, well-being and basic needs. When I think about all these individuals I am reminded of the famous quote by the late and wonderful children’s TV show host Fred Rogers.
Mr. Rogers said:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ He went on to say, “To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world.”
I agree with Mr. Rogers and believe there is no better example of that sentiment, ‘look for the helpers,’ than what is happening around us today.
Some are easy to come to mind like our doctors, nurses, medical personnel, first responders, law enforcement, corrections, armed services, teachers and all of their support staff.
But now we also see how vital the work of grocery clerks, shelf-stockers, delivery drivers, municipal and government employees are to the very fiber of our communities.
We have Mainers that are continually responding to the current needs of others and seeking solutions in our time of crisis.
-Mainers are making masks for others
-Mainers are repurposing their businesses to provide vital equipment
-Mainers are producing and delivering meals to workers and people stuck in their homes or adapting their business to offer curbside pickup. For example, today Daddy O’s in Oxford was offering free meals to whoever needed one.. all you had to do was drive up and they handed you a meal prepped and ready to cook.
-Mainers are also donating to community organizations that serve others
-And Mainers are reaching out to their friends, family and neighbors from a distance to ensure they are healthy and remain connected
No doubt, we all know loved ones and other individuals that fall into these categories and many categories that I have not named. Now is the time for us to step forward and thank them for what they do for us and all of society. One way we can do that is also by becoming helpers.
We can help by staying at home to assist in flattening the curve and lessen the chance of the spread of the virus. And just to be clear, that doesn’t mean shut yourself up in your home and away from all forms of social interaction. Get out and take a walk around your home, try video chatting if you have the ability and technology available. Take up a new hobby or try some new form of physical activity such as yoga. Try and take a break from social media and the negativity that always seem to be so rampant there, or better yet, post positive and uplifting messages for others to see. When you have to run out for supplies, call to see if you can save a neighbor a trip and offer to pick up needed items for them. This will also help to alleviate the number of customers in the stores. When doing any of these things, be sure to always follow the guidelines and recommendations of the CDC.
What we are seeing today, the collective concern for the wellbeing of others, is the way I believe life should be. All of us caring, being respectful, thoughtful and polite.
Each of us contributing to society…being helpers.
I also want to add that now is not the time for partisan politics.
When passing the most recent supplemental budget, republicans were able to come together with leadership from the administration and fellow democrats to highlight priorities that were needed to address the impact of COVID-19. Much like our Senator, Susan Collins and her colleagues in the US Senate, they all worked together to focus on the priorities of every American.
Mainers and leaders like Senator Collins realize we are all in this together and we need to help each other. I encourage all elected officials to set aside their own self-centered political interests, refrain from needlessly causing fear and confusion. Stop making this about you, your elected position, your party and realize that nothing will get done without all the elected officials at every level working together. Stop being the naysayers and instead help find solutions for the times we find ourselves in.
The people of Maine are looking to all of us for calm guidance right now and our characters will be judged. Let us all come through this knowing we did our best to serve and work together, political party aside, to stop the spread of this virus and preserve our economy as best as we can. It’s not always about winning the next election, it’s about serving the people around us.
Let me go back to Mr. Rogers.
What many people don’t know, is that Mr. Rogers was a Minister with a background in child development.
A good listener, he was calm, patient, supportive, loving and soothing. All qualities greatly needed in society today.
We could always use more people who emulate the same qualities that Mr. Rogers possessed but more importantly, we as a society need to hold those individuals up as role models for us all. Let’s focus less on the negative and promote the good.
COVID-19 has reminded us all of what is truly important.
During these challenging times, take stock of where you are, what you can do to help, and where you will ultimately be.
Look for and be one of the helpers.
This has been House Republican Leader Kathleen Dillingham with the weekly Republican Radio Address. Stay safe, stay healthy, and may God bless us all.