- Former State Rep working to end power structures that silence everyday voices.
Supported Progressive Health Care Reform
In late 2009, Diane Russell was one of more than 1,000 state legislators to sign a letter entitled "State Legislators for Progressive Health Care Reform". The letter was a project of the Progressive States Network and was developed in consultation with national health care reform advocates, including the AFL-CIO, AFSCME, Community Catalyst, Families USA, Herndon Alliance, National Women's Law Center, Northeast Action, SEIU, and Universal Health Care Action Network. The letter reads in part,
- "Failure to pass national comprehensive health reform now will further jeopardize state and local budgets, undermining public services like education, public safety, and transportation infrastructure... We, the undersigned, call on President Obama and the Congress to enact bold and comprehensive health care reform this year – based on these principles and a strong federal-state collaboration – and pledge our support as state legislators and allies in pursuit of guaranteed, high quality, affordable health care for all."
The national delegates elected for Sen. Bernie Sanders at the Maine Democratic party convention in may 2016 were were: Diane Denk, Vanessa Sylvester, Liz Smith, Todd Ricker, Seth Berner, Justin Beth, Cokie Giles, Cynthia Soma-Hernandez, Jesse Lambert, David Bright, Ursa Beckford, Severin Beliveau, David Weeda, Denise Groves, former state Rep. Harlan Baker, state Rep. Diane Russell and state Rep. Deane Rykerson.
Harlan Baker November 22, 2016:
Our Democratic Socialists of America organizing meeting at Portland City Hall. There were 100 people in attendance. — with Burt Wartell, Marjorie Phyfe, Sarah Rawlings, Jeremy Mele, Tim Goodwin, Nate LeClair, Chris Cavanaugh, Cynthia Adair Grier Handlen, Chris Hafford, Barney McClelland, Diane Russell, Seth Berner and Bob Murray.
Mike Tipping, communications director for the Sussman-funded Maine People's Alliance, wrote in April that the Koch brothers were “killing Medicaid expansion in Maine.” Tipping said the defeat of Medicaid expansion in Maine didn’t just happen because of GOP resistance, but as “part of a well-funded, well-coordinated campaign to impose on all of us the political views of a wealthy, conservative few.”
Although Tipping did not have any evidence to support his thesis, he did have plenty of conspiratorial innuendo. In contrast, the release of the Democracy Alliance members’ list adds to the mountain of evidence suggesting that Tipping is a paid actor in a well-funded, well-coordinated campaign to impose on all of us the political views of a wealthy, progressive few.
Senate President Justin Alfond (D-Portland) and Rep. Diane Russell (D-Portland) have also jumped on the Koch-hating bandwagon while conveniently ignoring the influence of Democratic dark money. In a fundraising letter, Alfond complained that the Kochs had a “target” on his back. Russell, in a recent newspaper op-ed, declared that she was forming a legislative task force to spy out Legislation that may have been influenced by the Kochs.
Midcoast Maine DSA Closed Facebook Group
As of June 19, 2017;
Maine Democratic Socialists of America Public Facebook Group
March 2017, Portland joined several cities across the nation for a series of rallies under the name, “The People’s Defense.” Protests were centered around the slogan: We Object. Pro-democracy and civil rights advocates objected to a number of issues — Trump’s travel ban, spikes in hate crimes, health care reform, budget cuts to the EPA, Internet privacy — but most were focused on what they considered the most pressing and important: the nomination of Trump’s pick for Supreme Court Judge, Neil Gorsuch.
About 150 voters gathered on Sunday at Portland’s City Hall to object to Gorsuch, a candidate who’s both praised and criticized for his conservative views and strict constitutionalist perspective. One can see the ideological divide over Gorsuch locally in recent stories from the Portland Press Herald which report that a group of 98 Maine lawyers wrote and signed a letter in opposition to Gorsuch to Maine’s Senators, while a separate group of 49 signed one in support.
The speakers at the rally included former State Rep. and Bernie voter Diane Russell; Mike Sylvester, a State Rep. for District 39, and founding member of the Maine Democratic Socialists of America; Glen Brand, the chapter director at the Maine Sierra Club; Barney McClelland from the AFL-CIO; Maine Education Association President Lois Kilby-Chesney; and Michael Langenmayr, a steering committee member of the advocacy group Progressive Portland.
- Progressive States Network: State Legislators for Progressive Health Care Reform (accessed on Dec. 23, 2010)
- [http://www.themainewire.com/2014/05/maine-political-players-attend-conference-shadowy-democracy-alliance/MaineWiseMaine political players attend conference for shadowy Democracy AllianceBy Steve Robinson onMay 7, 2014]