Legislative Update: “Yes” on Question 1

Greetings Community Advocate,

The Greater Portland community and the State of Maine have been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes economic and public health tolls particularly on our most vulnerable neighbors. It affects their ability to access work, education, and basic needs like shelter and food while adhering to public safety measures. The ability to receive information and connect digitally has created an even deeper divide for individuals and households without access to the internet.

United Way of Greater Portland’s Board of Directors has endorsed the passage of an upcoming bond referendum focused on the expansion of broadband access, which will help ensure economic opportunity, financial stability, and positive health outcomes that are vital to an individual and household’s ability to recover, rebuild, and thrive. These measures are directly or clearly tied to UWGP’s Board approved Agenda, which includes supporting expanding broadband, an issue raised by multiple community partners about 18 months ago when we surveyed partners about policy priorities for Greater Portland.

On July 14, voters have the chance to vote “yes” on Question 1, which will invest $15 million in the delivery of better internet to unserved and underserved areas of Maine. The bond funds will be matched by $30 million in private, local and federal dollars, tripling the impact of this investment.

The current pandemic highlights the need for universal access to broadband services. COVID-19 has negatively affected Maine’s economy, with 1-in-5 Mainers receiving unemployment benefits and an undetermined number waiting to file for benefits. The future of our state’s economy remains unknown, as is that of our universities and whether students will be able to return to classes in the fall. Despite these uncertainties, we do know that expanding access to broadband is a crucial step to ensuring a viable future for citizens of Greater Portland and the state. Increased need for virtual services and opportunities due to the COVID-19 pandemic further highlights the need for universal availability and access to broadband in Maine.

Please vote “Yes” on Question 1 by requesting an absentee ballot today or going to your polling place on July 14

Three Ways to Take Action Today:

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