KVO Candidates Forum by Topic: Racism and Immigration

(For ease of isolating candidate responses by topics, the larger full forum post is being offered as single stand alone posts. ~KVO)


(Foreground: Kate Brennan and Samarali Daniels of Maine Equal Justice Partners)

Round 2: Racism and Immigration

  • Refugees in Maine have come from over 30 countries in: Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, Former Soviet Republics, Middle East, Eastern Africa, South/Central America, Caribbean and Cuba. Current refugee populations that are coming to Maine are from Somalia, Sudan, Congo, Ethiopia, Burma, Iran and Iraq. Trends in refugee resettlement mirror the conflicts and tragedies that are happening worldwide and as such, Maine has most recently assisted in the resettlement of Eastern African and Middle Eastern refugees.

In the last 40 years, RIS has assisted nearly 10,000 people through its resettlement program and assisted over 20,000 with refugee and asylee support services. In fiscal year 2017, RIS resettled 358 primary refugees and assisted more than 37 secondary migrants and 86 asylees in becoming self-sufficient new members of our community. Similar populations and arrivals are expected to be resettled in FY18. (Source: Catholic Charities’ Refugee and Immigration Services)

  • In 2001, Maine topped the nation with 96.9 percent of its population described as white. According to the 2010 United States Census, that number had decreased slightly to 94.4%.
  • There are roughly 48,835 Maine residents who were born abroad, and 931 people who immigrated to Maine between 2010 and 2014 (Source: The Partnership for a New American Economy, “The Contributions of New Americas in Maine”, 2014 American Community Survey- 1 Year Sample.).
  • Make a note of additional cultural holidays, see attached.

Questions for the Candidates: Would you cosponsor a resolution asking that the 129th Legislature make note of these additional major holidays as well as raise awareness within your district’s schools? What is your personal commitment to assisting New Mainers feel welcome, know that they “have a place at the table” and within our communities?

1. Senator Shenna Bellows, Candidate for Senate District 14
2. Karen Kusiak, Candidate for Senate District 16
3. Jan Collins, Candidate for Senate District 17
4. Lindsey Harwath, Candidate for House District 79
5. Representative Kent Ackley, Candidate for House District 82
6. Representative Donna Doore, Candidate for House District 85
7. John Clark, Candidate for House District 105
8. Aaron Rowden, Candidate for House District 108
9. Representative Colleen Madigan, Candidate for House District 110
10. John Thiele, Candidate for House District 118

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