My name is Bre Kidman, and I want to represent Maine in the United States Senate.
I'm not who most people picture when they think "politician."
I'm a millennial. I've never run for office. I hate wearing blazers. I drive a dented 10-year-old subcompact with a missing hubcap. I'm a pierced, tattooed, rainbow-haired plus-sized burlesque performer who buys most of their fast fashion wardrobe on clearance. I put the "Q+" in "LGBTQ+." I live in an 830-square-foot house recently described as "probably not intended for year-round occupancy." I had a medical marijuana card when I needed it. I have been naked on the internet. I won't hide who I was before I started running to represent Mainers. I am not slick or polished, but I am smart and passionate.
I see the problems Mainers face firsthand every day.
As a criminal defense attorney, I make a little less than Maine's median household income defending Mainers accused of crimes who can't afford a lawyer. And I'm grateful for the opportunity. When I graduated from the University of Maine School of Law, I knew I needed to work as hard as I could to get a fair shake for Mainers facing injustice.
I love my work.
But my clients face the same challenges over and over again: lack of access to housing, or healthcare, or treatment for mental health and substance abuse. It's not enough to fight for them in the courtroom. Sitting in chambers with judges and prosecutors, all of us heartbroken because we know that real treatment options to break the cycle don't exist, I know it's not enough. I have picked clients up at jail after months of coordinating with substance abuse programs to get them a bed and physically driven them to treatment centers hours away in my busted little car... and it's just not enough. Maine is seeing more than one drug-related death EVERY DAY. Unless we address the causes from the top down, one-on-one service providers like me will never be able to do enough.
You could say the same for American politics. We can all scream at each other on the Internet about whose team did which ridiculous thing this week, but it doesn't force our legislators to create solutions for the problems we face—or stop them from making laws that make our lives harder. We can read the full-text bills and resolutions our legislators are voting on and call their offices, but career politicians keep voting with an eye toward reelection. They're more beholden to special interests and high-end donors than the average voter.
I traveled to Washington, DC in October 2018 to meet with Susan Collins on the eve of the Kavanaugh vote. Unable to get an email response about scheduling a meeting or a phone call, I hustled down to Capitol Hill and pressed my ear against her closed door. When I heard footsteps, I banged on that door until someone answered. Begrudgingly, a staffer agreed to meet me the next day. I turned up with my story, and the policy reasons why Senator Collins should vote against confirmation. When I asked what was factoring into my senator's decision-making process, her disinterested staffer could not be more specific than “she's got a lot to consider.” Susan Collins' net worth has increased an average of 138% for EVERY YEAR she has been in the Senate and the only answer her constituents can get from her office on major decisions is “she's got a lot to consider.”
Senator Collins: that is not enough.
Mainers deserve a senator who cares more about finding real solutions to the problems we face than how they are going to fund their next run for office. Mainers deserve a senator who will spend more time listening to our concerns than courting rich out-of-state donors. Mainers deserve a senator who isn't afraid to roll up their sleeves, get their hands dirty, and work for us like like it's their job.
Friends, my sleeves are rolled up and I am ready to spend six years of my life reminding our legislators who they work for. I am ready to spend six years of my life focused on taking back our government from corporate special interests and putting it back in the hands of the people. I am ready to spend six years of my life working tirelessly for our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It might not be enough...but if you elect me, I promise you that I will devote those six years to making sure we get the representation we deserve.
Bre Kidman for Maine: because Maine deserves more than a politician.