Craig Hickman
Candidate for Maine State Senate District 14

Working Hard for the People

About

The year 2020 has been something else. The coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on our health and well-being while claiming far too many lives; people from all backgrounds marched for racial justice and policing reform; our economy is egg-shell fragile; a hostile foreign power initiated the largest cyberattack on American federal and private institutions in history; and our fundamental rights feel under attack.

But we shall overcome.

I believe that my lived experience, candor, and witness; my education, experience, and bipartisan legislative achievements; my leadership, passion, and integrity; and my dedication to volunteerism, public service and our communities make me uniquely qualified to be our next State Senator for District 14 at this fierce and urgent now.

I have a proven record of working across the aisle to advance policies that move Maine forward, sponsoring major legislation signed into law by Governor Paul LePage and Governor Janet Mills.

I humbly ask you to join our campaign to help elect a man of the people who will work hard for the people of Chelsea, Farmingdale, Gardiner, Hallowell, Manchester, Monmouth, Pittston, Randolph, Readfield, West Gardiner, and Winthrop in the special election on March 9, 2021.

THE ROAD BEFORE US

I have fought hard to strengthen communities and make life better for people. I have always given voice to those who cry in the dark. The sick, the hungry, and the poor. The invisible, the silenced, and the scorned. The insecure, the isolated, and the forlorn.

A lifelong advocate for individual rights, civil liberties, and justice for all, I believe that we must come together to create equitable and just public policy that recognizes the dignity and worth of every human personality and moves us to a place where all Maine people have the social and economic opportunity to be free. Free from hunger and poverty. Free from violence and addiction and abuse. Free from drought and pestilence and disease. Free from oppression and discrimination and institutional bias. Free from financial ruin on account of debt, a serious accident, or a chronic medical condition. Free from tyranny and deception and greed. Free from state interference in personal matters and private decisions.

In the face of the economic turmoil brought about by a once-in-a-century pandemic, every corner of government must come together to protect our public health and our economy. And I understand that our health and our economy and our freedoms are intertwined, that they are all connected in our lives and in our laws.

I will continue—with creativity, authenticity and integrity—to solve problems and promote liberty and justice across partisan and ideological lines on behalf of the hard-working people of the State.

In doing so, I promise to respond to you whenever you reach out, as soon as I can, no matter the issue or concern, whether or not I can solve the problem, and whether or not we agree on the point.

I will leave you with one of my favorite passages from my favorite American author.

“One must say Yes to life, and embrace it wherever it is found—and it is found in terrible places… For nothing is fixed, forever and forever, it is not fixed; the earth is always shifting, the light is always changing, the sea does not cease to grind down rock. Generations do not cease to be born, and we are responsible to them because we are the only witnesses they have. The sea rises, the light fails, lovers cling to each other, and children cling to us. The moment we cease to hold each other, the moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.”

Let us heed James Baldwin’s wise, wise words. Let us keep faith with one another. Let us lead with love.

I love our state. I love our community. I love helping our people. Representing and serving the people has been the highest honor of my life. I will be forever grateful that you entrusted me to be your voice and your vote in Augusta for eight years.

Thank you for allowing me to live my dreams. To keep up the fight and cause some good trouble. To continue carrying forward the work.

And so, I humbly ask that you join our 100% positive campaign. That you ask your neighbors, families and friends to join our campaign. That you and your neighbors, families and friends to sign up to volunteer and help get out the vote. And that, on March 9, 2021, you…

Vote Hickman in the Senate.

Thank you. Take care of your blessings.

Listening to the People

Michael Frett, Hallowell

I'm enthusiastic to support Craig's bid for the Maine Senate. Craig is and has been a tremendous proponent for diversity, inclusion and fairness on many fronts of Maine's social, communal and economic spectrum. He's a hard worker and easily available to constituents. Let's send Craig to the State Senate, where he can again, roll up his sleeves and advocate for the people of Maine!

— Michael Frett of Hallowell, City Councilor

Todd Sears, Monmouth

I’ve known Craig Hickman for more than ten years. He would make a great state senator. I, for one, have seen all the hard work and dedication he has spent working for his community and our state.

— Todd Sears of Monmouth, Handyman

Catherine Lewis, Manchester

I’m eager to vote for Craig Hickman in this special election. He has proven himself a defender of personal rights, local food and farms, cannabis, veterans and so much more. He's not afraid to say what needs saying.

— Catherine Lewis of Manchester, Business Owner

Hon. Owen Casas, Rockport

During my term in the Maine House, I worked closely with Craig Hickman and am honored to count him among my personal friends. His perspective was always thought provoking and challenged many of my preconceived notions. His questions always aimed at the heart of an issue and quickly separated fact from fiction. “What problem are we trying to solve with this legislation” was one of my favorites.

— Owen Casas of Rockport, Town Manager, former State Representative

Kyle Bell-Colfer, Farmingdale

What I learned from Craig over the ten years I’ve known him was not limited to our discussions on agricultural science, philosophy, the impact and role of the law on society and the intricacies of how to manage a small business. The most influential topics were those learned through osmosis watching how Craig lives his life, day in and day out. Hard work, integrity and a compassionate intelligence driven by a persistent need to be there for others are what denote Craig Hickman a man of the people and most assuredly deserving of your vote for State Senate.

— Kyle Bell-Colfer, formerly of Farmingdale, Broker

Charles Dingman, Turner

Excellent news! Craig is a gifted public servant who has served with distinction in the House for 8 years. He is a local farmer who cares about good food and economic justice, which includes access to good food. He understands what matters to his fellow Mainers. He will make a great State Senator!

— Charles Dingman of Turner, Lawyer

Todd Park, West Gardiner

We need Craig Hickman’s compassion, common sense, selflessness, and honesty to help lead this state, and ultimately help our country. Craig and I differ in political opinion in some areas, and that’s not a bad thing. I respect him as a man, a leader, and a voice for our communities. His actions speak volumes for his principles and that is something I see less and less of in politics. Too many agendas that don’t place the best interests of the people at the forefront. I truly appreciated the time and energy he put into educating me on COVID-19, and his commitment to holding BIW accountable for the safety of its workers. He is a good man and an exceptional beacon of hope and support to the folks in our communities.

—Todd Park of West Gardiner, formerly of Winthrop, Teacher and Craftsman

From Luke Small, Farmingdale

As his legislative intern, I had the chance to witness Rep. Hickman’s respect for and knowledge of the Constitution. He used this knowledge as an asset for the people of Maine by redirecting proposals to align more appropriately with the Constitution. His respect for the Constitution was second only to his mastery of how state government operates. I was often in awe seeing how he used every office and member of government to craft legislation to create a better state for all Mainers. He has used his organizational, marketing, legislative and leadership skills, combined with his tireless efforts and compassion for the people of Maine, to make the State of Maine a better place for all.

I also have had the great opportunity to work on his farm for the past few years. I came to his farm as an out-of-work-construction worker looking to start my dream of having my own farm. Craig has taught me the finer points of farming from seed to harvest, including food prep and storage techniques. He teaches that caring for the earth and its people will in turn care for us. So, we feed the earth and we feed people. I watched as he cared for his constituents; whether they needed food, help with bills, or just a kind ear, he was always there. Through these teachings, I have gained the skills and confidence that I too can care for myself. This confidence has been most important and reassuring during the last year. I can’t wait to vote for him to be my state senator.

— Luke Small, Farmingdale, Farmer

Where I'm From

As a teenager in 1939, my father enlisted in the segregated Army Air Force in Tuskegee, Alabama, and fought overseas for freedom in World War II. He came home to a nation that wasn’t too kind to Negro soldiers returning from war. Still, he registered to vote in 1956 and cast his first ballot for President Eisenhower. But he, along with my mother and other Black women in the north, found it difficult to vote in many elections due to property restrictions, voter intimidation and other shenanigans, including guess-the-number-of-jelly-beans-in-the-jar and literacy tests.

My parents became involved in the Civil Rights Movement in Milwaukee, known at the time as the Selma of the North, after a throng of Black people, led by 200 members of the NAACP Youth Council, marched against Jim Crow and violence for nearly 200 days straight in one of the longest youth-led protests in American history.

My parents, who overcame all of the above and much more, raised my sister and me to believe that we could do and achieve anything we put our minds to. They taught us how to rise up after being knocked down. How to dream great dreams. They showed us how to live. And how to love. True patriots, they loved this country more than any other country in the world, even when it didn’t seem to love them in return. I stand on their shoulders.

Growing up Black and gay and blue collar in America, nobody ever said it was going to be easy.

I’ve had my share of heart aches, heart breaks, my share of being stood up and let down. But I have survived.

I’ve been abused, misused, unappreciated and sometimes simply tolerated. But I have survived.

I’ve been invisible, silenced, laughed at and scorned. But I have survived.

I’ve been tried in the fire, but I’m coming out pure, like black gold.

I’m a diamond in the rough withstanding a lifetime of pressure to be someone or anything other than myself.

But I’m going to be me.

Living, giving, testifying, signifying…

Some say my life is a walking improbability, characterized by much more than overcoming adversity. I say it’s about seizing the moment and making manifest impossibility.

From being born out of wedlock and sent away by my dogmatic birth family, to being adopted by a Tuskegee Airman and a wise woman in Milwaukee.

From surviving an I-can’t-breathe episode of police brutality, to graduating cum laude with a degree in government from Harvard University.

From struggling as a ramen-noodle-eating starving artist behind the counter at CVS when the gigs weren’t coming in, to touring the country on stage and screen and becoming a National Poetry Slam champion.

From preventing disease among teenage, homeless sex workers on the Boston streets, to managing a commercial real estate firm with four offices in three states.

From growing okra and collard greens and offering food to anyone in need, to serving in the Statehouse for four terms, a surprise to many indeed.

From hours of listening and reading and keeping relationships intact, to working with Governor Lepage, President Jackson, Speaker Gideon and Attorney General Mills to pass the first-in-the-nation Maine Food Sovereignty Act.

Today, I stand on my parents’ shoulders and on the shoulders of all my ancestors and humbly ask that you elect me our next State Senator. I stand here today, five-fifths of a person—whole—and wholly committed to the road before us.

I have a proven record of making tough, bipartisan compromises and getting things done. I have managed systems and soils and programs and budgets and people for 35 years. In all of it, listening has been the most important part of the job. Bringing people together in teamwork and collaboration to produce the fruit of common purpose is my middle name.

When I took the Oath of Office, I promised to promote food sovereignty, end hunger, and support rural economic development. I am proud to say I was able to deliver with many legislative achievements. From passing landmark legislation on food sovereignty and ending hunger in Maine by 2030, to advancing the needle on food rights and food self-sufficiency; from fighting poverty, and investing in vital infrastructure, including rural broadband and transportation, to protecting markets for small farmers regarding hemp, cannabis, dairy, fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, and valued-added products; from ensuring that we steward our public lands and natural resources in a way that keeps our soil, water, and air clean and habitable for generations to come, to protecting the most vulnerable among us by outlawing the unauthorized custody transfers of children; from eliminating racial profiling in our state, to centering equality of opportunity for all people at the heart of our lawmaking process.

Over the past eight years, I have been honored to serve on policy committees that cover the areas dearest to my heart—the Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee, which I chaired for two terms, the Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs, which oversees voting rights and policies that support our veterans, and the Committee on Judiciary, which oversees policy that protects our individual and civil rights. I was also proud to be a part of the committee that was charged with facilitating the implementation of Maine’s adult-use cannabis law, where I fought to preserve the will of the people as expressed at the ballot box.

Serving the Community

As the son of a World War II veteran and a wise woman, I was raised to revere public service and community. Civic engagement is paramount. Being actively involved in growing community remains as necessary as food and water.

Whether smoking ribs and sausage for hundreds each year at Rotary's Annual Family Barbecue & Gumbo Festival to End Hunger; or roasting prime rib and potatoes for Rotary's Harvest Dinner; or frying chicken and braising collard greens for Rotary's Southern Fried Chicken Dinner; or flipping blueberry pancakes for Rotary's Hunter’s and Family Breakfast, I will always enjoy preparing food and feeding people.

I currently serve or have served on the following volunteer boards, commissions or committees:

Winthrop Area Rotary Club, Past President

Winthrop Area Rotary Foundation, Former Chair

Winthrop Hot Meal Kitchen, Former Secretary

Annabessacook Lake Improvement Association, Board of Directors

Maine Black Community Development, Board of Directors

Maranacook Local Foods Buying Club, Board of Directors

Peter Alfond Prevention & Healthy Living Center, Advisory Board

Sons of the American Legion, Post #40

Theater at Monmouth, Board of Trustees

University of Maine System, Board of Agriculture

University of Maine at Augusta, Board of Visitors

Washburn-Norlands Living History Center, Board of Trustees

Western Kennebec Economic Development Association, Board of Directors

Winthrop Conservation Commissioner

Winthrop Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors

Doing Right by the People

Small Business and Rural Economic Development

As a farmer and shopkeeper, I believe family farms and small businesses can be burdened with one-size-fits-all regulations designed to help giant, out-of-state corporations drive us out of business. I’ve managed fast-food chains, real estate firms and start-ups. I’ve run human resources, operations, finance, and marketing departments. I’ve run a publishing house, a catering business, and a production company as a sole proprietor or a partner. I understand the challenges facing small businesses and workers. I will continue the fight to reform regulations so small businesses can compete on an even playing field and create the good-paying jobs we need right here in Maine.

In the Legislature, I’ve shepherded legislation to passage that saved a horse farm in Readfield and a popular bar and restaurant in Hallowell. I’ve passed legislation that reduced regulations on small breweries, wineries, and distilleries, allowing more Maine-based businesses to compete with out-of-state conglomerates. I passed emergency legislation to keep edibles made of hemp-derived CBD on the shelves, helping to keep several Maine entrepreneurs in business and allowing the people to have access to their preferred therapeutics. I have supported measures that promote rural economic development, including investments in broadband, roads and bridges, water and sewer, and other vital infrastructure. I have proposed and voted for tax cuts for farmers, fishermen, loggers, and landowners of commercial forests, and I have voted to increase the minimum wage. I have voted to send more money back to our towns to reduce the local tax burden on property owners and businesses. I have fought long and hard to protect the medical cannabis industry in Maine, which raises millions of dollars in tax revenue each year.

I’m a pro-business, pro-labor lawmaker with a nonpartisan approach. I will continue to stand strong for Maine’s small businesses, entrepreneurs, and workers across every industry.

Individual Rights and Civil Liberties

As a defender of individual rights, I believe people need to be free to set the proper course for their own lives, as long as they don’t encroach upon the equal rights of others.

The right to food, the right to health care, the right to clean water and air and soil, the right to privacy, the right to worship as we please or to not worship at all, the right to peaceful protest, to petition our government for a redress of grievances, the right to marry the person we love, the right to shelter, the right to move about freely without harassment from the authorities, the right to keep and bear arms, the right to raise our children as we see fit, the right to a public education, the right to our own bodily health and well-being. These and other fundamental rights cannot be secured, defended, or protected without the right to vote.

In the Legislature, I have taken votes that don’t allow people to put me neatly in a box. I have voted for gun rights and against laws that penalize poverty. I have voted to ensure law enforcement officers have all the tools they need to remain safe on the job and against biased-based profiling by law enforcement officers. I have voted for laws that prohibit cell phone surveillance without a warrant and against laws that criminalize addiction. I have voted to improve the public health and against laws that strip parental rights. I voted to increase the minimum teacher salary to $40,000 by 2023 and raise the state share of education funding. I have proposed measures and voted to protect the constitutional rights of all people in Maine, no matter their background or station in life.

On all matters, I vote my conscience, my constituencies, and my party—in that order. I have strong moral convictions and the fortitude to back them up with votes. I can explain or defend any vote I take and will remain transparent about all of it.

Health Care

As a former public health professional who has confronted two deadly pandemics in my lifetime, I believe that equal access to preventative and life-saving health care is a fundamental right. The coronavirus pandemic has revealed beyond all doubt that it’s beyond time we renegotiate our contracts with one another as a society. It’s just not okay that our health care system values some lives more than others. If we all have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, then we must also have a right to our bodily health and well-being. No illness, whether chronic or catastrophic, should force a person into bankruptcy.

In the Legislature, I voted to put federal Affordable Care Act protections into our state law, ensuring insurance plans cover essential health benefits, such as prescription drugs, emergency services, maternity care, mental health care and substance use treatment. I sponsored legislation to ensure that all state employees, no matter their status or class, can maintain their health insurance year-round. I have supported investments in mental health services, suicide prevention education, and treatment for substance use disorders. Since I believe food is medicine, I have supported proposals that promote the use of emergency food relief benefits at farmers’ markets so everyone has better access to nourishing food. Along with a coalition of diverse stakeholders, I have worked with the administration to ensure that all of us, including racial, indigenous and tribal populations disproportionately affected by COVID-19, receive the resources and health care we need to survive and thrive.

Conservation and Climate Change

As a conservationist, I believe Maine must steward our precious natural resources, end our addiction to fossil fuels and chemical weapons of warfare, and harness the power of nature to create a cost-effective, comprehensive renewable energy portfolio. We’ll protect Maine’s enthralling beauty, mitigate the impacts of climate change, jumpstart our economic recovery, and create new jobs.

In the Legislature, I have supported investments in soil and water conservation districts throughout Maine; served on the climate and equity advisory committee; chaired a commission to ensure that our public lands and forests are being stewarded responsibly; voted for legislation to help mitigate milfoil and arsenic in our lakes, rivers and streams, and to protect our groundwater; spearheaded efforts to reduce reliance on genetically engineered seeds and chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals on public lands and school grounds; supported policies to reduce food waste and increase the production of biofuels; and championed regenerative agriculture practices to increase soil health in the production of nutrient-dense food for the improved health and well-being of the Maine people.

Supporting Farms and Food Sovereignty

As an organic farmer, I believe locally grown food is national security. I will continue to fight for greater food self-sufficiency for the state, better infrastructure, and a comprehensive plan to end hunger in Maine once and for all. Access to wholesome food is a right for every citizen. We must not allow a single one of us, especially our children and our seniors, to go hungry for a single day. We have all the natural resources and the hard-working, independent-spirited people to grow, catch, hunt, trap, produce, process and distribute enough food to feed our state and strengthen our rural economies. Let’s stop importing more food per capita than any other state on the continent. Maine food means Maine jobs.

In the Legislature, I worked with Governor LePage, President Jackson, and farmers across the state to pass the Maine Food Sovereignty Act which allows municipalities to pass ordinances that remove burdensome regulation for small farms and food producers engaged only in direct producer-to-consumer transactions. Today, more than 75 municipalities in Maine have adopted an ordinance that ensures rural communities remain healthy, self-sufficient, and resilient by supporting producers and consumers alike.

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