In this March 10, 2021, file photo, Maine Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, covers his heart while reciting the Pledge of Allegiance on at the Augusta Civic Center. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

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Mark Vigliotta is the president of the Maine Machinists Council. The council is part of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Troy Jackson did work for the association in 2019.

As a Democrat who has fought all my life to create better conditions for Maine workers, I cannot express strongly enough how disappointed I have been with Gov. Janet Mills.

Time and again during her time in office, I and my members have worked to pass legislation to protect and improve the lives of Maine workers, only to see this governor work to kill the bill on the floor of the Legislature or veto it after it made it to her desk.

She vetoed legislation that would have protected whistle-blowers from retaliation.

She vetoed legislation that would have pushed employers to hire Maine workers and buy materials made by American workers.

She vetoed legislation that would have ensured public workers get better wages and fairer contracts. Twice.

But it wasn’t just pro-worker legislation that she blocked. She vetoed a ban on pesticide spraying in the north Maine woods, a ban on foreign corporate money in Maine political campaigns and a ban on big pharma price-gouging seniors. All bills that I believe a majority of Mainers, let alone Democrats, wanted passed into law.

That is why the Maine Machinists Union, alongside leaders from other unions and organizations, are forming a Political Action Committee to try to convince Democratic Senate President Troy Jackson to run for governor.

We have not contacted Jackson about our PAC, and we understand why he may be reluctant to get in the race. His legislative colleagues and the governor may pressure him to stay out. But we are determined to show that he will have the support of working people across Maine, should he decide to run.

Here’s why we support him: Troy grew up in Aroostook County, the son of a school teacher and logger. He followed in his parents footsteps to work the Maine woods and to become a fierce advocate for early childhood education. In 2018, after having served in the Maine House and Maine Senate, he was selected by his peers to serve as the Senate president.

As president, Jackson has been a champion for Maine’s working families. He has fought for us to have a voice at the table and, perhaps most importantly, we believe he would have signed all of the bills we mentioned above.

We know this because he sponsored or fought to pass every single one.

We also believe, for those focused on who is stronger against Paul LePage, that Jackson is that candidate. As a working-class Democrat, he has won conservative Aroostook County for years, while Mills only got 38 percent of their votes in 2018.

If we don’t have a Democratic candidate who can win the 2nd District, it’s game over for keeping the Blaine House blue.

We have launched a website at The best way to help is to sign up and pledge that if Jackson runs, you will give $5 to help him qualify for more than $1 million in public funding through the state’s clean elections fund.

If hundreds of us show that we’re here for him, so he won’t have to raise money from wealthy donors or corporate PAC’s, maybe that will convince Jackson to get in the race.

I hope Jackson takes our words seriously. We need someone in the Blaine House who truly understands workers and who will act to make our lives better.