President Joe Biden signs an image as he greets people after delivering remarks on his "Build Back Better" agenda during a visit to the International Union Of Operating Engineers Local 324, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, in Howell, Mich. Credit: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

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I am a father, a coach, long time shop steward and union activist. The Build Back Better Act provides an opportunity to change people’s lives and create a path to the middle class.

Most workers in Maine are going without a union contract or a collective bargaining agreement and because of this, Maine has seen generations of working families struggling to enter the middle class. This has left thousands and thousands of our neighbors painfully marching through poverty in pursuit of the basic comforts and securities offered by financial stability. Land, a home, clean water, healthy food, education, healthcare, stable employment, retirement, etc.

My job includes hearing from Mainers in need on a daily basis, and I know Mainers are struggling.

Before the pandemic, we as a state have had neighbors struggling to support themselves and their children. Build Back Better will help parents get back to work, provide jobs by the thousands, support home and community care options, reduce sustainable energy costs, reduce health care costs, insure more Americans, and more strictly penalize employers who violate labor laws against their workers.

As the son of immigrants, I credit my mother’s union involvement with our family’s success. I have witnessed firsthand workers organizing and standing up for each other. It is when we stand and rise together that real, measurable change occurs. We need Rep. Jared Golden and Sen. Susan Collins to stand with us and vote for the Build Back Better Act.

Kevin Russell

West Gardiner