The State House glows in an evening fog in Augusta on Dec. 7. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

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I have this to say to every Maine senator who voted against the emergency heating assistance bill earlier this month: Shame on them! The bill they chose to block would have provided much-needed funding for heating assistance, and relief checks of $450 dollars to individual Mainers.

I have benefited from LIHEAP in the past; and let me share with people how significant a relief check of $450 dollars would have been to me. Since November I have had several unexpected financial emergencies from my car breaking down to my propane tank leaking, and also my furnace completely dying. These emergencies have cost me over $3,000. Imagine now how much $450 could have helped me in this situation, instead of diminishing my entire savings and figuring out an extremely tight budget just to keep my family warm and afloat. We were without a furnace for an entire week in mid-November!

These senators should never forget they were elected to sit where they are in the Senate. Their seat is to represent Mainers. This emergency heating relief bill is the difference between life and death for some Mainers this winter. As the cold months and winter hit us head on, I hope they are able to reflect that they have the opportunity to save lives, and I hope it motivates them to put their party differences aside and find a way to help Mainers at this very difficult time. I hope Wednesday’s unanimous, bipartisan committee vote to advance heating assistance is a step in that direction.

Roxanne Kai