Hello, this is Anna Siegel, the Advocacy Director for Maine Youth Action, here with a 2023 year-in-review for the grassroots changemaking that we have been up to. The advocacy side of Maine Youth Action is the complement to the legislative efforts. While the Legislative Team and the Policy Director write testimony and bills, conduct lobbying efforts, and research key issues, the Volunteer Corps and myself plan events, host workshops, do movement-building with other organizations, and execute campaigns. The campaigns are the biggest part of my work in advocacy at MYA—let’s dive into how those have gone this past year.
The Pine Tree Amendment, an amendment to the Maine Constitution that would hold the government accountable to protect our basic rights to a clean and healthy environment, has been a priority issue for MYA for two legislative sessions now. In the past session the bill was tabled in the State House and did not move forward. Yet the fight continues—in 2023 we connected with hundreds of concerned constituents on the matter at the Common Ground Fair, brought significant news attention to the PTA, and will continue working with allied organizations until the PTA succeeds.
The Maine Youth Political Portal is a new campaign for 2023. At Maine Youth Action, we believe that youth are not only society’s future but its present. A 2021 poll determined that 44.3% of the United States population is under 35. Us youth are an important bloc of voters, workers, taxpayers, and visionaries—we deserve to be represented in politics as such. The Political Portal will be a dynamic website full of resources, mentors, and state-specific information to train young people how to run for office. The goal is to launch the website in late spring 2024. We need you to help us launch the Portal! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in building out website content by finding resources.
30x30, a name that refers to the campaign’s goal of conserving 30% of Maine’s natural lands by the year 2030, is a campaign in collaboration with Sierra Club Maine. I represent MYA on the Sierra Club Maine Conservation Team, where we have crafted an Organizing Plan to reach this goal and beyond. An incredible product from this year’s 30x30 work is the podcast Redefining Conservation. Give it a listen today!
The LD 99 Implementation Project is a continuation of the efforts from 2021, when Maine passed LD 99, An Act To Require The State To Divest Itself Of Assets In The Fossil Fuel Industry. This legislation was passed through an intergenerational, collaborative effort. LD 99 impels MainePERS to divest the 1.2 billion of pension funds that are currently tied up in industries which directly fuel the climate crisis. MainePERS has not listened—they are sidestepping divestment and not explicitly committing to forgoing new fossil fuel investments. This past year MYA has participated extensively in the Project by co-facilitating the space, mapping out strategy, conducting legal research, and organizing stakeholders.
Apart from our ongoing, long-term campaigns the Advocacy side of MYA is also engaged in a variety of coalition efforts and supporting our priority legislation with grassroots work. This included organizing the 2023 Youth Day of Action with Maine Youth for Climate Justice, participating in the Green Budget Coalition by writing letters-to-the-editor about the state budget, and bringing a group of volunteers to testify to the Department of Environmental Protection on the Advanced Clean Cars and Trucks II ruling.
Thanks for reading this far! To join the Volunteer Corps, the Legislative Team, or any of these projects, you can email me at email@example.com. You can request for us to come speak at your school, run a workshop, or otherwise engage with you please email the Outreach Lead Jess Wibby at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s organize in solidarity.