https://www.theepochtimes.com/maine-elections-under-heavy-watch-as-state-faces-critical-emt-worker-shortage_4837231.html

With days to go before elections, the outcome of the gubernatorial race in the state of Maine is under especially heavy watch by a large grassroots group fighting some of the nation’s strictest vaccine mandates against some of the most lenient voter identification laws in the United States.

In her campaign to keep her seat, Democratic Gov. Janet Mills has remained committed to her unwavering policy that requires all health care workers to be vaccinated against COVID. Mills’ administration also led the elimination of personal and religious exemptions against all other vaccines for school children.

With the CDC’s recent decision to add the COVID vaccine to its recommended list of school immunizations, it is more than likely that the COVID vaccine will also be mandatory for attending school in the New England state.

One of Mills’ top advisors on the COVID vaccine is her own sister Dora Mills, Maine’s chief health improvement officer for MaineHealth and former director of the Maine CDC. Nirav Shah, Maine’s current CDC director, sits on the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP), the very arm of the national CDC that recommended the COVID shot be added to required school immunizations.

Mills’ Republican challenger Paul LePage has pledged to end COVID vaccine mandates altogether, but the former Maine governor is trailing Mills in polls, in some results, by as much as 10 percent.

Voter Integrity Lacking

State Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham (R- Winter Harbor) told The Epoch Times that he is especially concerned about the lack of voter integrity in Maine and how that might keep Mills’ unchecked mandates in place in the upcoming elections.

“Maine has the most lenient voting laws in the country; you can pretty much do anything you want here,” said Faulkingham, who says voters in Maine aren’t even asked to show any identification. “It’s just an honor system,” he said.

He also said that it is well known that Maine, which has Vacationland as its slogan, has a huge population of “holiday voters” participating in elections.

“We send absentee voter ballots out all over the country in Maine,” said Faulkingham, who noted that about 14 percent of Maine’s 162,266 registered voters are known to be summertime residents only.

Tiffany Kreck, founder of Health Choice Maine, told The Epoch Times that she doesn’t think Mainers fully understand the ramification of Mills’ vaccine policies including a new one that is fast creating a critical shortage of EMT workers and a substantial delayed response time for ambulances in the vast rural state.

“It’s literally going to kill someone,” said Kreck, whose organization is readying a lawsuit against the Maine Board of Emergency Medical Services, which is appointed by the governor, for enacting a new COVID vaccine mandate policy for first responders when the one implemented by Mills expired.

At the core of the controversy over the new policy is a requirement that unvaccinated EMT workers remain at least six feet away from a patient.

Health Choice Maine protesting COVID vaccine mandates for health workers outside the Maine State House. (Image supplied)

Chris Callahan is a licensed EMT worker and volunteer firefighter who can now only drive an ambulance because he did not take a COVID vaccine. He told The Epoch Times that the policy has literally translated into him being forced aside while the injured or sick person on the scene awaits for the arrival of a vaccinated EMT worker and thus medical attention. “Sometimes we have had to wait 25 minutes for a vaccinated EMS worker’s arrival,” said Callahan.

Bethany Gerrish told The Epoch Times that the new policy almost fulfilled Kreck’s forewarning this summer when she anxiously waited 17 minutes for an ambulance to arrive after calling 911 on suspicions her husband was having a heart attack.

“The nearest fire department was a little over a half mile away,” said Gerrish, who used her training as a nurse to start chest compressions on her husband who stopped breathing during the wait, “so you know it wasn’t because they hit traffic.”

Gerrish said when the ambulance arrived, the woman who worked on her husband seemed inexperienced. She said she was especially taken aback when she suggested using Narcan, typically used in drug overdose cases, to treat a suspected heart attack.

Maine’s Political Oddities

While she has yet to return any phone calls by The Epoch Times, Mills in support of her mandates, has publicly pointed to having one of the lowest COVID-19 death rates in the country, which she attributes to Maine having one of the highest COVID vaccine rates.

According to the Mills administration, more than 73 percent of Maine residents ages 12 and up have had at least one COVID-19 vaccine with 64.9 percent reported as being fully vaccinated in the state.

The U.S. Supreme Court also helped preserve Mills’s strict vaccine mandates when it refused to consider hearing a complaint filed by state health care workers challenging Mills’s refusal to consider religious exemption from the jab, the same ruling New York health care workers received when they appealed a nearly identical mandate to America’s highest court.

Kreck said she finds it hard to believe that Mainers are okay with aligning with a state like ultra-progressive New York.

Adding to Maine’s political oddities, both Kreck and Faulkingham pointed out, is its status as having a huge population of Second Amendment supporters while having a left-leaning Legislature that has remained loyal to an ultra-liberal governor.

“I can’t help but wonder what kind of true representation we really have here,” said Kreck.

Alice Giordano

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Alice Giordano is a former news correspondent for The Boston Globe, Associated Press, and New England bureau of The New York Times.

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