Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Hickman on the Right to Food Freedom

This is my argument. I thank all those who advanced this conversation at the State Capitol and throughout our communities, all those who helped between sessions to fine-tune the language of the original resolution and craft the amended version, all those who reached out to their Representatives and Senators to voice their support for this measure, and those who voted in Augusta last week to send this resolution to the People. I respect my colleagues who voted not to. Two-thirds of the Maine House of Representatives voted YES, and that remains a victory. Unless the Maine Senate changes its mind, the final vote on this resolution will happen tomorrow morning on the floor of the other body. It's been quite a ride. And always a pleasure to serve the People of the State.

As my mother would say, we must go further and do better.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Senator King Honors Rep. Hickman as an Angel in Adoption™

Rep. Hickman with his parents and sister on the church steps of Siloah Evangelical Lutheran Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 2001.


Contact: Allison Coble, Senior Director of Programs
Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute
(p) 202-544-8500

Senator Angus King Honors Maine State Representative Craig Hickman as an Angel in Adoption™ To Be Recognized at National Event in Washington, D.C.

AUGUSTA, MAINE – October 2, 2015 – Senator Angus King has selected Representative Craig Hickman as a 2015 Angels in Adoptionawardee for his outstanding advocacy of adoption issues. The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI), which orchestrates the Angels in AdoptionProgram, will honor Rep. Hickman at an awards ceremony on October 6 and gala on October 7 in Washington, D.C.

 “I never would have imagined that twenty years of working on adoption issues would culminate with this great honor,” said Hickman. “I cannot thank Senator King enough. I will continue to fight for the rights of adopted children in Maine and across this great nation.”

Earlier this year, Hickman, an adoptee with a long-standing commitment to improving the lives of both adult and minor adoptees, introduced legislation in Maine that would prohibit the unauthorized “rehoming” of adopted children. Inspired by his father, a World War II veteran, and his wise mother, both deceased, Hickman has spent most of his life serving his community and feeding people. His award-winning 2005 memoir, Fumbling Toward Divinity, chronicles his search and reunion with his biological family.  When presenting his bill, Hickman asked his colleagues to “imagine being shipped across oceans to a new culture with a new language to become part of a new family, only to have that family decide that they don’t want you. And since it is not against the law, that family advertises you… and within days you are dropped off to another stranger.” Hickman’s bill, which passed the Legislature unanimously, will go into effect this fall, making rehoming a crime in Maine subject to the current penalties for abandonment. Maine will be the sixth state, and the first in New England, to criminalize this damaging practice.
Rehoming is not the first adoption issue that Hickman has brought to the attention of the Maine Legislature. He first testified, as a member of the public, before the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee in 2005, speaking in favor of a bill that would allow adult adoptees access to their original sealed birth certificates. He was successful in this effort as well, and adult adoptees born in Maine were granted access to their original birth certificates in 2009.
Both in his work as a two-term legislator and as a private citizen prior to his election, Hickman has drawn on his personal experience as an adopted person to advocate for important changes to state law. His success in these efforts is a testament to his dedication to these issues and for these reasons, King recommended Hickman as an Angel in Adoption for 2015.
Hickman is also an organic farmer, chef, actor and poet. As House chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, he has championed food sovereignty, food security, self-sufficiency and other efforts to protect Maine’s small family farms and promote rural economic development.

Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Hickman moved to New England to attend Harvard University, where he graduated in 1990 with a degree in government. He and his spouse, Jop Blom, who lived in the Boston area for 16 years, have owned and operated Annabessacook Farm in Winthrop since 2002, raising organic produce, dairy, and livestock, and hosting overnight guests and a fresh food bank for anyone in need. For more information, visit http://hickmaninthehouse.blogspot.com.

The Angels in AdoptionProgram is CCAI’s signature public awareness campaign and provides an opportunity for all members of the U.S. Congress to honor the good work of their constituents who have enriched the lives of foster children and orphans in the United States and abroad. This year, more than 150 “Angels” are being honored through the Angels in Adoptionprogram.

“The Angels in Adoption™ Program is a unique annual opportunity in the nation’s Capital to shine a well-deserved spotlight on the power of adoption and the unspoken heroes who have made the dream of a family a reality for children. Since the program’s inception, over 2,200 Angels have come to Washington to share their firsthand adoption experiences with Members of Congress, highlighting its joys, as well as the barriers encountered in the process,” said Becky Weichhand, Executive Director at CCAI. “Members of Congress are then able to use their new experiential understanding of these issues to create policy improvements that better support these children and the families that open their hearts and homes to them.”  

In addition to the more than 150 Angels from around the country, National Angels in Adoption  honorees will be recognized at the gala for their dedication and commitment nationally and internationally to child welfare on a grand scale. This year’s National Angels in Adoptionhonoree is singer Rachel Crow.  Former National Angels include Korie and Willie Robertson, Deborra-Lee Furness Jackman, First Lady Laura Bush, Patti LaBelle, Jane Seymour, Muhammad Ali, the late Dave Thomas, Steven Curtis Chapman, Bruce Willis, Alonzo Mourning, Rhea Perlman and Kristin Chenoweth.

CCAI is a 501(c)3 nonpartisan organization dedicated to raising awareness about the tens of thousands of orphans and foster children in the United States and the millions of orphans around the world in need of permanent, safe, and loving homes through adoption. 

CCAI was created in 2001 by the active co-chairs of the bicameral, bipartisan Congressional Coalition on Adoption, one of Congress’ premiere caucuses. The goal of the caucus is to eliminate policy barriers that hinder these children from realizing their basic right of a family and more effectively raise Congressional and public awareness about adoption. 

The Angels in AdoptionProgram was established in 1999 as a Congressional press conference to honor outstanding individuals. Since then, the program has developed into a yearlong public awareness campaign, culminating in an extraordinary awards gala and celebration in Washington, D.C. 

CCAI does not receive any government funding and relies on the generous support of foundations, corporations, and individuals to accomplish this mission. For more information, visit www.ccainstitute.org or www.angelsinadoption.org.


Saturday, August 8, 2015

Maine’s Universities Should Walk the Talk on Local Foods, Farms

Posted Aug. 06, 2015, at 12:33 p.m.
Last modified Aug. 06, 2015, at 5:04 p.m.

As a farmer, an advocate for food self-sufficiency and a resident of the great state of Maine, I am pleased — and entirely unsurprised — to see such excitement around the University of Maine System’s upcoming food contract. Its current, 10-year, $12.5 million annual contract with the national food service behemoth Aramark is coming to a close at the end of the 2015-2016 calendar year.

I am pleased because this opportunity for UMS to make a significant commitment to Maine food in the contract renewal is ripe with enormous potential for our great state.

It will be good for our farmers, who need more markets and reliable partnerships to make investments in their businesses and hire more workers. It will be good for our economy because we know dollars spent in Maine stay in Maine. It will be good for our students who will have access to fresher, healthier food. And it will be good for UMS, which will attract more students and positive public relations.

Read the rest...

Friday, August 7, 2015

Readfield Heritage Days Schedule of Events

August 7 - 8, 2015

Readfield Historical Society Art: Beverley Norton Newton

Friday Events

• Barbecue — 4:30 to 8 PM - Readfield Town Beach

• Readfield Historical Society Wine & Cheese Social — 5 to 7 PM - Readfield Historical Society & Museum.

• Rich Charette Concert — 6 PM - Readfield Town Beach

• Fireworks — 9:15 PM - Readfield Town Beach

Saturday Events

• Readfield History Walk — 10 AM to Noon. Walk will include the new trail that leads from the Community Library to Union Meeting House, and parts of the old Fairgrounds Trail, Church Road and Main Street. Brief stops will be made along the way to share information about some of the oldest and/or intriguing homes, and at Readfield Corner where a major fire occurred in 1921 and many businesses have come and gone since the late 1700s. Walk leaders will be Dale Potter-Clark, Readfield History Walks coordinator; Milt Wright, Readfield Trails Committee chairperson; and William Adams, Readfield Corner historian. Adams and Potter-Clark are researching for a book about old houses in Readfield and thus far have researched nearly 200 houses — including those at Readfield Corner. Readfield. Meet at Gile Hall on Old Kents Hill Road by 10 a.m.

For more information, call 441-9184 or email crossings4u@gmail.com.

• Sixth annual Ricky Gibson Memorial Car Show — 8 AM to 2 PM - Maranacook Community School. Entry fee is $10 for a car or bike; spectators free. Registration is set for 8-10 a.m. Awards given for 20-plus classes. There will be a disc jockey, barbecue, 50/50 raffle, prizes and more. The event is hosted by Strictly Street Car Club. Proceeds will benefit the Ricky Gibson Football Scholarship Fund.

• Readfield Community Library’s annual Library Book Sale — 9 AM to 1 PM - Readfield Fire Station. Proceeds will benefit Readfield Community Library.

• Union Meeting House Lawn Sale — 8 AM to 2 PM - 22 Church Road. Proceeds will be used to restore the Old Union Meeting House.

• Fun Fair — 10 AM to 2 PM - Readfield Town Beach. Event will include bounce houses, face painting, “tote”-ally fun tote design, grab bags, glow-in-the-dark novelties and refreshments. Admission is free; in case of rain, the event will move to Maranacook Community School.

• Party Palooga — Noon to 2 PM - Readfield Town Beach. There will be balloon fun and temporary glitter tattoos. In case of rain, the party will move to the Maranacook Community School.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Hickman's Bill To Promote Food Self-Sufficiency Becomes Law in Maine

AUGUSTA – A bill to encourage food self-sufficiency in the state has become law in Maine.

“As a fellow farmer asserts, growing your own food is like printing your own money. It is the policy of the state to be food self-sufficient. This bill strengthens that policy by encouraging people to grow, process and preserve their own food to feed themselves, their families and their communities,” said Rep. Craig Hickman of Winthrop, the bill’s sponsor. “It also addresses the current shortage of available farm workers for the many new and expanding family farms that are taking advantage of the growing local foods movement.”

“When a state with a farming and fishing legacy as strong as Maine's imports ninety percent of the food its people consume, there is cleary something wrong with the picture. Thanks to the reputation and availability of our signature commodity foods ― lobster, wild blueberries, and potatoes ― Maine will always be a net exporter of food. But it makes no sense for us to import so much of the food we eat. Mainers produce only fifteen percent of the poultry that we consume. The rest comes from elsewhere. We can do better than this. We must do better. Our economy requires it. The public health, common good, and welfare of our people require it.”

LD 1291, its chaptered law embedded below, would direct the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to develop and administer an agricultural jobs network. It would link farms and facilities that process agricultural products grown in Maine with available workers who are involved in farming or a local food industry, or who are required to perform community service.

It directs the department to develop an educational marketing campaign, similar to the US Department of Agriculture and the US Food Adiministration World War II poster campaign, to promote food self-sufficiency by encouraging the public to grow gardens, raise farm animals and preserve garden-grown food.

Hickman’s bill also requires the Department of Agriculture to purchase food that is grown, harvested, prepared, processed and produced in Maine when purchasing food for an emergency or supplemental food program for elderly or low-income people whenever possible.

LD 1291 passed the Legislature by unanimous consent in both the House and the Senate after it was funded by the Appropriations Committee and sent to the Governor's desk. The law will take effect ninety days after the Legislature adjoured on July 16, 2015.

Hickman is an organic farmer and House chair of the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee. He is serving his second term in the Maine House and represents Readfield, Winthrop and part of Monmouth.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Hickman's Bill To Prohibit Rehoming Becomes Law in Maine

For Immediate Release
July 2, 2015
Contact: Ann Kim [Hickman], cell: 233-1838

Hickman’s bill to prohibit “rehoming” of adopted children becomes law

AUGUSTA – The Maine Legislature on Tuesday unanimously overrode the governor’ veto of a bill sponsored by Rep. Craig Hickman to prohibit the unauthorized “rehoming” of adopted children.

Hickman’s bill, LD 1342, addresses this practice. It prohibits the transfer of the long-term care and custody of a child without a court order. Hickman, adopted when he was a baby, has been involved in adoptee rights issues for the past 20 years.

“Imagine being shipped across oceans to a new culture with a new language to become part of a new family, only to have that family decide that they don’t want you. And since it is not against the law, that family advertises you on Facebook or Craigslist or some other social media platform and within days you are dropped off to another stranger in a parking lot behind some Walmart somewhere,” said Hickman, D-Winthrop. “Yes, this actually happens.”

The Judiciary Committee passed the bill unanimously with an amendment to make rehoming a crime subject to the current penalties for abandonment. It includes an affirmative defense clause to ensure people acting in good faith are not penalized.

The first time Hickman ever testified before a legislative body was before the same committee. In 2005, he spoke in favor of a bill that would allow adult adoptees access to their original birth certificates, which had been sealed when their adoptions were finalized. That bill became law in 2007 and took effect in 2009.

“This legislation will protect children and families from the outrageous indignity called re-homing and send a clear message to adoptees here and all over the nation that Maine people care about the safety and welfare of all our children,” Hickman said.

According to the Washington Times, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Ohio and Wisconsin also have adopted laws against rehoming.

“When I saw the votes in favor of this bill light up the board all green, I was moved to tears,” said Hickman. “This is the most important piece of legislation I’ve introduced thus far. As an adopted person, it goes to the core of who I am. It feels like the culmination of two decades of work. I am forever grateful to my colleagues for their overwhelming support.”

Hickman is serving his second term in the Maine House and represents Readfield, Winthrop and part of North Monmouth at the foot of Mt. Pisgah.