Betsy Sweet is a life-long human rights activist, political organizer, small business owner and mother.
As Betsy was growing up, her granddad lobstered, her mom taught middle school math, and her Dad worked in foodservice. Betsy’s mother, Dottie, and father, Dick, instilled in her a can-do attitude early in life. On a road trip, the family car broke down, and Betsy’s mother, who knew nothing about cars, popped the hood open to take a look. She told a skeptical Betsy, “it’s a logical system; we can figure it out.” Dottie got that car working again, and they continued on their trip.
Betsy has carried that sense of determination with her throughout her adult life. As an advocate for underserved Mainers for almost 40 years, Betsy has been on our side fighting to protect working-class values in Maine’s state budget for 37 years. She got her start organizing for the Equal Rights Amendment to ensure everyone is on a level playing field, and she learned early on that her life’s passion is doing everything she could to make this world a better place. Betsy went on to serve as program coordinator for the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Executive Director of the Maine Women’s Lobby (where she successfully advocated to raise the minimum wage), Commissioner for Women under Governors Brennan and McKernan, and she was a founding supporter of Equality Maine MLGPA.
Betsy was able to do all this while raising three amazing young women—Paley, Dani and Thea—as a single mother. It is obviously difficult in today’s economy to raise one child as a single parent, let alone three. Betsy was only able to do this by being an entrepreneur. Working the classic 9-5 wasn’t going to work out for her family, so she decided to start her own small business, Moose Ridge Associates, which allowed her to work irregular hours and spend quality time with her children. She also understands what it’s like to have children burdened with student debt who are looking at an economy where gainful employment isn’t a sure thing. Betsy understands that the challenges her children face are the same challenges for millions of Americans.
As an advocate, Betsy has always worked to ensure everyday people have a seat at the table. Her numerous accomplishments on behalf of Mainers include:
-Writing and helping pass the first Family Medical Leave Act in the country
-Writing and helping create the first Clean Elections system in the country
-Securing AIDS Funding during the height of the AIDS crisis
-Working to get environmental toxins out of building materials and children’s toys
-Securing money and regulatory reforms to provide home-based care for the elderly
-Working for a program that helped fund microloans to provide economic security for displaced homemakers
-Expanding the Human Rights Act in Maine to include educational opportunities
-Co-founding the Maine Center for Economic Policy and the Dirigo Alliance
-Co-founding the Civil Rights Team Project, a student-based anti-bullying program currently taught in 400 schools across the state
-Advocating for domestic violence and sexual assault prevention services, as well as championing and securing the two largest infusions of money into those services in Maine history (2000 and 2019)
-Assuring that Mainers can make end-of-life decisions with their families and doctors as lead advocate for Death with Dignity, a law that Maine passed in 2019
She is also a sexual harassment prevention trainer for businesses, agencies and schools.
Betsy is running for the U.S. Senate because it is time for fundamental change in how politicians operate in D.C. We don’t need more rich people in congress to tell us how they can help us, while they continue to help themselves instead.
It’s time for us to take back our government from the wealthy elites, the special monied interests and those who would look after their wealthy donors instead of Mainers. There is a different way — and Betsy is ready to lead us there.