Lois Baxter named 2019 MSEA-SEIU Lifetime Achievement Award winner

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MSEA-SEIU Retiree Member Lois Baxter reacts after learning she received our 2019 MSEA-SEIU Lifetime Achievement Award on May 28 at the MSEA-SEIU Retirees Day in Augusta.

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Lois Baxter, our 2019 MSEA-SEIU Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, is flanked by Governor Janet Mills and MSEA-SEIU Retirees Steering Committee Chair Ginette Rivard at the MSEA-SEIU Retirees Day on May 28. The Governor, who spoke at Retirees Day, personally thanked Lois for her advocacy for all Maine workers and retirees.

MSEA-SEIU Retirees Steering Committee Chair Ginette Rivard made the following remarks in announcing the Retirees Steering Committee has named Lois Baxter as our 2019 MSEA-SEIU Lifetime Achievement Award winner.

I will not keep you guessing about this year’s recipient.  Rather, I will announce the person and then I will tell you why the committee made this choice.  This year’s recipient of the MSEA SEIU Local 1989 Lifetime Achievement Award is Lois Baxter. 

To list all of Lois’ accomplishments would take us hours so I will just give you some of the highlights.
Lois came to work for the State of Maine as what is now known as an Eligibility Specialist.  As a single mother she found herself eligible for the very benefits she was making determinations for others and she knew that it was through her union that she could become self-sufficient and provide for her children.  Having become an MSEA member from day one, Lois did not hesitate to participate in the walk-out/sick-out in protest of Governor Longley’s failure to negotiate a first contract. 

Since those early days, Lois has been active in our union, serving in numerous leadership capacities statewide as well as in her local chapter.  Whether it was as chapter officer, delegate, Board Director, Bargaining team member, Lois consistently accepted the call to serve, to lead.

As a retiree, not much has changed.  She serves retirees on the State Employee Health Commission.  Having previously served on the commission prior to her retirement gave Lois valuable history and depth of knowledge for this role.  She has proven to be a strong advocate for all of us in this venue.  And who hasn’t called or emailed her with a question or two?  Lois is accessible and responsive to retiree chapters and individuals to discuss issues and bring these back to the table. 

Lois knows and has a keen understanding of the role politics play in our lives and she engaged in the process through her participation in our PASER program from day one.  She works hard to get our endorsed candidates elected and then she holds them accountable once they have been elected.  Whether providing testimony, making a phone call to her legislator or showing up for an event, Lois consistently demonstrates her understanding of the issues that affect all of us.

Lois cares about all union members and as such has worked countless hours to ensure that Food and Medicine’s Annual Solidarity Harvest is successful in providing Thanksgiving meals to hundreds of families in need.  One day she may be gathering produce from remote parts of our state and the next she may be collecting money for this project or filling the bags that go out to families to ensure that they have a good meal on Thanksgiving.

Lois is integral to a number of efforts in her community as well.  Caring Connections in Bangor is always happy to see her walk through the door.  She coordinates meals for the Greater Bangor Area Homeless Shelter.  And with her church community, Lois organizes a monthly free baked bean lunch for low income and homeless people in the area.  With food as a continuing theme, she also provides a meal and companionship each week to an elderly shut-in.

Lois, to say that you meet the criteria for this award is an understatement.  Not only have you met the criteria but you continue to live this each and every day.  The Retiree Steering Committee is happy to award you the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award.  Congratulations!

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MSEA-SEIU President Ramona Welton hugs MSEA-SEIU Retiree Member Lois Baxter after Lois was named as our 2019 MSEA-SEIU Lifetime Achievement Award winner. Applauding are Governor Mills and MSEA-SEIU Retirees Steering Committee Chair Ginette Rivard.

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MSEA-SEIU President Ramona Welton shares a moment with 2019 MSEA-SEIU Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Lois Baxter. Next time you see Lois, please be sure to congratulate her.

Updated: May 29, 2019 — 12:02 PM