Policy Insights 2021

Our semi-annual conference brings people together to tackle the big policy issues facing Maine’s families, communities, and economy.

Policy Insights 2021 will give attendees the information they need to understand and influence the most important policy discussions facing our state. This year’s conference will focus on the fiscal policy necessary to build an equitable COVID recovery, the intersection of economic and racial justice, and how to build a stronger, fairer economy for all Mainers for generations to come. 

For the safety of all attendees, this conference will take place virtually. Attendees will be able to choose which sessions to attend — or attend them all — during two conference days, February 25 and March 3.

Day One: Keynote and Panel Discussion
February 25, 11:45 – 2:15 pm

Keynote: Heather McGhee – 11:45 am

Heather McGhee, a renowned expert on the American economy and an influential voice on inequality, is the keynote speaker for Policy Insights 2021. McGhee’s new book, The Sum of Usreveals the devastating true cost of racism — not just for people of color, but for everyone. McGhee’s keynote will pull back the curtain on how racism divides and devastates us, while offering a path toward achievable changes we can make to create a just and equitable future for all. The keynote will be followed by a brief moderated Q&A with conference attendees. 

The first 100 registrants for day one will receive a free copy of Heather’s book, “The Sum of Us.”

1:00 – 1:15 pm – Break 

1:15 pm  Panel: Advancing Economic Justice through Racial Equity 

Policies that prioritize race equity will help Maine live up to our basic ideas of fairness while strengthening our economy by raising incomes, increasing productivity, and creating jobs. Join a panel of experts and advocates for a conversation about what it will take to build a more inclusive, just, and prosperous economy for all Mainers.  


  • James Myall, Economic Policy Analyst and author of State of Working Maine 2020Maine Center for Economic Policy  
  • Arlo Hennessey, Work with Dignity Program Director, Southern Maine Workers Center 
  • Nsiona NguizaniPresident, Angolan Community of Maine 
  • Nicole Clegg, Vice President of Public Policy, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England 
  • John OchiraPresident, South Sudanese Community Association 

Moderator: Michael Kebede, Policy Counsel, ACLU of Maine, and Maine Center for Economic Policy Board Member  

Day Two: Analyst Interview and Panel Discussion
March 3rd, 11:45 – 2:15 pm

11:45 am  Interview: How Raising Taxes Will Help Build a Stronger Future 

In this session, Maine People’s Alliance deputy director and MECEP board member Ben Chinwill interview MECEP tax and budget analyst Sarah Austin about Maine’s broken tax code, and how progressive policies to clean up the tax system can help address Maine’s long unmet needs. 


  • Ben Chin, Deputy Director, Maine Peoples Alliance, and Maine Center for Economic Policy Board Member  
  • Sarah Austin, Tax and Budget Analyst, Maine Center for Economic Policy 

1:00 – 1:15 – Break 

1:15 pm  Panel: Putting Fiscal Policy Solutions into Action 

In this session, a panel of state and federal policy experts from around the country will discuss how to build effective pro-revenue campaigns that secure policy victories, build the progressive movement, and shift the conversation about taxes and public investment. 


  • Claire GuzdarDirector of Campaigns and Partnerships, Groundwork Collaborative 
  • Brandon McKoy, Executive Director, New Jersey Policy Perspective  
  • Mario Moretto, Communications Director, Maine Center for Economic Policy 
  • Amber WallinDeputy Director, New Mexico Voices for Children  

Moderator: Alec Maybarduk, Executive Director, Maine Service Employees Association, SEIU Local 1989 

Special thanks to this year's sponsors:

The Bingham Program

John T. Gorman Foundation

Maine Community Foundation

Maine Health Access Foundation

Maine Initiatives