Diane Russell has distinguished herself as a woman who champions populist initiatives, often taking on issues considered politically taboo. Her passion and drive for progress stem from her deep roots in Maine. Her primary focus has been to address pocket book issues of working families. A key priority is to finally address- once and for all – the heating crisis in Maine. While oil companies rake in billions in profits as oil and gas prices climb, Diane has been fighting to help people button up their homes and reduce their heating bills. Additionally, she restructured the Unemployment Insurance system to help small businesses weather economic downturns without losing their employees, in the process helping prevent layoffs through the new WorkShare Program. This new bipartisan initiative was passed unanimously through the Legislature. In 2011, Diane introduced legislation to set up the Maine Street Economic Development Bank – a state bank modeled after the successful Bank of North Dakota. A Maine state bank would re-channel millions of dollars of taxpayer investment away from Wall Street – and the people responsible for our economic collapse – and onto Maine Street where business owners are finding it difficult to garner access to capital. In addition, Diane has been out front on a variety of workers’ rights issues, marijuana legalization, rural broadband development and online privacy.