The U.S. Capitol is seen at sunrise, in Washington, Oct. 10, 2017. Credit: J. Scott Applewhite | AP

As an independent running for Maine’s 1st Congressional District, my campaign boils down to two simple questions.

Is anyone happy with the state of national politics right now?

Does anyone think Mainers are being well-served by hyper-partisan politics?

I’ve been talking to voters from Buxton to Bath, from Waterville to West Newfield. Not a single soul has said, “Hey, Marty, you’re great, but I’d rather have the entrenched political parties exert more control. They’re just doing a terrific job.”

So it is clear to me that Mainers are fed up the dysfunction in Washington, D.C. And it’s easy to understand why. The country’s problems aren’t getting solved because most of our elected officials are too busy tearing each other down to do the basic work of governing.

Meanwhile, the opioid crisis rages, health care costs are unmanageable, and our immigration system is a mess. It’s hard to get ahead, and the people who are left behind continue to be left behind. Congress is becoming more divided and can’t fix what needs fixing because they’re too busy staging professional wrestling matches.

There is a better way. Maine has a strong tradition of bipartisan, problem-solving representation in Congress. From Sen. Margaret Chase Smith to Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King, we have a road map to take the country back to a more productive, useful, civil and less stress-inducing type of politics.

That’s why I’m running for Congress — to stop the partisan bickering and find decent solutions, in the proud Maine tradition. Look, it’s easy to stage a sit-in or give a scathing press conference blaming the other party. That’s not my style, because it doesn’t work. If you’re building a house, you need someone who will help you lay the foundation. You don’t need someone who will hold a press conference to tell you that your idea of building a house is stupid. You need someone who will just keep his head down, do the work and get that house built.

We need pragmatic problem-solvers in Washington, D.C., not idealogues. When members of Congress toe the party line, they’re representing a political party’s agenda, not local issues here in the Pine Tree State. Party loyalty is not going to lead to the necessary compromises we need to keep Maine growing.

I have a different approach.

I was named the most bipartisan member of the Maine Legislature. I grew up on a farm in Carthage and built a manufacturing business in Biddeford. I know how to grind through tough negotiations and get results for the Maine people. I’ve done it on taxes, I’ve done it on energy costs, I’ve done it when fighting opioids, and my method was simple. Listen to both sides, and come up with a compromise that can move ahead. No dramatic sit-ins, no calling the other side names, no blocking progress for the sake of fundraising, no kowtowing to special interests. Just hard work, like you expect.

Congress is never going to be popular, but I’d like it to work better for the people of Maine. I will be a relentless advocate for Maine people, businesses and jobs, and I would like to earn your vote for Congress this November.

I know I can’t do it all by myself, but one by one, if we send people to Washington who will fix, not fight, we will change the direction of this country.

Marty Grohman of Biddeford is a successful businessman, independent state representative and an independent candidate for Maine’s 1st Congressional District.

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