Gratwick for Maine Senate
I have had the honor and privilege of serving the people of my hometown as both a state representative and state senator for 16 years. During that time I have come into contact with many other elected officials. Today, I would like to offer my support and endorsement for state Sen. Geoff Gratwick.
Gratwick and I have served together on the Environmental and Natural Resources Committee as well as the Government Oversight Committee. I found Gratwick to be thoughtful and knowledgeable on the wide-ranging legislative matters before us. He did his homework in preparing for the hearings and subject matter at hand.
Even though he is a slightly left-of-center Democrat and I a slightly right-of-center Republican we worked to solutions and common ground. Yes, there were times we disagreed. We did this respectfully.
It is my hope that voters will return Gratwick to the Maine Senate this November. We need people like Gratwick serving this wonderful state of ours.
King tainted Kavanaugh’s reputation
This letter is in response to Sen. Angus King’s speech on the Senate floor on Oct. 5 explaining why he would vote no on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. King violated the rights of Kavanaugh when he ended his speech with “I believe Dr. Ford,” even though no corroboration has been presented to support Christine Blasey Ford’s claims Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while both were in high school. King has publicly declared Kavanaugh guilty in his sight without due process, which is critical to our law abiding society and our Constitution.
He has taken advantage of his position to declare an opinion that smears and will likely permanently taint the reputation of a man, just because this man may disagree with his political position. This is a reckless and irresponsible act on the part of King, a man who has been entrusted with representing the people of Maine.
Conversely, Sen. Susan Collins stressed fairness, compassion and respect for the rule of law and acknowledged that going down the path of presumption of guilt without evidence would be a very dangerous precedent.
Maine needs Jackson’s leadership
In the past year, Sen. Troy Jackson successfully introduced a bill to increase funding for nursing homes and direct care workers’ pay, obtained protection for seniors from losing their Homestead Property Tax Exemption, got his bill passed to make prescription drugs more affordable by speeding the production of generic medications, obtained unanimous support for his bill to increase sentencing of perpetrators of domestic violence, obtained strong legislative support for his “hire American” bill to encourage businesses to hire Mainers for Maine jobs (vetoed by the governor) and stood firm on not permitting Clean Elections to be held hostage, to mention just a few of his accomplishments on behalf of the people of Maine. And all of this during a legislative session renowned for its paralysis.
For these reasons and more, I recently joined more than 100 Mainers from within Jackson’s district and outside of it in an unusual and especially meaningful “people’s endorsement” of his re-election to the Maine Senate, and then as Senate president. This endorsement, with signatures from all over the state, may be the most diverse representation of support an elected official could hope for in Maine — geographically, ethnically, in age, professions and across party lines. And it was a way for regular folks to add our voice to a process which is typically an inside job in Augusta — the selection of our Senate president.
Jackson’s consistent leadership, integrity, patience and persistence in getting things done benefit us all.
Question 1 deeply flawed
Regardless of one’s viewpoint about state-financed home care for the elderly and disabled, Question 1 is deeply flawed. I will focus on tax policy and budgetary matters.
The initiative seeks to create “earmarked” revenue dedicated to funding home care services, which pushes this program to the forefront of state government priorities. A general problem with dedicated taxes is the lack of match between revenues and spending needs. Financing relies on increased taxes on capital gains and the earnings of Maine’s highest income households. With its dependence on collections from the most economically sensitive parts of the income tax base, home care program revenues will fluctuate, at times exceeding and other times falling short of financing requirements.
State policymakers are precluded from reallocating earmarked revenues, even when resources exceed programmatic needs. The ballot measure would tax more heavily to provide free home care to people who can afford to pay for services. During prior recessions, providing promised “safety net” benefits became unfeasible in the face of increased eligibility and dwindling income tax collections.
The much higher top income tax rate and greater reliance on income taxes will reduce untapped revenue capacity and hinder efforts to increase income taxes to finance other priorities or reduce Maine’s use of regressive taxes. Reducing through earmarking the state’s access to a principal tax base will not improve the prospect of avoiding painful cutbacks when the inevitable next recession occurs.
Arruda for House District 131
I recently attended the candidates’ forum at the Orland Community Center. I heard all the candidates for the state House and Senate races in the Orland area and came away with one overwhelming reaction. The most articulate and best prepared candidate from either party was Nathalie Arruda, who is running for House District 131.
She had obviously spent a good deal of time preparing intelligent and pertinent answers to the questions each candidate knew they’d be asked. She stood apart.
We need a new generation of leaders in Augusta. Arruda’s dedication to thoughtful analysis and research shone through for me. She’s earned my vote.
The BDN will stop accepting letters and OpEds related to the Nov. 6 election on Oct. 26. Not all submissions can be published.