Open Maine’s primaries
According to the Secretary of State, roughly 280,000 people voted in Maine’s primary election last year. That may sound like a lot, but it’s only 27 percent of our registered voters. In a state that prides itself on voter turnout, why is it that only a quarter of voters showed up to make our most important decisions? One big reason is Maine’s closed primary laws.
Regardless of your political affiliation, I think you will agree that politics is becoming increasingly polarizing. It’s no wonder that more and more voters are unenrolled. Mainers are thinking for themselves instead of blindly following the cookie cutter platforms of the major parties. There’s just one problem: they’re getting turned away at the polls.
My father Mike prides himself on being an independent thinker and will gladly vote for the best candidate rather than the D or R that’s next to their name. He couldn’t vote in either primary last June because he’s one of over 400,000 Mainer’s that are not enrolled in either party.
I hear people complain about voter turnout in this country, but what about voter disenfranchisement? Closed primaries are the biggest form of this tragedy in the United States. If people like my dad want to vote in a primary, why are we silencing them? It’s time we open up our primary elections to all Maine voters.
State legislators are considering a bill that would allow all voters to participate in the primary elections. I hope you will join me at the State House in room 437 at 9 a.m. on April 3 for the public hearing on LD 211, “An Act To Open Maine’s Primaries.” Now’s the time to make your voice heard, especially if you’ve been silenced in the past.
Trust the permitting process
I have lived in Belfast for the last 13 years and am much in favor of the Nordic Aquafarm application process going forward.
Last Tuesday, at a presentation at the Hutchinson Center, experts in the various areas under review, provided a lot of information about the progress of the project and the necessary permitting process.
Over the years, Belfast, the county, and the state have developed various permitting processes that gives a framework for how things should develop and move forward. We have to trust in that process.
Nordic Aquafarm, which wishes to become established in Belfast and is prepared to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in our town, trust that its application will be received in a fair, honest, unbiased manner.
As a citizen of Belfast, I trust our town council, and other agencies involved, to make good decisions on behalf of the citizens of Belfast and we should allow the permitting process to go forward.
Girls’ Day at the State house
I am in awe of Janet Mills’ consistent ability to show up in real and meaningful ways. I watched her election night speech and laughed and cried throughout the whole thing. She struck all the right chords — sometimes being funny and other times poignant. I had the sense that night that she viewed winning the governorship of the state of Maine as akin to winning the megabucks. This is a relatively low-paying job for the amount of work it entails. She seems to be enjoying every minute of it.
On March 29, I attended the 23rd annual Girls’ Day at the State House with 100 8th grade girls from around the state. While Mills has previously attended this event as attorney general, this time was different.
All of the girls were sitting in the House Chambers debating a bill with the clerk of the court and the assistant clerk of the court. Our governor arrived in the middle of the deliberations, and received a standing ovation. Her unscripted speech to the girls was sweet.
She took questions from the floor. One girl asked her how she wants to be remembered after she dies; she thought for a moment and answered that she wants to be remembered as a person of integrity. At the end, she posed for selfies with some of the young audience members.
I am grateful to Mills for being a real person who can reach out to so many different people. She has given a group of eighth-grade girls hope for their future.