Farmers stood together

As president of the Maine Farm Bureau and the co-owner of a small farm in Unity, I can honestly say this has been a tumultuous session in Augusta for Maine farmers. In total, the bureau kept a close eye on 143 bills that our board of directors agreed would have some sort of impact on the agriculture in Maine. To accomplish this goal, the farmers that make up our grassroots organization rely heavily on our staff so that we can remain where we are most needed – on our farms.

From time to time, bills presented were significant enough to make the trek to Augusta to sit shoulder-to-shoulder as farmers in committee rooms to be sure that our voices were heard.

The most significant victory for farmers this session wasn’t the passage of a bill, but rather the defeat one: LD 1251, An Act To Make Agricultural Workers and Other Workers Employees Under the Wage and Hour Laws.

This bill singlehandedly had the potential to put Maine farms out of business. But together, we were able to band together in a way that we should all be proud of.

Farmers will be the first to tell you that our crews are family to us — we often spend more time with them than we do our biological families — and we know that our success is closely linked to theirs.

Thank you to all who took the time to testify, and to members of the committee for swiftly defeating LD 1251.

Jim Buckle


Happy to see national popular vote fail

The Maine Legislature defeated LD 816, which would have allocated Maine’s four electoral votes to the presidential candidate who prevails with the national popular vote. The bill would not have taken effect until the national popular vote compact represented a total of 270 electoral votes or greater.

As of June 12th, the compact had a total of 196 electoral votes secured. If LD 816 had prevailed in Maine, it would have had 200 electoral votes collectively. Maine’s electoral votes account for 0.74 percent of the 538 electoral votes awarded to presidential candidates. In contrast, Mainers would have accounted for 0.55 percent of the national popular vote in the 2016 presidential election.

In other words, Maine voters would have lost some of their voice in presidential elections if LD 816 had passed and was signed into law by the governor. Larger states such as Florida and California would realize an increase in their influence if the compact garnered 270 electoral votes. This would likely refocus presidential candidates’ time and energy in the states that they can garner the most votes. For reference, nearly 750,000 Mainers voted in the last presidential election whereas over 14 million turned out in California.

Instead of changing how Maine allocates its electoral votes, other states should follow our lead and adopt the Congressional District method. Under this system, states would award two electoral votes based on the state popular vote and the remaining electoral votes to the candidate who prevails in each congressional district.

In summation, legislators made the right decision by defeating the national popular vote compact. We owe them a huge thank you.

Irv Marsters


Governors behind the counter

First of all, I chuckled at the story about our former governor taking a bartending job, as I remembered former New Hampshire Governor Meldrim Thomson, whose conservative values and personality mirrored our own Gov. LePage. Thompson made a name for himself when he proposed arming the New Hampshire National Guard with nuclear weapons. It was the 1970’s with the Cold War in full swing and William Loeb’s Manchester Union Leader newspaper espousing ultra-conservatism. As a disillusioned New Hampshire resident, my family and I dropped out and headed to more liberal Maine with the hippie homesteaders.

By the way, your “Tools of the Homesteader” article has got it wrong. The most important tools the original back-to-the-landers discovered here in Washington County, in addition to the “scout” knife was wreath wire and duct tape.

Governor Thomson went back to the family maple farm in Orford, New Hampshire where you could be served pancakes by the former governor. I don’t drink, but I would love to be served a coke by “our” governor behind the counter.

Peter Duston