Monday, June 7, 2010

On Voting in Tomorrow's Primary: An Opinionated Guide

Check it out: Maine has more candidates running for Governor than ever before. This is a good sign if you consider it a reflection of engagement, although it is probably more another sign of the current discontent with governmental status quo . . . and the bad news is that, in a recent poll, 42% of Maine's likely voters could not name ONE of the 11 candidates running! Let's get caught up on the issues today, my friends, and get ourselves to the polls tomorrow.

For those of you who have asked, I'll tell: based on my involvement with educational and economic development issues at both local and state levels, I am voting for Steve Rowe. I've had the opportunity to work with Steve and believe his vision for education as the basis of our state's future success is critically important. Steve prioritizes early childhood and creative educational programs based on research which shows what a difference these make in creating future citizens. He is a get it done leader rather than a more provocative legislator such as Libby Mitchell (and no, she doesn't get my vote just because she is a woman). After 8 years of governance by a legislator, I'm ready to move toward stronger leadership. I also believe Mitchell more than Rowe will split the vote with the indy's, including Elliot Cutler, leaving room for a Republican victory. Vote Rowe!

It is sad in this election to be losing both our region's state legislators, Hannah Pingree and Dennis Damon, to term limits. Both Pingree and Damon are true leaders unafraid to take stands and stick to them on controversial issues. Hannah has lead the way in environmental health reforms for Maine, and Dennis introduced and continues to support Maine's marriage equity legislation. We owe them both a lot of THANKS for their tireless and unswerving leadership.

The island's own Walter Kumiega is running unopposed for Pingree's seat. Walter's heart is always in the right place, and let's keep our fingers crossed he becomes more willing to deal with conflict and to provide leadership on contested issues when he reaches Augusta than he has been as co-chair of our school committee.

The primary election is important in filling Damon's state Senate seat as two Democrats seek the nomination: Jim Schatz of Blue Hill and Skip Greenlaw of . . .well, also of Blue Hill. Skip is a long-time Stonington resident who has been residing in Blue Hill over the winter but isn't copping to that, which bodes ill for any other stances requiring honesty in his candidacy. Additionally, Skip has been a leader of our local school committee for more than 20 years and the results are not good: our high school was correctly named one of the 10 worst performing in Maine earlier this year, and we have little community engagement with the local process because of Skip's off-putting leadership style. This is the record on which he is running? Can anyone say accountability? Schatz has a lot of integrity and is the kind of quiet leader who is not in it for his own ego but to get important issues done. Schatz gets my vote tomorrow.

And finally: vote NO on Question #1 tomorrow and YES for the bond issues. The bond issues are important economic development items: click here for the full text. Question #1 is another of the "People's Veto" phenomenon, an attempt to confuse the public and overthrow sound tax reform legislation our reps have already passed. Let representative democracy do its work, study the issues, debate them in public, and make informed decisions! Question #1 asks you to overturn existing tax-cut legislation--don't be confused! And what we really should be voting on is a repeal of the People's Veto legislation, so we don't have to continually set our state back with these so-called "people's" (read: special interest) referenda.

Feel free to disagree. Most importantly, get out and vote tomorrow!