May 26, 2018
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Rockland council nixes marriage, health care resolutions

By Abigail Curtis, BDN Staff

ROCKLAND, Maine — Frank Isganitis of Rockland said he had a personal stake in wanting the City Council to vote Monday night for a resolution supporting marriage equality.

“I’m gay. I’m a Republican and was raised Catholic,” Isganitis told councilors and a relatively large audience during the longer-than-normal public comments portion of the council meeting. “You have an opportunity today to state publicly that you support equality and privilege to all.”

Isganitis was one of several residents who spoke out passionately in favor of the nonbinding resolution.

In the end, the council voted down the resolution, 4 to 1.

The resolution’s sponsor, Councilor Elizabeth Dickerson, voted for it.

“I don’t feel I was elected to decide these social orders,” said Councilor Eric Hebert.

Councilor Brian Harden said he was “glad to see the state of Maine take a progressive stand in this area,” but nonetheless planned to vote against the resolution.

“It’s coming back to us as a people’s referendum,” Harden said.

The council voted down another resolution, also sponsored by Dickerson, supporting universal health care.

Single-payer insurance advocate Jerry Call of South Thomaston told the council that if the country moved to a single-payer system, Maine likely would benefit more than other states because of its “relatively low income level.”

“Cities all over the country have passed resolutions,” Call said. “Our current system is totally unfair to small businesses.”

Dickerson again was the only councilor to vote in favor of the resolution.

“I think it’s good we had an opportunity for people to discuss these issues, because they’re going to vote on them,” she said after the meeting.

In other business, after some discussion the council unanimously voted to apply for a $200,000 Community Development Block Grant on behalf of Ascendant Energy, as long as the company’s planned construction is correctly zoned. The Direct Business Support grant would be used to establish a solar module manufacturing plant in Rockland that would create seven to 10 new jobs.

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