January 23, 2018
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The view from the other Maine, politically speaking

By Jennifer Nelson-Lynds, Special to the BDN

I would like to share a view from Cornville. Ever since I can remember I have been told and actually came to believe that southern Maine ran the state. That the political views and votes from south of Augusta were the deciding factor in elections and overall state policy. There are no words to describe the joy that came with the realization on Tuesday, Nov. 3, that those of us north of Augusta actually stood up, were counted and said No! Not in my backyard.

This phenomenon is not difficult to understand. For years and years we have been represented by so-called Republicans. The voting record of our elected Republican senators screams liberal Democrat.

Susan Collins has voted a number of times to support “choice”; some call it abortion. Last time I checked this was not a Republican Party platform.

Olympia Snowe has become the sweetheart of the Democratic Party with her support of a health care reform package that we frankly can’t afford. Expanding government is not an idea that is supported by the Republican Party. The results of the U.S. government getting into the banking and automobile business are yet to be fully seen, but knowing what we know already, do we really want them running health care? As a Republican, it is extremely frustrating to vote as it seems we are always faced with a bad versus worse decision when you get in the booth.

On a local level, we have here in District 26 a Republican senator who voted in support of same-sex marriage last spring. Sen. Peter Mills can say what he wants. The fact is a full 66 percent of his constituents in District 26 said No. Sen. Mills as well as the governor should have sent this to the people of Maine. This was not a life-and- death situation and we should decide what is right for our state. It leaves one with a feeling that our elected officials believe that they know what’s best for us. Our opinions and beliefs be damned, they will save us from ourselves.

Another possible reason, other than saving us from ourselves, is a bit more troubling, but the evidence is there and we really should look at it as citizens and voters. It seems, whether Democrat, Republican, independent or Green, that elected officials are more interested in furthering their political careers and attaining “political capital,” as it is called in the press, to worry too much about what we want from our government. They are looking for their legacy. Ted Kennedy wanted to have universal health care. John Baldacci would have had his legacy should the gay marriage law come to fruition. Peter Mills is looking for that brass ring in the governor’s mansion.

What would it be like if all of the politicians reached around their backs and found that bumpy thing called a spine and stood up for what they believe and told us that they would support and actually fulfill the promises they made while campaigning, regardless of the popularity of the decision? Stand up, make your argument, be heard and represent us. We are the people in “government of the people for the people.”

Those who were in support for a No vote on Question 1 are now on the attack. There are plenty of blogs out there saying that we succumbed to fear and various religious organizations poisoned our minds and Bishop Richard Malone is high on their list. It isn’t fear that we succumbed to. Take note: We voted what we believe. We believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. Stand for Marriage did a great job in getting people to the polls, but I seriously doubt they changed minds. Our minds were made up.

We in northern and central Maine stood up and were counted on Nov. 3. Seventy-three percent of Portland voted to support gay marriage. We should consider the difference we made and the possibilities for future elections and approach with the determination to be heard. Maybe our common sense will prevail after all. We certainly made a difference on Election Day.

Hey, north-central Maine, you rock, and more importantly you restored this citizen’s faith in the process.

Jennifer Nelson-Lynds of Cornville is a medical billing consultant.

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