Governing — holding hearings, drafting legislation, debating points large and small and voting to implement changes — is a slow process. It is easy for the public to get frustrated and, therefore, to seek candidates who promise quick fixes.
Maine’s 2nd Congressional District illustrates this situation. Rep. Mike Michaud, a Democrat who is seeking a fifth term, has steadily worked on issues crucial to Maine.
The process has been slower than many — including the congressman — would like, but the results are what matters. Because of Rep. Michaud’s focus and determination, veterans in rural parts of Maine can now get medical care closer to home.
Heavy trucks can now travel on the interstate rather than Maine’s more dangerous two-lane roads, thanks to the work of Sen. Susan Collins and Rep. Michaud.
With Rep. Michaud’s help earlier this year, Eastport became the only port in New England authorized to export livestock; 500 cattle were shipped to Turkey this summer with another shipment earlier this month. The permit opens the door for other shipments from the closest U.S. port to Europe.
These may not be headline-grabbing projects, but they help Maine people and businesses.
Mike Michaud should be re-elected to continue this work.
His opponent, Republican Jason Levesque, offers little more than GOP talking points. To spur job growth, for example, he proposes to reduce regulations and cut taxes. While this sounds good to many, history has shown — and reputable economists agree — that so-called trickle-down economics (i.e. give tax breaks to the wealthy so they’ll invest) doesn’t create jobs or stimulate economic growth. Likewise, companies want predictable regulations, not necessarily weaker ones.
Mr. Levesque, who runs a marketing company in Auburn, criticizes Rep. Michaud for not listening to the people of Maine. He cites Rep. Michaud’s vote for health care reform and cap and trade legislation as examples. While many Americans say they oppose the health care bill, they strongly favor many of its individual components, such as extending insurance coverage to young adults and prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage to those who are ill or have chronic medical conditions.
Rep. Michaud acknowledges that the reform legislation is not perfect and has already backed legislation to change a provision that required tax forms be collected for business-to-business transactions of $600 or more. This would have required a lot of needless paperwork, but it can be fixed.
Rep. Michaud also makes a persuasive case that legislation to limit carbon emissions — cap and trade is one version — would benefit Maine and especially its forestry industry.
Rep. Michaud’s most visible successes are in the area of veterans’ health care. Because of his work in Congress, veterans in rural areas can now receive medical care from their local providers rather than having to travel to VA health centers. Rep. Michaud worked to get a new veterans outpatient clinic in Lewiston-Auburn and to expand the clinic in Bangor. He also helped to ensure more veterans get care for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Continuation of this work will benefit residents of the 2nd District and beyond. That is why Mike Michaud should be re-elected.