Brunswick lawmaker says ‘backroom politics’ is plaguing base redevelopment bill

Posted May 21, 2013, at 7:21 p.m.
Last modified May 22, 2013, at 7:10 a.m.
Rep. Matthea Daughtry
Rep. Matthea Daughtry Buy Photo

BRUNSWICK, Maine — After failing to gain committee favor by a single vote, a prospective bill to give Brunswick and Topsham direct appointments to the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority board of directors now will have to win approval during a floor argument in the House of Representatives.

The bill, LD 1476, authored by Rep. Mattie Daughtry, D–Brunswick, left Friday’s work session in the Joint Standing Committee on Labor, Commerce, Research, Economic and Community Development tied, with six votes each “ought to pass” and “ought not to pass.”

Sen. John Cleveland, D-Auburn, cast the tie-breaking vote Monday afternoon. Attempts to reach Cleveland for comment Tuesday were unsuccessful.

Town officials long have complained that redevelopment of the former naval air station is being done without enough — or, at times, any — municipal input.

MRRA’s board is appointed by the governor. Although five of the board’s 13 members live in Brunswick, their charge is to act as advocates for business, not necessarily for the town.

State Sen. Stan Gerzofsky and Rep. Charlie Priest, Democrats who both represent parts of Brunswick, lobbied against the bill. Gerzofsky called it redundant and “unnecessary.”

Daughtry this morning said she believes the bill was scuttled for reasons other than policy.

“I’m disappointed that the committee didn’t debate the policy aspects of the bill and instead focused on backroom politics,” Daughtry said.

“It was a piece of commonsense legislation that didn’t get a fair chance. I’m hoping I can win votes on the floor.”

No date yet has been set for LD 1476’s floor appearance.

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