December 13, 2018
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Maine’s 1st District can continue to benefit from Chellie Pingree’s influence

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree speaks during a debate at the WGME studios in Portland on Oct. 6.

There have been debates and political polls but no TV commercials and little money spent. This shows how lackluster a race there is for Maine’s 1st Congressional District seat, which is now held by Democrat Chellie Pingree, who is seeking her fourth term.

Polls show Pingree, who has focused much of her attention in Congress on food and farms, with a commanding lead over Republican Isaac Misiuk, a Gorham resident, young father and student at the University of Southern Maine, and Richard Murphy, an independent from Sanford.

Pingree hasn’t had to put up much of a fight to keep her seat, but she remains worthy of support.

The Republican Party has failed voters in the 1st District. Yes, the district leans Democratic, but by not putting up serious candidates, the party is disenfranchising a large percentage of voters — both moderate and conservative. Misiuk has a thin resume and no reference to policies he stands for on his campaign website. Murphy, a member of the National Guard, pledges to not compromise, and his “ key points of action” include stopping U.S. foreign aid and withdrawing the U.S. from the United Nations.

With unknown, inexperienced opponents, voters are effectively denied a choice, and without having to spend money on her own re-election, Pingree has directed more than $100,000 to other Democratic candidates.

Pingree, who lives in North Haven and Portland, has made support for small farms a priority in her six years in Congress. The Farm Bill, which became law earlier this year, contained many provisions she championed that will help local growers and producers.

She also has worked on veterans issues and sponsored legislation that made it through the Republican-controlled House to help military sexual assault victims obtain VA benefits. The bill was named for Ruth Moore of Milbridge, who was raped while in the Navy and later diagnosed with a mental illness. Moore got word from the VA in May that she would receive more than $400,000 in benefits dating back more than two decades.

Pingree also sits on the House Appropriations Committee, one of the chamber’s most influential committees.

In her six years in Congress, Pingree has built up influence that has allowed her legislative successes despite being in the minority party. Her re-election will serve Maine and the 1st District well.

 


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