Poliquin’s silence on national monument
U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin’s lack of interest in sharing his views with the press apparently extends to his constituents, at least as far as Maine’s new Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is concerned.
Before the monument was established, a supermajority of my fellow 2nd Congressional District neighbors supported a federal designation. After it was established, a poll found 72 percent of Mainers support the monument. No wonder, with all the benefits it’s already bringing to Maine.
I recently wrote Poliquin to reiterate that support and ask him where he stands. His extremely long reply not only didn’t tell me where he stands on the monument, but his letter didn’t even mention the monument. Not once.
This isn’t a small thing. Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is already producing economic and tourism benefits for the Katahdin region, and businesses throughout the state recognize it as a potential economic boon. Mainers support the monument because we recognize the value of wilderness for human enjoyment and to provide habitat for Maine’s native and migratory wildlife. This monument is going to study the effects of climate change on a biologically diverse set of ecotones. Even with all these benefits, the Trump administration is attacking this and other monuments despite broad support across the nation.
Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King have opposed the attack on our monument. Yet, with the only economic catalysts Maine has seen in a generation under attack, Poliquin won’t say a word?
He should publicly commit to defend Maine’s only national monument.
Trump’s denial can’t stop climate change
Currently, with the historic, destructive Hurricane Harvey flooding, the 74 wildfires out West fueled by record heat, and the drought in Maine causing reduced hay crops and blueberry yield, we are seeing some of the many examples of the effects of global climate change happening now, not in the future.
The significant economic, human health, environmental and national security loses globally from the effects of climate change have been predicted for years. Starting in the last decade, global climate change events with these multiple costs led leaders in all but three countries — led by then President Barack Obama — to sign onto the Paris climate agreement in 2015.
President Donald Trump said in June that the United States will withdraw from the Paris agreement. Since taking office in January, he also has ordered the elimination of many U.S. government web pages providing climate change information. He has proposed reducing agencies’ budgets to report, research, prepare and adapt to mitigate the multiple effects of climate change. Tell our senators and House members to increase funding for climate change preparation and rejoin the Paris agreement.
Trump and his cabinet do not acknowledge climate change, but TV screens do not hide the truth.
Support ranked-choice voting
This fall the Legislature is expected to take up ranked-choice voting. What’s to take up? After being voted into law by referendum last fall, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court has issued an advisory opinion indicating that the application of the law to certain elections runs afoul of the Maine Constitution. In response, bills were introduced to amend the Constitution to remove the concerns raised by the court and to repeal the law. Our elected representatives will soon, no doubt, be considering if they should again attempt to repeal the law or if they should amend the Constitution.
In his support of his vote to repeal ranked-choice voting Sen. Bill Diamond opined that “this has nothing to do with whether you support ranked choice voting or not.” I couldn’t agree more. Whether Mainers support ranked-choice voting has already been decided by a referendum that garnered the second-largest “yes” vote for a referendum in Maine history. The only issue to be decided is whether those we have elected to represent us will work to support or defeat the will of the people.
I urge you, whether you support ranked-choice voting or not, to contact your senator and representative and tell him or her that the strength of Maine’s democracy rests on those we send to Augusta upholding the expressed will of her residents. Ask them to vote to amend the Constitution to bring it into conformity with the ranked-choice voting law approved by the voters.