Maine legislators want mixed seating for Obama speech

Posted Jan. 13, 2011, at 3:45 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 13, 2011, at 5:02 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine’s two U.S. representatives are adding their names to a letter from those who want mixed seating during President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech as a symbol of civility in politics.

Democratic Rep. Mike Michaud has added his name to a letter by Colorado Democratic Sen. Mark Udall that will be sent to House and Senate leaders next week. Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree was planning to sign it, too. It asks for a show of bipartisanship through a change in the traditional party-by-party seating arrangement.

Michaud says partisan seating symbolizes division instead of the common challenges faced by Congress. He says it’s important to show that members of Congress can debate their differences with respect, honor and civility.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins also released a statement supporting the letter.

The address is scheduled for Jan. 25.