I rarely comment on politics (for the obvious reasons), but I can no longer watch the “good old boys” put their thumb on the scale in the race for Congress here in Maine’s 2nd District. I must speak out about misleading, untrue and sexist content in a recent ad and OpEd for the Dale Crafts campaign.
In a radio and television ad, former Gov. Paul LePage calls Crafts “the only businessman in the race.” He may be the only man in business, but not the only person.
Adrienne Bennett also has business experience and has worked many jobs in the private and public sectors. LePage’s premise is fundamentally not true and it is more than a bit tone-deaf to use the term businessman when there is a businesswoman in the race.
I supported LePage and even helped work on his re-election in 2014 while running my own business at the same time. I was a fan of many of the policies he passed, such as welfare reform, and got to know him and his family personally. His direct style never really bothered me because I saw the sweet man he was in person.
Given my history with the former governor, I am disappointed in the tactics he and other establishment party folks — mostly older men — are using to promote and endorse the candidacy of Crafts. This is the epitome of “insider” and “career” politics, and I am calling it out.
The former governor also took an unwarranted jab in a BDN OpEd at his “very dear friend,” Bennett. He wrote that she does not have the “temperament to be effective.”
Of the qualities I admire in our former governor, his temperament is not one. Instead of pointing to a specific example, LePage says that the female candidate has a “temperament problem.” Doing so is incredibly sexist and should be beneath both of them.
Here’s the “temperament” I’ve seen in Bennett after knowing her for years: She has an unquestionable work ethic and sincere desire to learn about the concerns of all of the citizens of the 2nd Congressional District and to represent their interests in Washington.
Bennett came out of the campaign gate fighting and has tirelessly traveled the district to meet Mainers across the state. She did not rest on her laurels of past political experience and relationships.
She was the unflappable, cool, calm and collected voice on behalf of an animated and colorful governor, deftly and loyally defending his policies in the media maelstrom. Through a variety of settings, I have observed Bennett as an eager listener, confident and articulate speaker, athlete, supporter of veterans, an effective communicator and staunch defender of our president’s policies.
I have seen Bennett reverent in church, as a beast in the gym, fun at events and strong defending our conservative values. Her temperament is exactly what our state needs right now.
Though others now borrow the phrase, Bennett is the original “fighter” in this race and our strongest hope to prevail against Rep. Jared Golden.
The voters of Maine deserve to know the truth and to be represented by someone who has her own mind and is not subject to the whims and wishes of others behind the scenes.
Ginger Leigh Smith of Lewiston is a businesswoman.