You don’t have to look hard to find indicators Maine’s economy isn’t the best. The economy is not likely to improve before our next governor takes office either. Jobs, jobs, jobs is bound to the mantra for many candidates. Pine Tree Politics has examined Maine’s current economy. Comparing Maine to Virginia, PTP talks about how Maine’s next governor can make the state more business friendly. (more…)
Now that she’s announced her candidacy, it’s time to find out what Rosa Scarcelli is all about.
Yesterday I mentioned that the color scheme on Scarcelli’s website were a bit jarring. Not that it has much barring on the election, Matt Gagnon at Pine Tree Politics has an interesting comment on that strange matching of orange and blue.
from Pine Tree Politics:
Scarcelli’s website is a little odd – not because it looks bad (its decent enough), but more because its color scheme looks like something out of a political race in Virginia with its orange and blue accents (something very common down here in my neck of the woods). Usually in Maine you see variations of blue and green – so it looks a tad out of place, but then again should I really be picking on color schemes?
I can hear the shouts already. “She’s from away! She’s from away! Don’t let her within 50 miles of Augusta!” Of course those who would focus on that probably still think Obama is not an American citizens and we never landed on the Moon. Personally I just find it to be an interesting fact, much in the same way I enjoy Mental Floss. Maybe Scarcelli chose the scheme to highlight her difference from the other Democratic contenders, who have all been involved in politics in one way or another. Only she knows for sure.
As Pine Tree Politics points out, Scarcelli is already in the game with a Tweet and Facebook. Scarcelli’s Tweet already has 138 followers and 67 updates, while she is following 123 tweets. Steve Rowe, whose been in this thing for a while now, still only has 114 followers and a meager 3 updates. Democratic challenger Dawn Hill unaccounted for on Twitter. Scarcelli’s Tweet is an interesting blend of the personal and political. Everything from family outings to personal opinions to Maine political news is there. Some of that may sound trivial, but I argue it’s relevant to creating the well rounded image of a real person, not just a face on a poster. For someone who is running as a political outsider Scarcelli is hitting the right buttons with her Tweet.
Steve Rowe still leads in Facebook followers, 616 to Scarcelli’s 247. Though Rowe’s Facebook seems to have a lot of supporter commenting, Scarcelli is using Facebook as another way to present her platform. Scarcelli posts links to articles in MaineBiz, videos of speeches, and other announcements. There isn’t a whole lot to look at yet, but I’m sure that will change.
On to Scarcelli’s credentials.
Scarcelli, like many others in this election, does not come from a political background, but a business one. Scarcelli’s business experience differs from someone like Matt Jacobson or Bruce Poliquin. Jacobson and Poliquin’s experience are in running large organizations and investment in bringing business and jobs to Maine. Scarcelli’s background is rooted in a smaller scale public service business – providing low cost housing to those in need. Is this experience better or preferable than other candidates’ business knowledge? That depends on which voter you talk to. Personally any leadership experience is a plus for a candidate. Then again, how good a leader they actually were cannot be ignored either.
How about Scarcelli’s positions on the issues.
Scarcelli’s recipe for job creation is not all that varied from anything we’ve heard yet. Make Maine business friendly through tax incentives and trim the fat in Augusta, operate more efficiently. Not a bad plan, which is why almost everyone is using it. Scarcelli also advocates a reinvestment and refitting of our current failing industries such as logging and fishing. You’ve got to spend money to make money right.
Scarcelli’s education platform is nothing new either, just maintain current support of K-12. However, her commitment to link community colleges with businesses is interesting. Community colleges should be relevant options for those who don’t wish, or cannot at that time attend a four year school. Linking degree programs directly to employers will give graduates a leg up when they enter the already crowded workforce. And I can’t say I disagree with Scarcelli’s assertion that the UMaine system needs an overhaul.
Energy and environmental issues, though not as power as jobs or the economy, will still play an important role in this election. Scarcelli minces no words on her environmental policy. ” I will accept no compromise when it comes to enforcing our environmental laws and regulations.” ,Scarcelli says on her website. Before you start to think Scarcelli is a Green in disguise, Scarchelli doesn’t reject business over environment. Scarcelli believes job growth and protecting the environment are not mutually exclusive. That is the thrust of Scarcelli’s energy policy as well. “And we can work with the federal government to encourage research and development of alternative energy sources such as offshore wind, solar and tidal energy – part of new green economy that creates jobs in Maine that can’t be shipped overseas.”
There will be a few questions Democrats will need to ask themselves before the upcoming primary: Is Steve Rowe too close to the old guard to win the state or does his experience and name carry him? Is an Augusta outsider a safer bet? Scarcelli could be that outsider Democrats are looking for in their nominee.
Maine’s own Senator Susan Collins (R) and Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson (D) have banded together. What are these two up to? They’re the new sheriffs in town. They’re gonna tell all those earmarks and pork in the stimulus bill to git an’ don’t come back!
The two are working to slice wasteful spending from the bill. Together they are trying to bring a bill to the senate that will attract the support of both conservative Democrats and moderate Republicans. Their main issue with the bill? A distinct lack of focus on job creation and economic growth specifically.
“Our goal is to have a bill that is both bipartisan and effective. That’s what we want. There’s no doubt that the American people don’t want to see partisan politics in this debate,” said Collins. Collins worried the bill was becoming “a Christmas tree where members are hanging their favorite program on it. A lot of these programs are worthwhile. But we have to focus on what the impact is on the economy and whether or not the spending creates or saves jobs. That’s the question. That’s the test that needs to be passed,” she told CNN.
Nelson goes on to explain some of the what should be cut from the stimulus or reduced:
“I like parts of it,” he said, pointing to funding based on infrastructure, “But there’s an awful lot of spending in it that I think is questionable, marginally supportive and stimulative for jobs.” Nelson said it’s important to fund things like programs to stop smoking, “but they ought to be part of something else, not part of a jobs stimulus bill.”
Collins and Nelson seem to have a grasp on what is really needed from this stimulus. As Nelson said, “The majority opinion is the people want jobs, jobs, jobs.” Both senators know that infrastructure spending is the key to this. First get our communities repaired and functional. Then we’ve got to move from the 20th century, 19th in some areas, to the 21st. That is how our communities can thrive and our industry stay competitive.
I have not always been a big fan of Collins. Unlike Maine Senator Olypmia Snowe (R) who I am a big fan of, I have disagreed with Collins positions a number of times. My opinion of her is turning around though, especially if she can pull this off. For the sake of this country the Senate Dems and Repubs had better pay attention to this.
Embedded video from CNN Video
Nightly News Roundup – Blagojevich, Wall Street, California State Workers, Loan Help, Maine Low On Cash, Snow
I’ve decided to ad some local news to the mix for my Mainers. Here’s the headlines.