Forecaster columnist Edgar Allen Beem has been a lightning rod for love/hate letters over past statements. Just look at the recent letters to the Forecaster concerning Beem: “Beem needs a time-out“, “Beem’s ‘satire’ hits the mark“, and “Beem has it all wrong“. Beem’s most recent column is sure to make 16 people very unhappy and one left smiling. (more…)
(Cross-Posted @ Augusta Insider)
Pine Tree Politics has released a statement from Senator Mills on his run:
I am running for Governor with a plan to fix state government and rebuild Maine’s economy. Throughout my 15 years of service in the state legislature I’ve sounded the fiscal alarm that we are now hearing loud and clear. Our state spends more than it can afford and gets poor value for that dollar. The recession has made this frighteningly obvious. Now more than ever we need an accountable government, one that measures the results of the services it delivers.
There are a few things that set Peter Mills apart from the other Republican gubernatorial candidates. Perhaps the most obvious is Mills’ legislative experience. While the three other GOP candidates have business backgrounds, Mills has been in the Maine Legislature since 1994. Mills is also the only candidate to have run for governor before: He lost to fellow State Senator Chandler Woodcock in the 2006 Republican gubernatorial primary by only 3.4%. The lessons learned from Mills’ extensive campaign experience and his work in the legislature will undoubtedly shape his run. “Things have deteriorated in the last four years,” Mills said in an interview. “Most of the things that I pointed to [in 2006] have gotten worse, and part of that is the economy and part of that is the state.”
Since Senator Mills has been in the legislature, we have the advantage of the early use of Project Vote Smart (for other candidates, we’ll just have to wait until they fill out the Vote Smart survey). Using Vote Smart we can look beyond the speeches and soundbites to interest group ratings and legislative votes grouped by category. Mills’ social ratings on Vote Smart vary. Planned Parenthood has given Mills consistently high rantings. The NRA has also consistently given Mills an “A”. The Maine Education Association, Maine People’s Alliance, and League of Conservation Voters’ ratings have varied over Mills’ legislative career. On the economic side of things Maine AFL-CIO’s ratings went from low to high over Mills’ legislative career, while Mills’ ratings from business organizations such as the Maine Economic Research Institute and the National Federation for Independent Business have become more positive.
Senator Mills’ Vote Smart ratings would place him center or center left socially and to the right fiscally. As Pine Tree Politics has noted, recent votes and actions by Senator Mills may point to another conclusion. Mills’ support for recent tax reform legislation and healthcare reform point to a shift to the left. However, when his whole voting record is viewed, the vote for tax reform seems more like an outlier on the fiscal conservative test. Since 2006 Mills has voted right on many issues. Mills voted against the 2006 minimum wage increase and teacher minimum wage increase . Mills voted against the recent alcohol and soda tax. If Mills can keep focus off his vote for the LD 1088 tax reforms, or put a positive spin on it, his recent record should speak for itself. Mills should be able to convince voters that he is still the same fiscal conservative he once was.
Mills also opposed expansion of Dirigo Health in 2006 and earlier this year. Indeed, Mills has consistently opposed Dirigo, which makes his appearance at the healthcare reform rally all the more interesting. On education, Senator Mills voted against the citizen-initiated repeal of school consolidation and for charter schools.
Peter Mills’ website layout is not terribly flashy, but it is intuitive. Pine Tree Politics mentioned this earlier, but it bares repeating: What social networking options does Mills offer? Well you can join his Facebook page…or you can join his Facebook page. In this age of instant connection through the internet, that is just not enough. Nearly all of the candidates so far, Republican or otherwise, have not only a Facebook presence, but are also on several other social networking sites, from Twitter to LinkedIn to YouTube. In a sparsely populated state like Maine, these new media tools allow candidates to reach everyone from Kittery to Fort Kent in an instant. Not maintaining a presence on these services when your opponents do could be a serious misstep. As I’ve said before, I’d be surprised if candidates neglected any corner of the internet they could spread their message to. I’m sure Senator Mills will branch out as the campaign progresses.
I have examined several candidate’s website statements on how they would address certain issues in Maine. Mills’ “Plan” differs from just about everything I’ve read so far in that he takes a direct approach with his platform: “Here is a problem. Here is the solution”. Mills presents the problems facing Maine and his solutions briefly and clearly. Mills has presented his platform more effectively than any candidate so far. In our soundbite world, Mills and Twitter could be a match made in Heaven.
The Plan itself is divided into two sections, “Fix the State” and “Rebuild Maine”. The contents of Fix the State reinforce Mills’ recently challenged reputation as a fiscal conservative. Mills advocates accountability in in Maine’s budget, health care, human services and education. Reducing Medicade abuse, cutting duplicate public works services, and pay-as-you-go state budgets are key to Mills’ plan. Even though Mills appeared at the recent health care rally, he advocates something less liberal than what we’ve seen from Washington as of late. Senator Mills wishes to revive a competitive insurance market in Maine, quite distant from a lot of what is being talked about in health care lately. However, Mills does recommend expanding some forms of public health including health clinics in schools, rural health centers with sliding scale fees, and nutrition and health education. Though this may be too liberal for some, Mills’ position on health care is sure to grab the attention of moderate Republicans, moderate Democrats, and many Independents.
The “Rebuilding Maine” section focuses on the economy. As anyone who has driven in Maine can clearly see, our roads are a mess. Beyond the normal wear and tear of harsh winters, many roads and bridges are in a horrible state of disrepair. Cell and broadband coverage are lagging as well. In a state as rural as Maine, lacking in those areas hurts. Mills recognizes these issues, pushing for a comprehensive plan to bring our roads up to par and eliminate cell phone and broadband gaps within five years. Ambitious, but necessary. How can Maine expect to attract business if we can’t even show we are willing to keep up the networks they need to function?
Senator Mills goes on to say that by getting a handle on taxes and removing some regulations Maine can attract new business and revitalize the ones we already have. “In some cases, all it takes is for government to move out of the way.” says Mills. Mills supports bringing cheaper power to Maine through alternative energy and energy partnerships with our Canadian neighbors.
After reviewing Senator Mills’ record and plans if he should be elected, Mills seems to have remained the socially tolerant, fiscally conservative Republican he has always been. Mills’ recent courting of the left, as his plan shows, are not the beginnings of an Arlan Spector-esque dodge to the progressives. If Mills continues to hammer home his roots, and clearly explain his recent opinions, he will be a strong contender for the GOP nomination and the Blaine House – especially in a highly fractured field. This match is far from over however. Other GOP contenders will most certainly be stiff competition for Mills. We’ll have to wait until next June to see how Maine Republicans feel about the senator from Cornville.
(Cross-posted at the Augusta Insider)
As reported a few days ago, Stand for Marriage Maine submitted 100,000 signatures in support of the People’s Veto effort to repeal LD 1020. “It shows above all, that the people of Maine are overwhelmingly opposed to same-sex marriage.” says Mike Hein of the Maine Family Values Policy Council (formerly the Christian Civic League of Maine). The supporters of same-sex marriage disagree with Hein’s characterization of Mainers views on the issue. No on 1/Protect Maine Equality (formerly Maine Freedom to Marry) collected 60,000 pledges from voters that they would be voting no on question one. A press release from No on 1 stated that:
Our NO on 1 volunteers and field staff have gone door-to-door and neighbor-to-neighbor. We’ve attended sports and public events and everywhere we go, Mainers understand what’s at stake this November. That’s why we announced yesterday that we’ve collected more than 60,000 pledges to vote NO on 1.
Support and opposition to same-sex marriage has not followed party lines. Governor Baldacci, who did not support same-sex marriage in the past, reportedly waited until LD 1020 had reached his desk before he decided to sign. Voting in the House and Senate did not go along expected party lines in every case either. Rep. Sheryl Briggs of Mexico and Rep. Mike Willette of Presque Isle were two House Democrats to vote against LD 1020. Rep. Meredith Strang Burgess of Cumberland and Sen. Peter Mills of Cornville were two Republicans who voted in favor of LD 1020. Sen. Mills explained his vote in a comment to the Augusta Insider.
I voted for the gay marriage bill as a matter of personal conscience. I see no harm in allowing the state to license marriage between members of the same sex. If a church takes a different view, then that is for its own members to decide.On the same basis, I voted consistently to support the anti-discrimination bills that came before the Legislature several times before the law was finally approved at public referendum in November of 2005.
I have long thought that these issues should be decided by public referendum, but efforts to send them out to referendum were rejected in 2005 and again in 2009. When called upon to vote on the floor of the Senate, I simply voted what I thought was right. Many other Maine residents may disagree with my vote but that is why the issue should be decided in the ballot box.
Sen. Mills has been the only Republican gubernatorial candidate at this point to clearly support LD 1020, though nearly all Democratic candidates have shown support for the bill in one way or another. This could cost Mills the support of socially conservative Republicans, but given the number of moderates in both parties, and the highly riven GOP gubernatorial primary, this is not likely to sink Sen. Mills’ campaign.
Filed under: civil rights, John Baldacci, LD 1020, maine, Meredith Strang Burgess, Mike Willette, peter mills, Protect Maine Equality, Same-Sex Marriage, Sheryl Briggs, stand for marriage | 1 Comment »
Not a large change from the previous numbers. Matt Jacobson continues to dominate Twitter in number of followers and massive growth. It looks as though the Jacobson will not be giving up his crown as King of Twitter anytime soon.
Newcomer Rosa Scarcelli make an impressive entrance onto the Twitter field. Scarcelli has come right out of the gate with 130 followers, following 131, and 71 tweets. The puts her at the head of the pack in the Dems and third overall. I’m going to give Scarcelli the “Best Start from a Newbie” award.
Here are the current stats from Augusta Insider:
Independent Alex Hammer (@AlexHammer) is following 401, has 337 followers, and 620 Tweets; -31 Followers.
Democrat Dawn Hill (@DawnHillNow) is following 20, has 12 followers, and 1 Tweet.
Republican Matt Jacobson (@jacobson4gov) is following 695, has 968 followers, and 65 Tweets; +214 Followers.
Republican Les Otten (@LesOtten) is following 0, has 40 followers, and 1 Tweets; +10 Followers.
Republican Bruce Poliquin (@BruceForME) is following 85, has 92 followers, and 110 Tweets; -3 Followers.
Democrat Steven Rowe (@Steven_Rowe) is following 0, has 121 followers, and 5 Tweets; +11 Followers.
Democrat Rosa Scarcelli (@rosascarcelli) is following 131, has 130 followers, and 71 Tweets.
Green Independent Lynne Williams (@Lynne4Governor) is following 11, has 38 followers, and 18 Tweets;+2 Followers.
Augusta Insider points out that Peter Mills and Donna Dion are absent from Twitter at this point. Mills cited a Yahoo News Story (TMT Too Much Twitter?) as evidence for why he avoids Twitter. Probably in jest. I’d be surprised if any serious candidate kept away from Twitter entirely at this point.
Republican State Senator Peter Mills will run for Maine governor. Mills will run as a Republican, challenging Bruce Poliquin, Matt Jacobson, and Les Otten for the GOP nomination. I’ve been scooped on this story by just about everyone, including the Augusta Insider, Pine Tree Politics, and As Maine Goes.
The Augusta Insider reports that since Mills is choosing to run GOP he will not be able to turn Independent should he not receive his party’s nomination. Mills is the first GOP candidate to come from a political background, possibly making him a prime target in the primary. Mills is also the first GOP candidate to file for public funding.
Pine Tree Politics, who just yesterday pondered a Mills run, wrote on Mills announcement and his chances of winning the GOP primary and the Blaine House.
from Pine Tree Politics:
Mills’ greatest argument was that he was a socially tolerant, fiscally conservative candidate. I have long argued that this is exactly where Maine voters are ideologically – they don’t really want the government pushing social policy, and they really want some fiscal relief and sound management – and he could have filled that quite easily.
But with tax reform and now healthcare reform, Mills is blowing a hole in the idea that he is a fiscal conservative. Many Maine Republicans are left wondering if he is center-left on social issues, and now appears to be center-left on fiscal issues as well, why should he deserve the support of the grassroots?
Comments on the Mills announcement thread at As Maine Goes seems to support PTP’s argument.
I haven’t seen a website with a solid platform page, though Mills does have one from his previous senate run, so I wont go in depth on his run yet. I will say this, which I also posted as a comment on PTP – Maine Republicans are much closer to the middle than other states. A Republican in Maine is not necessarily the same as one in Utah. Maine GOPers seem to hold strong to the ideals laid down in the Goldwater era; low taxes, fiscal responsibility, and small government. When in comes to social issues I get the feeling that ME GOPers are more open than most, taking an almost libertarian approach of “stay out of my business and I’ll stay out of yours.
I think that could give Mills an edge. Even with his recent alignment with the left on gay marriage, health care, and tax reform, Mills record sits pretty squarely in a fiscal conservative social moderate hole. This could leave Mills sitting pretty when it comes to courting support from the moderate and blue dog Democrats in Maine.
Mills is not a lock in this dynamic election.
from Pine Tree Politics:
If any of the three business guys can become the consensus “fiscal conservative” choice, I think it will be a dog fight and they would have a rather big chance to knock off the big dog.
Personally, though, I think they’ll all split the vote, and Mills will be fighting for a small share himself. I see the 1994 eight way Republican nomination fight that Susan Collins won repeating itself.
Nothing is set in this election. Still anyone’s game, and what a game it’s shaping up to be. I guess I picked a good time to start writing on politics!