Sagadahoc Dems October 2023 Newsletter
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Sagadahoc Dems October 2023 Newsletter

Sagadahoc Dems October 2023 Newsletter


I was going to write on another topic but the debacle in the House of Representatives dissuaded me.  I am afraid we are in for a long period of extreme dysfunctionality unless the Republican Party can save itself from itself. As a strong believer in a two party system, it is discouraging to see the suicide of the Republicans. 

Having spent a good portion of my professional career in the Congress, including many years in the senior ranks of the House of Representatives, I have seen it at its best and at its worst.  But never has it been as bad as it is today.

It is not surprising to see the turn of events with Speaker McCarthy.  I will never forget the time he came up to my boss and me on the House Floor and gleefully told us that the Democrats were going to lose the next election.  He enjoyed taunting and, of course, he was right: we did lose control.  But he didn’t make friends nor instill trust and for that reason there was no one to offer him a helping hand from the Democratic side when he needed it.

What happens next is a mess.  Currently there are two deeply conservative members vying for the Speakership:  Jim Jordan and Steve Scalise.  Jordan is so conservative that it is frightening to consider him in that position. Scalise is not much better considering his outreach to the KKK.

Early voting will be a key indicator of how strong the Republican “moderates” are:  if neither Jordan or Scalise gain a majority among the Republicans, then a more “moderate” alternative may emerge, freezing out the “extreme” conservatives. 

What deals such a person would have to make to satisfy enough of his party are unclear.  But the conditions of the conservatives are clear:  no aid for Ukraine, no deal with the Senate on the budget, closing down the Federal Government, etc..  The result would be a protracted government shut down, turmoil in the financial markets, and certainly no legislative action.  The next Speaker might last only a few months in this situation unless they are extremely canny, capable of cutting secret deals with both sides.

How likely is the worst scenario?  Right now it seems likely to be the only outcome and it could well last until the 2024 election with a series of patchwork solutions between Speaker elections.

Perhaps the only action that can save the Republican Party is a complete rout at ballot box forcing a return to sane leadership.

Richard Kessler
Sagadahoc County Democratic Party

News About Voting, Issues and Candidates

Tepper for Senate 24 in 2024

I am excited to announce that I am running to be the Democratic Nominee for Senate District 24 in 2024! Our wonderful Senator of the last eight years, Sen. Eloise Vitelli, will reach her term limit at that time.  Her service has been exemplary and, with your support, I hope to carry on her excellent work.

Many of you know me as an active volunteer for and former chair of the Sagadahoc Dems (2012-2013) and the Representative to the Maine House from Topsham (2014-2022). I also served on the M.S.A.D. #75 School Board for six years (1996-2002) and on the Finance Committee for the Town of Topsham for another six. While in the Maine House, I served on the Taxation and Appropriations Committees and was House Chair of the Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services Committee for two terms.
All this experience makes me an ideal candidate to serve you in the Senate. I have proven my ability to get things done in the Maine Legislature. I have very good relationships with many people currently serving, including our Governor. Very importantly, I have also proven my ability to help my constituents navigate the state bureaucracy to get what they need.  Serving constituents this way is one of the most satisfying components of the job and I look forward to providing this service to all the people of Sagadahoc County and Dresden. I have always been accessible to my constituents by returning phone calls and emails and holding office hours, and I will continue to do so.

Public service is central to who I am, and I cannot imagine a life without such service. Since completing four terms in the Maine House, I have served on four non-profit boards that benefit our communities: Mid-Coast Hunger Prevention Program, Maine Public Health Association, Emergency Food and Shelter Program for Lincoln and Sagadahoc Counties (Chair), and the Highlands Residence Assistance Fund. 

My work in the legislature and the community has focused on public health — particularly improving maternal and infant health, fair tax policy, hospital cost transparency, and educational equity. However, I am eager to bring the same focus to all issues affecting our communities. Please call if there are issues that concern you that you think I need to understand.

My public announcement of my candidacy will not come until November, but you, the active Democrats of the county committee, deserve to know first. I will be running as a Clean Elections candidate and will appreciate your support with MCEA contributions beginning in January. I invite all of you to join me in this campaign – volunteers are invaluable. Anyone wishing to volunteer will be deeply appreciated! I will be honored to earn your vote in the June 11, 2024 primary election.

Questions? Concerns? Want to help?

Referendum Questions: What Is On the November Ballot?

This November, there are a total of 8 referendum questions on the ballot.  To help our Sag Dem readers we are providing a brief interpretive overview of the eight questions. This is intended to help you make an informed decision on the 8 questions.
Questions 1-3 are citizen-initiated ballot referendum questions dealing with Pine Tree Power, which is the much-discussed proposal for publicly controlled electrical utility distribution. This would require a public buyout of Central Maine Power and Versant Power so that an elected board and their appointees would be responsible for Maine’s electrical power distribution.  For those who want more detailed information on this topic, the link below offers a fact sheet from the Maine Office of the Public Advocate. Question 3 PUC Overview
Questions 4, also a citizen-initiated ballot referendum question, addresses transparency with automotive diagnostic data. 
Questions 5-8 are proposed amendments to the Maine State Constitution. 
If you want more detailed information, The Citizen’s Guide to the ballot questions is available using this link: Maine Citizen’s Guide to Referendum Elections.
Question 1: 
This question asks:   “Do you want to bar some quasi-governmental entities and all consumer-owned electric utilities from taking on more than $1 billion in debt unless they get statewide voter approval?”
A “yes” vote means that Pine Tree Power (PTP) would be required to obtain additional voter approval before issuing the bond-based debt needed to finance the acquisition of CMP’s and Versant’s assets, likely delaying the transition  of the current electric utilities assets (CMP and Versant) to the new, publicly-managed PTP.
NOTE: Question 1 was created by opponents of Pine Tree Power (Question 3) and relies on the need for the state to borrow well over $1 billion should Question 3 pass.
Question 2:
This question asks:  “Do you want to ban foreign governments and entities that they own, control, or influence from making campaign contributions or financing communications for or against candidates or ballot questions?”
A “yes” vote on Question 2 would make it illegal for companies or entities owned or controlled by a foreign government to spend money to influence voters on a state, county, or municipal referendum issue.  If voters approve Question 2, Maine will join an emerging trend of states seeking to curb direct or indirect foreign electioneering in ballot initiatives in local, county or state political campaigns.  
NOTE: Question 2 was created because proponents of Question 3 don’t want to let CMP have a say in Maine ballot initiatives because they’re owned internationally. However, as worded and in light of globalization, Question 2 would affect more businesses than just CMP, including Canadian companies, U.S. employers who have headquarters overseas and more. 
Question 3:
Question 3 asks:  Do you want to create a new power company governed by an elected board to acquire and operate existing for-profit electricity transmission and distribution facilities in Maine?”
A “yes” vote indicates that you are in favor of creating a new power company to acquire the assets of Central Maine Power Co. (CMP) and Versant Power and become a Maine regulated utility.
See the following link from the Maine office of the Public Advocate for a more detailed and unbiased fact sheet on this question:  Question 3 PUC Overview
NOTE: Question 3 is linked to Question 1.
Question 4:  
Question 4 asks:  “Do you want to require vehicle manufacturers to standardize on-board diagnostic systems and provide remote access to those systems and mechanical data to owners and independent repair facilities?”
This question has to do with automotive on-board diagnostic systems. The initiative requires automakers to make repair diagnostic data available to third-party mechanics (non-dealership) so that they can pinpoint and fix vehicle problems.
Opponents argue that sharing such telematic data could compromise vehicle safety, expose vehicles to nefarious hackers and give away manufacturers’ proprietary information.
A “yes” vote indicates that you are in favor of requiring manufacturers to standardize systems. 
NOTE: Question 4 was brought forward by a coalition of repair shops that argue that manufacturers make it difficult to repair cars, either by not including a physical port for independent mechanics to plug into to pinpoint problems, or by not sharing the wireless telematics data cars collect.
Question 5:
Question 5 asks:  “Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to change the time period for judicial review of the validity of written petitions from within 100 days from the date of filing to within 100 business days from the date of filing of a written petition in the office of the Secretary of State, with an exception for petitions filed within 30 calendar days before or after a general election?”
This question refers to the process of citizen-initiated ballot questions and the process for gathering signatures to get on the ballot. It is designed to give state election officials more time to ensure that citizen-initiated proposals have legitimately qualified for the ballot.  
A “yes” vote would indicate that you are in favor of changing the review period for checking signatures from 100 calendar days to 100 business days.  It would also allow the review period to begin 30 business days after a general election, when a petition is filed within 30 calendar days of a general election.
Question 6:  
Question 6 asks: “Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to require that all of the provisions of the Constitution be included in the official printed copies of the Constitution prepared by the Secretary of State?” 
Should all provisions of the Constitution to be included in the printed version?  The essence of this question dates back to some sections of the Maine Constitution that were omitted from being printed in 1876 as they were deemed not critical by a statewide vote.  These included the timing of the meeting of the first state legislature and the makeup of the legislature, and language pertaining to the Indian Treaty Obligations—many of which have since been addressed through renegotiations.
A “yes” vote would indicate that you are in favor of printing all sections.  The Maine Secretary of State, who would be implementing the decision, is in favor of this measure in the interest of transparency.  Some, including Governor Janet Mills are against this measure as they feel it might lead to confusion. 
Question 7:
Question 7 asks:  “Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to revoke the statute that those who gather signatures for citizen initiatives in Maine need to be registered Maine voters.” 
A “yes” vote means you are in favor of  amending the Constitution of Maine to remove a provision requiring a circulator of a citizen’s initiative or people’s veto petition to be a resident of Maine and a registered voter in Maine, requirements that have been ruled unconstitutional in federal court. 
The practical impact of question 7 is that Mainers could encounter more petition circulators from out of state.  This change would be welcomed by ballot campaigns that have a hard time finding Maine-based people to circulate petitions.  
Question 8:
Question 8 asks:  “Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to remove a provision prohibiting a person under guardianship for reasons of mental illness from voting for Governor, Senators and Representatives, which the United States District Court for the District of Maine found violates the United States Constitution and federal law?”
This question involves the right of those under guardianship for reasons of mental illness, to be able to vote for governors, senators, and representatives. Currently, they’re not allowed to vote.
Article II of the Maine Constitution establishes the qualifications for voting in state and local elections, including residency and being at least 18 years old. It also includes a prohibition on people “under guardianship for reasons of mental illness.”
A “yes” vote would indicate you are in favor of giving these individuals the right to vote. 

Signature Collection for 2024

As we close out the year, we’re getting ready to ramp up our campaign and reach more voters than ever before in all 50 states. But first, we need your help. We need to gather petition signatures from voters to make sure Joe is on the ballot in 2024. If you’re interested in volunteering with us to help collect petitions, please sign up using this form.

You’ll hear directly from one of our organizers about how to canvass voters for signatures. You’ll also get all of the necessary resources to collect accurate information and meet other community members who are ready to support a Biden-Harris ticket in 2024!