State of Maine Archives: on Government Reform

Bruce Poliquin: 12-year term limit on members of Congress

Once elected, the primary concern of long-time politicians is to use the advantages of their offices to get re-elected. They use our tax dollars to grow government programs to secure more votes in the next election. They increasingly lose touch with those they are responsible to represent. Problems grow and remain unsolved because career politicians avoid making difficult and unpopular decisions that invite criticism and might lose votes.

The best way to break this dysfunctional cycle is to limit the terms of our elected officials in Washington: 12 years in the House of Representatives and 12 years in the Senate are reasonable periods of time to get the People's work done. Term limits will encourage elected officials to do what's right instead of what's politically advantageous to get re-elected.

15 state legislatures, including Maine's, and 8 of our 10 largest cities impose term limits on their senior elected officials. It's time Washington does the same.

Source: 2014 Maine House campaign website, Nov 4, 2014

Paul LePage: Investigate and report publicly on false campaign statements

Gov. Paul LePage hopes to turn the state's ethics panel into a truth squad that checks the veracity of claims made by politicians.

The plan directs the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices to investigate campaign claims following a complaint by a candidate. The panel would have to make a public statement if the claim is deemed false.

Backers of the effort, which LePage's office says is the governor's "attempt to bring civility to the process," told lawmakers that having such a check in place will encourage candidates to make fewer false claims about their opponents.

"Should there be no restraint, no limit or no consequence for lying?" said one legislator. But the ACLU of Maine said the proposal violates the constitution, arguing that courts have found that even false statements deserve First Amendment protection.

LePage's office said it believes that the lack of penalties if a claim is deemed false would allow the proposal to stand up constitutionally.

Source: A.P. in The Republic on 2014 Maine gubernatorial race Mar 26, 2014

Shenna Bellows: Funding her campaign $5 at a time from local events

71% of Mainers still don't know who she is, and she has been adamant about funding her campaign $5 at a time from local events such as the one at the Machias Grange. Passionate about local food systems and working people, the tactic may work for her. She is looking for the type of grassroots involvement that rural Maine runs on.

Saying that she would like to be the Elizabeth Warren of civil liberties she states, "You will always know where I stand and I will always listen to your opinions."

Source: Machias Valley News Observer on 2014 Maine Senate race Dec 4, 2013

Eliot Cutler: Oppose all efforts to restrict access to the ballot box

Q: Will you oppose any obstacle to voting and support promotion of greater voter participation?

A: I oppose all efforts to restrict access to the ballot box, and have been appalled to see the changes taking place across the country, moving us away from increased citizen participation in our democracy. I also believe that greater voter participation is achieved by providing voters with a political process that belongs to all of us, not just the two political parties. Our electoral process should give us broad and good choices among candidates--choices that appeal not only to the few of us who stand on the left and right ends of the spectrum, but also to most of us who occupy the center. Voters can have the kind of choices that they want and deserve, and consensus at the end of the electoral process, if we have run-offs, open primaries, or ranked choice voting. Fewer and fewer Americans identify themselves as a Republic or Democrat these days and fewer people vote in party primaries.

Source: AFL-CIO Questionnaire on 2014 Maine Gubernatorial race Oct 16, 2013

Susan Collins: Outrageous for IRS to target Tea Party groups

Q: An inspector general's report will show an IRS official has said, yes, there was extra scrutiny of groups with the words "Tea Party" or "patriot" in it. Your take?

COLLINS: This is truly outrageous. And it contributes to the profound distrust that the American people have in government. It is absolutely chilling that the IRS was singling out conservative groups for extra review. And I think that it's very disappointing that the president hasn't personally condemned this and spoken out. His spokesman has said it should be investigated, but the president needs to make crystal clear that this is totally unacceptable in America.

Q: The White House blames a small group of IRS agents.

COLLINS: I just don't buy that this was a couple rogue IRS employees. After all, groups with "progressive" in their names were not targeted similarly. If it had been just a small group of employees, then high level IRS supervisors would have rushed to make this public, and fired the employees involved.

Source: CNN SOTU 2013 interview on 2014 Maine Senate race May 12, 2013

Charlie Summers: OpEd: Pushes for voter registration, with his name on ballot

Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers faced criticism from Democrats questioning his ability to hold one elected office while seeking another.

Only two weeks ago, Secretary of State Charlie Summers put out an official press release reminding Maine voters of the need to vote in the June primary along with information about filing an absentee ballot. Summers says he was only following a fairly perfunctory notice that has been issued by his predecessors--both GOP and Democratic. This year's Republican ballot will be a little different than those past notices, though, because Summers will be listed on it as a Republican candidate for the US Senate nomination. Democrats criticized Summers for what they said was skating dangerously close to a conflict of interest even as the secretary officially launched his Senate campaign.

But Summers was unfazed. "I can certainly come up with a scenario where if that press release didn't go out, I would be criticized for not putting it out," Summers said

Source: Maine Public Broadcasting on 2012 Maine Senate debates Mar 27, 2012

Susan Collins: Reform public financing system to get more opt-in