Candidate Night Cancellation
Legislative Code of Ethics: Ignored??
The power of the party in office must never trump the power of the people!
During October, our River Valley access channel, WVAC TV7, worked with three local business leaders to plan a "Candidate Night" for the Maine State Legislative candidates. The forum was planned to enable the River Valley voters to have an opportunity to listen and watch the differences on a wide range of issues affecting our community. (Jobs, Education, Taxes, Health Care. etc.)
The event had to be canceled because the Oxford County Democrats refused to allow their candidates to participate in the forum. Several excuses were put forward: 1) John Patrick said he had to work and he was concerned the event would be biased; 2) John and Cathy Newell felt the event would be biased because one of the planning committee members had written a LTTE in favor of Sawin Millett; 3) Cathy Newell added that she ates from a biased public forum. They never volunteered to join us in the planning. They just criticized "one" of the event planners. Although a copy of the agenda and suggested event process has been widely distributed, I have not yet received any negative comments except for my approach to get the candidates to RSVP.
Apparently, John Patrick did not feel confident in his ability to negotiate with his employer to allow him to take three hours to participate in the forum. That lack of confidence would not bode well for River Valley in the Maine Senate chamber.
Cathy Newell’s accusation that the event was biased because I participated in the event planning is preposterous. That accusation diminishes the able participation by the president of the River Valley Chamber and the president and vice president of the Rumford Rotary. The president of the Chamber reviewed, approved and expedited several of the planning tasks (location and date). We had two weeks to pull it together. She also recruited the Rotary officers to join the planning committee. The vice president of the Rotary committed to the refreshments. Cathy Newell didn’t identify the political preference of the other three planning committee members. They are likely registered Democrats. It never mattered. We just wanted to have all the candidates in front of the camera. The potential for bias was never discussed. The planning process was the important agenda.
It was interesting that the other invited legislative candidates did not need permission from their County political leaders for them to participate in the public bi-partisan forum. That brings me back to my inference in my LTTE that I would always support "Independent thinking candidates" like Sawin Millett. It seems that the Oxford County Democrats demand compliance to the controls applied by Cathy Newell. I plan to contact the Maine Ethics Commission to ask them to consider changes to the "Clean Election Campaign” rules to ensure that the taxpayer money is being used to ensure ethical behavior. Our River Valley region must demand proper qualifications and insist upon professional, confident, ethical behavior from those who would campaign to represent us in Augusta. I offer the following applicable quotations from the “Legislative Code of Ethics” adopted by the 100th Legislature for your review and consideration when you vote on Nov. 2.
--“Any public office holder is charged with responsible conduct commensurate with the trust placed in him/her by the electorate.”
--“The Maine legislator will be ever mindful of the ordinary citizen who might otherwise be unrepresented, and will endeavor conscientiously to pursue the highest standards of legislative conduct."