November 28, 2012

Bill Nemitz: Dysfunction no mystery to new Maine Speaker

If ever there was a time when Augusta needs a certified family therapist, this is it . . .

By Bill Nemitz bnemitz@pressherald.com

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Newly-elected Speaker of the House, Rep. Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, tries out the gavel earlier this month. Eves is no stranger to dysfunction.

AP File Photo

Ground rules?

"No surprises. No publicly embarrassing people," Eves explained. "This is not personal. This is about policy and our values."

The same, Eves can only hope, will apply with LePage.

"I'm a realist," Eves conceded. " I'm a pretty pragmatic person and I understand there will be ... certainly times when we don't agree."

But, he said, that doesn't mean he and his fellow Democrats can't at least attempt to find "common ground" with the governor and, however, incrementally, proceed from there.

"Everything is based on a relationship -- that's the bottom line," said Eves. "I think the skill set (of a therapist) around conflict resolution -- negotiating tough situations, keeping people at the table -- these are all things that are really helpful in terms of producing a positive outcome together."

It would be easy to dismiss Maine's new House speaker, even at this early stage, as a dreamer. After all, LePage has had enough trouble in the past two years getting along with his own party, let alone the Democrats.

But maybe, just maybe, Eves' mild manner and anything-but-combative tone are exactly what a politically weary Maine needs right about now.

Maybe he can persuade our ever-angry governor that life need not be a battle, with the winner determined only by who screams the longest and the loudest.

Maybe Eves, if and when he finally gets that invite to the governor's office, should grab the nearest armchair.

And let LePage take the couch.


Columnist Bill Nemitz can be contacted at 791-6323 or at:



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