Yes, elections are on the horizon. You may recently have noticed more political coverage or even a note on your door from your local legislative candidate. Having served two terms as a state representative for Raymond, Standish, Frye Island and Poland, which included a term in the first Republican majority in 40 years, I thought it appropriate to share my perspective on the last two legislative sessions.

Arriving as a “rookie” in the 125th Legislature, I was very open to listening and learning about the process and the issues. The Republican Party came up with major areas we wanted to impact including lowering health-care costs, lowering taxes, regulatory reform for businesses, education reform and welfare reform. We focused on transparency and we sought consensus.

As a freshman legislator, I had the privilege of serving on the Regulatory Fairness and Reform Committee as well as the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee. The Republican leaders of those committees stressed the importance of compromise and cooperation during the committee process. In the end, we accomplished the above stated goals and got support from many on the other side of the aisle.

When the Democrats regained control in the 126th Legislature, the legislative process changed considerably. As a member of the Education Committee, I felt that differing opinions were ignored, and bills were sometimes rushed through without any sort of compromise attempted. Over the last two years, I was also disheartened to see the majority party try to turn back much of what we accomplished during the 125th Legislature, but was proud to help in the efforts to fight their attempts and stand strong for Maine’s working families and small businesses.

As you read the palm cards of candidates who come to your door, realize every candidate will say they plan to listen to their constituents, create jobs and improve schools. Everyone will say they plan to work together to solve our problems. Sadly, it does not always pan out that way in Augusta. When you head to the polls this November, please remember that it really does matter which party holds the majority in the Legislature.

Rep. Mike McClellan


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