AUGUSTA — As chairman of the Maine Democratic Party, I am writing in response to Seth Berner’s Dec. 9 column,”Maine Voices: Marginalizing Sanders supporters will hurt Democratic Party in Maine,” and Cynthia Dill’s Dec. 4 column, “For rural poor, future looks bleak.”

The Maine Democratic Party strives to create an open, inclusive environment that welcomes anyone who identifies as a Democrat. While the primary season was, at times, contentious, we believe that the candidacy of Sen. Bernie Sanders ultimately made our party stronger.

Sanders enfranchised millions of voters, many of them young people, and he provided a strong, singular voice for hardworking rural voters. Thanks to his work, both our state and national parties adopted the most progressive platforms in party history. The impact of his revolution here in Maine is tangible, and he deserves credit for mobilizing his voters to support local and national candidates as well as progressive ballot initiatives here in Maine.

Maine also benefited from the historic candidacy of Hillary Clinton. From young girls seeing the potential of a woman president to older generations who never thought they would have a chance to vote for a woman to lead our nation, Hillary Clinton’s campaign was profoundly significant.

Looking forward, we must be the party of both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, of both Chellie Pingree and Troy Jackson, of both urban and rural Maine. Our party’s officers and executive committee hail from seven counties and include supporters of both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Several members of our campaign team came to us from the Sanders campaign, and we count both Sanders and Clinton supporters among our permanent senior staff. We connected many of Sen. Sanders’ supporters with legislative and municipal candidates. Still others are stepping up to run for office themselves.


There is room in our party for Democrats of all stripes who share our core values of opportunity and justice for all. We do not, however, countenance hurtful and divisive rhetoric. I have been deeply disappointed in Maine Sunday Telegram columnist Cynthia Dill, who denigrated Sanders supporters in July and more recently demeaned individuals who lack college degrees. The condescending tone is unfair and unacceptable.

Ms. Dill does not serve on either the executive committee or the Democratic State Committee. Nor is she an officer or even an employee of the party. In short, her column is in no way representative of the views of the Maine Democratic Party or of our broad and diverse membership.

Donald Trump won this election by effectively dividing the country. He marginalized women, immigrants, Muslims, people of color, people living with disabilities and countless others. As chairman of the Maine Democratic Party, I pledge that we will continue to build an organization in which everyone – regardless of who they are or whom they caucused for – feels welcome and valued. This is a time when we as a party and a country must come together rather than tear each other down.

I encourage everyone who is interested in joining our Democratic community and fighting back against the harmful policies of President-elect Trump to get involved.

If you believe that everyone should have an opportunity to live up to his or her highest potential, there is a place for you here. If you believe that government has an obligation to create a level playing field for every American and every business, large or small, we need you to stand with us. If you believe that we must build an economy that works for working people, help us achieve it.

The Democratic brand is defined by the people who call themselves Democrats. We are the oldest political party in the country, and the Democratic Party of today is the not the same party that it was two hundred years ago. We hope you will join us in writing our next chapter.


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