Recently, your paper published a letter to the editor (Jan. 27) opposing legislation I’ve submitted to amend the Maine Constitution to require signature gatherers for citizen-initiated referendums to collect an equal number of signatures from each congressional district. The author, Paul Baresel, made a few assumptions that I’d like to address.

First off, Mr. Baresel cites population demographics as an issue in the 2nd Congressional District, saying, “How is this going to work in a township with sparse population? You need to go door to door to inform citizens. Not everyone has cellphone connections.” Within the 2nd District are several urban centers, including Lewiston-Auburn, Bangor and Presque Isle.

While it is true that none of these areas are quite as large as Portland, I can assure you, we have cell service and welcome the opportunity to sign petitions.

He also assumes that my bill is an attempt to “… control the democratic process.” In reality, if my bill gains the support of two-thirds of each house of the Legislature, it will go directly to the voters for final approval, as all constitutional amendments do.

Finally, Mr. Baresel says that my proposal is the product of the Republican Party. Nothing could be further from the truth. A simple search of co-sponsors on L.D. 255 shows a bipartisan list made up of representatives and senators from all over the 2nd District. The same was true last session for L.D. 31, a similar bill that gained broad bipartisan support in both chambers.

The bottom line is, I believe Mainers are tired of people from away spending millions of dollars each year in an attempt to buy our votes, and I’d like to give the voters of this state a chance to weigh in on what I believe would amount to meaningful reform.

Brad Farrin

Republican state senator


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