Progressives in all parties should unite

Douglas Rooks strikes a lively and timely chord in his column on May 6 (The Maine Idea: “Fusion voting challenges political parties to deliver”). Fusion, he argues, makes it possible for a minor party to team up with a major party at election time. Their combined votes and voting power opens up a chronically closed political system.

“Here’s how it would work,” he writes, “New parties would hold primaries and produce nominees for the general election . . . . Candidates  could appear as the nominee for more than one party, and votes they receive would be added together.”

I support this idea, especially as it offers a sensible opportunity for progressive voters to advocate and achieve mutual clout for policies that in their view will improve the well being of the people of our state. Their votes have been split. It is time for progressive Greens and progressive Democrats and progressive Republicans to work together. Fusion makes that possible.

Progressive bills have been put forward in the legislature by individual Democrats and at times by Republicans again and again, but have been resisted, defeated, or diluted, leaving only a wisp.

The chronic political status quo in Augusta has foiled improvements in education, the tax system, land policies, prison policies, energy ownership and in many other fields.


Progressives of all parties and movements should unite. Fusion gives impetus to progressive solidarity.

John Rensenbrink, 

Letter on CMP corridor misleading

I agree with the sentiment expressed in the May 5 letter that Mainers think for themselves rather than just picking a side (Letter to the editor: Mainers should think for themselves regarding the Clean Energy Corridor”). However, it is important that people do so based on facts and unfortunately that letter included multiple misleading statements.

Clarification: According to findings by the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the corridor will increase the state’s GDP by $573 million during the construction period (2017-2022); adding to that the economic benefits from the first 15 years of operation, the total is $1.3 billion.

Clarification: The community investments agreed to as part of the PUC stipulation total $250 million, not $6 million.


Correction #1: I have visited the part of the corridor that would be new line. It is remote, but it is hardly wilderness. Most of it is commercial forestland that is intensively managed and is already traversed by forestry roads, other transmission lines and a railroad line.

Correction #2: The PUC is the only impartial entity to examine questions of impacts on Maine’s renewable energy industry. After 18 months of review, the PUC found that the Clean Energy Connect could actually benefit the growth of Maine-based renewables.

Correction #3: Two objective and expert examinations, one on behalf of the PUC and another on behalf of the U.S. Dept. of Energy, have debunked the pernicious myth that Hydro-Québec would shift clean energy exports to New England only to backfill with dirtier fuels in other markets. In recent years Hydro-Quebec has not only “spilled” excess water for “lack of transmission,” it is in the midst of a series of turbine upgrades that will increase output from existing dams. These upgrades and other new generation capacity are more than enough supply.

Correction #4: On the question of stream protection, the permit from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection requires CMP “maintain 100-foot riparian filter areas along all perennial streams in Segment 1, all coldwater fisheries streams in other segments . . . all streams containing threatened or endangered species, and all Outstanding River Segments; and maintain 75-foot riparian filter areas on all other streams.” Anyone can read the DEP permit online.

Barbara Vickery,

filed under: