I have spent much of my professional career connecting with Mainers. Whether it was my decade as a TV news reporter in Bangor and Waterville, working in the Statehouse in Augusta, or as a congressional candidate throughout our state last year, I often heard from Mainers that politicians aren’t looking out for the best interest of the people. That’s why I worry about Question 1, and why most Mainers should worry, too.

It’s no secret I’ve had real concerns about the corridor project in the past, or that CMP has had its share of challenges. But when I read Question 1 for the first time, one word jumped out at me: “retroactively.” This new question, which was clearly drafted by a team of clever lawyers, is not the same as the one that was ultimately struck down as unconstitutional in 2020. Instead, this new question tries to get around the constitution by retroactively changing three different parts of Maine law.

While some will certainly criticize my opposition to Question 1 as a flip-flop, and attack my character and credibility, I know I’m not the only Mainer who can separate my past skepticism of the corridor from this new dangerous and overreaching ballot question.

Here’s the bottom line: If Question 1 passes, it will empower politicians to target Maine people and businesses by making new laws that apply to events that happened legally in the past. It sets a terrible precedent for Maine that could harm some of our most important industries for generations to come. I have always fought for our constitutional rights and liberties, and I’m fighting against Question 1 because it threatens those very freedoms.

At first glance, Question 1 might seem like a good idea. Opponents of the corridor will try hard to convince Mainers that their only goal is to stop the project. But if you read the fine print, it’s not that simple. They claim it’s only to stop a single renewable energy project, but they won’t tell you that this law affects other transmission lines and facilities, along with landing strips, pipelines, and railroad tracks in Maine.

If we head down this slippery slope, what might come next? Politicians could dream up new retroactive laws to target something you’ve done in the past, even though it was completely legal at the time. Can you imagine being a small business owner and not knowing if your actions, which are perfectly legal today, might be made illegal tomorrow? And to top it off, you might be punished for them after the fact.

There is a real fear among folks involved in our state’s key industries that Question 1 would hurt Maine’s ability to do business. It’s clear to them, just as it has become to me, that the impact Question 1 will have on our state simply reaches too far into our entire economy.

On top of all this, my concerns are worsened by how Question 1 got onto the ballot in the first place. Oil and gas companies have bankrolled this initiative since day one, and the fossil fuel-linked dark money groups who began pushing out attack ads years ago are still under investigation by the Maine Ethics Commission for wrongdoing. While CMP has had its share of problems, I am concerned the oil and gas industry has secretly worked hard to poison the well on this issue long before anyone realized it. No matter how you feel about CMP or the corridor itself, it should take more than a blank check written by oil and gas companies to get a referendum question placed on Maine’s ballot.

I would encourage all Mainers to read the fine print and then vote NO on Question 1.

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