Rep. Rudnicki’s opinion piece in the May 19 Sunday Telegram, in which she describes her reasons for suing Gov. Mills and legislative leadership, is interesting in its slant. Though I have issues with her reasoning throughout the column, of particular concern is her assertion that the number of people testifying a particular way at a public hearing is the measure of whether committee members should vote for or against a proposal.

What Rep. Rudnicki leaves out are the multiple ways legislators hear from residents. Legislators are contacted by phone, letter, email and face-to-face meetings both for and against legislative proposals. Though being present to testify is important, and I have given workshops to community groups on “How to Testify,” the reality is that there are many forms of outreach that help legislators learn about points of view – positive and negative – of proposals before them.

As a Maine House member from 2014-2022, I can say that all those contacts, both in and outside the State House, must go into the legislator’s decision making. And outreach doesn’t go just one way. Like many of my colleagues, I actively sought input from residents.

Legislative decisions are important, the issues are complex, and though I will always be grateful to those who come to Augusta to address legislators in the halls and testify in committee rooms, they are by no means the only ways residents’ opinions are given and, hopefully, heard.

Jay McCreight

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