Monday, May 20, 2013

In Augusta State of the Legislature - by Rep. Michael McClellan

I am in my second term in the legislature. I have been in both the majority and now minority parties. In my time in the majority, I was part of a mainly new group of first time legislators. We were eager to make change as we believed the long-term leadership on Maine had taken Maine down the wrong path. In fact, many of the newcomers in the party wanted to make change just because we could. Having the Governor and the majority in both the house and senate gave us the ability to implement our ideas. However, our leadership in the republican caucus and on both my committees (Education and Regulatory Reform) preached a different route. They guided us to look for 80 percent of our goals so that we could get bipartisan votes. In fact, as you look back at six budget votes and perhaps 2,000 committee and body votes, you will find that many of our accomplishments were indeed bipartisan. Charter schools, health reform, tax reform, regulatory reform and other education reforms all passed with votes from republicans and democrats.

Move to this new term and the votes switched the count in Augusta greatly, my party is now well into the minority with only the Governor still on our side. The new leadership has made moves to reverse our work and have been publically critical of it - even as many had voted for the policy they now condemn. Given we were open to listening to the minority, my point today has been that the open dialog does not seem to be continued. Much of the activity being pushed this year comes to me only by my reading the newspapers or when they come out in a committee setting. As a member of the Insurance and Financial Services Committee I do feel included by the majority on some level. As a member of the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee (which won an award last year for bipartisan efforts), I do not feel included by the majority at all. The end result is a lot of 9-5 education votes where we more often were 14-0 in the past two years. Democrat Leader Rep. Emily Cain (now Senator Cain) often challenged those of us in the majority during the past two years to include all, she shared that "we do our best work when we work together." I am proud that in the majority I was a part of inclusion and now in the minority I am hopeful that current leadership will discover the value of working together.

Rep. Mike McClellan
House 103
Raymond, Frye Island, parts Poland and Standish

No comments:

Post a Comment