Representing Deering Center, the Highlands, Libbytown, Oakdale, Rosemont and other nearby areas ( I refer to them collectively as "Portland's Coolest Neighborhoods") has been a tremendous honor for me, and I have appreciated every day the neighbors who have supported me, reached out with advice and concerns, and who have let me help them untangle their knots with state government. I've even appreciated (maybe not quite as much) those of you who have from time to time blasted me, because that does give me a chance to explain why I take the positions I do on issues.
When I first entered office in 2012, the district included the Back Cove. Later, in 2014 I was redistricted to my current area, all on the south of Forest Avenue. But I have long felt that my charge (along with my other Portland Reps) has been to represent the whole city and its interests, particularly with regard to the state budget. I hope that I have done that effectively.
But the main reason I'm writing today is not to talk about what I've done, but to make sure that you all know about the three experienced, talented and all-round great people who are running for my seat in the primary election. While COVID-19 will surely affect the way that election will look, the election IS going to happen (maybe by mail), and what better thing to do while sheltering in place, than to get to know, even if just virtually, the three folks who are running. They are:
These three people each would bring different experience, skills and expertise to the job, and because they can't knock on many doors right now, I urge you to learn about them, reach out to them by e-mail, give them a call or otherwise get to know them. If nothing else, it will serve as a tangible reminder that life is going to continue here in our community after the strange moment we are in is over.
In the meantime, I'm still here. Please know that I'm working every day from my own little annex of the State House, my kitchen at 83 Highland St. I will continue to do so until the new legislature is sworn in in December, so please feel free to be in touch. If you would like to be added to my newsletter list (which features frequent updates on the state's COVID response) I'll sign you up. If you have other issues you want me to be thinking about, or questions I can answer (or ask the experts), please send those along too.
I was part of a remote meeting with Governor Mills yesterday and she said, in her inimitable way, "There's no 'Coronavirus for Dummies' book that we can grab off the shelf to find a plan - we are just figuring things out one step at a time". I remain inspired by her leadership and that of the amazing Dr. Nirav Shah, head of Maine's CDC, in helping to guide us through this unprecedented moment. I don't think any state has a better, more experienced team in place to handle this situation. They are literally working around the clock, both to help the state cope with this moment, and to plan what comes next.
I've never been prouder of our state or this city (Mayor Kate and our Council should be added to the list of leaders rising to the occasion as well), as we work together to make a map of this totally uncharted territory. But please: meet the candidates, and please stay in touch!