In November, I was elected by the people of my district to go to Augusta to represent them in the legislature while working with Governor LePage. But there’s been talk in the news, in coffee shops, and around town about the governor threatening to veto everything that comes to his desk – unless he gets his way and the hospitals get paid before we do anything else, that is.
The first time he said it, people kind of shrugged it off. But when he said it again yesterday, people started taking it much more seriously, and they grew extremely concerned. There is a lot of important work to be done, and everyone – from all partisan leanings – knows we can’t afford to have it all ruined over this issue.
I think that the more everyone argues, the less gets done. Governor LePage claims to want to stop playing the game of politics, but between this and Representative Fredette threatening to shut down the government, it’s hard to believe they’re interested in ending the games. They just want to change the rules.
It seems as if they are toying with the cynical idea that if they just play this game long enough, they will fool enough of us into becoming pessimistic about our government. Governor LePage and Representative Fredette seem to hope if they do well enough, people will stop paying attention to what is happening in Augusta simply out of frustration. Then with fewer people listening, they can govern as they please, rather than how we in the Legislature want to – in a spirit of honest cooperation.
They are relying on this cynicism and frustration. But I am not a cynic, and I don’t believe most of the people in the legislature are either. I think that people desperately want their government to work, and we elect our governor and the legislature with the expectation that the two will at least try to work together, and so I will keep trying to do that. My job as a Senator gets harder, though, when the governor says that he will veto even his own bills, or when Republican leadership threatens to shut down the government.
But this morning – like every morning – I’m doing exactly what I was elected to do: wake up bright and early, head over to Augusta, and get to work. While the Governor relaxes in his office and stamps “VETO” on everything, I’ll keep working seventy hours a week – participating in my committees, voting on legislation, and listening thoughtfully to everyone, even if we disagree – and then working on my other job after that. It’s why I campaigned to be in the Maine Senate and it’s why I’ll continue to fight for my district regardless of the politics involved.
Because while I may enjoy playing a good game, as everyone knows by now – I will never play games on people who need me.