On June 10, Mainers in both the Democratic and Republican parties will get to vote on people to represent them in Washington DC. There is a very strong field of candidates, most especially in the Democratic primary for the 1st Congressional District. Here’s who we’d like to see win the first round.
Democrat for US Senate: Tom Ledue
A real progressive, with passion and energy — if not legislative experience — Tom Ledue can take the fight to reclaim our country to Susan Collins and, ultimately, to Washington DC. Ledue embraces his weaknesses and seeks to turn them into strengths. He has smart ideas on education, health care, impeachment, and Iraq, and will not fade into the woodwork easily in DC.
As a school administrator, he knows how to listen to people, how to find out what they want, and how to connect his actions with their needs. He knows he has a lot to learn, but he also knows he has a lot to offer — his experience dealing with the real repercussions of the No Child Left Behind Act is perhaps where he can make the most impact right away, but his ideas of ways to involve more Americans in the shared labor of attacking the problems facing our state, our nation, and our world have real potential for positive change.
Ledue has taken his message to the people of Maine, and has a plan to reach out even more should he prevail in this primary campaign. That sort of populist awareness, combined with his energy and new ideas, make him a strong candidate.
Democrat for 1st Congressional District: Michael Brennan
If any candidate in this race is a Portland Phoenix candidate, it’s Michael Brennan. In his time in the Maine Legislature, he has pushed health-care reform, higher-education funding, land conservation, ocean-water quality protection, improved mental-health and substance-abuse services, and affordable housing — and that’s not quite the half of it.
A social-justice true believer, Brennan has spent his professional and legislative career fighting for Mainers in need. He is without close ties in Washington DC, but is instead deeply grounded in Maine. And his experience has given him a glimpse of the broken congressional system, dealing with the feds on his — and Maine’s — terms, fighting against No Child Left Behind requirements that make no sense for us, protecting people forced out of Maine’s discount prescription-drug plan, and opposing the war.
He wants an immediate exit from Iraq, a national single-payer health-care system, and free public-university education for qualifying high-school graduates. Brennan is not proposing these bold moves based on idealism or inexperience; he knows what we need to do, and is not afraid to say it.
He’s also not afraid to call out people who stand in the way of what Maine and our country need to do, but in a way that will get them to work with him, not against him, in the fight to take America back.
Republican for 1st Congressional District: Charlie Summers
Charlie Summers is a rational Republican with solid experience in government, at both the state and federal levels (in his service in the Maine Legislature, on Olympia Snowe’s staff, and as the New England regional head of the Small Business Administration). He is a practical environmentalist whose very recent service in Iraq has no doubt solidified his commitment to ensuring our veterans are properly taken care of when they get home from the battlefields.