Thank you to Rep. Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, the heart and soul champion of solar power in the Legislature. This year she sponsored legislation that would have reduced our dependence on fossil fuel and increased the availability of solar power for individuals, communities, farms and companies. This legislation also would have created solar jobs and reduced electricity costs for all ratepayers.
Rep. Gideon masterfully engaged the public advocate, major utilities, Maine solar installers, municipalities, Republican allies and environmental groups in crafting the bill. That these disparate groups reached consensus is a testament to her patience and tenacity. For the hearing on the bill as well as the debate, hundreds of Mainers showed up at the Statehouse to urge its passing. It did pass in the Legislature, but was vetoed by the governor and, disappointingly, the override vote fell shy by two votes in the House.
Without Rep. Gideon, the bill would not have come to fruition in the first place, nor would it have come as close to passing. I have no doubt that she will continue working to find a way to say ‘yes’ on good solar policy. Rep. Gideon is extraordinarily diplomatic, intelligent and humble – the best kind of public servant. We who live in her district can be proud of her representation.