I recently opened my mailbox to find yet another mailing from the Alliance for Maine’s Future with a misleading and unfair criticism of Rep. Melissa Walsh Innes. This group bandies the “Change for Maine” slogan, but its use of this kind of scurrilous and negative campaign tactic makes one wonder just exactly what kind of change it is promoting.
Melissa was elected to represent Yarmouth in a close election last year. She is a hard-working, principled legislator who takes care of her constituents and who votes her conscience. While no one will agree with every vote that a legislator casts, it is particularly galling to see Melissa attacked at this early stage of her career with selective, blatant and one-sided attacks from an essentially anonymous source. These mailings do not fairly represent Melissa’s votes, yet she has no real opportunity to respond. This is the kind of negative political ploy that we have largely avoided in local elections in Maine. Perhaps the Alliance for Maine’s Future thinks that dragging Maine’s political discourse into the gutter is positive change, but I don’t think Maine voters agree.
When Melissa campaigns for re-election next year, I suspect that she may have an opponent with contrasting views on some of the issues. I have no doubt that Melissa will gladly engage that opponent in substantive debates over those issues during the campaign. In the meantime, I suggest that everyone deposit the negative attack mailings right where they belong: in the trash.