I write to express disappointment in my state representative, Karen Vachon, R-Scarborough, for voting against the Land for Maine’s Future program.
The Land for Maine’s Future program is Maine’s most successful land conservation program. The program is popular because it has been so successful in contributing to Maine’s natural resource-based economy through the conservation of farms, trails, mountains, forests, water access, wildlife habitat, and working waterfronts.
LMF is consistently supported by 60 percent or more of Maine voters at the ballot box. In 2012, 62 percent of voters in Scarborough voted in support of Question 3, the last LMF bond on the ballot. Here in Scarborough there are over 700 acres of land conserved through LMF and nearly $2 million has been invested in that land.
As most readers know, Gov. Paul LePage held over $10 million in voter-approved funding for LMF projects hostage this legislative session until he got his way on separate policy issues. This in my opinion was a massive overreach of power by the governor.
Thankfully, a bill, LD 1378, was proposed to address this power grab. It would have ensured that voter-approved bonds are not held hostage by any governor for political leverage and that the will of Maine voters is honored. Unfortunately the bill fell 5 votes short of passage in the House. Over $10 million in LMF funding has been lost.
Vachon voted against LD 1378. Furthermore, she voted against LD 1454, a resolve that would have also forced the governor to release the 2010 voter-approved LMF bonds. I am deeply disappointed in both of these votes.
Rita M. Breton