Letter: Woods' anti-party stance lacks candor

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We were delighted to accept an invitation from the Yarmouth Chamber of Commerce to give an update on what’s happening in the Legislature and participate in Q&A session with constituents.

There was a lot to talk about. We discussed last year’s landmark tax reforms, which lowered taxes for hundreds of thousands of Maine families. We provided attendees information about state programs to assist small businesses and entrepreneurs. We had conversations about the upcoming minimum wage referendum, the looming hole in state education funding, and our efforts to prevent opioid addiction.

Chamber members were knowledgeable and thoughtful. These kinds of events are so important for us as elected leaders. We provided an update, sure, but we also got to listen to our constituents.

That’s why we were surprised by Steve Woods’ most recent column, in which he attacked us both by name. He attended the same meeting. How is it that he walked away with such a different impression?

Woods claimed again, as he does so often, that he knows what Maine really needs and everyone else is just spinning their wheels. In this case, he also recommends that everyone drop out of the party system.

Political parties are human organizations. They are at once inspiring and imperfect, because that’s what people are. We are proud to be members of the long American tradition that is our party. But it doesn’t appeal to everyone. That’s OK.

But we are suspicious of Woods’ anti-party stance. After all, he has sought (and failed to obtain) the Democratic Party’s nomination for office not once, but twice. We suspect his antipathy has more to do with his own experiences as a candidate than with Maine’s party system.

Luckily, the Chamber event was as nonpartisan as could be. Attendees wanted an informative, timely conversation with their elected officials and we were delighted to participate. We look forward to doing so again.

State Sen. Cathy Breen, D-Falmouth
State Rep. Janice Cooper, D-Yarmouth

  • SteveWoodsME

    Candor? Where is the candor or honesty associated with two elected hyper-partisan politicians that vote almost 100% of the time with their party, while claiming that such a lock-step system serves their constituent’s interests?

    To be clear, in my column I complimented both Sen. Breen and Rep. Cooper on their commitment to their elected roles. My issue with each of them relates directly to their “competency” in regard to solving our many critical challenges here in Maine.

    Yes, both Breen and Cooper are highly effective in identifying problems and displaying empathy towards those impacted.

    Yes, both Breen and Cooper are highly effective and consistent in casting their votes along (democratic) party lines.

    Yes, both Breen and Cooper are skilled in the art of political messaging, playing the partisan game, generating dozens of rote LTE’s (letters to the editor) all in support of the illusion of…support.

    No, neither Breen nor Cooper are effective in regard to playing meaningful roles in solving any of our many challenges, putting their constituents before their party, or demonstrating any clear vision or leadership skills.

    In fairness, I don’t blame them personally for being inert and inactive participants in Maine’s political process – instead, I clearly blame the “process” itself which features the partisan duopoly at its core.

    That was the central message of my column, that is my message here; don’t blame Breen and Cooper who appear to be perfectly nice people, blame the system that put them in their roles.