Short Relief: It's time to move on

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I am giving up my position as a contributing columnist for The Forecaster because, at U.S. Sen. Susan Collins’ suggestion, President Donald Trump has nominated me to be the next United States attorney for the District of Maine.

I am honored by, and grateful for, their confidence in me and I hope to do something good with the opportunity.

As U.S. attorney, I will be in charge of an office of about 25 lawyers who represent the federal government in U.S. District Court here in Maine. We prosecute federal crimes, and we defend the U.S. when it is sued civilly.

For the past 17 years, I have been an assistant United States attorney in the same office, litigating cases. As a career civil servant, balancing my right of free speech against the government’s rights to the commitment of its employees, I was allowed to participate to some degree in partisan political activity. That included writing this column.

As U.S. attorney, I will be more of a representative of the United States government than I was as an assistant. I will have little capacity to engage in political activity.

I will miss writing for The Forecaster. I am not particularly artistic or musical. Writing is my way of creating something. It has been gratifying that some have found it worthwhile to read what I wrote.

Writing has always been a challenge. Learning to outline was a big help. So was the advent of word processing, which made it easier to rearrange my thoughts. Ultimately, I believe that writing is a form of thinking and that good, clear writing is indicative of good thinking.

My former college roommate, John Yang, now a correspondent for the Public Broadcasting Service’s News Hour, was a positive influence on my writing, too. I learned a lot from seeing how he took notes and organized his thoughts before he wrote.

I have been writing for The Forecaster for about 12 years. Former publisher Marian McCue offered me the chance because she wanted to expand the range of viewpoints on the paper’s opinion pages.

My goals were to offer a moderate conservative perspective, to write about local matters before state matters, state matters before national matters, and national matters before international ones. To try to say something that hadn’t been said before. To anticipate opposing viewpoints. To make my points with information, not conclusions.

I want to thank Marian for giving me the opportunity in the first place, the Costello family for allowing me to continue after they bought the paper, and my longtime editor, Mo Mehlsak. I never had an editor before. It is a great luxury. Mo always made my columns better. In some cases, the improvements were dramatic, as when he rearranged the ending of the column that I wrote about my father’s death to make it more uplifting.

Most of all, thank you for reading.

Halsey Frank is a Portland resident, attorney and vice chairman of the Republican City Committee.