Advice for candidates

Complaining about politics and politicians is a national pastime, but since it is Thanksgiving, let us try to look on the bright side. We do have much to be thankful for in Maine. First and foremost is that we are not Washington, nor are we any other state. We are glorious, earthy, funny, generous us.

Suffer a personal catastrophe, and friends and neighbors will arrive bearing casseroles, hammers, spare clothing, soup and a shoulder to cry on. Stuck in a ditch? A Maine guy will pull you out. Overestimate your boating skills? Click on your radio, and every fishing boat in the vicinity will race toward you, full throttle, to save your sorry behind.

We are a state where kids keep up hunting and fishing traditions under the careful tutelage of their dads, row to school — way to go, Cranberry kids! — and are alternately cuddled and blistered into responsible adulthood by their watchful nanas.

We have two U.S. senators, Susan Collins and Angus King, who are the very picture of what an elected official should be: smart, hardworking and courageous. Our governor, Paul LePage, may be at war with a lot of the people most of the time, but his commitment to his vision of what’s good for the state cannot be doubted.

The Hancock County legislative delegation is made up of people who have brains and hearts and know how to use them. Reps. Ralph Chapman, Walter Kumiega, Louie Luchini and Richard Malaby, and Sen. Brian Langley all are term-limited at the end of next year, having served four terms each. Each has grown in the legislature, mastering their policy areas and performing with dignity and thoughtfulness. Thanks for your service, fellas.

Rep. Brian Hubbell is eligible for one more term. What’s not to like? He is wildly popular on MDI, and it is impossible to think of someone who could take him down in the next election. Sen. Kim Rosen of Bucksport is in similarly solid position. Both are running again; both will win.

Let’s offer our thanks, too, for the citizens who take part in shaping Maine’s future. For the groups of “indivisibles” who lobbied relentlessly for their version of the way life should be. For those who hauled themselves down to Augusta to testify at public hearings. For those who supported candidates and causes of every stripe.

A special thanks to the determined supporters of ranked-choice voting, who made the mighty effort to pass a citizen initiative only to have the Legislature pull the rug out from under them. Did they surrender? Nope. They’re back at it, circulating petitions to repeal the weasel bill passed by the Legislature. The majority of Mainers liked the idea of RCV. If you were one of them, thank all those who are bringing petitions to Thanksgiving dinner.

It has been a weird fall, weather-wise, and though we have been fortunate to avoid the devastation of Texas or Puerto Rico, we have had destructive winds. Thanks to all the crews who came out to restore power, clear downed trees and put us back in order. Police and firefighters, thank you.

Thanks to our tourists, that they come and that they go. How lucky are we to live in a place where millions of people want to be? It’s beautiful, it’s safe (mostly), and if you are in need of peace, quiet, kindness or bean-hole beans, you’ve come to the right place.

We are going to have some work to do if we are to remain thankful for all that is Maine during the coming election cycle. We are within a year of v-day (voting), and there are a bazillion candidates just waiting to stake their claims on our attention. One could get grumpy. To improve the tone of the whole clambake, candidates would do well to adhere to the following campaign commandments.

Thou shalt not insult the intelligence of the voter. We are not as dumb as we look. If a proposal looks like a skunk and smells like a skunk, it is a skunk.

Thou shalt not call thy opponent stupid nicknames, like Shady Sean or Screwy Louie. Go not there.

Thou shalt not use demeaning and outdated images, like “fat cats” or “smoke-filled rooms.” The cats are no longer fat, and nobody smokes. Using the lingo of the ‘50s maketh you appear like a fossil.

Spend not vast sums of money, lest thy constituents think you will not be careful with their tax dollars.

Invoke not thy opponent’s spouse, children or house pets in your campaigning, lest you appear mean-spirited.

Take not thy party’s assurance that their positions are unassailable and the opponent’s positions are crap. There is some merit on both sides.

Burn not thy bridges. Thine enemy on one issue is thy partner on another.

Maintain a cheerful and civil disposition, that thy supporters might remain loyal. Remember that the world loveth a happy warrior.

Observe the customary standards regarding murder and adultery.

Think not that thou art the greatest. It creepeth us out. Go forth and make thy pitch.

Thank you for running.

Jill Goldthwait

Jill Goldthwait

Jill Goldthwait worked for 25 years as a registered nurse at Mount Desert Island Hospital. She has served as a Bar Harbor town councilor and as an independent state senator from Hancock County.

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