Bill introduced by Michaud's protege; supported by Cain, Eves, Hayes, Jackson
AUGUSTA -- The Maine Conservation Voters Action Fund released an attack ad Wednesday that slams Governor Paul LePage for wanting to "gut environmental protections," among other issues not related to the Maine Conservation Voters' (MCV) mission, such as education and health care. For its claim, the ad cites LD 1853 (125th Legislature), which enacted new mining regulations to create jobs in Aroostook County.
The Maine Conservation Voters Action Fund has received most of its contributions -- $500,000 -- from the national League of Conservation Voters, with another $100,000 from Democratic mega-donor S. Donald Sussman.
The bill, however, was sponsored by controversial former Democratic House Speaker John Martin, and supported by top Democrats including then-Minority Leader and current congressional candidate Emily Cain, current House Speaker Mark Eves, then-Assistant Leader Terry Hayes, and current Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson. A total of nineteen Democratic state representatives supported the bill, including Rep. Herbert Clark (D-Millinocket).
"We are anxiously awaiting the attack ads from Maine Conservation Voters calling out Emily Cain and Speaker Eves for their votes," said Maine Republican Party Communications Director David Sorensen. "But we're not holding our breath."
Congressman Michaud has been called a "sidekick" and a "protege" of Martin's. Then-Rep. Martin had the following to say on the House floor when LD 1853 was taken up:
"The one thing we have in Aroostook County, obviously, is our land, our trees, our minerals, our resources, and what we have before us today is an ability to help turn that around. It is not the perfect fix, but it is a way in which we can start to look for the future and so when it became obvious that there are possible resources here that are possible to mine, then it certainly was something in which I had an interest and also had a concern. . . . So for people who believe that I don't have an interest in the environmental, protecting my own backyard is of number one concern."
Martin then made clear that environmental groups were involved in the process:
". . . my next step was to talk to the environmental groups to tell them what we were doing. And I wanted them to be involved from the beginning, and they did become involved. At one point, I had to maybe push a little harder than maybe I wanted to but suggested to them they needed to write some amendments so the committee could deal with them, and they did. . . . I will be more than happy to put up my environmental record against any person who wants to put up theirs."
Maine Republican Party Chairman Richard Bennett is a former member of the board of directors of Maine Conservation Voters.
"The purpose of MCV used to be protecting Maine's environment, but their selective targeting and their focus on issues unrelated to their mission suggests that their goal now is simply to attack Republicans rather than elevate attention to conservation issues," said Chairman Bennett.