Citizen legislature

I am the lobbyist for the Maine Bowhunters Association and part of what I do is work with the Maine Legislature on issues important to Bowhunters. I attended my first hearing yesterday to give testimony on a proposed new law. While there I was struck once again by the access to the political process that we all enjoy here in Maine. I had not worked directly with the Joint Standing Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife since I left the state agency in 2003. In fact before some of these legislators had been elected to their seats. Some of them knew my from long ago when I lobbied for the Maine Professional Guides Association but most did not.

First access is simple, park in the garage across from the capitol and walk right in to the committee room. Where I met the committee clerk who was helpful and polite. When I stood up to give my testimony I was greeted professionally politely and listened to by each member of the committee. Even though I was opposing a bill proposed by one of their own members. A renewed sense of pride in the open political process in Maine came over me as I stood in front of them. All regular folks with varied backgrounds and levels of understanding of the issues meeting to discuss issues that matter to them and the people that they represent. Do we all agree on every issue facing fish and wildlife in Maine? Most likely not, but we do all share a desire to do our best on behalf of those resources and because of that a common bond. I have met many Maine legislators over the years and almost every one of them was in that role because of a desire to do well by our state. We are truly fortunate to have the open government that we do.

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