The six referendum questions on the November ballot have the potential to bring significant change to our state.
On Election Day – less than two weeks away now – we will decide whether to legalize marijuana for recreational use, raise taxes on income over $200,000 to fund K-12 public education, expand background checks on firearms sales and transfers, raise the minimum wage, make a fundamental change to our elections, and borrow $100 million for construction projects.
You can read the questions in their entirety on page 9B.
This year, we asked some prominent local people to weigh in on either side of these issues. You can find these opinion pieces on pages 2A and 9B.
Our contributors include three former legislators and two current legislators, as well as a campaign volunteer, a conservative columnist, and the president of the Lincoln County Retired Educators Association.
For Question 1, we have a statement from the campaign director for the yes side and a statement from Gov. Paul LePage for the no side. We haven’t heard much about Question 1 locally. We suspect that in a different election year, an initiative to legalize marijuana would be the talk of our editorial pages, but this year it has been overshadowed by background checks and the minimum wage.
We did not include commentaries on Question 6, as we have yet to hear any opposition to it – or much of anything about it at all. We all know Maine’s roads need work. While we never like to see our state rack up debt, there are few more vital functions of government than the maintenance of public infrastructure.
Our favorite combination of authors on either side of one of these issues is former Rep. Les Fossel and his son, conservative columnist Jim Fossel, for either side of ranked-choice voting.
We suspect many of our readers can relate to being on the opposite side of a political issue from a parent or child.
Those generational differences and the way we talk about politics as families can help us have more civil and fruitful discourse as a society.
It’s easy to insult and dismiss the arguments of a stranger on social media who thinks differently than you do. It’s much more difficult to insult and dismiss the arguments of someone you love at the dinner table.
If we all start to treat each other more like family and less like anonymous targets on which to vent our anger, maybe we as a society can still correct course after a truly dismal election cycle.