What is it with Maine’s 2nd Congressional District that nobody wants to live here?
Is it because of obnoxious denizens like Leslie Gibson of Sabattus, Larry Lockman of Amherst or Bruce Poliquin of no place in particular?
Wait, could it be me?
I doubt any of those are the case. The 2nd District is so big, you could live here for years without ever running into Gibson, who withdrew from his state House race after posting nasty comments on social media about two survivors of the Parkland school shooting. You could travel throughout the area for weeks without coming within a hundred miles of race-baiting state Rep. Lockman. And the last place you’d ever look for incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Poliquin is in the district he allegedly represents. Unlike Bigfoot and me, he doesn’t really live here and rarely visits.
Poliquin is, however, responsible for the now-fashionable trend of running for Congress from the 2nd District without having an actual residence within its boundaries. He resides on an extensive coastal estate in Georgetown, which is in the 1st District. Shortly before he was elected four years ago, he declared his family’s lakefront summer home in Oakland as his official address.
That’s legal. But so are lots of dishonest, crappy things. Like the way the state Department of Health and Human Services manufactures excuses for failing to follow up on cases of child abuse.
Back to the 2nd District. Poliquin sold his Oakland place in January, supposedly because his kids are no longer living at home (even though that wasn’t their home to begin with). He now rents part of his old legal residence as an “apartment,” while seeking to buy a new vacation abode somewhere in the Belgrade Lakes region, which is firmly in the 2nd CD. He’ll still live in Georgetown, but once in a while he’ll take a few days off and relax in this pricey recreational neighborhood, thereby soaking in the distilled essence of his district, without having to mix with any low-income people.
Until now in this column, I’ve been a little hard on conservatives and Republicans (Gibson and Lockman are both members of the GOP right wing, although I have it on good authority that Bigfoot, like me, is an independent), but that’s about to change. Because, for some odd reason, there are a couple of liberal pols who want to represent the 2nd District in Congress, but live here only vicariously if at all.
Take, for example, Democrat Lucas St. Clair. He grew up in the 2nd District, in an off-the-grid cabin owned by his mother, Roxanne Quimby, back before she sold her personal-care products company for millions. He spent several years out of state, before returning to Maine to help establish the Katahdin Woods and Water National Monument, which is located in the 2nd CD. Except that while he was doing that, St. Clair was living in Portland, which is most distinctly not in the district.
For some reason that defies political logic, St. Clair didn’t have a residence in the area he was seeking to represent when he announced his congressional campaign last fall. Alerted to this shortcoming, he hastily closed on a ranch-style home with four bedrooms on 4.6 acres in Hampden that’s valued by the town at nearly $440,000. Eat your heart out, Bruce Poliquin.
OK, St. Clair now lives here. Poliquin pretends to live here. But let’s give Tiffany Bond points for honesty. Bond, an independent candidate, admits she’s never lived in the 2nd CD and has no plans to relocate before the election.
Bond is from Oregon and moved to Maine a few years ago to attend law school. Her legal practice is based in Portland, but, in an email, she says she’s familiar with the northern part of Maine because her caseload “spans York to Bangor.”
Setting aside the fact that half the state doesn’t fall in that span, this still seems like a limited way to gain an understanding of the issues of importance to the district. But Bond insists she’s done that through her representation of her clients. “I dig deeply into people’s families to help them find a path forward, structurally, emotionally, and financially,” she wrote.
The bottom line, though, is that, like Poliquin, Bond doesn’t live here. Without that experience, I’m at a loss in understanding how anyone can represent the folks who do.
Which is why I’m probably voting for Bigfoot.
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