Program makes Maine a leader in political civility

Sun, 2019-01-27

by Steve Collins 

As former Gov. Paul LePage and legislators clashed and the toxic national discourse seeped into the everyday discussions of many Mainers, some feared that the state had veered from its famously civic-minded roots.

In response, an effort got underway to nudge the state back on track, and it proved so successful that Maine has become a national leader in a growing and ever more serious bid to revive civility more broadly.

With a number of powerful organizations lining up to support the initiative, there are signs that it’s making inroads, not just in the State House but across Maine and perhaps beyond.

Among those pushing the civility campaign are the Maine AARP, the Maine Municipal Association and the Maine Development Foundation.

So, too, are former U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe, a Republican, and George Mitchell, a Democrat, both renowned for their decency and willingness to compromise.

Snowe said in a recent magazine piece that it is “imperative that we ensure this is an aberrational chapter in our history” and that voices urging cooperation soon prove louder than those pushing polarization.