Southport, Boothbay Harbor, Boothbay, Edgecomb and Westport Island Democrats met for the 2020 Democratic Caucus March 8. Around 100 filed into the Boothbay Region High School gymnasium to take part in the democratic process following Maine's Democratic primary election March 3.
The main point of the caucus was to vote for local committee officers, establish delegates to attend the 2020 State Convention and for legislative candidates to stump and collect signatures to put them on their respective ballots – Maine House 89’s Holly Stover and Maine House 88’s Chloe Maxmin were there to speak with constituents.
“We have a mathematical formula that tells us if we have x number of caucus attendees, how many each of the presidential candidates can be allotted,” said Lincoln County Democratic Committee Campaign Chair Barbara Burt.
As an example, Burt said if there are only three delegates available for a candidate, but six people want to participate, then there would be an election.
“Generally it kind of works itself out because our towns are so small. We also have delegates who aren't attached to a candidate – you can be an at-large delegate. There can also be delegates for candidates that have already dropped out …”
Boothbay Democratic Committee Chairperson Paula Arsenault reported that after the general assembly, each town broke out into smaller groups. “We separated … to do official Democratic committee business, and to get a sense of how attendees lined up with particular presidential candidates. That was fun and interesting, and generated a lot of meaningful discussion.”
Though delegate results are not yet available, Arsenault said a high percentage of people signed up to attend the state convention as delegates. Arsenault also said all five caucus conveners saw new people in the crowd and reported many new names in voter registration lists and a large ratio of volunteers.
“This was exciting, and encouraging in terms of keeping Maine and the country heading in a positive direction.”
Burt introduced Stover and Maxmin. Stover is running for reelection while Maxmin has decided to run against incumbent Dana Dow for his Maine Senate District 13 seat.
Maxmin cited her history of advocacy and organization around issues important to her and the community, especially holding legislators accountable for representing their constituents.
“For as long as I can remember, I have cared about our communities more than anything … For all these years I've been so angry that our elected officials do not respond to us – it seems like they don't represent us. For those reasons we can't afford health care, our property taxes are too high, we can't afford to age in our homes, our planet is falling apart – these, to me, are all symptoms of an unresponsive political system. We all deserve something so much better than that.”
Stover drew on big victories like Medicaid expansion and the ban on single-use plastic bags, and she noted bringing some “small, albeit important” local changes to the Boothbay-Boothbay Harbor Community School District and Boothbay Harbor Sewer District charters. Stover said important issues ahead include transportation and roads, substance abuse, criminal justice reform, fising and self-employment, and all issues around aging and eldercare.
Said Stover, “When I started this two years ago, it was many of you sitting right here and your support and encouragement kept me going … The things we’re focusing on this session (are) early childhood initiatives … We're continuing to work on healthcare and climate change. Broadband is still a hot topic and any opportunity I have to vote and support broadband expansion is really important to all of us … Beyond that, I believe I started something with all of you that we haven't finished yet. I hope you think I've done a good job and I hope you want to send me back to Augusta because I want to go back. I want to keep representing these communities, to be your voice – thank you.”
The Maine Democratic State Convention is May 30. A Democratic State Committee meeting will follow on May 31. The Lincoln County Democratic Committee central office is at 521 Main St. in Damariscotta.