After doing some research for the upcoming elections, my choice became clear as in “Crystal”: Crystal Robinson for the House of Representatives. This is such an important position because these are the lawmakers “closest” to the people; each state representative serves about 9,000 people. I met Crystal when she came door-to-door at my home in Warren. I was surprised and pleased that candidates actually took the time to visit us in our homes and talk to us about the issues we care most about.

As a transplant (former New Englander) from Georgia, I returned here to New England after 40 years for the small town feel and sincere, polite people who care about a healthy (non-frenetic ) lifestyle and environment. I call it “off the grid, out of gridlock and away from the grind.” Daily I say “Pinch Me I Live in Maine.”

I made a list of issues that are important to me along with positions held by the incumbent, current “independent” representative Bill Pluecker.

Drug policy: The current representative supports increasing safe injection sites and unlimited free needles, LD 1899. We had a large drug problem in the north Georgia mountains where I lived for the last 2 years. Giving them needles was not the solution. Maine’s progressive drug policies are failing; Maine’s overdose rate is positioned to exceed last year’s all-time high. Providing free drug paraphernalia and legalizing more injection zones sends the wrong message.  Addiction is a daily battle. Being “doped” to stop from “doping” is illogical when users need personal attention/help to deal with why they use drugs to begin with.

Voter ID: The current representative does not support voter identification. The voter fraud, illegal residents that were allowed to vote in the last elections in Georgia exposed enormous fraud.  Voter ID is an important way to safeguard the integrity of our voting system. Mr. Pluecker refused to ban non-citizens voting privileges at local level. LD 1083 and LD 186.

Welfare to non-citizens: The current rep supports providing cash, housing, and food stamps to non-citizens. How do we pay for these “free” services?  Maine has a waiting lists for vital services, including housing for our residents.  About 70% of asylum seekers’ claims are rejected and returned to their homeland. Clearly, we should prioritize Mainers over non-citizens. We have an immigration process; we should follow our laws.

Limit Government Powers during Emergency: The COVID shutdowns kept us in a constant state of emergency with no checks and balances. There were winners and losers. I saw so many businesses (especially business relying on tourism/seasonal income) unnecessarily forced to close and many went bankrupt. Schools closed and many children suffered developmentally and academically. Why was big store Wal-Mart allowed to stay open while mom-and-pop stores weren’t?  The current rep voted against a bill establishing a way to restrain the unbridled power of the Governor. Emergency Powers should include a way for the legislative branch to have a voice; instead, one person, the Chief Executive, repeatedly extended her 30-day maximum length of emergency power.

It was very frustrating when I visited three times in 2021 to look for a home to purchase. It made visiting the limited number of coffee shops and restaurants that were open uncomfortable. Even when the rest of the country was unmasked, Maine retail didn’t seem to follow suit. The legislators, the voices of the people, were powerless to stop this. The owners and the customers should have been given the right to choose.

I am supporting Crystal Robinson, the Republican challenger, she is running for office because she says “there is too much anger, divisiveness, and fear mongering in our country and too little love, acceptance, personal responsibility, and common sense.” I agree with her.  Because she agrees that unlimited power is dangerous, non-citizens are not legally entitled to taxpayer funds, and our voting system must be secure.  On November 8, I am voting for common sense, I am voting for Crystal Robinson.

Leianne Messina

Warren