Once again, rich and powerful forces are telling Mainers what to think and how to vote.
While few outside the state are paying much attention to an obscure November 7th state-wide referendum – “Question 1,” which would allow for a gaming and entertainment venue in Maine’s Southern County of York – the tone-deaf elites who oppose it employ exactly the same heavy-handed approach favored by the ruling class during all recent American elections.
It’s an approach best summed up this way: “Vote the way we tell you, because it will solidify our political power. And, in the process, you can feel good about yourself. The policies at stake here mean nothing. Stop paying attention.”
For Question 1, that means:
Stop paying attention to new jobs…
Stop paying attention to a steady influx of commercial activity…
And, stop paying attention to a reduction in property taxes for hardworking Mainers.
In Maine, powerful political forces adopt this approach even as Maine’s youth continue to flee the state in record numbers, seeking what the young seek everywhere: jobs and a viable future.
How, you ask, can Maine’s political and power structure advocate against more jobs, more growth, and the freedom for Mainers to choose to keep more of what they earn?
Well, in every instance, these are people and institutions you’d immediately recognize, even if not one of them would care to know you. You could divulge to them your deepest fears about Maine’s future, and your immediate concerns with Maine’s present. It wouldn’t matter.
Because these people know what you need, even if they have no idea who you are.
You and your particular and personal details are irrelevant.
What’s your name? How many kids do you have? Got a job? And, by the way, what town, specifically, do you live in? Doesn’t matter.
And, neither does the fact that your town may have changed significantly over your lifetime. Probably fairly recently, too. And, if we’re being honest, most likely not for the better.
So, on what authority do these distant, oh so confident elites claim voting YES on Ballot Question 1 won’t improve your lives and the prospects of the state you love?
Who are these forces? What is their motivation? And, why are they spending so much time and effort trying to coerce your vote, without once even addressing the economic benefits – a steady influx of commercial activity, thousands of jobs, and tax relief – central to voting YES on Ballot Question 1?
- Uber-lobbyist, lawyer and influence-peddler extraordinaire, Democrat Guru Severin Beliveau, and his power-house lobbying firm, Preti-Flaherty. Together, they represent the opposition: the one entity in Maine that will not benefit from a YES vote on Ballot Question 1. It’s the big business that will lose valuable market share and monopoly control of gaming revenue in Maine: the Kentucky-based billionaire-consortium that owns Oxford Casino, Churchill Downs, Inc.
Churchill Downs just recently broke ground on a new Hotel to service its casino in Oxford, Maine. And to nobody’s surprise, they are funneling a ton of money to Preti-Flaherty to make sure their monopoly holds.
- Democratic State Senate Majority-Leader, and Gubernatorial-aspirant, Garrett Mason, also a Churchill Downs cash-recipient.
- Former business titan, and outgoing Governor Paul LePage. How to account for his opposition to more Maine jobs, economic development, and tax relief for the voters, if not by his cash payments from Churchill Downs?
- The Portland Press-Herald, the most influential paper in Maine, with the largest news gathering team in the state. It’s the same paper that has printed more than 100 articles, columns, and editorials – advocacy pieces all – designed to strong-arm your Yes vote on Ballot Question 1.
Would you be shocked to know they share office space with, and derive their legal representation from, Churchill Down’s lobbying arm, Preti-Flaherty?
Aside from the power that we as voting and news-consuming Mainers have bestowed upon them, what do each of these influential voices have in common?
A love of Maine? Perhaps.
An affinity for the trappings of elective office, and an opioid-like addiction to moral-preening? For certain.
A respect for the average Mainer, and a deep commitment to the issues that haunt your sleep and dominate your breakfast conversation? Definitely not.
Are these people paying your rent? Absolving your debt? Convincing your boss to give you a raise?
Are they slashing your taxes so you have enough for gas and groceries…even on the same day?
Are they ensuring unemployment and disability benefits are plentiful and swiftly available?
Have they done anything to solve Maine’s opioid epidemic? What, exactly, is their plan to prevent fentanyl and heroin deaths from skyrocketing another 40 percent in 2017, like they have every year for the last 5?
Are they particularly attentive to Maine’s elder population, and all it requires? What are they doing to honor, comfort, and care for Maine’s large veteran community?
Finally, what are these people doing to guarantee your kids are actually learning useful and applicable skills for a rapidly transforming job-market?
So. Beyond hostile indifference – and, on occasion, impotent action – on the matters you and other Maine families care about, what is the essential common bond that allies these powerful forces?
Each and every one has established financial ties to the one entity that will not benefit from a YES vote on Ballot Question 1. It’s the big business that will lose valuable market share and monopoly control of gaming revenue in Maine: the Kentucky-based billionaire-consortium that owns Oxford Casino.
Never forget. This is your state. It’s your choice, your future, and yes, Your Vote. Go here to learn more about Maine’s opportunity for economic revival represented by voting YES on Ballot Question 1.
Adam-James Grant is an army veteran, a property-owning taxpayer, and a life-long Mainer.
Views expressed in op-eds are not the views of The Daily Caller.