Thank you, Olympia, and other appreciations

Politics and public policy seem so often to be about what’s wrong — what’s wrong with another candidate or what’s wrong with the country or what’s wrong about someone else’s proposal.

We hope all that leads to plans and programs that make our lives better, but there certainly can be an awful lot of negativity on the way.

Right now we have some thanks and congratulations to hand out.

These don’t mean that the people thanked and appreciated are perfect or above criticism or that noting their contributions means we agree with them all or most of the time.

Today Olympia Snowe gave her farewell address to the U.S. Senate. She leaves at the top, strongly supported in the state. Her demeanor, her hard work, and her commitment to the common good are all unimpeachable.

I have my own disagreements with Senator Snowe, along with times of agreement, but there is no doubt that she has been a fine public servant, committed to, as she put it, “solving public problems.”

Take the time to listen to her whole farewell address. You can put it on while you’re working around your house.  It is worth your time.

Senator Snowe now enters the pantheon of esteemed former Maine U.S. Senators: Margaret Chase Smith, Ed Muskie, Bill Cohen, and George Mitchell.

Senator-Elect Angus King deserves congratulations. He comes to the Senate at a time when big decisions will be made. And when he starts his Senate service, he will serve on very important committees: Armed Services, Budget, Rules and Intelligence.

As this paper reported:

In a statement, King said his assignment on the Rules Committee is “particularly important.”

“[T]his is a committee that has jurisdiction over filibuster reform and campaign finance, two issues which I focused on during the campaign,” he said.

To your success, Senator-Elect King, as you work on these and other important matters to us all.

And to the success of others in Maine’s congressional delegation! In becoming the Ranking Member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Rep. Michaud is well-positioned on his signature issue, Americans’ veterans. Rep. Pingree is moving to the powerful Appropriations Committee. At this time, it is unclear if Senator Collins will continue on her committees or if she will have new committee assignments.

A final appreciation and congratulation goes to Dr. Habib Dagher of the University of Maine,* his team and those who supported him (including Senator Susan Collins), in gaining an important grant to further his work on wind energy in the Gulf of Maine.

Dagher is an engineer and a visionary, whose leadership and hard work created the Advanced Structures and Composites Center and its remarkable projects.

This most recent grant was awarded to but 10% of applicants and the work funded will enable the group, “to compete for one of three awards of up to $47 million, over four years, to help the university build and install a pair of 6-megawatt turbines off Monhegan Island by 2017, creating an operational wind farm called Aqua Ventus I. The awards from the Energy Department would be boosted further by more than $42 million in private industry investments, bringing the total that could stem from this initial award to $93 million.” [source]

For these accomplishments of the past, and those affecting our future, thank you.


* I am an employee of the University of Maine. My work has nothing to do with that of Dr. Dagher and I benefit from it no more than any citizen.

Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.