In slamming Katz, Fredette calls for less judgment, more partisanship

Bennett D. Katz, member of the Maine Legislature (1962-1980), Republican, and father of Sen. Roger Katz

Bennett D. Katz, Republican member of the Maine Legislature (1962-1980), Maine Senate Majority Leader, and father of Sen. Roger Katz

If you take a look at how different issue groups ranked Sen. Roger Katz, it’s clear he doesn’t fit comfortably either on the right or left.

Project VoteSmart reports that Katz had a 40% rating by the Maine Right to Life Committee, 25% from the Maine People’s Alliance, 65% by the Defense of Liberty PAC, and 67% by the Maine Education Association.

Roger Katz is a lifelong Republican, as was his father, Bennett Katz, a former Majority Leader in the Maine Senate.

But today comments from the Republican leader of the state House show how right the Maine GOP has moved.

As Mario Moretto reported:

House Republican Leader Ken Fredette, R-Newport, blasted Katz during a news conference Tuesday, and later said Katz needs to step in line “instead of always criticizing conservative Republicans who simply want to move Maine forward.”

What did Katz do to prompt this response from Fredette?

Katz took the position that the governor should do what the voters voted to do — to spend bond money on conservation projects.

“When the people of Maine have spoken at the ballot box, no one person — even a governor — should be able to veto that decision,” [Katz] said. “Politics is rough enough out here these days, but we should not add to the meanness by holding innocent bystanders hostage.”

Rep. Fredette’s statement suggests the Maine GOP has embraced partisanship and a strict ideological focus.

Instead of respecting Katz’s position and the legacy of service he represents, Fredette calls for Katz to put aside his own judgment. Rather, Fredette believes Katz should follow “conservative Republicans.”

How different that is from Republicans who used to represent Maine voters, people like Bill Cohen, Margaret Chase Smith, and Olympia Snowe.

All called for respecting one’s opponents. They didn’t believe in cutting corners on governmental processes. And they didn’t espouse party loyalty as a good unto itself.

Are centrists no longer welcome in the Maine GOP? Are elected Republicans expected to toe the party line?

If they think Fredette is out of line, other Maine Republicans should say so. If not, this suggests they support Fredette’s vision of the Maine GOP.

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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.