Mainers have a unique chance, in the coming gubernatorial primaries, to vote in a way that is both practical and idealistic. Ranked Choice Voting allows citizens to give their greatest support to those who will uphold their values, while ranking the remaining candidates in further order of preference. Even if you've already made your number 1 decision, RCV invites voters to learn more about all those running so that the outcome can reflect our vision for Maine.
Because I will be voting in the Democratic primary, I'd like to share my thoughts on one candidate in particular. Maine Senator Mark Dion came to my house in Rockland May 12 to meet voters, express his positions on major issues, and listen to our concerns. I have been observing Mark Dion's career for almost twenty years, since he was serving as Cumberland County Sheriff. At that time, he used his position to help the county court and jail systems focus on restorative justice and mental health services. He administered a large department and wasn't afraid to speak in favor of medical cannabis, against the rest of Maine's law enforcement establishment. Later, Mark Dion became a state representative and then a senator, representing his district's progressive values while proving himself a collaborative leader.
This year, he risked his reputation as a liberal by working with Senate Republicans to minimize the damage being done in that body's rewrite of the referendum we voters passed in November 2016. He brings professional credibility to the gun control discussion, and supports the protection of citizens' digital communications from unreasonable searches.
Mark Dion is a soft-spoken man who listens before he speaks. His platform, available at dionforgovernor.com, outlines carefully considered positions on the major issues facing our state. Rather than repeat that information here, I'd like to tell you what I saw when he visited us in Rockland. There were about a dozen of us in my living room. The candidate was direct in seeking our opinions and thoughful in his responses. It was clear he was considering our ideas and concerns, and answering us with deep honesty, patient in spite of having already spent half the day at a candidate forum in Damariscotta.
The 21st Century presents Maine, the U.S., and the world with serious challenges, not least of which is the bickering and name-calling that dominate newpapers, television, and the internet. We need to be served by leaders with compassion and humility, leaders who are willing to meet and work with those of differing perspectives.
I hope Mark Dion will be number 1 on your Ranked Choice ballot. If not, please rank him high among your alternatives. Let's rebuild Maine together.
Shlomit Auciello lives in Rockland