2016-06-09 / Letters

Community service is good, but political service, better

To the editor:

I am the ranking Senate Democrat on the Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Criminal Justice & Public Safety. As a 16-year veteran legislator and longtime chairman of my committee, I have seen hundreds of legislators come and go. Some are effective and some are not. Generally, those legislators who are effective are willing to listen, learn and collaborate with 185 fellow legislators from every corner of the state. Lawmaking is a complicated and difficult endeavor that, at a minimum, requires majority votes to get anything done.

Barry Hobbins is simply one of the most effective legislators I have ever known.

Voters of Senate District 31 (Saco, Old Orchard, Buxton, Hollis and Limington) are fortunate to have a “go-to” guy like Barry as their advocate in Augusta. Barry’s opponent in the June 14 Senate primary is a fellow Democrat who serves on my committee. I have served with Barry on the Judiciary Committee, so I have a unique perspective on this contest. Legislative committees are like families, they spend a lot of time together, they have to work through struggles and must seek compromise solutions.

On a daily basis for the last two years I have sat at the same committee table with Barry’s opponent. To preserve decorum I will not delineate his shortcomings in Augusta, where he has accomplished little. I prefer to speak positively about people. I can say all of the following about only Barry: He is not disrespectful. He listens more than he speaks. He seeks to understand policies and process. His colleagues respect him. He is deeply involved with constituents. And he gets things done.

Barry’s nickname in Augusta, “The Chairman of Unanimous Reports” is deserved. It typifies Barry’s mastery of policy, politics, and process. He works harder than anyone as he brings disparate interests together to dissect an issue. And he has a legendary record of getting his committee to issue a unanimous decision, whether that decision is to pass, amend or kill a bill.

To speak positively about Barry’s opponent, he has become active in his hometown with civic engagement, volunteerism and charity. That is commendable activity, and your communities are fortunate to benefit from it.

If Barry is victorious on June 14, the citizens of District 31 will have a win-win: A great community organizer at home, and a great senator at the Statehouse. Please vote for your “go-to” guy, Barry Hobbins.

Stan Gerzofsky, Brunswick State Senate District 24, Midcoast

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