Just got my invite- this is wonderful news! After all, I owe him a “thank you” for his phone call last spring… 😉

That conversation is repeat-posted below the fold. 

 ~Louise 

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 You are cordially invited to join

Governor John Baldacci
and other elected officials for a special evening to benefit 
the NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality campaign

Wednesday, September 2
5:30pm to 7:30pm

At the home of Ed Gardner and Stephen DiMuccio
149 Western Promenade, Portland

Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres will be served

Suggested Donation: $100

Click here to RSVP

On November 3, Mainers will vote on whether to reject the marriage equality law that was passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Baldacci earlier this year. Please join us for a special evening as we come together in support of equality for all Maine families.

If you have any questions, please contact Whitney Clegg at (207) 899-1330 orwhitney@protectmaineequality.org

 

 (Originally posted in April… ~Louise)

——————————————————————————

UPDATE: After witnessing ME's Senate pass LD 1020 21-14 yesterday, I stopped by Governor Baldacci's office to leave a note, thanking him very much for calling us and giving us so much of his time to share our views, especially on such a busy day.

ANYONE can call a supporter- it takes character and integrity to call someone who is upset with you!

What I failed to mention earlier was that the Governor told Charlie that he has directed his staff to bring every single email he receives regarding LD 1020 to his attention and has read every single one- this is a man who wants to learn fully about the issue, the discussions and the views of all of his constituents.

Again, thank you, Governor Baldacci! 🙂

~       ~       ~       ~       ~       ~

PhotobucketFirst off – he called US.

Here at home, while installing a new fence and raised garden. Why?

Well, Governor Baldacci wanted to respond to an email my irate husband Charlie sent him.

First, what set my mild-mannered spouse off?

This quote from an interview on MPBN:

Although Gov. John Baldacci has not taken a position on LD 1020, he suggests that some kind of statewide response from Maine voters seems appropriate.

“Let me just say, it was very clear to me that the turnout of people who were there that this is an issue that people feel strongly about and they're going to want to make sure that they have their say.  In our state, I think they're going to want to be part of the decision-making.  I don't know what form that's going to take or how it's going to be done, but you just can't help but feel that way.”

 

Charlie and others took this to signal that the Governor was planning on abdicating his responsibilities by waiting and letting LD 1020 go to a voter referendum this fall rather than signing.

So he went to the governor's website and posted the following (paraphrase):

Apparently you intend to neither sign nor veto LD 1020 when it reaches your desk. To allow this bill to simply bypass your signature would be cowardly.

The Democratic Party was the leader on civil rights, back to Selma. By ignoring this you appear more concerned with your future employment after Blaine House than the civil rights of all of the citizens of Maine.

This is craven.

Word to the wise: do NOT infer that your governor's potential actions are “craven”! 😉

Our extremely pleasant and air-clearing joint conversation below the fold:

Louise :: An Unexpected Conversation With The Governor
So here I am taking a break inside, having spent the day staining wood for a new privacy fence and helping Charlie install that and a railroad-tie raised garden (should look really cool, btw) when the phone rang. Didn't recognize the phone number, but answered it:

Me: Hello?
Man: Hello, is Charlie — there?
Me: No, I'm sorry- he is unavailable at the moment- may I take a message? Who is this, please?
Man: This is John Baldacci.
Me: Oh- THAT'S why your voice sounds familiar! Wait one second, sir…

And I went out to the yard to fetch himself.

Me: Charlie, there is a call for you and you need to take it NOW.
Charlie: Who is it?
Me: Governor John Baldacci- REALLY.
(and I could hear the governor say, “Yes, it really is me…”)

Some snips of what the Governor told Charlie:

I was extremely impressed by the arguments for both sides, but especially by the proponents.

They were very respectful- I liked that they turned their backs when they disagreed.

I was truly impressed by the people who spoke for the bill.

I was opposed to this for a long time, but people evolve, people change as time goes by.

 

As the conversation was very friendly and the governor despite a very busy day was willing to listen, Charlie decided to share his views on LD 1020, after relating his own long Republican background (he worked on GHWB's run against Ronald Reagan for the GOP's nomination in 1980 and only registered Democrat in 2002-3 after watching W's degredation of the first, fourth and sixth amendments and could no longer be affiliated with a party that actively worked to withdraw civil rights.  

People DO evolve and change.

Civil unions are not equal.

If the Democrats are the party of rights for all, this bill needs to be signed.

The opposition have already been gathering signatures for a people's veto and that the governor's signature doesn't take away their right to take it to a ballot (to which the governor agreed).

That as a married straight man with a family and former long-time Republican, Charlie is the opposition's poster boy.

That although his views had changed drastically politically over the years, he saw this not politically or religiously, but as a civil rights issue, as did Robert Talbot.

 

It was a very friendly and cordial conversation and as I later mentioned to Charlie, anyone can call a supporter- it takes guts to call somone who you KNOW disagrees with you.

But here's the thing. Charlie had read the missive to me earlier in the day and I said, “No, don't send that- let me research and verify further” and was told “Too late; it's sent!”

So I asked to speak to the Governor for a moment…

Now understand, I have only met him once before when chaperoning a school field trip to the Statehouse and in real life am VERY shy about speaking out- eeks!

But I like John Baldacci, who is from “my neck of the woods”, and find him to be a very nice person. I especially like his record on important issues and think he has done a fairly good job, given the difficulties of the past decade.

Governor Baldacci has been supportive time and again and darn it, he called HERE.

So I thanked him for calling and for providing me with a wife's ultimate “Dream Come True”, as I had told him NOT to send that email until I had verified. (and told him to relate the story to HIS wife at some point, as she would get a chuckle!) But I added that if I HAD found Charlie's conclusion to have been the case, I would have been wholeheartedly behind it and the tone.

I described my background- a lifelong “Jim Longley” independant until February 2008, when I finally registered as a Democrat. That until a few years ago, if someone had told me that I would learn about, advocate and take up a cause in which I had no personal stake, I would have said they were crazy.

But in my mind, this is all about FAIRNESS. All Mainers- and their families- having the same rights, being treated the same, being recognized and protected under law the same.

He then gave me his views of Maine a a state and our fellow Mainers that showed me he loves this state as deeply as I do. That Mainers are very proud and independant, wanting their own civil rights, to be treated fairly, and are willing to let people live as they want to.

I was encouraged and continued, telling him about last week's public hearing and how impressed I have been with the respectful tone set by Equality Maine and the moving stories, time and again, of families- just regular people and families- and that I had to leave because I felt I would burst into tears if I heard one more story of unequality.

That I spent 13 hours last week at the testimony (he had heard much of the testimony via livefeed and was especially impressed with the respectful messages), listening to moving stories of real Maine families, who simply want to have the same rights and protections that he and I have with OUR families.

That at one point late in the evening, I turned to a new friend and apologized, saying that I was so sorry that this was having to occur, that all of this should have been resolved DECADES ago.

At that point, he told me that civil rights sometimes take time to obtain.

I told him that I understood that all Mainers have an opinion regarding LD 1020 and while WE can all openly discuss them and many have already, HIS was the one opinion that had to be kept private and he HAS to keep quiet right now, as to let the legislative process play out without interference.

His response was that I was absolutely right.

Our later joint conclusion is that if a bill does pass and is presented to the governor for signing, he will indeed sign it.

HOWEVER, he did not say that specifically.

THIS was democracy at its best- our elected leader reaching out to speak at length with voters.

Thank you, Governor Baldacci!

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NOTE: The Maine Senate will be in session at 10 am and the vote is expected to happen fairly quickly.

If possible, I will be Twittering… will definitely be there.

Louise1

Louise1

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