The Webster dictionary defines "insurgent" as "rebellious; insubordinate". In today's day and age, many of us when we hear the word "insurgent" immediately think of terrorists.
I am greatly saddened to learn that Millinocket voters and taxpayers, along with three of our esteemed town councilors, were recently referred to by a local State Representative as "a small group of insurgents". I am saddened, because the person making that statement is one who I respected and have cast many votes in support of over the years. I have always felt he was a person that cared about and respected those he represents. His statement was a deep disappointment to me.
When I first learned he was sponsoring a bill to help provide $125,000 of state funds to the proposed Katahdin Cultural Center, I was at a loss to understand why. After thinking about it, I understood that as a State Representative, it is his job to sponsor and support bills that he receives requests to sponsor. I respect that.
However, I am at a complete loss to understand why someone who I have supported and respected would denigrate those of us who chose to exercise our constitutional rights and voice our opposition to this bill. As a citizen of the State of Maine as well as a taxpaying citizen of Millinocket, I fully believe that my fellow citizens and I have the right to either support or oppose any bill going before our state that we choose. That, to me, is what democracy is all about.
I have a great respect for the three town councilors who have listened to the citizens and have done their homework on the issues involved with the proposed cultural center. They have not faltered or allowed themselves to be bullied from doing what they feel is best for the town. Millinocket is fortunate to have persons of such integrity sit on our council and for that, I am thankful.
We all have our opinions on the merits of the proposed cultural center, or lack of, with both sides of the issue feeling very strongly about their position on it. It becomes a problem and divides the town when one side tries to deny the other the right to form and support their own position.
I believe the root of the problem here has more to do with use of taxpayer's funds and potential future financial liability for the town, than anything else as far as opposition to it goes.
As taxpayers, voters, and citizens, we are entitled to oppose such issues without being belittled in published papers or in Augusta.