Former ME Speaker of the House Hannah Pingree Endorses Brunswick Native Mattie Daughtry for HD66
(Shared with Hannah’s kind permission, as the deadline for printing this in the local Brunswick newspapers before the election has passed. ~AP)
As we close in on election day, nerves get frayed, candidates get more desperate, and in my experience, people often say things that are just plain nasty. Unfortunately, that seems to be the case in House District 66 in Brunswick. There is an active Green Party whisper-campaign against Democratic House candidate Mattie Daughtry, urging voters that she is “too young” to competently serve the people of Brunswick. Among the most condescending voices have referred to this hard-working, accomplished 25-year old Brunswick-native as a “little girl.”
I ran for political office when I was 25 years old, and I looked far younger at the time. I was the target of similar remarks from my opponent and his friends, but the people I encountered seemed to appreciate that a woman in her 20’s had moved back to her rural island home. They were impressed that I was interested in their stories and the challenges our communities faced. I was elected by a sizable margin, and in my 8 years in office (before being term-limited) I served my district as a member of the key budget writing Appropriations Committee (at age 25), as the Chairwoman of the Health and Human Services Committee (at 27), as the House Majority Leader (at 29), and as the Speaker of the Maine House (at 32). In every one of these leadership roles, I earned the respect of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle because I worked hard, did my homework, listened, and always tried to be fair. I was able to accomplish a great deal for the people of my district—regardless of my age.
I also served with a variety of outstanding young leaders like Representative Jeremy Fischer from Presque Isle, who served as the very able Chairman of the Appropriations Committee at the age of 26, and Representative Emily Cain of Orono, who is now the House Democratic Leader and was elected to office at the age of 24. Our retiring senior United States Senator, Olympia Snowe, was elected to the Maine House at the age of 26.
Mattie Daughtry is capable of all of this and more. She has served in a number of important professional and public service roles in her career, and she has proven to be tenacious, hard working, and competent. Whether it was founding a news department at a radio station in college, starting her own small business in Brunswick, or serving as a partner in a consulting firm, Mattie has both initiative and maturity. To call her a “little girl” is insulting.
Maine is the oldest state in the country. We are actively working to attract young people to Maine—and there is an economic urgency to this challenge. The Maine Legislature is typically made up of 70% men, and there are usually very, very few young women in the legislature, compared to the state population.
Instead of making fun of smart, hard-working young women, we should be electing them. I urge the voters of Brunswick to support Mattie Daughtry on November 6th.
Former Speaker of the Maine House