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Political Brew: Curfews and choosing leaders

Our analysts discuss the new 9 p.m. curfew for many businesses and if Rep. Jared Golden will support Nancy Pelosi for another term as Speaker of the House.

MAINE, USA — Our analysts on Political Brew this week are former Republican state Senator Phil Harriman, and former Democratic state Senator and Mayor of Portland Ethan Strimling.

As every county in Maine sets records for active cases of Coronavirus, and with the holidays upon us, Gov. Mills has imposed a 9:00 pm curfew on many businesses such as bars and restaurants with sit down service, something neighboring states have also been doing.
But she has stopped short of issuing a stay-at home order.

Ethan Strimling believes Mills should impose stronger restrictions because lives are at stake.

Strimling says "She needs to get back to what we did in the spring. If you are an essential business, you can stay open, if you are an essential employee then go to work. Otherwise you should stay home."

Harriman believes Gov. Mills has made the right choice.

"It's a delicate balance," says Harriman. "We the people have to take responsibility for washing our hands, wearing masks, keeping our distance, that's the best thing that we can do."

But Strimling points out that the prime reason Mills has given for not imposing a stay at home order is because the federal government has not stepped up to provide more financial relief to states, businesses and individuals.

He says "We have to save lives and she saying that we can't do it because the federal government is not providing the resources we need. The workers in the state of Maine have got to be protected."

When the next legislature is sworn in in early December, they will elect Maine's constitutional officers: the secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer and auditor. Many states fill those positions with popular vote elections, something Strimling supports.

He says having the majority in the legislature choose those officials "is not the right way to do it, we really should have a more public process. What's going on right now is a lot of back room conversations that nobody in the public is aware of."

But Harriman thinks "Maine people have had enough of campaigns. This has been the way the legislature has operated from the beginning, and it doesn't look pretty at times but it works."

In Washington, Nancy Pelosi is running for another term as Speaker of the House. Maine's newly re-elected second district Congressman Jared Golden did not vote for Pelosi two years ago, and has indicated he will not do so this time either.

But with a smaller Democratic caucus this time, Golden is likely to face a lot of pressure to support Pelosi.

Strimling hopes he does support her because Pelosi has shown herself to be a very effective Speaker.

He adds "If Golden doesn't want to support her in the caucus I totally get that. But coming to the floor if he actually takes a vote that could put a republican in charge of the House? That would not be forgiven for a long time."

Harriman says he has a lot of respect for Golden's willingness to buck his party.

"I doubt his vote is going to matter outside of the second district, but it certainly does in the second district."

Political Brew airs Sundays on The Morning Report.