Temple Beth-El Candidates Night
October 24, 2006
Opening Statement

It's Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2006. That means in two weeks time, we will know which of the three of us, Olympia Snowe, Bill Slavick, or me, will be the next U.S. Senator from the great state of Maine.

I've been running for this seat since the spring of 2005.
It's been a long, but invigorating year and a half.

People are getting it.
People want out of Iraq.
They want national single payer health care.
They see the wisdom of a national goal of energy self-sufficiency through renewable resources.

Those have been my three top campaign themes all along.
Underlying themes have been numerous,
like protecting choice for women
in the face of Justice Samuel Alito's plan to dismantle Roe v. Wade,
or a minimum wage that is a living wage,
or stabilizing Social Security and getting rid of those unfair offsets for state employees,
things like that.

And, all along, we've been urging people to Vote for the America You Want To Live In.

But lately, another major issue has taken precedent,
and that is the Constitutional crisis we now find ourselves in,
thanks to the passage last month of the Military Tribunal Bill
and the warrant-less wiretapping bill,
both with Olympia Snowe's full support.

Now that Olympia Snowe has had an election year conversion,
Now that even she agrees that maybe we should rethink what we're doing in Iraq,
I have hope that even the OTHER right-wing Republicans
(yes, I do include Olympia Snowe in that category -
since she's voted with the Bush agenda more than 80 percent of the time)
Even other right-wing Republicans are seeing the handwriting on the wall.
So we might be seeing an end to this foreign policy nightmare.
Of course, it would end sooner if I were elected in Olympia Snowe's place.
But it will end.

But even after the Iraq War ends, and our troops are brought safely home,
that will not be the end of this nightmare.
That's because of what happened last month,
The passage of the Military Tribunal Bill,
on Olympia Snowe's watch and with her blessing.

Our Constitution has been trashed,
habeas corpus rights denied,
torture left to be defined,
short of murder and rape,
by a President who has no regard for the sanctity of human life,
unless it can fit inside a Petri dish in a clinic.
Evidence that is secret, coerced, hearsay,
can now be used against "any person"
that the President of the United States
has declared to be an enemy combatant.
Not a prisoner of war,
which would come under the Geneva Convention.
An enemy combatant, a term defined by the president.

People who have been paying attention are telling me they are afraid.
But they are not as afraid of the terrorists as they are of their own government.
That's where we are now, and it will get worse if Olympia Snowe is returned to office.

So - not to put any pressure on, but how Maine votes on Nov. 7 will make a difference in what happens next in this country. Please listen carefully tonight, and tomorrow night on MPBN, and Thursday night on Channels 2 & 6.

And vote wisely. Vote for the America we all want to live in.

Prepared Closing statement

It's Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2006. That means in two weeks time, we will know which of the three of us, Olympia Snowe, Bill Slavick, or me, will be raising our hand next January, swearing to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America on behalf of the great state of Maine.

That's your choice. One of the three of us. And -- not to put the pressure on you -- how Maine votes in this election will make a HUGE difference in what happens next in this country.

Maine is a small state, a mere 1.3 million people. A few hundred thousand votes will determine this race.

Yet our two U.S. Senators have as much clout in Washington as the two U.S. Senators from any other state, even states like Texas or California, New York or Pennsylvania.

The seat now held by Olympia Snowe is the only seat
Maine voters have to work with this year.
It is the only seat that can change the dynamic, turn the tide in Washington.
Maine can be one of six states that changes the majority in the United State Senate, turning it from Republican to Democrat.
That's the only way things will improve.

One of the first things I would do when I get down there would be to submit a bill to rescind the Military Tribunal Bill, signed into law by President Bush last week, on Oct. 17.
I DO NOT WANT The president of the United States to be able to
designate anyone anywhere in the world,
including Americans, to be an enemy combatant,
to be able to throw them into prison anywhere in the world,
where they have no recourse.
No lawyer, no habeas corpus rights to appear before a disinterested judge.

As I said, people who have been paying attention are telling me they are afraid.
But they are not as afraid of the terrorists as they are of their own government.

People who have not been paying attention say, not to worry,
I don't care if the government listens in on my phone calls,
they'll be bored out of their mind.

But how many of them know someone or heard of someone
who found themselves on a no-fly list,
refused entry to that plane they were hoping to board.

They didn't know how they got on the list,
didn't know who put them there,
didn't know what it took to put them there,
and didn't know how to get off the list.
But the worst that could happen at that point,
until it was straightened out,
was that they would miss their plane.

Under the Military Tribunal Bill, the same thing could happen, but that person could be whisked away, never to be heard from again. Secret CIA prisons, remember?

We are living in very serious times.
Please take this election as seriously as it deserves.
And please help me turn this country around,
by sending me to the U.S. Senate on Nov. 7.
Thank you.