Partisanship is quite intense in modern politics. Nationally, there is no end to the vitriol between Democrats and Republicans, and how the opposing party is the most evil thing in America. If you want your opinion on what is bad, ask a Democrat and they’ll say a Republican, and vice versa. Here in Maine, it’s not overly different. Democrats and Republicans often don’t get along, and politics is bitterly partisan.
Not all politicians subscribe to party-line warfare and do stand above the fray. One of these individuals is Representative Barry Hobbins, who is currently running for State Senate.
The heroin crisis in Maine has been a very difficult topic for society. Beyond what’s at stake, politicians have been trying to balance enforcement versus rehabilitation, while still letting politics get in the way. It’s been a mess with government involved.
Representative Hobbins took an approach different to that of many within his party, or even both for that matter. When a disagreement presented itself, he didn’t use a floor speech to show off his rhetorical expertise to those who share the same letter next to his name. He didn’t take to the media to fire partisan shots through reporters all too eager to capitalize in drama.
He sat down with the Govenror.
Governor LePage has his reputation as being difficult to work with, arguably vulgar, and ultimately abrasive. Representatives Hobbins admitted as such to a degree in a Facebook post regarding his meeting with the Governor:
Allow me to be delicate and diplomatic. Dealing with Governor LePage can occasionally be “a challenge.” I’ll just leave it at that. However, I put together this brief video because I strongly believe you do not want public officials acting like children. NO EXCUSES. You want us to put our differences aside and get things done. Especially when life or death issues are in play, like the heroin crisis that is hitting Maine very hard right now. With your help, I’d like to bring this approach to the Maine Senate.
“A challenge” is indeed a diplomatic way of putting it.
But as challenging as many believe it is, Representative Hobbins accepted the challenge and went for a personal meeting, which could have gone badly.
But it didn’t.
Representative Hobbins, as pointed out in a recent campaign video, “got away from the politics and away from the rhetoric.” He sat down with the Governor in a meeting that took an hour and a half, and told him a deeply personal story about his family’s struggles.
It helped two men on opposing sides of the spectrum in different political parties sit down away from the battlefield and communicate like adults. It helped the communication of personal stories and the exchange of honest thoughts.
Politicians, in Maine and abroad, could learn a lot from this exchange. One doesn’t have to like the Governor or Representative Hobbins to agree that this was a positive step. This exchange does show what productivity can come from setting aside partisan politics and just communicating.