Imagine my surprise to read that I’m “un-American” because I advocate for immigration policies that put Maine people first. Tom Waddell’s hit piece is one more voice in a chorus of character assassination amplified by the fake news industry in Maine (“Is Jackman, Maine, a microcosm of American values?,” March 2). The smears have included baseless accusations linking me to white supremacists.

It all started a few weeks ago when I sent an email blast encouraging Maine people to contact their legislators to oppose L.D. 1492, “An Act to Attract, Educate and Retain New Mainers to Strengthen the Workforce.” The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Roger Katz, believes that Maine’s status as the whitest state in America is something to be ashamed of. His bill is aimed at subsidizing foreign-born immigrants who don’t speak English and have higher birth rates than native Mainers.

I invite everyone to read Katz’s testimony to see for themselves that race-based identity politics is alive and well at the State House. I’ll call it exactly what it is: racist.

Katz wants to spend another $2 million teaching foreigners how to speak English, at a time when Maine taxpayers already spend $19 million a year for English-as-a-second-language instruction. All of the new spending Katz wants will come at the expense of Maine’s most vulnerable elderly and disabled citizens who still languish on the notorious Medicaid waitlists because the Legislature has other priorities.

The smear campaign against me is a diversion from having an honest discussion on immigration policy. So let’s jump-start that debate right here and right now.

I believe we need to make Maine a more attractive place for English-speaking U.S. citizens from other states to settle — regardless of race or ethnicity. Our policy should be absolutely color-blind, but give preference to U.S. citizens who don’t need taxpayer subsidies to enter the workforce.

If that offends the Thought Police, too bad.

Rep. Larry Lockman

R-Amherst

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