Dear Gov. LePage,

Don’t worry, I’m not Bill Nemitz! I just wanted to borrow his open-letter format. I won’t make a habit of it, I promise, and I don’t have any beef with you. (But I must warn you that I listen to a lot of rap, so if you want to start a beef, I am fully prepared to release a diss track.)

My name is Victoria. I am from Buxton (it’s in the 1st District – but don’t worry, Buxton voted for you twice). You don’t know me, but I want to ask you for something. I’m not sure what to call it. “Mercy” or “justice” or “clemency” might be close, but I went to Catholic school for 13 years, and the word that comes to me is “intercession.”

So, I ask you for intercession. I ask you to please pardon Lexius Saint Martin, and allow him to come home.

I think I know what you might say, Governor. Yes, he committed a crime; he trafficked in cocaine in 2007, when he was 24. The law is the law; he must suffer the consequences of his actions. And he did: He was convicted in 2008 and served seven months in jail.

I like laws, myself. I respect them. But I must ask: What is the purpose of the law? Is it simply to punish? Or is the law for working toward justice and promoting the general welfare of we, the people?

A young man sold cocaine in 2007, and now three young Mainers are at risk of growing up without their father. They are from Waterville, Gov. LePage. Your town.

You are probably thinking of accountability, of having skin in the game. I’m willing to make you a bargain. If you pardon Mr. Saint Martin and he returns to Maine, and if he sells illegal drugs again at any point in his life, you can deport me as well. I’ve never been to Haiti, and I don’t speak any French. But this is Maine – I’m sure someone can give me a crash course at the airport.

I am willing to put myself on the line for this man, because I have faith in him. The only factor that makes Lexius Saint Martin different from any other young man who has overcome self-inflicted wounds is that he came to America legally at age 11, rather than having had the good luck to have been born in Maine. (Or anywhere else in the United States and its territories, but I think we can agree that Maine is the best.)

You like work requirements? Lexius Saint Martin had to meet a work requirement before he even got to take his future wife on a date – when she met him, in 2010, she told him to get a job before she would go out with him, and two days later, he had a job. That’s true love. Now 35, he runs a small business (currently on hold, what with his being stuck in a literal hut in Haiti right now), owns a house and pays those sweet, sweet Maine taxes.

In case you think this is some sort of conspiracy, Governor, I have never actually met the Saint Martin family. I just read about him in the paper and was impressed with everything he has accomplished. He is a perfect example of what the American justice system was meant to achieve. Can you imagine how great Maine and this country would be if every young man who served time on drug charges was released and then proceeded to start a small business, get married and have a family?

There was another thing that struck me. It might seem like a silly detail. The oldest Saint Martin kiddo is Donovan, age 5. He just competed in his first karate tournament, and his dad wasn’t there to see him. As you can probably imagine, Donovan was beyond disappointed.

I did karate as a kid. (I wasn’t very good at it.) And yesterday, I was watching an old home video of my dad filming my brother and me in a karate tournament. You can’t see him, but you can hear him delivering an ESPN-esque monologue to someone else behind the camera (my long-suffering mother, I assume): “Look at that roundhouse kick, Julia! Holy crap, the reach on this kid!”

Gov. LePage, my dad is dead. I will never see him again. He wasn’t at my sister’s high school graduation last month. If I get married, he won’t walk me down the aisle. If I have children, he won’t hold them and let them tug at his beard.

My father can’t come back, but this man can. His wife needs him, his children need him, Waterville’s tax rolls need him. I ask you to please, please pardon him; let the great state of Maine forgive him his trespasses.

And, if there is anyone left reading this who is not the current governor of Maine, you can help by writing to your state representative and state senator and by saying a prayer for the Saint Martin family.

Victoria Hugo-Vidal is a Maine millennial. She can be contacted at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @mainemillennial

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