Brace yourself. I’m going to say something positive about some of our politicians. I know this is unusual these days but here we go.

Independent Sen. Angus King has been a strong advocate for creating coins to honor Republicans George and Barbara Bush, a wonderful idea. You probably haven’t heard this because Angus works hard to get bipartisan support, behind the scenes, without fanfare. Republican Sen. Susan Collins was a cosponsor of the bill.

The coins should be minted and distributed this year. It is such a great way to commemorate both the Bushes.  The coins mean a great deal to our veterans as well, since George Bush was a war veteran.

You must know that the Bushes loved Maine and spent a lot of time at their beautiful house on the ocean in Kennebunkport. I still remember the first time I saw their home, while standing on the beach in Kennebunkport. It was stunning. And I know that one reason I liked George was because he loved to fish and play golf in Maine. Me too!

And the Bushes were very generous to many Maine projects, including the Barbara Bush section at Portland’s hospital. I remember a photo of Barbara at the hospital reading a book to a child.

Angus was instrumental in recruiting cosponsors for this bill, which was essential to reaching the 67 sponsors and cosponsors necessary for the Banking Committee to report the bill to the floor of the Senate. The bill was originally sponsored by Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas and it’s been a nice bipartisan effort. Yes, that can still happen in Washington, D.C.

I’ve been friends with Angus since his first term as our governor, and I’ve always appreciated his independence — and that certainly doesn’t mean he always agreed with me! Angus is actually an unusual politician because he loves people; he likes nothing better than to stand there talking with somebody for a long time.

Now let’s move on to 2nd District Rep. Jared Golden, a Democrat who is an outstanding young man. I appreciate his thoughtfulness in basing all his decisions on what is best for the people in his district. He’s actually accomplished quite a lot for us.

I was kind of amused when Jared was criticized for being the Democrat who supported President Trump’s proposals the most — 7% of the time. If you look at the proposals he supported, every one was important to his district.

But when Jared voted for one article for impeachment and against the second article, he got severely attacked. I tried to defend him on Facebook but quickly figured out that was impossible. These days, thoughtful independence is not appreciated.

Sen. Collins is a good example of this. For 24 years Susan did a good job representing us and was very popular, but a couple of her recent votes angered lots of people, which led to a lot on nastiness as she seeks reelection.

Susan cosponsored the Tick Act, which was recently enacted and will provide important funding to improve diagnostics on the illnesses we’re getting from deer ticks. But will she get any credit for that? Probably not.

And that brings me to Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat and a friend of mine. Janet has even visited me a couple of times and brought lunch. We do disagree on the Central Maine Power transmission line project, and I was surprised when some people asked how we can still be friends.

Well, you can disagree on some things and still be friends. At least that’s how it used to be. Today I guess you must be 100% on all issues in order to be friends.

I’m sure glad this isn’t how things were when I worked for Congressman David Emery from 1974 to 1982. Republicans and Democrats worked together back then, and I can’t remember anything like the horrible negative attacks that are common today.

Now this column includes positive remarks about an independent, two Republicans and two Democrats. I hope this hasn’t offended you!

George Smith can be reached at 34 Blake Hill Road, Mount Vernon 04352, or [email protected] Read more of Smith’s writings at www.georgesmithmaine.com.


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