“In the Arena” is a podcast for Mainers interested in a deeper understanding of the political issues facing our state, featuring former TV anchor/reporter Pat Callaghan, former Republican state Sen. Phil Harriman and former Democratic Portland mayor Ethan Strimling.

This week, on Episode 2 of “In The Arena,” Pat, Phil and Ethan discuss the war in Gaza and Pine Tree Power.

Ethan talks about balancing the competing forces swirling in Jewish communities around Israel/Palestine, and Phil addresses the “America First” swing of the Republican party in recent years, and whether the GOP is now demanding allegiance to financial support for Israel.

The three also get into the issue of Pine Tree Power, the public utility at the heart of the Question 3 referendum, the history of how we got here, pros and cons, and its chances of passage.

In a lightning round, Pat asks whether a number of recent political events were “smart” or “not smart” including potential legislation banning sweeps of homeless encampments, the Lewiston City Council’s dismissal of its president and a fellow member, a state agency requesting $9 million in state money for legal services for our low income defendants, and whether former Pres. Trump’s free speech rights were really violated by a judge’s gag order.

Ethan and Phil offer some political predictions, and Pat recounts a story about a surprising pop culture reference Sen. George Mitchell once made in response to a State of the Union address by Pres. Ronald Reagan.

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