Race baiting on Question 1

Question 1 on this year’s ballot asks whether or not Maine should increase public funding of state political campaigns. In a time of tight budgets, giving politicians more money to print bumper stickers is not the best use of taxpayers’ resources. Using reason to win the day will bring relevance and respect back to the Maine Republican Party. When we stray from that, we must call foul on our own team.

A representative of The No on 1 campaign completely crossed the line when it comes to decency in campaigns with what can only be described as race baiting.

Rep. Joel Stetkis, spokesperson for the No on 1 Campaign, made statements on an online forum associating the public financing referendum with controversy over the Skowhegan High School mascot. Many in the Native American community object to the use of the name “Indians” as the school’s mascot. An outspoken opponent of the mascot is Maulian Smith, a member of the Penobscot Nation. Here’s what Stetkis said:

“Would you want $15,000 of your hard earned tax money to be given to someone like Maulian Smith to run as a candidate for the State Legislature or $60,000 for the senate?”

When asked by Channel 8 what he meant by “someone like Maulian Smith”, Rep. Stetkis had no answer.  Watch the clip below:

Regardless of how you feel about the mascot issue, and regardless of how you feel about the public financing issue, it should outrage Republicans that members of our party are trying to use race as an issue in this campaign. Stetkis’ behavior should not be tolerated by anyone, and as Republicans we need to be extra vigilant that members of our team are held accountable when they cross the line.

Race baiting is not an acceptable campaign tactic. Not in our Republican Party. It’s time our voices are heard. It’s time we stop letting those with such misguided principles represent our Party to Maine voters.