Once a year, NRCM organizes a day for Maine citizens to come together at our office, to learn about policies that affect our land, air, water, and wildlife during in the legislative session, and to go together to the State House so they can speak to their representatives. Today we had the largest turnout ever – with more than 100 folks from all around the state attending State House Action Day 2010. We had so many people we had to carry on sessions on both floors of our building! Most had never been to this kind of an event before.
I began the program by asking everyone to think of a moment when they were recently enjoying Maine’s great outdoors – and remember once they get to the State House that this is what they are trying to protect. After my short opening remarks, NRCM policy experts briefed everyone on some of our priorities right now. By the time we headed down the street, everyone was gung ho to tell their representatives why we need to keep our safeguards strong.
We packed the hallways on the 3rd floor of the State House as we waited for Representatives and Senators to come from their chambers to meet with us. Intense conversations took place between constituents and their reps up and down the corridor as these citizens shared concerns about proposed legislation to rollback the Kid-safe Products Law, Maine’s iconic bottle bill, Land for Maine’s Future, energy efficiency, and shoreline zoning and vernal pools that provide essential habitat for wildlife.
Some of the lawmakers were very responsive; others were elusive. But this is just the beginning. These 110 activists are now going back home to contact their friends and neighbors to make calls, too. And they are going to write more letters and send more emails to these reps and hold their feet to the fire when it comes time for the final votes.
This is how we win. This is how we keep Maine the treasured place we love rather than a replica of so many states with bad air, sprawling development, and polluted lakes, rivers, and streams. Thanks to everyone who came to State House Action Day! Thanks also to everyone who could not make it but is doing their part back home. We are making progress and we can’t let up!