Gun-toting teachers opposed

Gun-toting teachers opposed
Mount Desert Islander, Dec. 27, 2012

By Dick Broom

BAR HARBOR — Allowing teachers and principals to bring guns to school would be “a terrible idea,” says newly elected state Rep. Brian Hubbell, D-Bar Harbor.

A week after the fatal shooting of students and staff at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., Rep. Brian Duprey, R-Hampden, proposed legislation to allow people with concealed weapons permits, including teachers and school administrators, to carry firearms in schools. He said such a law would give school personnel a chance to protect themselves and their students in the event of an attack.

But Rep. Hubbell said Monday, “Everything I’ve read before and since the incident in Connecticut suggests that that wouldn’t be an effective solution. I have talked with a number of teachers [about school safety], and I’ve yet to hear anyone say ‘If only I had a gun, I’d feel better.’

“I think that having more guns in schools, especially in the hands of people who aren’t regularly trained in their use, seems to be courting the probability of unhappy incidents.”

As a member of the Bar Harbor school committee, Rep. Hubbell also serves on the Mount Desert Island High School board and the board of the MDI Regional School System. He is former chairman of that board. In the upcoming session of the Legislature, he will serve on the Joint Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs.

Rep. Hubbell said that it is understandable that people feel the need to take some sort of action in the wake of a tragedy such as the Connecticut school shootings.

“Because of that, I think we need to be especially measured in thinking about what the possible consequences [of various responses] would be and what would be an effective way to make sure that our kids are safe in schools,” he said.

While some people will want to allow guns in schools and others will want to enact stricter gun controls, Rep. Hubbell said he isn’t convinced that either approach would enhance school safety.

“A third approach is to see what we can do about mental health, whether that means locking up people who somebody determines had the possibility of being dangerous or whether the state needs to provide the resources so that people can get the help they need,” he said. “That is probably the best route that we as legislators can take, to make sure that there are rsources out there to take care of people who are disturbed and unhinged.”

The new Legislature will start work the second week of January. Rep. Hubbell said one of his colleagues has already drafted a bill titled “An Act to Review Maine’s Gun Laws.” He also expects a bill to be introduced to ban assault rifles and large capacity magazines.

Rep. Hubbell was elected in November to represent House District 35, which includes Bar Harbor, Southwest Harbor, Cranberry Isles, and part of Mount Desert.

Trust and gratitude: a report from the last mile of the campaign

Dear Friends,

Over the past six months, I’ve knocked on the doors of more than 3000 voters in this district. I’ve met a lot of good dogs, been welcomed with extraordinary warmth by many busy people, and routinely had my own preconceptions about our differences happily overturned.

The conversations I’ve had with all of you in your dooryards and kitchens have given me a uniquely privileged overview of the hopes and concerns in our part of Maine.

With overwhelming consistency, people have told me that they understand that the problems that Maine faces are urgent, real, and complex — and that they expect that solving these problems requires respectful negotiation, not entrenched ideology.

Not surprisingly, I’ve found that most share my belief that Maine is a place where resourceful, hard-working individuals thrive in association with vibrant, compassionate communities — and that this identity, in itself, represents perhaps Maine’s most valuable asset, a condition that, while endangered elsewhere, remains vital to our future here.

So, in these last few hours before the election, I want only to report that what I’ve learned fills me with courage and hope for the prospects for this state.

In sharp contrast to the present national narrative, I find we are not a district of polarized, mistrustful individuals. Rather, folks here deeply sense that our real peril lies in losing authority over our own future as we collectively lose local voice against distant influences of mindless gain and spiraling inequity of opportunity.

For our district and our state, I believe this is a struggle worth engaging.

No matter your preference, make sure you vote on Tuesday. I’m confident this state will thrive as we recollect our common individual values.

With gratitude,
Brian Hubbell for House District 35

Community support for a thoughtful, committed reformer

Next week area voters have a chance to send a thoughtful, committed reformer to Augusta, Brian Hubbell.

Brian’s opponent is a good man with his own record of public service in the town of Bar Harbor and if this election were merely a contest about local commitment the choice would not be easy. But the more significant choice on election day is about where we will go as a state in the next two years – in short, whether we continue down the path of habitual incivility, disdain for public health, contempt for labor, hostility to a clean environment, draconian Medicaid cutbacks, and attacks on the teaching profession. That is the path of Governor Paul LePage, as he has amply demonstrated.

It is not the path of Brian Hubbell.

Brian believes that government should serve all the people, not just the few. He believes that, working together, Maine people can chart a different course, a course that emphasizes equal opportunity, public investment in Maine’s children and infrastructure, and a streamlined regulatory environment that protects Maine people who rely on clean air and clean water as essential building blocks for strong families and good jobs.

During the previous administration, we watched with growing admiration as Brian, almost single-handedly, served as lead watchdog against the state’s initial overreach and then as public advocate for smarter school reform statewide. Consolidation was coming, but without Brian’s involvement in Augusta where he earned respect on both sides of the aisle, it would have been far less fruitful.

First as co-chair of MDI’s inter-municipal reorganization planning committee and then as the first chair of MDI’s new Regional School System, Brian has helped to shape island-wide school policy and gained the trust of his peers from other towns, demonstrating that he is a leader who is able and willing to keep an open mind – a rare trait in this era of increasing partisanship.

Because we believe Brian represents a welcome break with the recent past in Augusta, and because we know he will listen hard and work even harder, we urge voters in District 35 to send Brian to Augusta on Nov. 6.

Ruth Westphal, Cranberry Isles
Anne Welles, Southwest Harbor
Ray Vonder Haar, Bar Harbor
Jane Tawney, Southwest Harbor
Bonnie Tai, Bar Harbor
Jeri Spurling, Cranberry Isles
Kate St. Denis, Bar Harbor
Gail Royal, Southwest Harbor
Caroline Pryor, Mount Desert
Jason Pickering, Cranberry Isles
Maudie and John March, Mount Desert
Gail and Rick Leiser, Bar Harbor
Julian Kuffler, Mount Desert
Moorhead Kennedy, Mount Desert
Mary Jellison, Southwest Harbor
Eric Henry, Southwest Harbor
Bo Greene, Bar Harbor
Patsy Fogarty, Southwest Harbor
Elsie Flemings, Bar Harbor
Lindsay Eysnogle, Cranberry Isles
Kaitlyn Duggan, Cranberry Isles
Millard Dorrity, Bar Harbor
Dorothy and Jim Clunan, Mount Desert
Ken Cline, Bar Harbor
Tom Burton, Bar Harbor
Susan Covino Buell, Southwest Harbor
Milja Brecher-Demuro, Bar Harbor
Molly Bogue, Bar Harbor
Connie Blaney, Bar Harbor
Elmer Beal, Mount Desert

“…Active, articulate, and thoughtful” — an endorsement from Hannah Pingree

As a former legislator and leader in the State House, I worked closely with Brian Hubbell over the course of several years on key issues that impacted the island.  As a leader of the MDI school board, Brian was among the most active, articulate, and thoughtful people I encountered during that entire debate. His diligence and solution-oriented approach made a tremendous difference in negotiating a plan that kept the MDI area schools and system of governance intact, and allowed a great school system to continue and thrive.

Now, Brian Hubbell is running for the Maine State House and I can think of no better person to represent the island in the Maine Legislature.  I know his fair and reasonable approach will allow him to work with members on both sides of the aisle, but also make a difference on the issues that matter — especially to the communities of the coast.

I believe Brian will work passionately and intelligently on issues that matter for our state, from creating the jobs of the future, to protecting our environment, to educating opur kids. Whether chairing the MDI School System board, serving on a state-wide climate change task force, or chairing a local forestry committee, Brian has repeatedly shown his understanding for diverse issues and his commitment to community and state. He has proven he has a gift for explaining complicated issues, from tax policy to the school funding formula.

In a time when much of the news out of Augusta is about hot tempers and partisan battles, I can think of no better antidote than electing more people like Brian Hubbell to the State House.

Hannah Pingree,
North Haven

…a unique ability to get things done when the stakes are high, the time is short, and the pressure is on.

It is with the greatest pleasure and enthusiasm that I endorse Brian Hubbell of Bar Harbor to become a member of the Maine House of Representatives.

I have known Mr. Hubbell for many years as a parent and school committee member during the time that I served as your superintendent of schools.

Brian has all the personal characteristics of a great leader. He is bright, hardworking, understanding, compassionate, and dedicated to doing the right thing all of the time to benefit the largest number of people possible.

He listens very carefully to all sides of an issue before making a decision that may have a profound effect on a person’s life and he does not take the impact of those decisions lightly.

Mr. Hubbell does not take no for an answer and can find his way to the root cause of a problem and work with the people to fix it with great tact and persistence.

Above all, Brian has a unique ability to get things done when the stakes are high, the time is short, and the pressure is on.

Brian Hubbell has been a selfless public servant for the citizens of MDI for many years. The time has come for those same citizens to broaden his positive influence on productive change and send him to AUgusta to represent them on the complex statewide issues that affect us all.

Robert Liebow,

Commitment and dedication

To the Editor:

Brian Hubbell and Paul Paradis are competing for election to Maine State Legislative District 35 representing Bar Harbor, Cranberry Isles, Southwest Harbor and the eastern portion of Mount Desert, and despite my best efforts to convince these two fine men to simply share the job, it appears that a choice must be made.

I had the good fortune to work daily with Brian as clerk-of-the-works on the Northeast Harbor Library’s construction project from 2005 through 2007, in which capacity I witnessed his commitment and dedication to the project, his wisdom and ability to explain and negotiate among differing opinions, his willingness to go the extra mile.  I also was peripherally involved in his opposition to Governor Baldacci’s ill-considered educational reform effort, and know first hand that his dedication to the education of our children is boundless. Brian understands and cherishes the varied character of our island people and communities.  Finally, I was privy to his dignified and polite response to injustice, and I therefore know his integrity is tested and proven.

I hope you will join in supporting Brian Hubbell’s election to our legislature, for he will bring to bear wisdom, commitment and civility we sorely need.

Robert R. Pyle,
Northeast Harbor
September 27, 2012

An independent thinker and good listener with the best interests of the community at heart

I write to express my personal support for Brian Hubbell, a local candidate for  the Maine House of Representatives.

Maine Conservation Voters, a statewide, non-partisan organization where I serve as board chair, also has endorsed Brian in his bid for the Legislature along with 97 other candidates seeking Maine House and Senate seats.

These candidates stand out for their demonstrated commitment to protecting Maine’s environment.

Brian’s campaign approach – Lets Work Together for MDI – sums up what will be one of the great strengths he brings to the job. A genuine interest and ability to work together to govern Maine are much needed qualities in Augusta (as well as Washington, D.C.).

In his years of service on our district school board, Brian has proven himself a leader and creative problem solver. He’s an independent thinker, good listener and has the best interests of the community at heart.

A candidate’s environmental ethic is only one lens I use to evaluate a candidate, but for me it’s an important one. Maine’c lean air, water, land, and wildlife are the roots of our economy and way of life. Our natural resources support good health, recreations, and well-paying jobs in every corner of the state. The set Maine apart and are our biggest competitive advantage.

Go, Brian!

Caroline M. Pryor,
Mount Desert

Positions on 10 critical issues facing Maine

As part of its 2012 election coverage, the Bangor Daily News has posed ten questions to all state candidates for Maine’s Legislature.  Below are my responses.  (My opponent declined to respond.)


How do you propose the Legislature closes Maine’s budget gap?

Balancing Maine’s budget in the wake of recession requires hard choices, shared sacrifice, and resolve toward longer-term priorities.

While striving for greater efficiency in government must be a constant goal, it is irresponsible for the Legislature to cut taxes without concurrently doing the real work of deciding which current public functions Maine prudently can abandon or which essential public service costs can, with a clean conscience, be shifted elsewhere without devastation to those onto whose shoulders the burden is transferred – such as struggling property taxpayers, the young, the ailing, or the working poor.

To do only half the job, as was done with the final partisan budget of the last session, by cutting taxes without acknowledging the terminated services or accounting for the shifted costs, risks harm to Maine’s long-term prosperity.

Do you think same-sex marriage should be legal in Maine?

Yes. Stable, loving, committed families benefit Maine communities.

Do you support school choice?

No. Subsidizing additional private choices weakens Maine’s capacity to provide equitable access to good public education.

I believe this question is mis-framed. Maine families continue to have the choice of attending neighborhood public schools, to home-school, or to pay tuition to private and religious schools.

Maine’s first obligation must be to provide a comprehensive, equitable system of educational opportunity for all, not subsidizing individuals who choose not to engage in the hard work of sustaining and improving their own community’s schools.

The critical question before the next Legislature will be whether the state’s obligation to maintain a comprehensive system for good, equitable education is harmed by additionally subsidizing students who choose to go elsewhere outside their communities.

We’re already failing to fund Maine’s essential obligation towards the public good of education. At this time, It’s inequitable additionally to subsidize private choices.

Worse, ‘choice’ initiatives that seek to subsidize new private and for-profit businesses frequently do so by committing the expenditure of local property tax dollars without an appropriate balance of public oversight.

Do you think Maine’s school consolidation program has been successful?

As a clumsy and punitive overreach, consolidation distracted many Maine schools from necessary collaborative local improvement.

Generally, no. As a top-down directive, consolidation was a clumsy overreach from the start. Worse, it grew into a wasteful distraction from Maine’s real needs for collaborative improvement in education.

As many know, our school district on MDI was an early and effective opponent to the original legislation. While there’s little satisfaction in having our predictions proved correct about the community damage that followed from the top-down aspects of the mandate, I’m proud that our district was able to negotiate the eventual provisions of the law allowing more locally-responsive cooperative models for school systems. Now many schools which were forced into non-productive reorganizations are looking to this alternative structure as a hopeful way forward.

Do you think Maine should expand MaineCare as proposed by the president under the Affordable Care Act?

Maine should work with the federal law to maintain the state’s expanded Medicaid program.

Where possible, we should be working to increase access to good, affordable, preventative health care for Maine people, not curtailing it. Rather than fighting the ACA, Maine should be working with the law along with its accompanying federal funds and tax credits toward insurance that better serves Maine families and small businesses.

What is the biggest thing Maine can do to attract more jobs to the state?

Build on Maine communities’ traditional commitment to education, entrepreneurship, and civic involvement.

To move forward, Maine needs to understand clearly its assets. These historically have been well-represented by commitment to education and a shared ethic for decency, innovation, entrepreneurship, and hard work. As a small population of tightly connected communities, civic involvement may indeed also be one of our greatest assets.

Maine must renew its commitment to the promise of all levels of education to sustain a workforce of competent, adaptable critical thinkers who can work collaboratively to solve increasingly challenging problems.

Properly managed and funded, Maine’s community and technical schools, colleges, and universities are capable of meeting our needs. Locally, established institutions like the Jackson Lab are leading lights in globally significant research. And, at the root, Maine still has communities and a connected way of life that families find attractive.

We need to recognize and amplify these assets, not mischaracterize them as failures..

Do you support lowering the state income tax? What state spending would you cut to make up for the loss of revenue?

No. We need a fairer tax structure that doesn’t harm those who are struggling the most to earn a basic living in difficult times.

In an income tax-cut race to the bottom, Maine can’t win. We need to understand the whole balance of public revenue in Maine. In our district, people have seen property taxes increase as a direct result of curtailed state budgets. We need a fairer tax structure that doesn’t harm those who are struggling the most to earn a basic living in difficult times.

Are Maine’s public assistance benefits too generous? How should they be changed?

Maine needs both a short-term safety net and a long-term commitment to build new opportunities for self-reliance.

Most Maine people are fundamentally self-reliant and want only a decent opportunity to earn a living. National recession and the harsh realities of global capital flow have caused many Mainers to lose work through no fault of their own. Maine does a reasonable job of providing an emergency social safety net to meet short-term hardship. Ultimately, the most cost-effective course for the state is to enact policies which expand opportunities for those in need to return to self-reliance. Towards this end, I believe that education and early health care offer the best return on public investment.

What should the state do to lower energy costs?

Increase conservation and efficiency. Commit in the long-term to locally-produced, sustainable energy sources.

Increased conservation and improved efficiency remain the most effective ways to reduce energy costs. It’s not glamorous policy but it’s true. To reach a stable and secure energy future, we also need to commit to the slower process of developing more efficient transportation systems and an energy infrastructure that makes increased use of locally-generated sustainable sources of power such as wind and tides. Bonds for research and technology and tax credits for private investment are appropriate mechanisms for moving Maine in this direction.

Should Maine place more restrictions on abortion?

No. Current Maine law covers this well.

Health and reproductive decisions are deeply personal and should be settled between a woman and her doctor without additional government intrusion.

Doing better for Maine

To the Editor:

Brian Hubbell is running for the State Legislature in District 35, which includes Bar Harbor, Southwest Harbor, the Cranberry Isles and most of Mount Desert.

We come from each of these four communities.

We are enthusiastic supporters of Brian.

Brian has voluntarily spent years both here and in Augusta working to protect our communities’ schools from attempts at heavy-handed interference by Augusta. He knows how the Legislature really works.

We personally know that he approaches tasks like this with extraordinary dedication, uncommon intelligence, humor, patience, and a deep and sincere mutual respect for those with other perspectives.

It’s the type of work ethic and dedication we have seen him display as a long time member of his school board, as a participant in countless community activities, as a parent, and as a candidate. He has knocked on hundreds of our doors and has many more to go. He has a genuine interest in your perspective and concerns. We hope you get a chance to chat with him personally.

Lately, Augusta has become more fractious, aggressive, and sometime downright rude place.  Brian’s campaign slogan speaks volumes about how he would approach his job as our Legislator: “Let’s work together”.

But his cordiality aside, we need someone who fairly, accurately and stoutly represents the prevailing perspectives of our district. We need someone we can be sure will not be inclined or pressured to provide votes for the agenda of the current administration, which, by word and deed, has chosen to pursue policies that are not in our best interests on such topics as access to health care and health insurance, public education, fair tax policies, the right to vote, and adequate support for vital public needs.

Under this Administration, Maine was the only state in New England and one of only five in the nation whose economy shrank last year.  We are now dead last in personal income growth. Moody’s downgraded our credit rating last year in part because our state’s reserves are overly dedicated to providing tax cuts, 66% of which will go to the top 20% income earners.

We can’t go on like we are now. We can do better.

Let’s work together once again. Let’s elect Brian Hubbell to help restore a sense of what our state government can and should do that is prudent and positive for us all.

Connie Blaney, Bar Harbor, ME
Eric Henry, Southwest Harbor, ME
Julian Kuffler, MD MPH, Mount Desert, ME
Jeri Spurling, Cranberry Isles

Endorsement by Representative Elsie Flemings

I am honored to strongly support Brian Hubbell for State Representative to serve District 35, which includes Bar Harbor, Cranberry Isles, part of Mount Desert, and Southwest Harbor. As the current Representative for District 35, I have worked hard to bring the voices of my constituents to Augusta, to protect what we value, and to work for positive change.

I have absolute confidence that Brian Hubbell will serve us with dedication, energy, and effectiveness if elected as the next State Representative. Brian will bring to the Legislature extensive experience in public policy as well as his passion for our communities and state. As a leader on our school board, as a builder and contract manager, as the father of a wonderful high school student, as the husband of an incredible artist, and as a volunteer on numerous local endeavors, Brian demonstrates commitment to community and to service every day.

Brian is a deeply thoughtful listener. He is always interested in learning what community members are thinking, what they care about, and what their concerns are. This is a critical component of being an effective legislator – to seek out the opinions and ideas of constituents, and to be open to new information about the multitude of issues that arise throughout the legislative session.

Brian is an extraordinarily hard worker. From managing his construction business, (coordinating such projects as the Northeast Harbor Library), to advocating for our local schools, to volunteering as assistant coach for our high school track and cross country teams, Brian gives incredible time, commitment, and energy to all that he does. I have no doubt that Brian will bring this same dedication and perseverance to the Legislature.

Brian’s values and principles are what we need in Augusta. Brian is passionate about maintaining high quality public education, as a cornerstone of democracy and a critical component of equal opportunity. Brian is committed to supporting our local businesses and promoting sustainable, year-round prosperity. Brian knows that to have thriving businesses, it is critical to have healthy, educated workers. Brian is committed to supporting preventative health care, which improves people lives and reduces medical costs, increasing happiness and prosperity. Brian is passionate about ensuring access to high quality health care for all. He is committed to protecting our environment, addressing climate change, and ensuring clean air, clean water, and access to healthy food for all. Brian will bring these principles to Augusta, and he will work with dedication and thoughtfulness to serve our communities and help bring about positive change.

I am excited to be voting for Brian Hubbell as our next District 35 State Representative. I hope you will join me in electing Brian on November 6th.

Elsie Flemings

State Representative, District 35