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

“…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

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

Call to reject out-of-state “cash bashing” in Maine elections

Candidates Statement Rejecting “Campaign Cash Bashing from Away”

In Maine, we define our challenges and choose able leaders to meet them through civil political campaigns. Most Americans admire our fair and frugal campaign rules and strong voter turnout. But some from away try to buy our elections by funding communications that misrepresent Maine candidates. These out-of-state big check writers wield significant but anonymous influence. Their trash floods into our state in the final days of campaigns when there is little opportunity to confront the damage. This misleads Maine voters. As candidates standing to represent our communities in Augusta, we reject such “cash bashing” from away. We will work together to defeat this damaging mischief. We call on Maine media and all citizens to join us in this common cause.


Brian Hubbell, September 10, 2012

Bumper sticker!

bumper sticker

We have a limited number of these  bumper stickers.  Would you like one for your car?

Email and we’ll get one to you.

Fourth of July parade in Bar Harbor


Signs ready for the Fourth of July parade

Community milestones and celebrations

Dear Friends,

Punctuated by school graduations, this past week has been occasion for
many reflections.

Yesterday afternoon at the high school, we heard our warmly-loved
outgoing superintendent Rob Liebow tag-team with equally revered poet
and artist Ashley Bryan in a remarkable and unrehearsed address about
the eleven essential elements of education, during which the
auditorium’s rafter trusses rang both exuberantly with the cadences of
Langston Hughes and poignantly with the receding tones of the Bear
Island bell buoy.

Following similar structure, the valedictorian and salutatorian merged
their respective speeches into one brilliant Socratic dialog about
whether the experience of education was more memorably represented as
individual achievement or collective experience.

While we surely were all gathered to honor individual graduates, given
the turnout it seemed the latter argument carried the day.

This was even more abundantly plain Saturday evening at the
Neighborhood House on Islesford where most of the citizens of both
Islesford and Great Cranberry turned out, along with many relatives
and friends from the mainland, for a potluck celebration of the
graduation of the two eighth-graders from the Ashley Bryan School.

With the next eldest students at the Ashley Bryan school now only in
the fifth grade, one can appreciate that graduation ceremonies there
are anticipated much more like a transit of Venus than as annual
calendar dates.

To match the ratio of more than a hundred adults for two graduates
Saturday night on Islesford, imagine nearly ten thousand turning out
on Sunday for the high school graduation, each bringing a homemade
dish, along with perhaps another gift of a poem, a telling anecdote,
or a hand-stitched quilt.

Similarly, on Thursday evening local businesses, individuals, and
non-profit groups awarded nearly $300,000 in scholarships to our high
school graduates, equal evidence of how much this community willingly
commits in hope for the success and happiness of our neighbors’

So I can happily report with assurance that this graduation season
only confirms how deeply education here continues to entwine with our
sense of community. Education truly is our collective project and we
understand that the success of all of our children is
indistinguishable from our own.

We all should be proud that this value conveys through both ongoing
individual commitment and community celebration.  While this
commitment holds, the future is bright with hope.

I’m eager to fight for such communities.

With gratitude,
Brian Hubbell

‘Service above self’: learning from Rotary

Brian Hubbell speaking at MDI Rotary lunchFounded on the understanding that businesses prosper when they ethically support each other and give back to their communities with ‘service above self’, Rotary models the success and ideals of local enlightened self-interest.

After being invited to speak at the MDI Rotary lunch this past Wednesday, I was struck by how the Rotary’s own “four-way test” for decision-making effectively parallels John Rawls‘ theories of public reason and overlapping consensus, both of which underpin conventional liberal philosophy.

In essence, as an ethical criterion of speech and action, the test asks:

  • Is it true?
  • Is it fair?
  • Does it build goodwill?
  • Is it beneficial to all?

To me this seems a remarkably good test for public policy decisions as well.