Ralph Chapman reflects on eight years in the Maine House

Ralph Chapman reflects on eight years in the Maine House

by Anne Berleant

A scientist and a legislator elected to four consecutive terms in the Maine House, Brooksville resident Ralph Chapman ended his final days representing District 133—Blue Hill, Brooklin, Brooksville, Castine, Sedgwick and Surry—as a member of the Green Independent Party after leaving the Democratic Party in mid-2017. ...

“I’m in a healing mode,” he added with a smile.

Basically, the legislature was “more corrupt than expected” when he first walked into the State House in Augusta. He fell out with his caucus early. “I didn’t accept loyalty as the primary mode of operation, and since I refused to be told how to vote, I was outcast. It’s a loyalty-based bullying culture, which was a disappointment and a source of frustration.” ...

One issue Chapman hoped to address was metal mining. A resident of Brooksville, home to the ongoing Superfund site at the former Callahan Mine, and a neighbor to Blue Hill, site of the former Kerramerican Mine, Chapman worked to pass legislation that would prohibit groundwater contamination from metal mining.

“The reason why I ran for office was to bring the tools of science to bear. That was a spectacular failure with regards to the metal mining issue,” he said. Both Democrats and Republicans “chose to ignore the science and pass legislation to allow permanent, unremediable groundwater contamination of toxic heavy metals and acids, thereby opening the state to the same problems it’s had with [Callahan and Kerramerican] mines.”

Over his four terms, Chapman said he witnessed civility decline in the legislature “as it has society wide,” and less bipartisan effort on one of the legislature’s biggest jobs: crafting and passing the state’s biennial budget. ...

Chapman encourages participation in state and local government in all forms, from voting to running for office.

“The leaders of our community might not necessarily be elected officials [but] are amongst us and all of them are the quiet, self-effacing behind-the-scenes, hardworking folks getting things done and inspiring others to get things done.”

 

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http://castinepatriot.com/news/2019/jan/3/ralph-chapman-reflects-on-eight-years-in-the-maine/#.XJ170BwnZf8

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