Senate Republican Radio Address, 3/26/21

Senator Lisa Keim discusses the many bills being heard on Monday, March 26 regarding a governor’s power under a State of Emergency.

Hi, I am Senator Lisa Keim from Oxford County representing the beautiful Western Maine mountain region and happy spring. I am reaching out today with an important message to help you get involved with the legislative process.

On Monday, March 29, the State and Local Government committee will hear several bills that seek to alter the laws governing emergency powers. This will be the opportunity for you to be heard on this Issue. So, please, make plans to join.

Over the past year, as governors across the country dismantled the lives and livelihoods of people all across this nation to defend against a public health crisis there has been shocking little oversight of their actions.

This issue isn’t whether any governor has done a good job during this time, it’s that governors have adopted a decision-making process that abandons one of America’s greatest strengths—the diversity of Democracy.

State Legislators serve three primary functions critical to sustaining our form of government. First, as the people’s representatives it is our rightful role to craft and create the laws which we then agree to live by.

Second, Legislators are to represent their districts. It is my duty to represent the concerns and needs of the citizens here in Western Maine.

Finally, Legislators perform a crucial oversight function over the Executive Branch and government bureaucratic agencies.

In this prolonged state of emergency, the like of which was never conceived when emergency powers were first established, all three critical roles of the Legislature have been stripped away. Yet, there has never been a time when balance, diverse perspective and oversight are more urgently needed.

The best decision making happens when disparate viewpoints are empowered at the governing table. One person, surrounded by like-minded advisors will never be able to see the fallacies and blind spots of their mindsets and decision-making approach. In fact, this well-known phenomenon is called “groupthink.” Yet, it is in this myopic environment that emergency orders which have dictated our lives for a year have been crafted, without the transparency that allow us, the governed, to know the information, justification, and process employed. Equally disturbing is the lack of cost versus benefit analysis.

For this reason, many bills that have been introduced this session, including five that I have sponsored, seek to revise emergency powers.

Maine people should never again be governed in the dark, having their civil liberties stripped away without a voice in the process for an indefinite period of time. We should be able to have a state of emergency without handing unlimited authority over to the Executive Branch with no oversight.

Please join on March 29, to share how the emergency orders have affected you, your family, or business and let’s flood the committee with the perspective that has too long gone unheard.

Thanks for listening. I hope to see very, very many of you, via Zoom, next Monday.

This is Senator Lisa Keim. Have a Wonderful weekend.

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