As Maine state director for The Humane Society of the United States, I advocate for the animals who call this great state home. From our wild neighbors to our furry companions, animals are an integral part of what makes Maine unique, and they are a treasure that deserves protection.
The needs of animals are diverse, and so is a day in the life of a state director. One day I might be at the legislature advocating for laws that protect animals, another day I might be assisting law enforcement with rescuing more than 50 cats from a hoarding situation –as we did last year in Casco. Sometimes I travel to other states to help with disaster relief, as when our team was on the ground rescuing animals during hurricane Sandy. I’ll be sharing more about my experiences working on these and other issues in the months ahead, and will keep you up to date on Maine’s animal welfare topics, encouraging discussion on these important issues and informing you of ways you can become an active participant in the effort to protect animals.
Representing the interests of our supporters in the legislature is also an important part of my position. The legislative session is coming to a close in Maine, and one major victory for 2013 was the defeat a constitutional amendment that would have taken away our longstanding voting rights. This legislation would have prohibited citizen initiatives on wildlife issues. If the bill passed, this would have been the only subject ever restricted from Maine ballot measures, setting a very dangerous precedent. It was a clear power grab designed to silence the voters and prevent animal advocates from going to the ballot to stop cruel and unsporting practices like bear trapping, hounding and baiting.
After we led an enormous grassroots effort to stop this political power grab, it failed to receive the required two-thirds votes in both the House and Senate. Many legislators spoke out against the proposal, decrying this voter suppression measure.
After 100 years of being able to vote on ballot measures, we as Mainers deserve to keep this important constitutional right, and the Maine legislature agreed. See how your state representative and senator voted here. And check back soon for my next post!