PORTLAND, Maine — It’s not typically that Maine is a middle of nationwide political intrigue.
For 3 days this week, the Nationwide Governors Affiliation introduced leaders from throughout the nation, whether or not or not it’s the governors themselves, businesspeople, non-profit leaders and members of the nationwide media.
“It helps put Maine on the map,” mentioned Gov. Janet Mills, who mentioned the convention introduced between 600 and 1,000 individuals to Portland, many for the primary time. “It’s a good time of 12 months to deal with what Maine has to supply.”
At a time of great polarization, many attendees famous Maine’s historical past of bipartisanship and moderation. It paired effectively with what they had been attempting to do on the convention, they mentioned.
The convention facilitated dialogue on matters from schooling to tourism. One session from the final day of the convention was highlighted by Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, who was speaking about current photographs from the Webb telescope that showcased far-off galaxies.
For Cox, it made him greater than sure there have to be different life on the market. However it additionally made him ponder a number of the divisive points in as we speak’s politics.
“We struggle about some actually silly shit,” Cox mentioned to laughter.
Whereas it was Cox’s first time in Portland, he had been to Maine earlier than. In truth, he vacationed together with his spouse in Bangor round 15 years in the past, he instructed the Bangor Every day Information in an interview.
“We noticed the leaves,” Cox mentioned. “We liked our time there.”
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey was the longest away from house of any of the governors – practically 3,000 miles. Of the 13 governors who spoke to the Bangor Every day Information, he was the one one who mentioned it was his first time within the state: He took the prospect to discover Portland, Freeport and Kennebunkport.
“We’ve had eight or 9 meals, and with that eight or 9 lobsters,” Ducey mentioned. “We’re gonna be again once more quickly, hopefully.”
Ducey can be among the many Republican governors who supported the Supreme Courtroom’s choice to overturn federal abortion rights. Abortion didn’t explicitly come up in any of the affiliation’s public periods.
Whereas Arizona is vastly completely different, many governors famous the similarities their state had with Maine: Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota famous that his state has an extended border with Canada and had been equally affected by the closings that occurred because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He mentioned that Portland seemed like a number of the adjustments he was attempting to make to his state with a Foremost Road Initiative, particularly by way of walkability, revitalization and outside eating.
Gov. John Bel Edwards of Louisiana, who was making his fourth journey to the state in six years and holidays typically in Islesboro, famous the shared Acadian heritage that his state has with Maine.
“You open the cellphone e book in Maine, you see the identical names you’ll see in south Louisiana,” Bel Edwards mentioned.
Gov. John Carney of Delaware was possible in Maine longer than most out-of-state attendees: he had already been there every week on Friday, flying into Portland however driving a rented automobile together with his spouse to a household marriage ceremony exterior of Acadia Nationwide Park.
“My spouse loves what she calls ‘rocks on the water.’ There’s lots of that right here in Maine,” Carney mentioned. “This can be a sort of particular magnificence that we don’t see typically within the mid-Atlantic states.”
Carney mentioned the most important similarity he noticed between Maine and Delaware was its repute for moderation, however he additionally famous that no state within the nation had been unaffected by the political polarization that has occurred in recent times, one thing he bemoaned.
By late afternoon, the safety presence exterior each the Vacation Inn and the close by Westin, the place attendees stayed, had dissipated, although some attendees remained in Portland. The convention was over, however the efforts to construct some type of compromise amid deepening divides would stay.
Jacques Pitteloud, the Swiss ambassador to the U.S., was blunt: “We want an America that isn’t tearing itself aside,” he mentioned.
“It could clearly be smug for a rustic of 8.5 million to inform the best nation on earth that they’ve one thing to be taught from us,” Pitteloud mentioned. “However sure, the political class within the U.S. has one thing to be taught from Switzerland.”