Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I'm still here

Sorry I haven't posted anything for some time but I am working on a book which Tilbury House will publish within the next four or five months. It is a book about my legislative experience during the first four years I was in the legislature. It is a journal for the most part and at the end I talk about our continuing struggles. More on the book soon.

I was appointed to a Legislative committee last year and that committee met during the summer and had it's last meeting a few weeks ago. The committee was the "Prosperity Committee" I fought to be appointed to it seeing as though I felt Maine Indians were also Maine citizens and we deserve to be prosperous just like everyone else.

Committees have never been all that productive but I just wanted the tribes on the radar screen if anything lead to real prosperity. I did manage to get the tribes written into the first page of the report and also the committee chairs agreed to send a letter to the Department of Transportation asking them to work cooperatively with the tribes. That's not much, but it's something.

We are really trying to work towards economic self sufficiency with or without gaming. Perhaps at some point we will find the one successful project we need to launch us on the road to attain that goal.

I still have the slot bill out there and it looks like another dog fight with the Governor. I'm sure he will veto the bill. I feel it is no longer a question of expansion. slot machines are here and they have been legalized by the public. It is clear and simply a matter of fairness. Maybe this time enough legislators will see that and vote to override the pending veto.

For me it was never about gaming. It was always about fairness. I'm tired of talking about it and I'm sure everyone is tired of hearing it. The discussion and the debates will continue on this subject for a long time to come. I just want people to remember that for many years the word casino could not be spoken in the halls of the State House. If it was and someone heard it said then any bill that was associated with the word was dead on arrival.

The tribes were courageous enough to bring the idea forward. Did the tribes benefit from the idea? No..but someone did.

There was a memo passed around to all the legislators in the House asking if it was fair to allow one ethnic group to have a casino and shouldn't a casino be allowed to be operated by anyone? I got very upset and wrote back to this legislator that there was a casino operating now and it was not run by our ethnic group. One group was benefiting it was not us.

It is only a matter of time before there is a casino in Maine and I would be shocked if it was Indian run. We offered our hand in friendship and had every finger broken, It was very painful. It seems we have the ideas and history repeats itself. Indians get marginalized and their resources are stolen once again. I'm hoping someday the ending will change.

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