US Rep Chellie Pingree Keynote Speaker at League of Conservation Voters Conference in Portland

US Rep. Chellie Pingree and Gene Karpinski, of League of Conservation Voters Chatting

By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,124)

“Republican caucuses are so divided now. We used to be able to find people with similar opinions. Not any more. We need to change the outlook we now have in the Congress,” said US Representative Chellie Pingree, to an attentive crowd this afternoon attending a two day conference of the League of Conservation Voters (LCV). The 16th annual conference was held at the Holiday Inn on Spring Street here in Portland.

Mike Palamuso, VP, Communications for LCV told mhn.com prior to Rep. Pingree’s address that this membership organization focuses on trying to pass and implement sound environmental policies, at the national and local level. It also endorses and opposes candidates and helps to elect or defeat them based on their records.

1970 was an important year in the environmental movement according to Palamuso. It was the year of the first Earth Day, the same year that LCV was organized and the year that Republican President Richard Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency. “Rivers were on fire because of trash in them and no one was holding polluters accountable. It was a very different time because Democrats and Republicans came together to protect the environment,” Palamuso said – echoing the sentiments that Rep. Pingree would make in her keynote address.

The two day workshops were designed to share and develop new strategies to accomplish the League’s mission. The workshops were closed to the press and mhn.com was asked not to attend any of them. In fact, Palamuso interrupted one such workshop to ask mhn.com to leave it. The address by Rep. Pingree was open to the public, however.

Rep. Pingree (married to the millionaire businessman S. Donald Sussman) spends some of the time in the East End area of Portland is an organic farmer on North Haven Island. She had a small business there and was raising three children when she decided to get into politics – working her way up the political ladder. She serves on the Agriculture Committee where she is working to bring about changes to the Farm Bill that would benefit local farmers and consumers.

“Maine is a very food vested state. We love to eat here and we care where our food comes from. Maine is clear about that. Locally sourced restaurants do the best here,” Rep. Pingree said. She also gave the crowed from all over the country some tips about especially good bars in the area.

LCV is a national membership organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. It has 30 states who are members, including Maine. The Maine office is located in Augusta. For more information on the national organization, please visit www.lcv.org or call (202) 454-4598.