2012-06-08 / Front Page

Dill calls herself ‘progressive democrat’

By Jack Flagler Staff Writer

Near the end of her speech at Maine’s Democratic Party Convention in August on June 2, Cape Elizabeth’s Cynthia Dill attempted to dispel what she said is the myth that Maine must elect someone from the state’s second congressional district to replace Olympia Snowe in the Senate.

“No Democratic candidate should be judged by her zip code rather than the strength of her qualifications to serve,” Dill said to a round of applause.

Later, Dill explained why she emphasized that her hometown was not a negative factor in her campaign.

“I just reject the notion that because I’m from Cape Elizabeth or from southern Maine, somehow I can’t appeal to democrats in the northern part of the state. I think that democrats in the northern part of the state want what democrats everywhere want - jobs, access to health care, social and economic justice,” Dill said.

“It’s important for democrats not to fall into this trap: ‘Even though she might be a better qualified candidate, we have to go with the guy from the second congressional district.’ I just reject that. I don’t think it’s right.”

Dill moved to Cape Elizabeth in 2004 with her husband Thomas and her two children. Fourteen years earlier, she had moved to Maine and set up a law practice in the state after graduating from Northeastern University with a law degree in 1990. Dill said it was the schools and the community that drew her to Cape Elizabeth.

“It’s a real high quality of life. We’re so lucky. You know, low crime, good schools, wonderful community, art, food. We have it all here, and that’s why I feel so passionate about protecting what’s important. I see how good we have it here,” Dill said.

“Once you’ve lived in a community that is so supportive and has the resources to educate kids, and relatively low crime, you see that this is a good thing and these are the values I want to bring to Washington. We do have to focus on community, and our kids and our schools and letting people live in a place that is safe, where they can get a job, where they can get educated and have a beautiful environment.”

Shortly after arriving in Cape Elizabeth, Dill ran for a seat on the town council. She said she decided to run for political office after becoming frustrated when George W. Bush won his second term as president. She lost that council race by six votes, but in 2006, she ran again won a seat on the council. That led to a seat in the Maine House of Representatives and, last year, a seat in the Maine Senate. Now, after six years in local and state politics, Dill said she is ready to move on to the next step.

“The job in Augusta is incredibly rewarding and I wouldn’t change anything. But six years in the part-time citizen Legislature was enough time for me to make a contribution in terms of public service. It’s pretty difficult to manage a profession and be in the Legislature because the schedule is so unpredictable and there’s such a huge time commitment,” Dill said.

She added that she does not support the way Snowe had voted recently, and thought she could offer Maine voters a more dynamic choice in the democratic field for Senate.

Snowe is stepping down after 34 years in Washington because of what she said are overly partisan attitudes in the Senate. Dill said the partisanship in Congress reflects on the country as a whole.

“I think the Congress reflects the polarization of this country, and that’s something that, while troublesome to me, as Maine’s U.S. Senator I don’t think it’s my job to go down and try to change other people’s minds,” Dill said.

She described Independent Angus King as “aspirin” to those who are tired of hearing of the polarization in Washington. She thinks the former Maine governor has not made it clear where he stands on important issues, and therefore would not be the best choice for the people of Maine.

Dill describes herself as a progressive democrat. She supports the Affordable Care Act and said she believes the country should move toward a single-payer health care system. She supports the repeal of the filibuster, federal decriminalization of marijuana, and said she would serve as a “stopgap” to some of the “more extreme measures put forth by republicans in the Senate.”

Dill added that she is prepared to stand by President Barack Obama to support issues she thinks Maine’s working families are most focused on, which are jobs, health care and the economy.

Primary elections for both the democratic and the republican nominees to the U.S. Senate will be held on June 12 around the state.

Staff Writer Jack Flagler can be reached at 207-282-4337 ext 219.

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