Instead of complaining about LePage, Eves and Alfond should hold a summit of their own

I’m sure Rep. Mark Eves and Sen. Justin Alfond are kind, caring men who genuinely mean well, even though I don’t personally know either of them. I don’t know Gov. Paul LePage either, and I’m less sure about his intentions. I do know that despite the differences, sometimes headlines about Eves and Alfond, both Democrats, leave me thinking the same thing I think when I read about the governor’s antics: Grow up.

I was very disappointed to read Eves and Alfond are still kvetching about not being included in the governor’s drug summit. The primary focus of his summit is law enforcement, but there will be some health care-oriented participation. I wholeheartedly agree with the gentlemen that the governor should be working with a more diverse group of stakeholders to gather information and strategize.

The problem is, they, of all people, should have accepted by now that LePage does not seem to care what they think.

AUGUSTA, MAINE -- 05/21/15 -- House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick.  (Troy R. Bennett | BDN)

AUGUSTA, MAINE — 05/21/15 — House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick. (Troy R. Bennett | BDN)

But that shouldn’t stop them from thinking. And meeting. And gathering information of their own to help them prepare for the upcoming legislative session, which will most likely include initiatives from the governor reflecting his interpretation of his summit.

Judging whether or not to support any initiatives resulting from the governor’s exclusive summit will require having information to gauge the validity and usefulness of his perceptions. Disagreeing with the governor — as is the most likely outcome given the extent to which these gentlemen have failed to agree in the past — will take data, levels of understanding, and anecdotal evidence.

They won’t get this information kvetching.

AUGUSTA, MAINE -- 12/03/14 -- Senate Minority Leader Justin Alfond, D-Portland, speaks at the State House in Augusta. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

AUGUSTA, MAINE — 12/03/14 — Senate Minority Leader Justin Alfond, D-Portland, speaks at the State House in Augusta. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

The headline about their most recent complaining came out the morning of Sen. Angus King’s summit on addiction in Brewer. How nice it would have been to read a headline about Eves and Alfond touring jails and our prison to meet with addicts or reaching out to families who are not only dealing with addiction but raising the children of addicts. Or to read about legislative leadership coming together to hold a summit of their own and welcoming input from both King and LePage’s summit.

I’d like to think Eves would be tackling this critical, life-or-death issue with the same vision and initiative he planned to use at Good Will-Hinckley had LePage not interfered with his hiring process. Good executives lead even during contentious or otherwise difficult times.

In recovery circles, the Serenity prayer is often repeated. Eves and Alfond have me thinking of the line, Grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change. They can’t control LePage. Just about everyone else in Maine has probably accepted that.

What they can do is lead through initiatives and information gathering of their own. Through the legislative committees that monitor such things, legislative leaders have access to countless stakeholders in corrections, public safety, health care and treatment circles. They have all the tools they need to trump or outshine anything LePage’s limited scope can create.

Patricia Callahan

About Patricia Callahan

Trish is a writer who lives in Augusta. She has worked professionally in education and social services.