OUR VIEW: Kevin Raye — A change in Congress to suit Maine

File photo

Kevin Raye

In the 2002 congressional campaign to replace outgoing Congressman John Baldacci, then-Maine Senate President Michael Michaud defeated Kevin Raye to win the seat. We supported Michaud in that race based on his political experience, his connection to working people and his folksy, friendly nature.

It is now time for a change.

During the past decade, Michaud has adopted a low-key profile on everything but veterans issues, and is comfortably part of an increasingly listless Congress.

We can’t afford listless.

Maine has only two seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and we need someone in the 2nd District seat who is aggressive about jobs, the economy, cost-cutting and responsible spending.

Maine’s current Senate president, Kevin Raye, is that person.

A Maine native who runs a successful small family business, Raye is among the state’s largest employer groups: small business owners.

He understands the struggles and rewards of making his own way, and the tough personal decisions and sacrifices that have to be made along that path.

He also knows Washington, having worked for Sen. Olympia Snowe there for 17 years, including more than six years as her chief-of-staff, a fact that she has publicly said makes Raye well equipped for Congress himself.

Raye lives in Perry — a town of fewer than 1,000 residents — and represents Washington County, and parts of Hancock and Penobscot counties. So, naturally, his focus while serving in the state Senate has been to address the inequities faced by rural Mainers. This is vital experience to bring to Washington, where he will be needed to fight that fight on a much larger scale.

A Republican who represents his party proudly, Raye — like Snowe — is not hanging on the right wing. He’s a guy of balance between funding programs and responsible spending, of examining need against revenue and making solid financial decisions that serve society.

Isn’t that what we want in our congressman? Thoughtful balance?

As we noted in 2010 when endorsing Jason Levesque for the 2nd District seat, Michaud is one of Washington’s so-called Blue Dogs, a gently right-leaning Democrat. Even with his lean, though, he’s a loyalist to his party. And, since everyone outside the Beltway recognizes that partisanship is killing this country’s unity, Maine can’t afford a representative who is comfortably following the party.

We need a leader who is, as Raye has demonstrated, a consensus builder and a doer.

Michaud defends his low-profile — which is so low he has twice been included in Roll Call’s so-called Obscure Caucus of the non-influential — by saying he’s not a show horse. He’s a workhorse.

That’s true.

He’s become a power lifter on veterans issues, and his skills and passion to help veterans has been his signature work in Congress.

According to the Maine Department of Labor, we have the fourth highest percent of veterans among our population, a fact that demonstrates a proud streak of volunteerism and patriotism. However, on average, the rate of disability among veterans is higher than among non-veterans, pushing up treatment costs in Maine and contributing to under-employability rates here.

That’s expensive, and it’s a problem that must be addressed.

Being a congressman is more than a one-issue job, though, and Michaud’s experience and passion would be put to better use inside the Veterans Administration where he can bring the changes instituted in Maine to the rest of the country, for the benefit of all veterans.

Although dismayed by what he calls the hyper-partisanship and polarization of Washington, Raye is determined to battle the current and rigid “take no prisoners” approach currently residing within the Capitol’s walls.

One step in that direction, he believes, is working to repair the damage of the Citizens United decision that now shields the source of big money in political campaigns. It won’t be an easy fix, he said, but he thinks it’s worth the effort to bring the vote back to the people.

That's not party line. That's representing Maine people.

And that's who we need in Washington: Kevin Raye.


The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and the editorial board.

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CRYSTAL WARD's picture

following one party??

The party causing the problems is the Republicans in the House --so you want to add another one to make the problem bigger ?? The republicans have attached abortion rights to so many bills trying hard to take freedom of choice from women and the Ryan Budget was supported by republicans !! says no abortions AT ALL not even for rape !! and it calls for and end to Planned Parenthood hurting poor complete repeal of the affordable care act will hurt many Mainers. If Kevin Raye does to Social Security what he did to the Maine retirement system you can count on having a lot less money in your future. If he contines cost shifting from the Federal to the State level like he did from the state to the local LOOK out for your properety taxes Remember it was the republican party who annouced on the first day of the Obama Admin that they would not work with the demo.and worked hard to keep the promise and gov't in grid lock. So the idea of one more do nothing Legislator does not help Maine. Did the Sun Journal look at Rep. Michauds voting record to see what his postions have been?? Rep Michaud does work quietly but he does work HARD for all the people in Maine>

Naran Row-Spaulding's picture

"We can't afford 'listless.'

100% correct. The last thing America, and Maine needs is someone who just 'goes along to get along,' instead of taking action in DC for all Maine residents.

In addition, we cannot afford crony politics, and Congresspeople who take "free" luxury leased vehicles from the taxpayers, in addition to their $174K salaries and deluxe benefits and perks.


Nor can we afford candidates who lie about their opponents, as Michaud has done with his fake attack ad targeting Kevin Raye.



Send Kevin Raye to Congress -- He'll Buy His OWN Car!!

 's picture

Don't believe...

...everything you see on TV. In fact, don't believe ANYTHING you see on TV - for EITHER side.

Jason Theriault's picture

When did he lie?

Was $20K spent on upgrading the lounge to have a kitchenette? Yes. Now, while the electrical work would have needed to be done anyway because it wasn't up to code, it's an unintended circumstance of the upgrade.

And while the picture is a exaggeration, the data itself is not false. So he exaggerated. Thats not lying.

Steve  Dosh's picture

A change in Congress to suit Maine

all 12.11.25 16:40
Change we can believe in . .
/s , Steve

AL PELLETIER's picture

I seldom disagree.

But on this editorial, I must.
#1 We all know Mike worked a common mans job at the East Millinocett paper mill for 29 years and since then has devoted his political life to the working people of Maine. Has Olympia ever wore New Balance sneaker in the halls of congress (or the senate)?

#2 Yes, Mike has spent countless hours devoting his time, on the clock and as many hours off the clock, working for Maine veterans health care. For this I say Thanks Mike!

#3 What small business has Kevin been successful at and how many people have been employed at his small business?

#4 Kevin has been on Olympia's payroll so long, (as her yes man), I doubt he has an opinion of his own.

Mike Michaud is still our Maine Man


A welcome change of

A welcome change of philosophy from your earlier endorsement of Mr. King who has shown quite a bit of self-interest which is not what this country needs. Hopefully Kevin and Charley will be going to Washington and Mr. King can retire.


A welcome change of

A welcome change of philosophy from your earlier endorsement of Mr. King who has shown quite a bit of self-interest which is not what this country needs. Hopefully Kevin and Charley will be going to Washington and Mr. King can retire.

THOMAS FALLON 's picture


Raye's position on Medicare, Social Security, Obamacare, etc., is something that should be noted.

Jason Theriault's picture


I think I'll still vote for Michaud.

Amedeo Lauria's picture

Glad to see the Editorial Board...

...gets it on this one. Still scratching my head over the earlier endorsement of King but it is great to see the LSJ gets it in the case of Kevin!


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