The Political Grind: National cyber security

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National cyber security

U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe, a Maine Republican, and Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, have been working for more than a year on legislation to help protect the United States from a cyber attack, which experts have been warning about.

Rockefeller is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, and Snowe is a senior member. Their committee recently approved the Rockefeller-Snowe Cybersecurity Act, which provides a framework for government officials to work with the private sector to prevent cyber attacks, according to a recent release.

Snowe emphasized the importance of the public–private collaboration.

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“Without adequate cooperation between the public and private sectors to protect our critical infrastructure information systems — our strategic national assets — we risk a cyber-calamity of epic proportions with devastating implications for our nation,” she said in the release. “Our initiative, which is the culmination of a year’s worth of consultation and input from across the spectrum, streamlines cybersecurity-related functions and clarifies the responsibilities of government and private-sector stakeholders.”

Snowe and Rockefeller also both serve on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which has oversight of the U.S. intelligence community.

Gubernatorial update

With less than three months until the June 8 primary, gubernatorial candidates of both parties are furiously fundraising and campaigning more visibly.

Democrat Rosa Scarcelli, a Portland businesswoman running for the Blaine House, continued her “Rise and Shine with Rosa” tour of breakfast joints across Maine, with recent appearances in Auburn and Biddeford.

Bruce Poliquin, a Georgetown Republican and businessman, plans on launching his first television advertisements next week.

Republican candidate Steve Abbott of Portland, former chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, got a shout-out in a Washington Post blog on Virginia politics for a recent fundraising mailer to potential donors that mentioned Virginia’s governor.

Abbott cited successful efforts by Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell to lure a paper company to invest in the state, saying that’s what he’d like to do for Maine.

“This week, the governor of Virginia announced that Mercury Paper is making a $21.2 million investment in an expanded facility in the Shenandoah Valley. The facility will create 150 new jobs for that area,” Abbott wrote in the fundraising letter. “This is what Maine is up against. States like Virginia have a dramatically different attitude toward business, and they are thriving as a result. We can’t stand back and watch these kinds of jobs go to other states.”

Those candidates hoping for Maine Clean Elections funding have until next Thursday to qualify. There are four candidates seeking public funding and so far only Republican Peter Mills of Cornville has announced that he’s turned in the required $40,000 in individual contributions capped at $100 and 3,250 checks for $5 in donations to the Clean Elections fund. Democrats Pat McGowan of Hallowell, Libby Mitchell of Vassalboro and John Richardson of Brunswick are all seeking to qualify.

The Republican candidates also held their first televised debate in Westbrook last week.

— Rebekah Metzler

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