In Augusta, I often find myself at odds with Sen. Tom Saviello. We represent different political parties — he a Republican and myself a Democrat — and disagree on many matters before us on the Environment and Natural Resources Committee.

I must object to the way Saviello was portrayed in a recent Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting article published in the Sun Journal (May 20), “Senator accepted flight from J.D. Irving while promoting looser mining laws.

The article implied Saviello was given special treatment by going on a plane ride provided by J.D. Irving to survey an area in northern Maine possibly affected by a bill that he was sponsoring at the time to update the state’s mining laws.

On the issue, he and I were, once again, on opposite sides.

But I do not for a second believe he somehow acted inappropriately by taking a plane ride to observe one area of Maine possibly affected by the legislation. That type of activity clearly falls under the fact-finding role of elected officials.

State law requires lawmakers report any gifts of more than $300 to the Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices.


It’s ludicrous to say that plane ride was a gift. He was on board learning about legislation before our committee and hardly “wined and dined” with lunch of soup, sandwich and hot chocolate.

Even if anyone were to call it a gift, it fell well under the $300 limit.

The public should always be vigilant for lawmakers bending rules. It just didn’t happen in that case.

Rep. Denise Harlow, Portland

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