Democratic state Sen. John Patrick and former state Sen. Troy Jackson penned a politically charged column in the Sun Journal (May 8) aimed at distorting Maine 2nd District Congressman Bruce Poliquin’s position opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership international trade agreement.

Those two political partisans wrongfully claimed that Poliquin failed to “present any meaningful opposition to the proposed (TPP.)” That is blatantly false. In a guest column published just one week earlier in the same publication, Congressman Poliquin thoroughly pointed out the major flaws in the proposed trade deal and his concerns about its negative impact on Maine workers and businesses, and specifically outlined his opposition to it. To say otherwise is a politically charged dishonest alteration of fact, which is disgraceful to the thousands of Mainers affected by such a decision.

As a former mill worker who understands firsthand the devastation those trade deals brought, I was disgusted, but not surprised, to read such a partisan attack. Patrick and Jackson falsely claim that Congressman Poliquin is “a former Wall Street banker.” That is also a lie. In truth, Congressman Poliquin worked as a pension manager, protecting and growing pensions for workers, including employees at Bath Iron Works. Again, Patrick and Jackson are not telling the truth.

Congressman Poliquin voted, twice, against fast-track trade bills (Trade Promotion Authority) in Congress, the precursor and enabling legislation to TPP. It is outrageous to suggest that Congressman Poliquin “waffled” on his opposition to the international trade deal when he is on the record opposing TPA.

They magically make the claim that Congressman Poliquin has not read the trade agreement and that his decision not to support it is not based on his interpretation that it will hurt Maine families and business. Yet, at the same time, they also accuse him of taking too long to reach his decision — even though the majority of Members of Congress and Senators have not announced a position either way, and there hasn’t even been a vote scheduled at this point. In fact, it is likely this vote will not occur until after the Presidential race, more than 8 months away.

One thing is clear: This distortion was aimed not at speaking the truth — far from it — but at attacking Bruce Poliquin in the hopes of confusing people. Rep. Poliquin has stood firm, stood tall and vocally opposed those unfair trade agreements.

That may not fit into the narrative those partisan legislators want to portray, but Maine workers understand it, as evidenced by the overwhelming support Congressman Poliquin has received for his strong stance. I, for one, thank him for standing up for Maine’s workers and businesses. It is clear Poliquin is working hard for Maine.

Jeffery Gifford, Lincoln Center

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