Kudos to her

I really like Maine's shiny new Congresswoman. Chellie Pingree was elected from the 1st district in 2008, and she's been the kind of reliably liberal representative that one would expect for a reliably liberal part of the state. (Except when it comes to The Gays. But never mind.) I'm happy she won, which makes sense considering that I both voted and campaigned for her.

However, I didn't know about a particularly nifty idea of hers until I heard this report on MPBN the other day:
Maine Congresswoman Chellie Pingree has begun asking people who come to her office to make a pitch for such funding -- earmarks, as they're now called -- to also make a three-minute video of their request, which the Congresswoman is posting to her web site.

Congresswoman Pingree says ever since her election to Congress, she's been looking for ways to make the earmark process more open. "We decided we'd have people come in and make presentations to a group of our staff about their projects, and then we just thought, why not videotape them and put them on the Web?" she says. "That way people can take a little of the mystery out of what an earmark, what an appropriation is, and, frankly, understand a little better how it benefits the district."

I don't know if this was Pingree's idea, or someone else's, but in either case I am delighted to see such a clear commitment to transparency. Say what you will about the earmark process (and Pingree is candid about having to function in an appropriations system that makes them necessary), if one must submit them then this is the way to go about doing so.

Anyone interested is welcome to take a look and see for themselves. I'm genuinely tickled to see something so admirable and simple for an elected official, and I'm particularly pleased that she's ours.

Update: Let me clarify that my above comment about support of The Gays is a reference to the district, not the Congresswoman. Rep. Pingree is great on LGBT issues, and I'd hate to give the wrong impression.


  1. Hi Dan! Love the post, great that you're covering this project.

    I misread it at first to mean you felt that Chellie’s representation, not the district, was not reliably liberal for us Gays... which, as someone who saw how much she's gone to bat for pretty much every LGBT issue, startled me... but on re-read I got it ;).

    (In the interest of disclosure, I work in Chellie's office.)

  2. Sorry if the initial post was unclear. Rep. Pingree's record on LGBT issues is excellent, and it was wonderful to see her at the Equality Maine event last November (even though the end result was terribly disappointing). I was referring to the district, which was not nearly as supportive as I would have guessed/hoped.

    And hey, I'm delighted you happened upon our corner of the Internet. Give Rep. Pingree my very best regards, if you think of it. I think she's doing a fantastic job.