For Immediate Release:
The controversy surrounding Ex LePage CECD head Phil Congdon's remarks made at an event in Aroostook County highlight a bigger trend happening in Maine and one we would like to address.
Congdon's remarks that our higher education system had been in decline ever since the civil rights movement resulted in too many blacks getting into college have garnered much attention and, rightfully so, been labeled racist. Several other remarks by Congdon have not been given nearly as much attention.
He went on to state that Aroostook County had to "Get off the reservation" and get a job, another extremely racist statement. He also explained that many of our problems are due to poor parenting practices.
All of this when added to recent comments that a proposal to support Aroostook's loggers was good for Aroostook county, but bad for the rest of the state, that our hard working farmers are wasting their time raising potatoes for French fries, and should instead be making vodka (another off the cuff Congdon remark) and the comments on the house floor that Canadian Laborers work harder, show up on time and complain less than American loggers point to a bigger issue.
There are many entities who at best consider Aroostook Residents to be second-class citizens, and at worst to be lazy, whiny abusers of welfare who's economic situation is a product not of economic disadvantages created by state and federal trade regulation, but rather by their own work ethic.
"I am from Aroostook County" Said County Democratic Chair Troy Haines, "and I can tell you this. I am proud every day of my life to be able to look at what I have and see it for what it is, the product of my sweat and blood. Just like my friends and neighbors here in Aroostook County I have worked hard for what I have. I picked potatoes for some of those farmers who are "wasting their time", and I spent fall working harvest in the potato house. I've worked in the woods alongside those Loggers who have been branded as "Lazy". I've built a successful business here with nothing but my own labor and determination to get me started. I've spent my life working beside these people who are being ignored, shunted aside and marginalized, and I am proud to be in such company. I think it's shameful that we are being treated this way."
For more information please contact Troy Haines, Aroostook County Democratic Chair at 551-1301.