Is Alfond’s last minute support for Chipman’s bill genuine?

This afternoon, Maine Senate President Justin Alfond released a statement regarding the mess at USM on his Facebook page.

Maine Senate President Justin Alfond. Photo credit- Gabor Degre, BDN.

Maine Senate President Justin Alfond. Photo credit- Gabor Degre, BDN.

“Just now, I voted to approve Rep. Chipman’s bill to start the difficult but necessary conversation about the next direction for USM and the University System. USM is part of what makes Portland great today and is key to our city’s future. To be sure, these are tough times requiring tough decisions. Unfortunately, one reason that we are at this critical point is because funding for higher education has been anemic for far too long. That must change.

Additionally, we must move forward and move toward a solution to ensure that USM is robust and sustainable. To that end, I pledge that this conversation will continue. It is the responsibility of faculty, the administration, students, and members of the community to work together, be creative, and make necessary sacrifices in order for USM’s proud tradition to continue.”

First off, it’s wonderful that we have an elected official like Ben Chipman to step up and put a stop to the madness at USM.

Secondly, it’s encouraging that Justin Alfond is supporting the measure.

BUT, let’s keep in mind that Alfond’s opponent in this fall’s election, Asher Platts, has been a leading advocate for this sort of thing since long before the news cameras and reporters showed up at USM the other day.

Asher Platts is a Maine Green Independent challenging Democrat Justin Alfond for his state senate seat.

Asher Platts is a Maine Green Independent challenging Democrat Justin Alfond for his state senate seat.

Hopefully this is genuine support by Alfond, and not merely an attempt to quell the attention and support that Platts has been getting for his opposition to the higher-ups at USM.

Only time will tell.

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Chris Shorr

About Chris Shorr

Chris is a lifelong Portlander who works with mentally ill and marginalized adults at Amistad Inc.. He has worked on a lobster boat, at several high-end Portland restaurants, and at a local meat packing plant. He also ran for Portland City Council in 2013, wrote a weekly column in the now defunct Portland Daily Sun, and currently writes a weekly column in The Portland Phoenix.