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Monday, November 2, 2009

We Asked Rep. Dale Crafts For A Comment For The Community

Dear Rep. Crafts:

Would you care to make a statement for the readers about how this occurred? See attached referencing Portland Press Herald October 21,2009 page B4.


Here is his response
First, I would like to respond to the reason for the apology. As I watch in this country and state, the attack on free market capitalism, I get very upset and angry. My first year in the Maine State Legislature and it still amazes me that we continue to drive business into over regulation. Into such excessive regulation, that businesses are forced out of state, overseas, or even worse, out of business.
There is an on going debate over water extraction in the state of Maine and I have been bombarded with email from an extremist group. Their message to me has been "save our water and stop Nestle Corp., the owner of Poland Spring. It became very tiresome to say the least. When I received an email invitation from Jamilla EL-Shafei to come and listen to Terri Swier talk about her 8 year battle with Nestle Corporation in her home state of Michigan, I became very angry feeling again toward anti-capitalism. Here’s a quote from Terri Swier:
"I am coming to Maine to tell my story because I do not want your community to have to experience what folks in Michigan have had to endure during the eight years of battle with the Nestle Corporation. It is better to say No to Nestle and not let them in,"

 I responded with out putting much thought into my email back to Jamilla EL-Shafei except the thought that Maine did not need anyone coming to speak that had any anti-capitalist sentiment whatsoever. Several weeks later, I received an email demanding an apology.  Ms. El-Shafei was very upset that I would suggest that she should go back to where she came from. The email from her also went on to say that I had assumed she was from the Middle East based on her name.  As I thought back to my initial email, I saw how she may have misconstrued my message in that way.  I did not have any idea where she was from and was simply frustrated with the policies of the group that she was representing. I never meant to insult her ethnicity in any way.

My unprofessional response was another matter. I owed Jamilla El-Shafei and Terri Swier an apology simply because they do have a right to speak about and fight for what they feel is right just as I still have a right to disagree.  That is still one of the freedoms that we as Americans hold dear that has made this great country what it is.
Rep. Dale Crafts