via the Times Record
BY LARRY GRARD Times Record Staff
Daniel Stromgren rejects the notion that the Maine Green Independent Party is a “third party” in the state.
Greens have been around for more than two decades, after all, since Jonathan Carter put them on the map with runs for Congress and, later, for governor.
Alluding to the 2010 gubernatorial race — when the Democrat finished third — Stromgren says to stop calling him a spoiler.
“Libby Mitchell was such a weak candidate last time,” Stromgren said, “that the Democrats were the spoilers.”
Stromgren, 40, of Topsham, is seeking the Senate District 19 seat against Democrat Eloise Vitelli and Republican Paula Benoit. The election for the seat, which covers Sagadahoc County and Dres- den, is Tuesday, Aug. 27.
“In the last 20 years, we’ve been moving away from the (two-party) system,” Stromgren said. “I don’t like the thirdparty moniker. We’re one of three parties.”
Greens are known mostly for their stand on the environment, but there’s much more to the party than that, Stromgren says.
“To say that you’re a Green and an environmentalist is redundant,” he said. “People need to hear a different Green message.
“There’s a huge section of the independent vote out there that’s looking for an alternative. You can be a good steward of the environment and still ‘make a buck.’ The biggest part for me is redefining small businesses.”
Small businesses, Stromgren says, are not confined to gift shops and other retail stores. Plumbers and lobstermen are also part of that picture.
The candidate does not necessarily support the establishment of unions for lobstermen, who are struggling to get better prices for their catches.
“State price controls, as in the dairy industry, might help,” he said. “Bait supply is another problem. Brokers dictate the industry. As a result, I know people who are pulling their boats out of the water. It’s a market problem, and it needs to be looked at a lot closer.”
Stromgren favors a benefits package for people who engage in small business.
“We need to incentivize small business more to create jobs,” he said. “Allow Mainers to buy into a Maine state employee benefit package. Legislators are the only part-time state employees getting these benefits. To me, that’s absurd. We get stuck in these paradigms that we accept as truths.”
He suggests establishing employee exchanges, thereby allowing small businesses to employ people without the added costs.
Greens and Democrats alike, meanwhile, are divided over the efficacy of wind power. Stromgren favors restructuring the energy grid, and using federal grants and tax breaks to incentivize homeowners and small businesses to use solar and wind power.
“I would like to see wind power offshore and complement with tidal facilities,” he said. “Establish a citizen’s trust, where Maine people can sell (energy) back to the trust, which creates a competitive market. It can be like Alaskan oil. At the end of the year, Alaskans get a check.”
In a news release issued this week, Stromgren released a detailed energy plan calling for creation of “the Maine People’s Energy Bank” to “support a superior power grid that, like Alaskan Oil, is in the trust of the people and keeps Maine competitive, if not ahead of other states in energy technology.
“This energy bank can create low cost energy that the Maine population can buy back at below market rates and force the power companies to engage in a competitive market for energy thus dropping the price regardless of the source or delivery method,” he said. “This will help move Maine in a direction of a longterm, sustainable and independent sources of energy that are owned in full by the citizenry.”
Stromgren has declined endorsements and spurned contributions from outside interests — even as the sum total of spending in the race topped $100,000 this week.
Last weekend, he distributed fliers in Bath and Topsham to rebut the entrance of the Maine People’s Alliance — a established liberal organization — into the race:
“It used to be that candidates offered their policy ideas and platforms and these were the basis for endorsements. This campaign has revealed that endorsements have become contracts that require the recipient to be beholden to special interests with specific promises.
“These nonprofit special interests and (political action committees, or PACs) have become no different than corporate influence.”
As for being a “third-party candidate,” Stromgren sounded every bit the aggressor at a debate Wednesday in Richmond, criticizing the Democrat for accepting the endorsement of Bath Iron Works unions and the Republican for making comments about Maine’s unemployed.
“I’m not a spoiler,” he told approximately 40 people at the Enterprise Grange election forum Wednesday in Richmond. “I’m out to get my own votes.
“No one called Democrats ‘third party’ when they finished third in the race for governor.”