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Penobscot Nation hosts first ever gubernatorial forum

(WABI)
Published: Apr. 25, 2018 at 9:41 PM EDT
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A first of it's kind event on Indian Island Wednesday night as officials from the Penobscot Tribe held a gubernatorial forum.

While all of the candidates for governor were invited to attend, only democrats accepted the invitation...

The candidates hit on a variety of topics that included the relationship between indigenous people and elected officials and the candidates vision for a shared future of the state..

"I'm committed to tribal sovereignty," said candidate Adam Cote. "I'm committed to your sustenance fishing rights and so many other issues but most importantly I'm committed to having a good relationship and doing a reset, a reset in this state I think we desperately need that," he said.

"Somewhere along the line someone asked me what was my platform? And said I want one word. And I thought and I thought and the word was respect," said Donna Dion.

"I think we need a governor that understands that many of us in the state have a paycheck that doesn't last for a week," said Mark Dion. "That many of us are disenfranchised, disconnected and are not part of the mainstream."

"We've got a lot of work to do," said Mark Eves. "After seven years of a governor that has encouraged us to see the worst in each other we have a lot of work to do but we have a lot of opportunity."

"I too have fished Maine's rivers and hiked her mountains and swum in her lakes," said Janet Mills. "This state is my home and I love it with all my heart as do all of you. I know how this we have in common."

"My job isn't to tell you what your best path forward is," said Diane Russell. "Your job is to tell me what you believe your best path forward is for the economic sovereignty of this, your country and my job is to work with you so we can find a mutual way of getting there."

"Sovereignty, economic development those are just a few of the things that we have that I think are a part of tribal sovereignty," said Betsy Sweet. "A seat at the table as equals I think is really important, but it's not the only issue. We need to figure this out. We need to apologize for what has happened in the past and make it right and then we need to forge that path going forward."

Maine's primary elections will be held on June 12th.