The Maine Democratic Party (MDP) is calling for the resignation of State Senator Michael Willette of Aroostook after recent reports surfaced of the lawmakers’ prolific online history of racist and bigoted remarks, showing a clear pattern of inappropriate conduct.
“Senator Willette’s extensive history of offensive, bigoted and racist remarks suggests that they represent his core beliefs, which have no place in the State House and damage the integrity of the office he holds,” said Phil Bartlett, chair of MDP. “His statements cross the line of being simply offensive and are in line with the type of hate speech that is known to perpetuate violence and further divide our communities. We cannot accept this discriminatory behavior from anyone, especially our elected leaders, who are charged with creating and overseeing laws that impact our children and families. For that reason, we are calling for Senator Willette to immediately resign his seat.”
The Maine Democratic Party is joining the Maine Democratic Senate Caucus in urging Republican leadership, including state lawmakers and leaders of the Maine Republican Party, to condemn racist and offensive remarks made by Sen. Willette.
“By turning a blind eye to this matter, Republican leaders are condoning this indefensible behavior,” continued Bartlett. “This sends the wrong message to the people of our state--our lawmakers must not tolerate racism and bigotry. We urge Republican leaders and lawmakers to stand up against this hate speech and to denounce this behavior. The integrity of our public institutions is at stake.”
Senate Democratic leadership sent the following letter to Senate President Michael Thibodeau urging him to rebuke Sen. Willette’s comments. Here is a portion of text from their letter:
“In the wake of our country’s recent tribute to the brave Americans who stood up to injustice, we find ourselves in the position of being unable to look the other way and ignore the unacceptable and less than statesman-like comments made by one of our own.”
“This goes beyond a difference in political party or priorities. This member’s social media comments are racist and un-American. We find it repugnant that he is perpetuating stereotypes and fear-mongering. As elected officials, we are--and should be--held to a higher standard. And to that end, we should hold each other accountable."
Meanwhile, Rachel Talbot Ross, president of the NAACP’s Portland chapter, said that Senate President Michael Thibodeau should consider additional sanctions against Sen. Michael Willette, R-Presque Isle, including temporarily removing him as chairman of a legislative committee or ratifying a joint sentiment by the Senate condemning his remarks.