Maine Democratic Party Chairman shoots his party in foot attacking lawmaker

Ben Grant never even bothered to talk to Rep. Cornell du Houx about the complaint that was dismissed by the court or about how his campaign is going.

BY 

June 19th, 2012 · 

Since the temporary protection order filed against Rep. Cornell du Houx by his former fiancée Rep. Erin Herbig was dismissed and withdrawn from the Belfast court on May 14, 2012, the press has not written about the issue, until June 18, 2012. The police had officially stopped the investigation before the two Representatives singed an agreement and the police never interviewed Cornell du Houx about the situation, as Steve Mistler of the Portland Press Herald reported last May.

Political insiders all say, once it is out of the press let it die down. But Democratic Party Chairman of Maine Ben Grant publicly denounced Rep. Cornell du Houx on June 18th, without ever contacting the state representative about the issue. Every elected official deserves the respect and has the right to decide how to best serve their community, state and country without unjustified pressure from the Chair of a political party.

“Ben’s desire for me to withdraw from my reelection bid is a complete surprise to me. It is so unprofessional of him to make a public statement without ever talking directly to me about this incident,” said Rep. Cornell du Houx.

Rep. Cornell du Houx said in Steve Mistler’s June 18, 2012, PPH article that Grant, “claims, ‘We don’t know what the facts are,’ but the public does, as no charges were ever brought and the police never bothered to interview me. If he needed more facts, he could have called me or talked to me campaigning door to door.”

Mistler wrote, “Grant said party leaders aren’t ‘the judge and jury,’ but they could not ignore the political reality of an issue that makes Cornell du Houx vulnerable, even in Democratic-dominated District 66.”

So instead of researching the facts and sitting down with the state representative of District 66, as the head of any political party should have done, Grant made the issue public again and did act as a judge. No one at the Maine Democratic Party ever asked Cornell du Houx about how his reelection bid was going.

“They have been silent until making this public again,” said Rep. Cornell du Houx. “Ben Grant should have told me his concerns. His inability to communicate with me shows a complete lack of leadership. He’s a lawyer, he should know better. Communication is everything. That’s what I’ve been doing in Brunswick — communicating with my constituents. I didn’t think I needed to call Ben until I met with everyone I could in Brunswick. I thought the Party had my back. I put the people of my community first.”

Further into the article Grant said, “What we do know are the political facts, and we do know what a distraction is when it comes to an electoral season.”

A blogger called Independent Mainer on the article’s website blog noted, “Well Ben, Bravo; it’s a BIG statewide distraction now. Both major papers’ websites have the story as the lead.  This is what happens when a party lacks strong leadership.”

In fact all three of Maine Today’s papers ran the headline online.

“Political facts are more important than actual facts. Thanks for confirming my suspicions, Mr. Grant,” said a blogger known as mainer207.

These are the people of Maine voicing the obvious.

“It’s clear to me and clear to the party that at this moment and time his (Cornell du Houx’s) energies are probably best spent straightening out his personal life,” Grant stated.

As the PPH reported, currently Rep. Cornell du Houx is in Australia leading a cross-cultural State Department trip for veterans and delegates for Brunswick and Maine.

“It’s a State Department trip to foster government-to-government relations. We will meet with their parliament, administration, and non-governmental organizations for two weeks, and then they will come to the United States to do the same,” said the representative.

Last year Cornell du Houx traveled to Malaysia and Indonesia in a similar manner.

At the beginning of June, he helped the Inaugural Young Leaders Climate Action Network program, which brought elected officials and future leaders from across the nation together to combat climate change.

Since the Legislature adjourned, he has been knocking on doors, meeting constituents, and attending conferences for the people of Maine. On Election Day, he greeted people at the polls. Rep. Cornell du Houx is working for the people of his community, Maine, and the nation. Taking time on personal issues as Grant suggested is not doing the work of the people.

Cornell du Houx joined the Marine Reserve and was deployed to Iraq in 2006. In December 2011, Rep. Cornell du Houx received a commission as an officer in the Navy Reserve.

In military service, personnel know that they all have each other’s backs and not to divide their unit. By revisiting this issue publicly, Grant has continued to divide the party. The Maine Democratic Party’s new battle call is, “We have your back.” That clearly is not the case here.

This year Cornell du Houx passed a law to weatherize the Statehouse, which will save taxpayers money and shows that we can lead by example. He was also successful in passing legislation to reduce the state’s dependency on oil, which improves our energy security and economic security. Gov. LePage praised another law of his that protects oil and gas consumers. He also worked on many veterans’ issues, including the first ever women veterans’ memorial at the Statehouse and women veterans’ recognition program to honor their service.

Cornell du Houx serves on the Energy, Technology and Utilities Committee, is chair of the Veterans Caucus, and past vice-chair of the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Agriculture and Energy Committee. He is also a member of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators.

Letter: Brunswick Rep. treated unfairly by party leader by Jason White in the Forcaster, Jun 25, 2012 11:20 am

The temporary protection order against Rep. Alex Cornell du Houx, D-Brunswick, by his former fiance was dismissed and withdrawn from the court on May 14. Then the Maine Democratic Party chairman, Ben Grant, denounced Alex.

Grant never called Alex or bothered to talk to his Democratic town committee. He never asked how Alex’s campaign was going. Not only is this a huge insult to Alex’s integrity, it’s a slap in the face to the Brunswick committee. Grant stated that the party had to find another candidate. Alex’s town committee stated that they had already been working on these contingency plans with Alex.

I had the privilege to be Alex’s company commander at one stage in his service career. He is dedicated, determined and passionate about public service, be it his service to his country, community and state. Does Grant understand what it means to military personal when someone has their back and when someone doesn’t? Shouldn’t the same credo apply in civilian life?

For Grant to send out a release insisting Alex withdraw on the day this lawmaker, as an Iraq war veteran representing Maine, left on a State Department trip showed Grant has no idea of the important work Alex is doing for Maine and his country.

Every elected official deserves the respect and has the right to decide how to best serve their community, state and country without unjustified pressure from any political party.

Jason R. White, CEO
Maine Behavioral Health Organization
Rockland